Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Yeah yeah, I suck and have been eating garbage. I'm working on it. Not the point!
I'm here to complain about how people need to calm the heck down. Now-ish.
I am so frustrated by & fed up with the holiday obsession that is happening all around me. Not about food, though. And the stressed people are not the people I am mad at. I'm more just mad in general...
I am currently surrounded by people flipping out over spending for Christmas.
I'm going to get on my soapbox for ten seconds. (heh. you all know me. once I build up a head of steam it's going to be more like ten hours...)
You should spend what you can afford. Don't go broke based on what you feel like you "should" do... Mr. Turtle does this and it drives me BATCRAP INSANE. He saves up for months (which is good, to be fair). He can't sleep through the night starting in about mid-December (say, starting approximately, oh, LAST NIGHT FOR EXAMPLE.). He stresses about how much he is about to spend. He spends. He feels he didn't spend enough on individual people so he spends a little more. Then he proceeds to not sleep through the first half of January feeling awful about how much he spent.
I opt out of the entire bizarre whacked out charade. Because I'm a b**ch. heh. I opted out the year we got engaged and I have never looked back. I buy the presents for my family members and he buys the presents for his family members and I don't get involved.
My only requirements are
1) don't let the spending get so high it affects our household bills
2) don't tell me how much you spent
3) don't tell me how much you spent
4) when you ask me if I think you spent enough, expect me to remind you you need therapy and all that matters is you got a nice present the person will enjoy
5) don't tell me how much you spent.
It's not just Mr. Turtle. I have friends going through this. I hear coworkers grumping about it. Certain members of certain branches of extended family. It seems every year the concept of how much you spent gets a little louder, and the concept of What Would This Person Enjoy a little quieter.
Are more and more people buying presents for people they don't know very well, or.....? How is this a thing? It's not actually that complicated!!!
There is no universal rule that you have to spend $X on a person because they are of "Y" relationship to you. Present = something you found that you thought the person might enjoy. Given in exactly that spirit. Period.
YES IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE.
"well if I only spend $# on so and so, they'll think I'm cheap!"
1) If this person is truly a close friend or relative to you, they are probably not really analyzing the present you bought for its exact dollar value, now are they?
2) Then again if they ARE, if they're that much of a misering @$$bag, a) why are you buying them presents in the first place? b) why do you care what they think?
c) even if they are, are they really going to point it out out loud to your face?
(They may grouse about it behind your back. I'm of the opinion that if I'm not there to hear it, I don't give a crap. Sorry! Don't care! I gave you a gift because I wanted to make you happy. If you want to be a miserable b@$tard instead, that's your problem! Next!)
Also, Misering @$$bags don't get presents. THIS should be the true universal rule of Christmas gifting. What was that when we were kids about getting coal? Yep. COAL.
I mean... talk about losing sight of the reason for Christmas. I get that not everyone is religious - there are people who celebrate Christmas as a secular gift giving holiday. I'm not about being preachy about the true meaning of Christmas, because there are a lot of things about Christmas that I enjoy deeply that aren't necessarily about Jesus. I think you can have both. You can have church and a tree. Reflection & thankfulness, but also presents. Do what you do, just don't drive yourself to the poor house about it. Try to at least get back to what the purpose of giving gifts is. Something to make a person happy because you love them. It doesn't have to be about being expensive or being fancy.
I have extended family that has all these unspoken rules about what you're ideally supposed to spend on whom, based on the relationship (parents vs siblings vs cousins vs your godparents...) and I just could not care less. I don't keep track. It's especially annoying when the people in question primarily deal in gift cards. It's like they're obsessed with giving the same dollar amount, and on both sides the people are buying gift cards. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS. If I give my brother $100 and he gives me $100 we're right back where we started and what was the point of that anyway????? I could give him a $100 gift card to Home Depot, and he could give me a $100 gift card to Amazon, but then again we could have each bought ourselves $100 gift cards to the store of our choice and cancelled Christmas. I mean... WHY???? Can anyone explain this to me in a way that is not utterly batcrap crazy?
