Christmas presents are good. Buying a special present and giving it to someone you love is a beautiful act of generosity. Buying presents no one wants just to give a gift is not. Going into debt to buy presents shouldn’t be the norm. Rampant consumerism is at a peak during the holidays. Walk into any store this time of year and you’ll be mentally bombarded with flashy packaging and signs encouraging you to buy, buy, buy! But are we even buying items that our loved ones want or are we falling into a consumeristic trap set up by marketers? Are we making smart purchases or are we buying crap presents just to say we gave a gift to the teachers, the mailman, and neighbors?
Here’s my rant about Christmas presents:
I’m so over people wasting money on Christmas gifts.
Mind you, I didn’t say spending money on Christmas gifts. I’m okay with spending money, but I’m not okay with wasting money on gifts that people don’t want.
Do you remember being a little kid and getting a present you didn’t want? Then your parents would make you feel guilty for not being appreciative?
Did this happen to anyone else? I think it happened to me once and I felt so guilty that ever since then I’ve acted extra appreciative even when I get socks or underwear (btw- new underwear as an adult is actually a super nice present. #momlife).
Now that I’m an adult, I realize how stupid it is to give gifts that people don’t actually want. I’m sure I’m going to get some mean comments for this one, but it’s not the thought that counts. All we are doing is wasting resources and money by giving gifts that aren’t going to be used or appreciated.
Since embarking on my minimalistic journey, I’ve enjoyed having less stuff. Stuff stresses me out. I purge all the time and feel so happy when I have less, and when I can live on less. For this reason, when people give me presents that I didn’t ask for, I end up getting very stressed out. I get stressed out because I have to act appreciative, then I get stressed out that someone wasted their hard earned money on me. Not only do I not want “stuff”, I don’t want people to spend their money buying me things I don’t want or need.
Related Post: How Minimalism Can Save You Money
As an environmentalist, my thoughts get even crazier. I hate seeing all of the packaging on presents. I hate knowing that someone not only bought me something I don’t want, marketers wrapped it all up in plastic that probably won’t be recycled. Then it’s been wrapped in even more paper that probably won’t be recycled. Sure, you may think I’m overthinking this one, but as a conservationist, the sheer amount of trash produced on Christmas makes me cringe.
Let’s stop being a pawn to marketers
This is a funny thing for me to write about as a social media marketer. I literally get paid hundreds of dollars per post by marketing firms to influence my audience on what to buy. It’s probably no surprise to hear that this time of the year is my busiest time of year because every marketing company is trying to influence the market to buy their products.
From a business perspective, I love this easy work. To get paid to try new products and tell you about it is a dream. However, from a personal perspective, its bullshit.
I’m so tired of people buying things just because an influential person has one. Instead, wouldn’t it be great if we bought things because we truly liked and wanted them? What if we gave presents to each other that were thoughtful, homemade, or experiences instead of mass produced junk?
Here are my questions for you:
All of these thoughts have made me wonder if I’m alone. Surely I’m not the only one who hates that people are wasting money and resources on me.
Why do we feel compelled to give gifts just to give a gift? Are some of you giving gifts just to keep up with the Joneses?
Do you feel bad when you get a gift you didn’t want? Or are you genuinely appreciative?
Do you overextend your finances to give gifts to teachers, the mail carrier, and other people?
Here is my how-to advice to stay on budget this Christmas:
- If money is tight, don’t give gifts to extended family members. Be honest and tell them your financial situation. They may be relieved to not have to spend money on you too!
- Instead of buying something for teachers and service workers, give them something from the heart like something homemade or baked.
- If you don’t know what to give, ASK! Then actually follow the advice!
- Stop gifting crappy gifts. This one is tricky because personally I love The Dollar Tree and have seen some great items there this year. But only gift those kind of clutter gifts to people who want it.
Here is my challenge for you:
Stop giving gifts that people don’t want, especially if you don’t have the money. Try giving a handwritten card or spending time with loved ones instead.
Remember, Christmas shouldn’t be about gifts anyway! Christmas is about the ultimate gift from God: Jesus. I love that we can remember this gift by exchanging small and meaningful gifts. Even so, I’d much rather people spend nothing on me than give me something I don’t want or need.
Anyone else get frustrated by Christmas gifts?
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