When I suggested “no gifts” at dinner last night, my nine-year old daughter attempted to summon superpowers she doesn’t have to shoot laser beams from her eyes to take my head off at the neck.
“Bad idea, Daddy.”
Yeah, I guess if you’re nine it’s a bad idea, but what if you’re an adult and know the man in red and white is a pretender?
As an adult in age, not mental capacity, I like the idea. I’d still have the time off from work, holiday music, the tree, peppermint ice cream, and lights on houses, but not the gifts.
I asked the question because I have this theory that the gift-buying process has evolved to its most stressful and consumer-centric level yet and is making a large percentage of Americans unhappy.
And what made me think of this was an article about Best Buy canceling Christmas orders and leaving people out in the cold for presents.
It made me wonder how much time these customers were going to spend contacting Best Buy, complaining during what is supposed to be a happy time of the year, writing a negative online comment about Best Buy, and how their holidays may have been derailed by the process involved in buying a holiday gift.
Is there a happy step in this process?
- Spend hours searching for a gift, online or in the mall.
- Go to really crowded places and look for parking spaces while avoiding speeding drivers who flip you the bird when they cut you off because they never bothered to crack open the DMV’s Rules of Driving booklet.
- Spend time looking for the best price, which might mean a late night after Thanksgiving when you stand in line to save money.
- Wait in line to give your hard-earned money to someone who won’t say “thank you” because they don’t like working in retail and are only doing it because all of the good jobs are in China and India now.
- Put yourself in confined spaces with people who are tired and pissed off about the whole buying experience.
- Stress over getting the right present.
- Experience guilt, especially if you don’t get a gift for someone and they do for you. Or don’t spend as much as they did.
- Open January credit card bills. Experience overspending nausea.
The list goes on.
So, I dig the Christmas experience, a lot. But the buying presents part, no so much.