In the last few years I have slowly progressed to an absolute refusal to buy or receive material gifts for Christmas. I’ll happily take edibles, drinkables or thank someone for donating funds to a charity on my behalf – but shit I don’t need? No thank you.
This has come about for a number of superficial and more thought out reasons:
Firstly, I hate el cheapo Secret Santa gifts. There is nothing I want less in the world than an under ten dollar gift purchased by someone with no creativity and a time limit. In previous years Secret Santa gifts I have received include a mug that leaked, nail polish in garish colours with the remnants of sales sticker, terrible plastic jewellery and earrings that could have been used as dream catchers. Nup, I don’t want it. All of this stuff, aside from the mug, went directly to the op shop to begin the next cycle of its life being shit people don’t want/need. The mug? I smashed it in a festive manner so no one else would have to experience boiling water cascading down their face with every sip.
Secondly, for all of my adult life Christmas has always been the most financially stressful period of every year. I love my friends and family and like to show them, but is a gift given on a day celebrating the son of a God I don’t believe in really the most appropriate time? I’d much prefer to save my pennies for their birthday and, during the festive period, send them a thoughtful card or cook an elaborate meal that is both delicious and made with love for us to all share.. I’ve spoken with others about the financial stress of Christmas, one co-worker mentioned she spends thousands at Christmas time, another had just spent over $400 on her partner. Working in retail has reiterated my desire to experience a stress free/love filled festive period .
People really reject my idea that Christmas should be gift free. I am constantly called the Grinch in my current job and in my previous one. People are so offended by the idea of having a gift free Christmas that my entire immediate family was uninvited from the family Christmas (ironic, much?). My Aunt telephoned a few days later and accused me of ruining Christmas and I couldn’t help but point out the flawed logic of uninviting a chunk of your family and then complaining they had ruined a holiday that is meant to celebrate being together and being thankful for the people in your life. All of this reiterates my desire to keep Christmas a gift free celebration focused on good food, good people and relaxation.
I don’t mean to be ‘the buzz kill’, although I think the only reason the buzz is killed by my desire to remain gift free is that people are so pushy and persistent in their desire to make me think gifts are necessary. Eventually, they realise I’m not willing to budge and feel sour as a result. Being anti-gift is isolating, I’ve seriously considered stating my desire to remain anti-gift is due to religious beliefs, although the truth would really become apparent around birthdays.
This year, Christmas is going to be different. I’m spending it in Hobart, sans friends and family. While I don’t think this is the ideal way to spend the festive period and would prefer to be back home clinking glasses with some of the finest people I know, it will be interesting waking up Christmas morning and potentially heading to a friends for dinner or just stretching out on the balcony with a good book, glass of wine and stack of records.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings is going to be on high rotation.