By Karina | December 23, 2009
Hey, do y’all remember the old tradition of getting an orange in the toe of your Christmas stocking? Now, I don’t want to date myself, and maybe I’m old fashioned (or my parents are?) but when I was a kid we would always get an orange – but more likely a tangerine – in the toe of our Christmas stocking. I thought of this yesterday as I was driving to work and I heard a story on NPR about a blight that is striking Florida’s orange groves.
I looked up the tradition, and it may be a symbol of the golden balls that St. Nick used to toss children. Or it could be because in the middle of winter fresh fruit was a delicacy for most people until relatively recently and what travels better than an orange, wrapped in its own packaging? Plus there wasn’t much money to spend on the kinds of toyful abundence that is now the status quo. And this makes me think about the smoked salmon my grandfather would send us every year for Christmas from Seattle (I wrote the whole story out here) and how much more abundent our food system is now, and how many more fancy foods we can afford out here in America. And this abundance is reflected in nearly everything we give and receive – and let’s face it, we talk about gifting a LOT here at Tiny Choices – from holidaze to regifting to the gift of time.
But back to the oranges! As I drove to work, I thought through the orange blight – let’s face it, there’s lots of monocultures out there, and inevitably they are affected by some kind of horrible blight that wreaked havoc on an area or community – most notably the Irish Potato Famine. I have been playing out the most awful scenario, being that the blight goes unstopped and oranges become rare again, once more a special treat food. Would they once again be a special treat for Christmas stockings?
Between the orange blight and the other stories on NPR lately (to summarize: the government says the depression is over, the American people say seeing is believing), and as we butt heads up against the most prolific of gift giving holidays in the good old US of A, I’m trying to keep two things in mind. First, how remarkably rich I am, and how fortunate I am to have the ability to share my wealth with others. And second, that biodiversity should be promoted in all things and that I need to keep my life steered firmly away from the monoculture, and towards the varied.
Any Big Picture thoughts you’re holding with you as we blast into the holidays?
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