No Thanks

It’s just not that magic to me.

At 17 I got my first job in retail. Being trapped inside the mall for the entire holiday season, both the purchases and returns, was, let’s call it “unpleasant”. Working with the general public was not something I enjoyed on a normal day, but during the holiday season everything went to extra utter shit. The number of temper tantrums increased tenfold. There were people fighting with strangers over who was getting the last of some dumb piece of crap.

Even on sale, it is an ugly damn sweater ladies. If you don’t both stop yanking at it you are going to ruin it, It will then be my job to damage it out, and since I already have more than enough to do today cleaning up after you fucks, it is really not going to make me happy. Merry Christmas.

The closer it got to the big day, the longer my work hours and the shorter the shoppers’ tempers. Best of all, school was out for vacation so most shoppers were dragging along all form of snotty, fussing, writhing, complaining, demanding, brat with them.

People could talk all they wanted about the magic of the season, but I saw what they were really like, and the overwhelming majority were not swept up in tides of joy, nor did they feel goodwill toward mankind. They felt aggravated, rushed, pressured, frantic, crazed and entitled. It was just like the rest of the year, only amplified. In my book giving some canned peaches to the food drive does not even out treating everyone at the mall like shit.


It all comes down to the gifts. I’m not opposed to giving gifts and I am not opposed to receiving them. I am a firm believer in the saying “It’s the thought that counts”, but I don’t interpret it the same way most people do. I do not think that just any gift will do because at least it shows they thought of you for a second. That is what a card or a phone call or an email is for. A gift shows what they are thinking of you, and if that thought is “Oh shit! I forgot to get you something and I really think I should because it is X day tomorrow. I was already in line when I realized this, but here is a random piece of crap set near the register lines for exactly this purpose.” I honestly don’t want it. I also really don’t want to give gifts like that.

When I am out and about in the course of my life (or sitting on my ass surfing the web, as the case may be), and I stumble upon something that makes me think of a particular person, that is a gift worth considering. I don’t want to not buy it because there isn’t an X day until 9 months in the future. I don’t want to buy it and hide it in my cluttered closet for 10 months and find it after X day has passed.

My father was never much of a gift giver, so when I was a teen I began to do the Christmas shopping from US. My action + his money, both names on the card. I’d start early and put thought into each and every gift, but I was a teen and not overly in touch with a lot of people on our list, so I probably had more misses than hits. As the time grew closer and I’d remember the people we’d left of the list, I would scramble to get *something*. I understand how it happens. I just hated the way it felt. If I didn’t know somebody well enough to buy a gift for them that they would actually like… If they weren’t on my mind enough that I remembered them when I put together the list… Why exactly should I be buying a present for them anyway? Because they were going to buy one for me? This was only of benefit to the retailers.

This much is being spent on this person, so this much should be spent on that person. More expensive is *better*. They spent this much on me last year. The Christmas advertisements started at the beginning of November (they now start at the end of September is some stores). I was saturated with the commercialization of Christmas and I just wanted to wring it out. I did not feel holiday cheer, I felt holiday stress.

This was what I was going to raise our family on? Yes, children LOVE Christmas. Children are selfish creatures. Humans are selfish creatures and the young ones have learned to hide it less. People pile tons of presents on them and that makes it an enjoyable holiday to them, and they want more. It wasn’t exactly a traditional I felt gung ho about passing on.

If I am going to a person’s house for dinner, I bring along a bottle of wine or some other consumable I know they will actually use. If I am a house guest, I make sure to take them out to a nice meal. I am all for manners and thanking people by treating them to something. I’m just not that into providing a wrapped item because of a certain date on the calendar. I try to make sure the people I care about know it every day. If they need a certain amount of money spent on a certain date to know it, they probably don’t know me well enough that they should be expecting a gift from me anyhow. If I am going to attend a wedding or birthday party, then I will make a point of having a gift in time for the event, or I don’t attend. Like I said, I am not anti gift or anti manners. I just don’t want to be part of frenzied gift exchanges.

None of the memorable gifts I have gotten showed up on Christmas. Many of my favorites showed up out of the blue, just because somebody happened to be thinking of me. It might be the gift giving season, but please, nothing for me.

Yep, still typing
I'll Have a Hot Buttered Rum

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