Letters and Phonecalls.

It’s the run up to christmas so the old junk mail round has been heavier than usual this week  . Each day I’ve  been a battling  to try to stuff more and more paper  into overflowing letter boxes. Seems everyone’s got a monster christmas sale on. The shops are  flogging everything from bon bons to engine oil and trying to convince people to spend up big . As  I trudged around this week I worried about already cash strapped families being cajoled into spending and then spending even more on gifts that will supposedly make the recipient feel special.

I’ve felt a bit guilty too. The more catalogues I deliver, the more I get paid, which in a way makes me part of the machine. Part of the push to get the christmas tills ringing and the plastic cards swiping. I know for my bride  and I just getting through the fortnight requires a budgeting act on her behalf which is a balancing act. So I can relate to the poor letterbox owners on my round. At times I have a little voice telling me I should be spoiling my family more. That a bigger fridge, an outdoor setting, ( that I didn’t find on the nature strip,) would make the holiday season more comfortable. I’d like to buy my grandson Jake that star wars leggo thing I saw in one of the brochures. I’d like to see his eyes light up in surprise as he ripped the christmas wrapping of it. But take solace in the fact he’ll thank just as warmly for the book I got him for ten bucks.

I worry that for some people who read those colourful brochures I peddle , it might make them feel that they are  not in the main game. I worry that they might feel swamped by the  pictures of happy faces staring back at them from the Kmart catalogue. That they might feel that no money to buy gifts makes them poor. But the older I get the more I’ve come to appreciate that it’s doing the little things, not buying the big things that people we care about really need.

Two things I do know that have got cheaper are phone calls and note pads. I reckon a simple phone call  can be a gift which is priceless. A simple, ‘ Gidday, I was just thinking about you and thought I’d give you a ring,’ would be a present anyone would be glad to receive. And if you make the call from one of those old-fashioned landlines prices start from around twenty cents. For  $2 you can buy a note pad and write someone a letter. For most of us the mail is full of envelopes with little windows, but for the grand sum of sixty-five cents you could just make someones christmas. You could fill the letter with the love that person has given you throughout the year. You could tell them you intended to get them a large screen TV, but you’d already sealed the envelope!

So I’m sorry about all that stuff I’ve been cramming into your mailbox. I hope you’re not buying suff you can’t afford. I reckon the best gift any of us can give is ourselves and we don’t need glossy junk mail to find that gift. See Ya.

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9 thoughts on “Letters and Phonecalls.

  1. hi barry, great post! yes having four children to cater for, we find we need to stay grounded in regard to presents and spending. the girls see all the swish, new things they can ask for at christmas time but now we have a conversation about the children we met not so long ago in vietnam at the orphanage, or blind centre we visited in Ho Chi Minh City. it doesn’t mean they don’t ask for things they want, oh boy, they still do but they do think about the urgent need or want for it after thinking about meeting children who have nothing. gives them another perspective i hope.
    I’m loving your writing Barry…so real. it’s a breath of fresh air. xLisa

  2. Hi Lisa, really respect the work you and your family have taken on. It’s a credit to you all. Thanks for being a regular reader. Your encouragement spurs me on. Love, Baz.

  3. Hi Barry, If it helps, I LOVE getting the brochures. For me it’s a paper-form of window shopping but I never crave. I pour over them knowing I have no intention of buying a thing. You are right about the hype. I’m already hearing people complaining of Christmas stress and that’s before they get to the financial impact. Our family gave up presents a long time ago. We might relent a tad for the one grandchild these days but for the adults it’s become about spending time together. These days it’s simple. I put up my tree, send cards, help my dad with his nativity scene and attend a church service. And if I’m feeling particularly raucous I might even belt out a carol or two. That’s my kinda Christmas! Cheers Lucia

  4. Hi Barry
    I just read your blog today for the first time as I said I would on Oct 7 at Rupertswood Mansion.
    I enjoyed reading your blog and what a timely subject and encouraging message. For me Christmas is about celebrating the birth of a baby, born about 2000 years ago who brought joy and light to the world. The rest is clever marketing designed to get us to spend noney. Yet I have felt the pressure as a parent to spend beyond the limits of my budget just to give my kids a “good Christmas” I am wiser now and know the really special gifts I can give my children is to show them how to be thoughtful and kind to others. I agree wholeheartedly with you that a phonecall, a letter or meeting for a coffee is inexpensiive but is a precious gift of our time devoted to showing our care for others.
    Thanks for the heartwarming message Best Wishes Bridie S

    • Hi Bridie, Thanks for having a read of my offering. Your right the message gets used to fill cash registers, when it should be about filling hearts. Great to hear from you. Warm regards, Baz

  5. Hi Barry, there is an upside to all the junk mail – sometimes I actually find a bargain, something I could really do with, although the maxim holds that a bargain is only a bargain if you need it. The commercialization of Christmas is certainly geared towards mass consumerism. The universal messages of Christmas are peace, love, togetherness, family, friendship, giving and sharing – values that we all share. Keep on dreaming. The world needs more dreamers. Cheers, David Pedlar

  6. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your website.

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