Excerpt from The Ladies' Repository, Vol. 31: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted to Literature and Religion; January-June, 1871
It is the commercial aspect of gift-making which we reprobate; the giving not from a spontaneous loving impulse, and not according to our means, but our pride. We know families in which this Christmas oblation is one of the most burdensome contingencies of the year, occasioning much sharp mental arithmetic, and much painful curtailment of household comfort to buy Japanese fans and gilt whistles for brother Ned's or cousin Dick's petted children. And the most disheartening thing about it is, that these young folks have been fostered in such a hot-bed of stimulated gratification that nothing yields them any crisp, robust pleas ure. They look with very languid satisfaction on the gifts which it has cost you much trouble to provide, and, perhaps, in their simplicity, tell us that they have already much prettier dupli cates of the same article.
Now, we know Diogenes will growl from his tub, If people will wear the yoke of custom, let them not wince when it galls their shoul ders. We know that custom is as great a ty rant as King Theodore, but what father, weaponproof; perhaps, himself against its assaults, does not grow weak and cowardly where his children are concerned? What mother will not despoil her own wardrobe lest the sensitive pride of her daughter should be wounded by humiliating comparisons? Who would willingly check that chivalrous spirit of honor that prompts the child to repay in full measure the costly gifts it has received from cousins and playmates?
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