“What if we skipped the gifts at Christmas?”

I miss the days when I believed in the big guy. Creative Commons: Brokenarts

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.

Best Buy cancels orders

What's in the box? Is that the pair of flannel-lined pants I wanted? Creative Commons: Brokenarts

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?

  1. Spend hours searching for a gift, online or in the mall.
  2. 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.
  3. Spend time looking for the best price, which might mean a late night after Thanksgiving when you stand in line to save money.
  4. 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.
  5.  Put yourself in confined spaces with people who are tired and pissed off about the whole buying experience.
  6. Stress over getting the right present.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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6 thoughts on ““What if we skipped the gifts at Christmas?”

  1. I think ‘no gifts’ is a great idea. I mentioned it to my mum recently, she called me a miserable bitch 😛 I find shopping for presents mega stressful, this year I’ve bought everyone booze, except for my 9 year old niece. I don’t mind buying her gifts.

    • Miss Lawrun,

      Thank you for the support. I too find the shopping process “mega stressful.” I pick up on other people’s emotions and being in angry crowds makes me want to go mad.

      Next year, buy your niece some booze and you’ll never have to buy anyone gifts again. You’ll be banned from it.

      UC

  2. I’m so with you on this. This year I worked really hard to find some little gifts for extended family that did not involve breaking the bank or their blood sugar levels. I hate getting and giving sweets – no one wants it, but it’s affordable and says, “I didn’t want to leave you out.” I really stressed over it this year. I keep trying to get my extended family to stop with all the gifts, but no one is with me on this. They look at me as if I had three head if I told them I made a donation to CFRI in their name, which is what I’d much rather do.

    • Margie,

      I would suggested not giving gifts to a member of my family. Lead balloon. I like your idea of the CFRI donation. I would appreciate it. However, not everyone does. Sometimes, there is no way to please people, which may be a result of my favorite subject lately, consumerism. I do think it sets us up for unhappiness. It’s no longer the thought that counts.

      UC

  3. Ahh yes, but we do it for the kiddies, just like our parents did it for us. And as we watch their excitement on Christmas morning, for those brief minutes, we wont think of the credit card bills, the line up at the exchange counter and the relatives we are going to have to smile at – even though we want to gouge their eyes out – ’tis the season!

    • Karyn,

      I love the kid part of Christmas. That’s great. The presents for adults part, well, we can all buy what we want anytime of the year. This year I bought my own gift and had my wife wrap it. “I love the new scanner you gave me.”

      UC

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