Friday, December 20, 2013

From Letters of Note, A Christmas Letter from John Steinbeck

Atwater Market

All of the letters of note are good, but this particular one really hit home.

I am guilty of buying too many people too many gifts at Christmas, especially my "kids" who are now grown and properly launched and don't need a whole lot.

Maybe next year will finally be the year that I cut back, for real, instead of just threatening to do so. It will be a Christmas with only made-with-love gifts. Like the sponge toffee I made this year.

(If you want the recipe, I can put it in another blog post. It's easy peasy and so delicious you'll think you're eating angel wings. Or what I imagine angel wings taste like. Ach, now I'm thinking, "Okay, what kind of person pulls the wings off an angel in order to eat them? That's sick!")

But I digress.

From Letters of Note, from John Steinbeck.

 New York
Guy Fawkes Day

Dear Adlai,

Back from Camelot, and, reading the papers, not at all sure it was wise. Two first impressions. First, a creeping, all pervading nerve-gas of immorality which starts in the nursery and does not stop before it reaches the highest offices both corporate and governmental. Two, a nervous restlessness, a hunger, a thirst, a yearning for something unknown—perhaps morality. Then there's the violence, cruelty and hypocrisy symptomatic of a people which has too much, and last, the surly ill-temper which only shows up in human when they are frightened.

Adlai, do you remember two kinds of Christmases? There is one kind in a house where there is little and a present represents not only love but sacrifice. The one single package is opened with a kind of slow wonder, almost reverence. Once I gave my youngest boy, who loves all living things, a.....

To read the rest of the letter, follow the link below.

America is like that second kind of Christmas.


Helen R-S said...

I would love to get your sponge toffee recipe!

nightsmusic said...

I'm thinking Steinbeck's words are coming back to haunt the US...

I cut back a few years ago when my girls reached 18. After all, they were 'adults' now. It's good because now, it's more in the realm of heartfelt rather than competition. But I had to write down a budget for each person before I would really stick to it. Up to that point, I'd promise myself I was only going to spend 'this much' and then I'd overspend.