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The Gift of Kindness

I don’t doubt that you’re stressing about Christmas presents as much as we are at the moment. We have local family to buy for; kids and grandkids in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast; parents, aunts and uncles in Sydney and overseas. Plus, there’s the annual avalanche of cards.

While still on my FreeMarket kick, I went and re-read the Guide to Gifting that Jared and Luke wrote for the game. You know what? I found myself wishing that folks worked this way normally. Christmas might be the season to be jolly, but accusations of crass commercialism aside (to me, they seem to miss the point) it’s also the season of emotional blackmail.

Maybe I’m overstating for effect. Still, ponder how you feel when confronting the meme, “I have to get gifts for people by a deadline.” Confusion. Frustration. Uncertainty. Guilt. Indebtedness. What do you get them? Will they like it? Is it within your budget, especially when you have to buy presents for anywhere upwards of ten other people by the same deadline? And what if you just can't find anything right for that person? Gift vouchers? That's just exchanging money, especially if your recipient is getting you one too! And you can't just not get them something! It's not allowed! Say you get proactive, buying something utterly awesome as soon as you see it but holding onto it until the nearest Birth / Valentine’s / Parent’s / Christmas Day rolls around. Doesn’t it suck having to wait that long to give that gift, especially when there’s the chance they might see and buy it in the meantime?

Jesus, why do I have to be so miserable coming up to Your freaking birthday?

Don’t get me wrong; I have no issues with the eventful days themselves, but I’d prefer to use them as excuses for parties instead of obligated orgies of gift-grabbing; I’d prefer the presence of my family and friends to their presents. Plus, if someone did stumble upon "OMG that's tha PERFECT GIFT for t3h Rob!!!!!111!!1" I’d prefer that that someone gave me their gift while the "OMG OMG awsum!!!" mood was still with them.

So that’s my plan for 2010 and onward. If I see something I think would make a great gift for you, I’m not going to wait until the next Calendar Occasion. And when such rolls around, the only things I’ll expect from my family and friends are cards and RSVPs.

Especially RSVPs.

In closing, here's a thought by Scott Kurtz: Noniversary.

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Just saying that Sim only eats Dark Chocolate, and is almost out of Chaos Black.
And prefers her coffee black , unless there is soy milk, then soyalatte me up!
Also - purple is awesome!.

Seriously though...

I started doing this a number of years ago... And really really only make exceptions for Family with the gifting. And even then, I let them know that I'm only spending $20 on each of them, at christmas, and they will all get a pricier birthday experience... This has worked amazingly well... so much so, that they are just happy to have my presence at the family thing as a present.

Exactly what I was getting at when I talked to you about it earlier. It's so sad when we turn, what should be a season of joy into a season of total stress. I want to give gifts because I want to, not because I feel obliged to.
Guess what family...We are changing the rules!

hi Lauren,
When you have 5 kids and their partners + 10 grandkids and Rob's family too, even $20 each is really stretching the budget. I'm writing a cookery book and making things so that's what some of them will be getting next year.

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