My family isn’t comprised of Rockefellers, but nobody’s kids are suffering from a lack of toys either. Also, I need a mild sedative just to get through grocery shopping. Trying to buy every relative, friend and coworker I ever met a present while combating other harried shoppers is my idea of a nightmare.
Even when you know someone well, it’s hard to balance budget and gift appreciation value. Sure my Dad would’ve loved a new compound miter saw, but the deluxe tire repair kit was in my price range. It’s not exactly a tool, but it was bought in the tool department. I have bought many things out of desperation that couldn’t even jokingly be referred to as the “perfect” gift. (crocheted leg warmers, Bugs Bunny Chia Pet, the Epilady) I have seen the look, the contorted smile that supposed to say “look how happy I am” when the recipient is not so much happy, but more disappointed, dismayed, or even repulsed. I could see it in my Dad’s face when he, a man with a life time AAA membership including roadside service, opened up his gift.
Even if unlike me, you are a superb shopper and capable of bringing a joyous smile to whomever you bestow your gifts upon, where are your loved ones going to put all this stuff you so thoughtfully bought them? If they are like me, they already have closets stacked to the ceiling with boxes of who knows what. Mine have words on them like clothes, toys, and perishables, but that doesn’t really tell me all that much. I recently unpacked one labeled “Important Papers” only to find a bunch of old college notes, a stack of newspaper bridal announcements for people I didn’t recognize, and my dead uncle’s social security card. Let’s face it, if you have had stuff in a closet for ten or so years, and you can’t identify it, you probably don’t really need it.
So in an effort to not to fill the world and my closets with more junk, I have opted not to spend my holidays at the mall. Now I donate the money I would have spent on gifts to charity. Not only do my friends seem to appreciate this more, but I also get to write it off on my taxes. Even if you can only give a little, it still makes you look pretty magnanimous. (I have never seen a gift card that read: “A really crummy donation was made in your name.”) I am not saying I don’t buy a few things for my kids, but I try to keep in mind that at the first Christmas celebration only three gifts were given, and none of them involved game cartridges.
So, I am asking that you join me. Don’t spend this holiday season in the dollar store looking for items that don’t look like they only cost a buck. Let’s keep this Christmas green. And rather than wasting your time buying a bunch of unnecessary stuff that’s production is polluting the world and that is quite possibly made not by elves, but underage workers; bake cookies, go caroling, and spend time with your loved ones. After all isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be about?
(Plus, if we all do it, my mother won’t think I am just being cheap)