As the weather gets cooler and the Thanksgiving tryptophan hangovers wear off, our minds inevitably start to drift to the festive joys of the holiday season. First and foremost: wasting money on useless pieces of crap to exchange for crap you don't really want. Woo Hoo! In my last post I talked about the futility of buying crap on Black Friday, and why holiday gift giving makes baby Jesus cry. But the problem remains is that people, for some reason, just love receiving totally useless crap.
So, what is wrong with the practice of gift giving? Well, potentially there is nothing really wrong with it. If you just bought something for a friend that they really needed, and they reciprocate by getting you something you really need, then it would be ok. Imagine the following unfamiliar Christmas scene:
Jonny: Oh man, I'm so excited to open my christmas present!
Julie: Oh, go ahead!
Jonny: (Opens Present) Holy crap- just what I wanted! Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs! I can make these for dinner tomorrow!
Julie: I'm glad you like them! Now, I wonder what you got me? (Rips open packaging) oh my God! A bus pass! Now I can get to work! This is amazing!
Jonny: I love you!
Julie: Let's make babies!
|Is This Meant To Induce Suicide?|
And....Cut. But no, that's not really how it happens. If you actually gave useful gifts and got some sort of special joy out of the gift exchanging process (that managed to outweigh the inefficiency of having to guess what your friend really wants), then gifts could really be a great thing. But this is not how it happens in real life. In the real world, it goes something like this:
Jonny: (Opens gift) Oh, what a nice sweater!
Jonny (internal monologue): Oh wow, this would be really great at keeping me warm...IF I WAS FREAKING BUCK NAKED AND DIDN'T ALREADY HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF GODDAMN SWEATERS ALREADY.
Julie: I knew you would appreciate the stylish orange stripe across the front! And now, let's open mine. Oh wow- a new TV! This is awesome!
Julie (internal monologue): Yeah amazing, now my TV viewing experience will be a full five inches wider. It would be just like I had pushed my couch forward one foot and left it there forever. HOW FREAKING ROMANTIC.
Jonny: Now hon, do you want to...
Exceptionally obscene are the stores openly specialize in gifts. How can this make any sense? If you consider your items as gifts, this must mean that THEY ARE TOO INCREDIBLY STUPID AND USELESS FOR ANYONE TO EVER BUY FOR THEMSELVES. Yes, I'm talking to you Pier 1 Imports. And you, Sharper Image. You too Skymall. If a dedicated Tight Fister accidentally gets lost and finds himself in one of these stores, it will require years of therapy to rid the trauma from your psyche.
I won't even get into the disgusting dependence on Christmas gift-giving that keeps millions of terrible, useless strip-mall shops open indeterminately. Or the heartbreaking debt and sacrifice that some families endure to keep up with social norms of gift giving. These things just depress me beyond belief.
But despite all this, I know that many of you out there are not strong enough to break the cycle of gift giving all by yourself. You're going to want to know what kinds of gifts you can give that The Tight Fist will approve of. Grudgingly, I will provide that in my next post.