Monday, October 12, 2009

One on a scooter, beeping his hooter

What better way to celebrate the season of giving than to give to those less well off than you? Thus the premise of Operation Christmas Child: stuff a shoebox full of the right sort of goodies and send it off.

The right sort not including, according to the approved list:
  • war related items (toy guns, soldiers or knives of any kind).
  • novels. Novels?? I can't give novels? What sort of crappy Christmas are you wishing on these poor souls? Ah well, I suppose there's always anthologies. Or poetry collections. Or books of rugby songs. Picture or puzzle books are permitted. I wonder where the dividing line lies. Would the Pop-Up War & Peace be permitted?
  • anything of a political nature. Well, that's probably included under novels.
As guidance for the kind of thing you can give, it helpfully suggests: "For boys trucks and cars, for girls dolls, clip on earrings etc."

Okay, okay, it's easy to sneer and a great deal of good and joy could come out of this. But there's always the sneaking suspicion that outreach like this is a step forward immediately followed by a shuffle back. The interesting blend of gender stereotyped political correctness is (I know) for administrative ease to maximise the number of gifts that actually reach someone ... but as we've already got this far in imposing our western cultural Christmas values on other nations, why deprive them of the annual Christmas "what were they thinking / it's what I've always wanted, thanks" treat that we enjoy so much?


  1. novels...English language...Christmas boxes...overseas...sad but necessary to say not useful in boxes. (like the idea of a pop up war & peace though!)

  2. I don't like the idea of shoeboxes either,especially as the cost of delivery must be substantial and " the money could well be spent better elsewhere" . However , there is the reality that sending a card can be better than waiting till you have got time and care to write .
    I should do more of the former because I do precious little of the latter.
    Those of us who have spent most of our lives helping communities and individuals identify the tough resiliance limits of life on the planet know that some of the best gifts we can give come after saying NO to the most popular and attractive desires .
    The paradox though is before us - Because the great storehouse is never empty, it is at least great to find something that says "Yes its all grace, and here's some for you" at christmas time.When are our gifts to our children perfect?
    If you would like to help keep a better balance between restraint, release and relief join me at .


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