Friday, December 10, 2010

The True Meaning of Christmas

Well, we’re just about two weeks before Christmas now, and I’ve managed to kind of/almost/sort of finish my shopping. As I do every year around this time, I have once again come to the conclusion that gift-giving is hard. And tiring. And expensive.

My list of people to buy for grew by 10 this year, making everything that much more difficult, and tiring, and expensive.

But I have to say. I enjoy buying things for people. It makes me happy while it makes my wallet sad. And, as much as I hate the whole rampant consumerism side of the holiday season, I’m also a pretty hypocritical person in general.

So I don’t feel even a little bit badly about going to a mall and buying stuff.

Sure, most of my gifts this year (and most years, really) came from small shops and independent retailers. But this wasn’t done out of some kind of altruism on my part. Not at all. It’s just that, the stuff I bought really can’t be found at chain stores or giant retailers.

Even when I’m not trying to be, I can’t help but be indie, I guess.

And that’s awesome and all, but sometimes there are just certain things that you have to buy from big, honking conglomerates. Unfortunately, you can’t buy an iPod for Cousin Jimmy from anywhere but Apple and Best Buy and Radio Shack.

All very much your prototypical mall stores.

And so I had to venture out into the abyss that is a mall at Christmas. There’s the lack of parking spots, the people with way too many bags, swinging them around without looking and/or thinking, and that one guy who just can’t for the love of Zelda find Bath & Body Works.

(It’s the one that smells like peppermint was murdered, Bucky.)

There’s the non-stop Christmas music playing in the background of every store, like a not-so-subliminal soundtrack urging you to spend more money. And that one old lady who honestly doesn’t know what size sweater her grandson wears.

Or if he’ll like the polka-dotted cat prints embroidered onto the triple XL abomination she’s holding in her hands.

The fragrance of chestnuts roasting has been replaced with the overpriced and insanely high caloric (and some might say unholy) concoction that is the Gingerbread Latte (with whipped cream, please!) at Starbucks.

But it’s all good. It’s all how it should be.

Thirty years ago, parents went insane trying to secure a Cabbage Patch Kid for little Susan. A couple of years ago, Little Susan, now in her thirties, went nuts to find a Zu Zu Pet for her little Mikey.

This year, stores opened up at midnight on Thanksgiving, and stayed open so that customers could “shop while they waited” for Black Friday deals. Good for the economy, bad for our mental health.

And, frankly, a little confusing. What, exactly, is on sale now, and what will be on sale tomor—uh. I mean, later today?

But rest assured, Exfanders. Because, at least, for every newfangled Christmas Toy Craze and holiday hotness, there will always be that clueless, wonderful grandmother holding a cat-print sweater.

And that, truly, is the meaning of Christmas.

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Happy Friday, everyone!

1 comment:

zharth said...

I don't know anything about economics, so I don't know if spending money is good for the economy, but I do know that spending money is bad for the people in a bad economy. I think we should just skip Christmas this year. :p