I’ve ranted about this a lot outside the public sphere of the internet, but since ranting energy is still strong, posting it here might alleviate it a bit also.
I’ve not been an adult that can afford to buy many Christmas presents for a very long time. Maybe about 8 years. Last year I had hardly any money for Christmas presents, but I felt alright about the concept. I don’t recall feeling like I do now. Which is: wanting to boycott the entire consumerist aspect of it.
And frustration, because you bloody hell can’t. How do I just stop giving presents when other people give me presents? It’d be terribly rude. And so many people are stuck in the same cage, are they not? There are probably families where no one enjoys the Christmas shopping madness, but there isn’t that one person to speak out and say “Let’s call it quits”. This consumerism is just making everything so soulless.
It might be possible to solve this problem when you say that you don’t want Christmas presents from anyone and won’t be making any yourself either. I think there are families and groups of friends where this rule applies.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work for me that well. I like making presents SOMETIMES. And I want to continue making presents that come truly from the heart. When I see something ideally suited to someone, I want to be able to give this person this present. And I want to be able to do it so that others don’t get offended, when only one person gets a present that year. I also want to be able to make presents that cost little and not feel pressurised to buy more not to appear cheap. Because you know, sometimes the thing that costs little comes from the heart and the rest is just fluff to add financial bulk. I wish it wasn’t so.
Often enough, I cannot think of anything good to give people or the stores have nothing tempting. I’d gladly skip a year then, rather than give them my best attempt at a Christmas present out of a sense of obligation.
I don’t really know what compromise would be possible. I don’t enjoy Christmas shopping and I want to get off that particular train, but when you want to retain the right to sometimes make and receive presents, it makes it very hard to effect. Because people do get hurt if they get nothing for several years in a row.
Maybe I’ll have a bright idea by next Christmas, but if I don’t, I think I’ll just go with trying to opt out fully and hope I will be tolerated for it. I’ll appeal to my principles as a moderate anti-consumerist, I guess. Although it is more about it just not feeling right and irking me with its soullessness.
I want giving and receiving to feel right. I’ve been so much happier and full of joy when people I expected no presents from have given me something simple. Like truly simple. A gingerbread heart from a teacher who likes you and wants to cheer you up is a worth so much more than anything more expensive gotten from family members because they “had to”. Gingerbread hearts like that are ‘true presents’. Given without expecting anything for return, not even at the back of your mind.
What I want is, I want to experience surprise and joy that someone has bothered to make me a present, not take it as a matter of course. I want THAT back. The soul of it back.