Don’t buy me a Christmas present

I do hearby officially declare that I am releasing you from your Christmas buying obligations when it comes to me.

When I was a kid, Christmas was all about presents. Who had the most presents, who had the biggest presents, presents for the sake of presents. I’m not a kid anymore. If you ask me what I want, I might be able to come up with a thing or two, but honestly? What’s the point?

When it comes to gifts, there are three scenarios:

  1. In the best case scenario, we both buy each other absolutely amazing gifts that we love and adore forever but never would have thought of ourselves. Amazing. We’re awesome. This practically never happens, maybe once every couple of years at the absolute most.
  2. In a more typical scenario, we both buy each other gifts that we asked for very explicitly (like, we sent the hyperlink to the Amazon page and specified a size and a color), or gift certificates. These are offsetting gifts. We both could have purchased our own gifts, been out about the same amount of money, and saved a little hassle. We might as well wrap it up for ourselves too, since it’s not like you were going to surprise me with the gift that I forced you to buy in the first place. The only people who benefit in this case are probably multi-conglomerate corporations who take our cash and use it to pillage natural resources from Santa’s North Pole home.
  3. In the worst case scenario, one or both of us buys the other something they don’t want. In this case, the gift is a complete waste and the money would have been better spent burning on the hearth as a yule log. Waste of time and hassle, waste of money, and now it’s all awkward between us. Merry Christmas.

Scenario 1 is when the stars align. When you’re in scenario 1 mode, you absolutely know it. However, it’s not very realistic to expect the stars to align all that often. 99% of the time we live in scenario 2. Scenario 3 is what happens when you are forced to buy a gift for someone but you don’t want to fall into scenario 2, so you try to force scenario 1, but deep down you kind of know it’s probably not scenario 1 and you really would have been better off going with scenario 2 anyway.

I do not want to contribute to rampant consumerism. I do not want to contribute to the stress of people trying to rush around and buy presents for everybody. At this point in my life, I really don’t get all that much enjoyment from unwrapping presents anyway. Certainly not enough enjoyment to offset all the bad things that come along with it (the stress, the exploitation of peoples and the destruction of the Earth, the frozen smiles on our faces when we both swing and miss with our presents and realize we’re in scenario 3 territory).

I should mention that homemade gifts are somewhat of an exception, since they do not (usually) contribute to consumerism. In that case, what you primarily spent was time, not money, so that’s a little different. And anyway, those gifts probable already fell into scenario 1 in any case.

I cannot stop buying presents for people who I feel obligated to buy presents for, but I can at least release you from your obligation to buy for me. So please, only buy me something if you have something really, really good (we’re talking scenario 1 here). I’d rather have a great present every 5 years without all the mediocre-to-bad presents in between clouding the memories of the good ones.

Your Christmas present to me can be not participating in commercialism-for-commercialism’s-sake on my behalf. I thank you in advance.

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