Every year, around November – the world becomes a buzz with a wave of insincere thoughtfulness. Suddenly, people who could care less what you want all year through, suddenly want to know what you deepest desires are. Everybody wants to be your friend and wants to make sure that they give you a present. You might get ugly sweaters or a bunch of other stupid and useless things that you never needed, wanted, or even knew existed. The problem is that since everybody wants to give YOU something…you suddenly feel like you have to give everybody else something.
Bottom line, it’s stupid. Not Christmas, but the mentality that surrounds it. And it makes total sense why Tim Allen in Christmas with the Kranks, decided to opt out of Christmas altogether and take a cruise instead. In the movie, his character was met with all sorts of glares and awful feelings from friends and co-workers, who couldn’t believe that anyone would ever just boycott Christmas. The end didn’t turn out well for Tim Allen, and it makes one wonder. Can you really just say to people, “Don’t Buy Me a Christmas Present as I Am Not Buying You One,” without being ostracized from humanity?
Apparently, there are a lot of people who feel like skipping the fake Christmas is not such a bad idea. Sure, the economy wouldn’t be flooded with a sudden surge in spending, and there would probably be an excess of turkeys left sitting around the grocery store shelves after the holidays. But is it really such a bad idea? For most people, the commercialized Christmas complete with Santa Claus and stockings hung around the mantelpiece is really for kids. So why do so many adults participate.
Interestingly, there is a movement called The Christmas Resistance movement. This group, complete with a website, say that:
“Christmas wish lists and gift exchanges degrade the concept of giving. You know Christmas marketing is a scam, benefiting manufacturers, stores, and huge corporations, while driving you into debt. You know this annual consumer frenzy wreaks havoc on the environment, filling landfills with useless packaging and discarded gifts. Yet, every year, you cave in and go shopping!”
This group even claims that the constant ‘bleatings’ of shoppers who call a person a scrooge for not partaking in the extravagance of the holiday is nothing more than an amplified marketing attempt to tap into your guilt and make you spend money. This group of people not only encourages people to boycott the commercialized Christmas but also offers people a ‘scape goat’ to help them deal with the judgment from the outside world should you not want to participate in glorified gift giving.
One of the reasons that this group started out however, was not be scroogy or save some money in a world where money is tight – but to point out that the entire peace and joy chorus sung during Christmas should be something that we as a society, participate in year round. Part of what makes Christmas so fake is that people who won’t normally look you in the eye, will suddenly give you a hug at Christmas time. You have to wonder, is there any reason why they don’t treat you (or you they) with that same feeling of love and respect during all the other seasons of the year? The Christmas Resistance movement challenges people to “maintain the integrity f giving by giving spontaneously and from our hearts, rather than during a specified season!”
Funny thing is that the Christmas Resistance folks aren’t alone in their anti-jolly holiday bliss. There are several hundred groups all over the world designed to act as AA for those who want to take a 12-step program to get out of the commercial Christmas.
The truth however is this. If you don’t want to participate in Christmas, you don’t have to. You simply tell people ahead of time to avoid the awfully uncomfortable feeling of being given a present without having one in return. Then, if people give you a gift anyways, the burden of guilt is on them. And should they feel angry with you for not reciprocating – this only reveals that they are participating in the frenzy of the holidays for ALL THE WRONG reasons! For people who are truly celebrating the spirit of the holiday, you give a gift expecting nothing in return. (Although few people actually truly feel this way)
Yes, it would be a little difficult and uncomfortable at first to be the first real life scrooge your family and friends have ever seen. But so what? If you truly feel resentful about the holidays and want to use all that wasted money you spend on gifts for folks to do something nice for yourself – you shouldn’t feel bad about it. It’s your money. And in many ways, it is better to be true to yourself, honest about your own feelings and put yourself first for a while – than it is to participate in token gift giving that leaves you with nothing more than less money.
And for the record, the definition of selfishness has nothing to do with not buying gifts for people. And selflessness for the sake of others – is not the way to wellbeing.