The same people will try to tamp down the insanity by imposing spending limits, to try to keep the entire family from going broke. Put the two tendencies together and you get this heartwarming exchange I witnessed a couple years ago:
Person 1 opens gift from Person 2. Gift contains nice clothes from a more expensive retailer Person 1 likes. Person 1, being familiar with said brand and their prices, immediately looks angry and starts to protest "We set a limit of $____!!!!!!!" Person 2 has to defend themselves and hastily explain which items were purchased on sale, making the amount spent on the gift within the limit after all.
And I sat there going.... you have to outright tell people you bought stuff on sale so they don't get mad at you for Cheating At Christmas. ??????????????????????????????
???????????? I can't even.... "What a lovely sweater, it's my favorite color and will look excellent on me!" I mean... yes? No? Exacerbated by Person 2 doing the crazy "well it was on sale so it didn't cost enough so I have to get a sweater AND a shirt and maybe a belt"
I. CAN'T. EVEN.
I'm not saying give your grandmother a Pez dispenser you found in the gutter (unless she collects Pez dispensers, in which case wash it and shine it up a little, and why the heck not), but you can be reasonable. If you can't afford to spend $50 each on your 4 siblings and their 4 spouses then..... don't. It's not that complicated. Spend what you can afford on something you think they would enjoy. Get something the couple can enjoy together. Make them something. It doesn't have to be complicated.
Or start a secret santa and draw names out of a hat so everyone doesn't have to buy 8 presents and everyone doesn't GET 8 presents they can't use because people didn't know what to buy them in the first place. Problem solved.
I enjoy finding something fun and/or nice and wrapping it up all pretty for people I care about. Or getting something they have really really been wanting or needing but haven't gotten around to getting for themselves. If I spend less than I did last year, it's because the present I found this year costs less than the one I found last year. There's no deeper meaning, and if other people want to ascribe meaning to the dollar value of the gift they can go *&^ themselves. Uh. Merry Christmas!!!! hahahahaha. Also, I don't remember how much I spent last year, so... whatever! LOL.
One year my "secret santa" at work ($10 limit) gave me a gift that had been free. It was a beautiful book of cookie recipes. He'd gotten this book free. He knows I bake. It was a perfect gift for me, given because he knew I'd enjoy it. What do I care if he didn't **SPEND $10**? I have an awesome book.
To better illustrate why this makes me so irritable, here is an example of how my gift purchasing logic works:
I have a close person in my life who loves a great many things. Two of the things they enjoy are 1) Doctor Who and 2) games. The other day I saw a Doctor Who Yahtzee set on sale. So I purchased it for this person, and crossed them off my People To Buy Gifts For This Year list.
I did NOT spend a great deal of time agonizing over the fact that the game cost less than $50, and this person is a $50 person in my life (found on the Tier Of People I Need To Spend At Least $50 on. Because we all need to have tiers.). I ALSO did not spend time fretting over whether to buy it because it cost more than $20 and this person is only a $20 person in my life. I just said to myself "Do I have that many dollars?" and I answered myself "yes, I do." So I bought it.
In contrast, here's a conversation I recently had:
"I bought ______ for my _______ but it was $50 including shipping. Now I feel like I should buy something else to go with it, since the actual PRESENT wasn't $50, just once you include shipping..."
Me: "Does _______ like (thing you bought)?"
them: "Oh they love it it's their favorite (food/tv show/whatever)."
I.... don't even know what to do with that conversation.
And I JUST KEEP HAVING TO HAVE IT.
Please inject a little sanity into your holiday gift giving and receiving. And if you can't manage it, please don't ask you friends/coworkers/spouses/whoe
ver to assess whether your spending habits are properly aligned to your relationship tiers. We have no idea and you're making us bonkers. Try to choose gifts based on people's interests, not attempt to arbitrarily assign a monetary value to the relationship...
Thanks for your time,