Screw minimalism…it’s Christmas

Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously?
~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Christmas is about friends and family and getting together and being charitable or something. We know that, although many people still get hung up on the gift giving aspect…and I’m not just talking about the people who are into giving and receiving gifts. There are also those who obsess over their not wanting gifts.

And I understand…I don’t really want anything, either. I much prefer to just hang out and eat a lot and watch Scrooged with my family. But I’ve grown into some sort of resigned acceptance. Luckily, my family is composed of practical people. The gift swap is mostly either practical or consumable gifts…there was a fight over the jig saw and my cousin stole the multi-purpose wrench I was very happy to have unwrapped. Somehow my father ended the night with bottle of Jack Daniels and my other cousin bemoaned the fact that she lost out on the tamales. My mother got us all socks and tupperware containers and deodorant and bodywash.

And I do end up with things I don’t need or want. I need a few tupperware containers, not a full set of forty, nor another blanket, but I don’t worry about it. My mother loves to give presents, it’s her thing. My father doesn’t, and so he lets her do the shopping and the receiving of gifts. My father could care less if he gets presents, which is good, because he’s impossible to shop for. We don’t stress if I fail to get my sister a present (although my niece is a must…she’s just eighteen months, so new(er) toys and clothes are pretty much staples). If I find something for someone, I give it to them. If I don’t, I don’t.

I’m not on some crusade to get people to stop buying shit for me. Maybe if I had a family that was more about spending lots of money on lots of things I don’t want or flipped out if someone didn’t receive a gift from me, it would be different. But I’m lucky that way, I guess.

Of course, the commercials drive me insane. I can’t imagine who would get someone an automobile for Christmas. Isn’t that the sort of thing that you think a husband and wife would agree on beforehand? I’d hate to wake up Christmas morning to hear “Hey, honey, I got you a $900/month car note for Christmas! Surprise!” That’s about what it boils down to. And the jewelry I supposedly want because I’m biologically female is just ugly.

So all I have to say, really, is just…chill out. Try to enjoy the holiday for what it is, if you’re one of the lucky ones who can. If Christmas is really about friends and family, forgive them their consumerism and just go with it.

Of course, for every holiday special and blog post that espouses this, there are ten thousand commercials and Black Friday specials that convince us otherwise. If only it were the other way ’round.


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