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EDINBURGH, Scotland (LifeSiteNews) — Hating to buy Christmas presents is a sign we’re doing it wrong.

The words “hate” and “Christmas” should never go together, so if you find the first word creeping into your thoughts about the second, I suggest quitting Christmas shopping altogether. After all, Christ was born in a stable, not the shopping mall. We might find Him at the big box store — His ways are mysterious — but it seems unlikely.

Therefore, like many writers before me, I suggest buying presents for your loved ones after Christmas, if possible before December, and hiding them away in a dedicated place until Christmas Eve. If this sounds familiar, it’s because that’s what the Ingalls family did in The Little House books.

Thus, I recommend buying Christmas presents when you find shopping fun, for example when on holiday (or while living) in a place your family considers exotic. Scots don’t think Scotland is exotic, but my Canadian family was pleased when almost all of them got wool scarfs in the clan tartan.

Another sanity-saver I suggest is creating a budget for your gifts, deciding how much to spend on them, and then making that figure a secret you take to the grave. Meanwhile, consider gifts you would like that cost the same or less as the average of the gifts you are giving. This way you are prepared if someone asks you what you would like for Christmas. (“I don’t know, anything,” helps no one do their shopping.) You can make life even easier for your gift-giving loved ones if you just state your Christmas wishes on whatever social media you haven’t been banned from yet.

Some families agree in advance how much they will spend on Christmas gifts for each other, at least among the adults. Sometimes siblings club together to buy the others more costly presents. Personally, I can’t imagine discussing such expenses with my family members, who grab gifts back to peel off forgotten price tags, but try whatever would work for yours.

Some young parents beg well-meaning uncles, aunts, and grandparents not to buy certain toys, as their houses are overflowing. I know of houses where Lego, so easily stuffed up infant noses and so perilous to adult feet, is banned. Thus, even if your family is too shy to come up with a mutual agreement about costs, you can certainly ask advice about gifts for children not your own.

When it comes to loved ones, we all have a mental list of people who would be surprised or even hurt if we didn’t give them a Christmas present. We might also have friends to whom we would like to give presents but who might feel awkward about the expense. Thus, I would suggest reserving most of your Christmas gift budget for your family members and give your friends the gift of time via Christmas cooking and baking. (I am writing this beside the stove, for a lucky friend is going to get a jar of candied orange peel for St. Nicholas’ Day.) I find cooking and baking Christmas treats great fun, so I feel absolutely no resentment for the time, effort, and ingredients needed, which brings me to my most important point.

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PETITION: Ban Critical Race Theory in public schools
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The dangerous ideas of Critical Race Theory (CRT) are being forced on students in public schools around the country.

This is wrong and parents have had enough! It's time to join them in saying "STOP!" to this harmful and racist propaganda.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition which says "No to CRT" in public schools, and "Yes to parents' right" to strongly protest CRT.

But, what is CRT anyway and why is it so dangerous?

Critical Race Theory is a hateful system of indoctrination which teaches that one race is either superior or inferior to another race, and that the United States is inherently racist.

CRT is dangerous and hateful precisely because it teaches children who are not white to despise and envy white children simply because of their skin color. And, as a result, it also teaches white children to despise themselves simply because of the color of their skin.

CRT also erroneously teaches that American society is inherently racist, and that different, detrimental policies (like reparations for slavery and race-based pay scales) should be imposed on the population to redistribute wealth from whites to non-whites.

This type of racist/marxist propaganda should have NO place in public, taxpayer-funded schools!

And, thankfully, American parents of EVERY COLOR are raising their voices and ballots against it!

Indeed, parents understand the destructive ramifications of CRT and, despite outrageous threats from Biden's Justice Department to prosecute them, they have been strongly protesting CRT at school board meetings across the country!

And now, in the first test of its kind, a candidate who was campaigning hard against CRT just won the governorship of Virginia in a huge upset victory.

That's great news, but we now need to contact every state legislature about this crucial educational issue.

And, we need to DEMAND that they BAN Critical Race Theory from every public school in their states - both primary and high schools, and colleges!

Whereas advocates of CRT seem more intent on vengence than on teaching children of every race to respect everybody, regardless of skin color, American parents of every race understand that it is not the color of one's skin that matters, but the content of one's character (to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr.).

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition asking all state legislatures to BAN Crititical Race Theory from public schools in their respective states.

Thank you!


'States are fighting the Left over the morally bankrupt critical race theory' -

'Parents who oppose Critical Race Theory in schools could be prosecuted by FBI' -

Ohio parents testify: Yes, critical race theory is in our schools, and we say NO! -

An excellent Heritage Foundation document on CRT: Critical Race Theory Would Not Solve Racial Inequality: It Would Deepen It

**Photo Credit: EJ Nickerson /

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A LifeSiteNews reader wrote in response to my column against Black Friday, saying that she resented the stress felt and money squandered in the quest to buy everyone the perfect Christmas present. I was struck by that, for I used to feel the same way. I have a biggish family, and I would have to hit the bullseye of perfect present over 10 times.

But as Voltaire advised (a stopped clock being right twice a day), don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The whole point is the giving, not the gift. The gift is simply your ambassador, rather like the lit candle you leave behind in church: symbolically speaking, the candle continues your prayers there on your behalf. A gift stands in for your presence with the loved one.

Thus, get some good ambassadors, but don’t worry too much about their reception. After all, you never know which ones will make history. The two most important Christmas gifts I ever received were the teddy bear I got when I was 4 and a blank book I got when I was 7. The teddy bear is sitting on my bed, and the blank book — which had my name on it in gold letters (affixed by the giver) — began my writing career.

This idea of Christmas gifts as our ambassadors is particularly meaningful for my Scottish husband and I this year because Canada’s COVID totalitarianism means that we cannot go there ourselves. It’s outrageous, but this is meant to be a cheerful piece, so let’s not go to the land of the crankypants either.

Instead, I’ll say that I am profoundly grateful that we were able to fly unimpeded to Canada in 2019 and that all our Canadian family celebrated Christmas Day together with us. What a Christmas gift from God that was. Tibi gratias ago, Domine.

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Dorothy Cummings McLean is a Canadian journalist, essayist, and novelist. She earned an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto and an M.Div./S.T.B. from Toronto’s Regis College. She was a columnist for the Toronto Catholic Register for nine years and has contributed to Catholic World Report. Her first book, Seraphic Singles,  was published by Novalis (2010) in Canada, Liguori in the USA, and Homo Dei in Poland. Her second, Ceremony of Innocence, was published by Ignatius Press (2013). Dorothy lives near Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband.


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