Is there any way we can cease and desist on the Christmas gifts we purchase for the ancillary yet important people in our lives? Does the neighbor up the street really need a pound of organic coffee? Does your friend’s son really need an iTunes gift card? These purchases are slippery slopes of giftdom that once started, prove harder to stop than Barry Bonds at a Balco tent sale.
Bonnie and I were involved in several of these unfortunate transactions this year. And by “Bonnie and I” I really mean, Bonnie. If you exclude beer and lap dances, I haven’t bought something for my guy friends in, well, ever.
From what I can tell, there are basically two categories of this gift exchange pandemonium. There are the people that you exchange gifts with every year because somewhere in the past this tragic tradition was started. From all appearances, barring death, this will go on for life. Unless this gift is cookies or something edible, chances are this gift will suck or be useless. It will be exchanged over hugs, probably. Then, you will wonder how you can re-gift it.
But, at least with these people you pretty much know something is coming so you can be prepared. The second category is even worse. These are the people who unexpectedly show up and give you something – catching you off guard. It’s almost like a pesky rash after a trip to Tijuana – you hate to admit to it, but you know you have to do something about it. In these cases, the desire of a woman to reciprocate is overwhelming. They won’t think twice about making a trip to the store in a blinding snowstorm to pick up a raspberry/vanilla/spruce candle plus $200 for a gift bag and tissue paper to wrap it in. Goddammit, they will not be made a fool!
It’s time we bifurcate* in our gift giving. Spouses (significant other if you are getting regular sex), kids and parents should all get gifts for Christmas. Friends, neighbors, kids of people you worked with three years ago who you made the mistake of getting something for and now can’t stop – all these types of people – no gifts. None. If you are really bent on doing something nice for them, leave out the Christmas letter in your card that will surely bore them to tears. I kid, everyone likes reading about family ailments and the welfare of your cat. Siblings are tougher. There remains a lot of pressure to buy something for your brothers and sisters. I say they get axed as well. In reality, you probably don’t even like some of them so it will be easier to leave everyone out.
Now, if you take this stance, a difficult one, I know, you may have a few awkward moments next year. Suck it up. Like that rash from Tijuana, learn your lesson, take your antibiotics and stay out of the whorehouses. And let’s be honest, you really have no need for a tub of hot cocoa mix anyway - and neither does anyone else.
*I read this word last night and was determined to use it like a motherf&$#er in this post somewhere.