ParkTales - Did the Grinch really steal Xmas?


Did the Grinch really steal Xmas?

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

Now that all the pressure is off to buy, buy, buy, for Xmas and the months of build up to that ONE day is over, we can sit back and wait for the bills to come in.
Waiting in a line at a bank machine during the holidays I got into an interesting discussion about the changes in Xmas presents over the years. And the COSTS.
I mentioned the  most memorable present I received in my life was an old second hand bike when I was about 10 years old. 
How much fun that old bike brought me. We lived in the country and this gave me the freedom to go on endless bike rides around the lake and through the trails in the woods with my friends. Before the bike I could only wave at my friends as they went by.  Now I could join of them.
The second most memorable present was a "brand new" pair of skates.  That was heaven on earth! I could skate with my friends on the frozen pond in the farmer's field.

But I knew these new skates were a big expense for my single parent father in those days.
These presents enabled me to socialise,  important for working class kids whose parents couldn't afford much.  You didn't have credit cards to live beyond your means.  The only credit you got was from the corner store till pay day.
Now with the credit system you can charge up thousands and take forever to pay doubling your initial cost. Just pay so much a month and there you go indebted forever.
Since the advancement of technology the task of gift giving has become expensive. The endless new electronic "gadgets" on the market and the effective sales pressure of the big companies to keep their profits up makes it a real challenge. 
No second hand bikes please.  A new lap top or that new electronic game, are the order of the day!
Did the Grinch really steal Xmas or has the spirit been stolen by our change of values?