I was discussing Xmas and my reasons for not wanting gifts last night with LittleLove. I figured I'd go ahead and get it all down, since it is still somewhat fresh in mind.
I don't care for Xmas. At all.
It is very much on purpose that I use the 'X' - Xmas, not Christmas. Why? Because Xmas has nothing to do with Christ. Xmas is a pure retail holiday, wherein people stupidly spend untold amounts of cash they don't have buying crap for other people that they don't want. It is also a time of forced niceties with extended family members with whom you have little in common. Then, there are the all-too-annoying cheesy crappy songs repeated endlessly wherever you go. So what's to like about Xmas? Perhaps the best I can come up with is a day off of work. Joy, indeed.
I already don't like exchanging gifts as it is. Most people who are somewhat close to me know this, even if they don't understand it. The reason I don't like exchanging gifts is the obligation involved. If gifts were true gifts, then I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it. However, there is no such thing. Something is expected back to the giver, whether it is a thank you card, a gift in return, a favor, or whatever else it might come to be. That's not a gift, it's an obligation device. Think Godfather or similar. Haha is VERY bad about this, leading to my informing them every time that I don't want anything from them. They never listen.
Then let's come to the 'Holiday (shopping) Spirit' crap. I was talking to an ex-coworker a few months ago, and they were telling me what they got their SO for Xmas or a Bday or something. They spent $500 on a pullover. $500. One item. For this stupid holiday. And that was just the start. I think the total ended up being something like $2k just for the one person. In nearly the next breath, they were talking about how their credit cards and student loans and such still need to be paid off, and they were worried about making rent. W.T.F.?. I can't respect a 'holiday' that people put themselves in debt, or ruin any chance of getting themselves out of debt, for.
Now let's explore the concept of wishlists. Wishlists are handy devices whereby one communicates the things they would like to have to others. I overheard a coworker talking about this the other day. Their main point was that the things they really wanted were expensive - $500 and up let's say. So they end up just putting cheap crap on their wishlist for others since they know they won't buy them what the really want. This is a completely sad state. People are telling people they want something when they really don't just because they feel obligated to. And people are buying this crap for others - again, because they feel obligated to. The consumer message is so deeply ingrained into us that we can't stop for a second and say 'What The FUCK Do I Think I'm Doing? How Does Buying Someone Crap They Don't Want Promote Goodwill Towards Man?' and suchlike.
Then there's the whole shopping experience. Ugh, I avoid all stores as much as I can during this season. It's just not worth it to stand in line for hours and be part of that mass human crush. People are always in the way, traffic is atrocious, restaurants are jam-packed. If I need something, I go online for it. Even a decent sale usually won't draw me out - it's not worth my time. If you take your $/hr rate from your job and apply it to the time you would spend at the store, it generally isn't worth it. If you can be in and out in 10 minutes, fine. If it's going to take 90? Uh, not unless you're saving quite a bit of cash. Besides the fact that it's probably even cheaper just to order it online and avoid the mess. And if you do go out, you have to suffer through that godawful music being played damn near everywhere. At least at home you can play some decent stuff.
And, of course, there's everyone's favorite visit with the relatives. I don't know these people, I don't care about these people, and I have nothing in common with these people except some familial BS. Of course, there's always the politics going on where Aunt A isn't talking to Uncle C because of what Grandma B said to Grandpa B earlier/last week/last year/in 1865/whatever. And the endless repetition of the same questions, which no one listens to the answers anyway. All the chatter and crowds and forced civility tend to make me irritable - the perfect holiday mood.
So what should be done then? Here's what I would like to see:
- No gifts exchanged on Xmas or Xmas eve
- No holiday get-togethers
- Pure immediate family quality time
- Doing something nice for each other - take over chores, take out for food/movie/etc, a foot massage, etc
- Just relax and enjoy the break for work/school/etc
- Do projects around the place that you've been putting off, thus making improvements and making everyone feel better for having accomplished them
- Giving a quick call to friends and family just to say hello any day all year long
- If, while shopping, one sees something that speaks of another and it is within budget, then perhaps get it for them - and give it to them any day all year long
The point being that spending money isn't the answer. It doesn't matter how little/much you spend on things. If you really and truly want to celebrate something special, make it your love and care for family and friends all year long. Don't concentrate it into a single day, then ignore them the rest of the year.
It may be that I have a bad attitude because this is my penance for being so selfish and greedy earlier in life. I used to be somewhat spoiled (though I know plenty who were worse), and I feel I still owe a large obligation to Chichi that I can never pay off. I understand they never expected me to return what they gave me, and that they died with the assumption that our balance was zeroed. I, however, know how much more they gave me than I returned. And I regret not giving back what was due.