(Editor's Note: For those that do not remember him, Terry Searfoss was a one-of-a-kind force that romped the Terra Firma of Old Town Saginaw, racing sailboats in the summertime with the best of them. He was a regular contributor to The Review until his untimely passing back in 1999. But his spirit will certainly live forever. This piece first appeared in our Review Holiday edition, December 1986.)
We hear a lot about how America has one of - if not THE - highest standard of living in the world. Each year we hear how America must improve its Gross National Product to maintain that High Standard of Living, or how each time a labor contract is in negotiation there must be a substantial increase in pay to improve the worker's Standard of Living.
Everywhere we look and every time we hear economists, labor leaders, corporate executives, workers, self-employed professionals, and government officials, they're always telling us how we need more, more, more, more, more. More money, more products, more trade, more everything just to maintain or improve our Standard of Living.
Everybody has their own Standard of Living. One man drinks champagne, another drinks Ripple. Sure they would like to improve on what they drink; but remember, at least they both have something to drink. One family has a Rolls Royce, another a 1975 Chevy. Sure they would like to have something better, but the point still remains they at least both have cars to drive. So which person and which family has a better Standard of Living? Which one has a better life?
Before you answer these questions, remember Christmas is coming. To me Christmas reflects America's true Standard of Living. Just look around and see what people are doing and buying this Christmas. There are designer bars of soap, brass stamp cases, bedroom slippers that look like bunny rabbits, dryers for fingernail polish, personalized solid brass razors, fur lined underwear - the list goes on.
Then there are the really important items like the electrical vegetable peeler, or the versatile electric warm butter sprayer. And who could live without the electric automatic wine bottle opener. Don't these Christmas gifts really improve our Standard of Living? Or is it all a bunch of dust collecting trash?
Now if you're really looking for that special Christmas gift to make the season special, try giving of yourself. Wear a big friendly smile when you are out shopping in a crowded mall. Open the doors for strangers and wish them a Merry Christmas. Take your time when driving and don't blast your horn at that Senior Citizen ahead of you who is driving the speed limit. Wait your turn in line and forget the shoving and pushing. Cool your temper and watch your language. After all, this is a religious holiday.
If somebody drops a package, pick it up for them. If it's icy out, help that little old lady cross the street. Take time to build a snowman and have a snowball fight with the kids. Pop the popcorn and trim the Christmas tree. Deck the halls and not your mother-in-law. Slow down and enjoy the season and you will not only increase your Standard of Living, but that of everybody you meet.
And for the women out there that thinks they have nothing, but wants everything, as one man recently advised me: 'Get her nothing. She'll never miss it, but if she does, give her something she hates so she'll never bother your again. This will free you up to go on to the women with everything who will buy you something.”
Instead of buying new toys for the kids, pay to have the old ones repaired. Sometimes they just need new batteries anyway. Or put both kids names on the card and tell them they have to share it. Sharing, after all, is actually one of the finer premises of Christmas. It may take the kids a few days to adjust to this new notion, but trust me, it will be good for them.