Some think of Christmas consumerism as a relatively recent phenomenon, but it’s actually been around at least since the late 1700s when the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written. In fact, some trace it even further back, to 5 A.D. when one of the magi one-upped the others by giving gold instead of frankincense or myrrh. It was the myrrh in particular that led to the initiation of the tradition of post-Christmas gift returns. Guys, you don’t even have to be that wise to know it’s generally considered a faux pas to bring an embalming herb to a baby shower. Anyway, buying twenty-two turtle doves and twenty-five golden rings is bad enough, but what’s really going to rack up those credit cards is the thirty lords a-leaping. I wouldn’t even know where to look for those, though I’m sure it’s easier nowadays with online shopping. But here’s the thing: is it even worth it? All those noblemen jumping around might be entertaining for a few minutes but then what do you do with them? They’ll just end up in a box in the shed, just like the twenty-two pipers piping you got your true love last year, whose* once merry piping is now forlorn and almost inaudible due to their suffering from an intense sensation of being boxed-in, and due to starvation. This is the whole trouble with the obsession with buying more and better gifts — their value is ephemeral. My friends, the best gift of all cannot be bought in any store. My friends, the best and most lasting gift of all is the gift of love. Love, only love, that is all. But in lieu of that, I’ll be happy to accept the forty maids a-milking.