“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.

Happy Holidays

I wish everyone the best of holidays. Thank you for your visits and comments, and I hope for only the best of health and happiness for each of you and your families.

Here are a few fun photos from our Christmas.

A couple of years ago, I pranked my 6-year-old daughter with a nutcracker trick. Each day in December, I left a new nutcracker in the house with a note on it. The note explained that the nutcrackers had chosen our house for a very special gathering during the holidays and my daughter should prepare for the arrival of the Nutcracker King.

The joke went well at first with my daughter buying into the festivities. That is until I wrote in one of the notes that the nutcrackers would be leaving after the holidays. This brought tears and ended the fun for her, as she didn’t want to see Hans and Franz, the king’s attendants and the ones I did the cute voices for, leave the house to return the next year. We had to agree that some nutcrackers would stay on after the holidays. And to this day, we have a few select nutcrackers hanging around our house year round.

Now most of the nutcrackers I bought hang out on our nutcracker tree below.

This year, my wife and daughter built a gingerbread house. It turned out pretty nice. They were excited because the kit included fondant, which is used on Food Network Challenges.

I wasn't allowed to help because I ate the ingredients

Here’s a picture of our Christmas tree. I used Hipstamatic on my wife’s iPhone and shot it “old school” style. They did a nice job and I supervised, which really made all of the difference. I’m an excellent couch supervisor, though my daughter barked at me to help. I did my tours of duty as a kid setting up a fake tree for my mom and helping to decorate it. Now that I think of it, I may have supervised the hanging of the ornaments back then, too.


Old-fashioned photos by Hipstamatic

Best of health and holidays to all.