I have probably been reading far too much on various groups on social media but I am feeling really fed up with what Christmas gift giving seems to have become.
Just to give some context to this post, I am 58 and grew up in what some would regard as a simpler time. I am one of 4 siblings.
As far as I can remember, we each received a gift from our parents and one from Santa. We would buy, individually or jointly a small gift for each of our siblings as well as our parents. Our pocket money, sometimes supplemented by Mum, was used for these purchases. There were modest gifts from our grandparents and some aunts and uncles but these were often for the family (a tin of biscuits or perhaps, a lottery ticket). There was no buying for sundry work colleagues, friends, neighbours, teachers or classmates.
I am amazed by the number of people who are busily trying to give gifts to dozens of people who barely rate as acquaintances. For a variety of reasons (eg: budget, environmental or anti-consumerist) many are choosing to give gifts which they have made. This may seem a noble idea but is it really very smart?
Consider a teacher with 25 children in the class. How many boxes of chocolates, handmade candles, sleighs made from candy canes, homemade fudge and so on can one person realistically use? Whatever happened to a writing a thoughtful, heartfelt note as acknowledgement of a job well done?
The final straw, as far as I am concerned, came from a forum in which someone posed the question, “Talking about homemade Christmas gifts (specifically food items). Is it standard for people to just throw them in the garbage?” There were in excess of 150 responses which ranged from “I never eat anything that I have not prepared myself” to “How wasteful – of course I would eat it” and everything in between.
It seems that the reality is at odds with the fancy photos in recipe books, websites and Pinterest.
My contribution to the discussion was, “I am very disappointed that this happens. It serves to remind me that no presents is actually the best idea”. Of course, I am not talking about immediate family or a select number of friends to whom you are very close.
This brings me back to the point of this post. Why is everyone madly rushing around buying (or making) gifts for people we barely know? Are we simply trying to keep up with (or outdo) everyone else?
Half of these gifts are unnecessary, unwanted ‘stuff’ which may end up in the garbage, landfill or op shop before January is over. How would you feel if you knew the fate of your gifts? Would it change you pattern of behaviour?
What are your thoughts and experiences?