Every year I grow more agitated at the modern adaptation of Christmas that is such a part of American culture. But it’s not the Mariah Carrey cover of “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” or the annual airings of the quaint Charlie Brown special (both of which I hardly notice).
I’m really just annoyed at our perverted notion of gift-giving.
Because in concept, the idea of buying pounds of presents and stocking stuffers sounds altruistic, doesn’t it? It’s good to do things for other people, spending our hard-earned cash — and essentially our time — on items that we hope will make our loved ones happy. But we think this because our minds have been so hardwired to associate material goods with love. What really shows love, what really makes people happy, is the non-material. It’s gestures that show love in ways a new iPhone or fruitcake cannot.
And on the bright side, the non-material is dirt cheap, which means you don’t have to stress about the holidays anymore! I know I only make enough to buy food and the occasional libations. And under this mentality I don’t have to the universal wave of guilt when Christmastime rolls around.
At best my Christmas gift could be a song, or a time out with friends. At worse it is a tacky piece of arts and crafts. Hell, I know my friends would find it oddly charming if for Christmas I handed them a piece of paper with macaroni glued on into the shape of an evergreen. Because I care.
So for this Christmas I urge you to cut back on the electronic goods and outlandish prices. Enjoy some tacky pap with your buddies and your family, they might take pity on you and take you out to dinner. I’m sure you could use a meal; you look like you’ve been eating nothing but Ramen noodles.
Your thrifty editor,