’Tis the season again — the season of gifts. Because, let’s be honest, this is what Christmas is all about. If you do a quick Google search for “Christmas is about”, these are the top 3 results:
- Jesus – if you happen to be a Christian
- giving – presents, of course
- family – the only thing that deserves to be in the top 3
You can argue that giving is such a wonderful and altruistic thing to do and we all tell our children that giving is more important than receiving. But it still boils down to gifts. We also teach our kids that Christmas is about loving our next ones. So how do we express that love? Through gifts. Or has anyone of you volunteered to spend Christmas at the nearest soup kitchen? Well, neither have I. Family comes first and I get that.
You see, I actually like Christmas — a lot. What I don’t like are the gifts. Mountains of expensive, neatly packed things that nobody really wants or needs. We spend dozens of hours thinking about and searching for the right gift. Then we cause huge traffic jams and overcrowded parking lots full of angry drivers enjoying the Christmas shopping spree. Or, if you’re a bit more modern, you get to see the Christmassy look on the postman’s face when he delivers your 37th package this month.
Next we wrap, glue and label. We place them gently under the Christmas tree and hope for what? A smile? A hug? Those are free; just ask and you will get one.
If you haven’t guessed already, let me say this loud and clear: I don’t like gifts. It’s not personal and it’s not because of some childhood trauma involving too many self-knitted pullovers. The reason is a lot simpler: if I want it, I have it. If I don’t have it, there’s a very good chance I don’t want it.
The best surprise gift I got was also something I never wanted. It was a Kindle. (If you have a friend who enjoys reading, buy it for them – they will love it.) But this was a rare exception that only proves my wife knows me better than I do. So, unless you’re my wife or her clone from another dimension, don’t try it.
Let’s all just tune down and enjoy the real Christmas spirit. Grab a mug of mulled wine, build a cozy castle of blankets, and munch some crunchy chestnuts. Listen to carols and spend quality time with your loved ones. If you still insist on buying them something, just get a gift card. You will help them buy what they really want or need. And you will have gifted threefold: something great for them, some spare time for yourself and a lot of stress relief for everyone around you.