I suppose I could wait until December to write a holiday-themed column, but why?
Retailers have their Christmas ornaments on display in August – so, why wait?
I start shopping for gifts early – actually, I am always shopping for gifts. It’s sort of a year-long adventure for me. I’m a “see something that screams someone’s name and buy it right then” kind of girl. I think I give good gifts. I hope I do. How would I really know?
When was the last time you opened a gift and asked the giver, “What the heck were you thinking?”
I didn’t ask when did you “think” it – when did you actually ask it, audibly. The truth is, it’s just poor manners to insult someone else’s thoughtfulness. In fact, even if someone clearly put no thought whatsoever into a gift, it’s rude to point out how ridiculous said gift is.
How many gifts do you buy – especially around Christmas time – that you really ponder deeply? We’ve all been there: the clock is ticking and you simply must get something for Aunt Gladys. You can’t show up on Christmas Eve empty-handed, can you? Or … can you?
Will your aunt’s feelings really be hurt if you don’t show up with that “Unicorn of the Week” pocket calendar? Just grab a knickknack off one of your bookshelves, wrap it up and voila! Aunt Gladys is covered. Wait, did Aunt Gladys give you that knickknack? Careful.
I really don’t want to sound like Scrooge. I love everything about the holidays. I love finding gifts for people I love. I would also rather receive a nice, warm hug, or maybe some chocolate, than another knickknack.
I just read an older article on credit.com about Americans and holiday spending. It was a little depressing. Apparently, a 2015 Experian consumer survey found nearly half of us feel pressure to spend more than we can afford at the holidays. Not only that, a huge percentage of us go into debt trying to find the perfect gift – or the gift we quickly grab out of fear of showing up empty-handed.
Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down with your family and friends and make a “no more gifts for the sake of giving gifts” pact? The problem is starting that conversation. Awkward.
If you were hoping this final paragraph or two would supply a solution that would ensure no one walked away from this little chat with hurt feelings, that’s a job for someone a lot smarter than I.
I will say that I seriously doubt Aunt Gladys – or anyone else who loves you, for that matter – would want you to go into debt to buy them something for Christmas … even if they happen to like the random whatever it is you settle on at the last minute.
When you’re at the Thanksgiving dinner table, just pay attention when you do the inevitable “what I’m thankful for” list. People are most thankful for the people in their lives, not the things.
Happy Holiday Season!