Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What's Not on my Christmas List

I don't want a smart watch for Christmas. I don't want a new iPad. I don't want a new video game system. Or a 1TB SDD. Or pretty much anything else you would probably guess.

Much to the displeasure of my family, I rebel against the commercialism of Christmas. Corporate America does a pretty good job of convincing all of us that Christmas is about buying things for people. It gets more extreme every year. A few years back, I'd just had enough of it. I don't need anything. No one in my immediate family needs anything. There are many people in the world that do need things, but we don't know many of them. We spend all our time and money worrying about the people near us who most likely have few material needs.

No, I'm not some kind of Ebenezer Scrooge, sitting in my office counting stacks of coins and complaining about the Christmas season. I love Christmas, I just don't feel the need to celebrate it with consumerism. I want to celebrate it in a more appropriate way.

Here are my guidelines of Christmas gifts.
  1. When giving a gift, it should be something that the recipient either can't or won't buy for themselves. This could mean making something to give as a gift, but it can also mean buying something that the recipient would like to have but is too impractical for them to purchase on their own.
  2. Choose quality over quantity. My grandfather lived by this rule in everything. But at Christmas, a single thoughtful gift is worth more than a whole mountain of inconsequential junk.
  3. Try presence instead of presents. Is the giving of a gift the best way to show our love for another person? It depends on the person. Some people really respond to gifts, but others feel love more through quality time spent with them or acts of service done for them.
These are not just for me to follow when thinking of others - I want people to try this when they think of me as well.

Studies have shown that materialistic people are less happy (here, here, here, and here, for starters). Try my guidelines in your family and see if you have a happier and more meaningful Christmas.

Amphibian.com comic for 3 December 2014