Christmas Without Presents?


| 11/26/2008 4:44:50 PM


Tags: gifts, presents, holidays, economy, Christmas, No Impact Man,

At first, I just wanted to write about the present-free (or present-minimal) Christmas. It’s something we’ve done in my immediate family, without any formal agreement, for several years now. And let me be the first to say that it’s great. Better than great: It’s amazing — really — everything Christmas or holidays in general should be, in my humble opinion. Because without presents, the focus has to go somewhere else, and the next obvious options — food, family — are what it’s all about. And boy is it fun.

But then I got to thinking about what a present-free holiday means outside of our homes, say, in the world of business and people earning a living from that business (which is pretty much all of us). And I was realizing that Christmas this year (or any other pending holiday that can involve gift giving) just got simpler and more complicated, all at once.

First, the complicated part:

My entire life my dad has owned his own businesses making handcrafted percussion instruments — objects that visually are beautiful and musically are something even more. Not being a percussionist, I’m not the ideal judge, and am obviously biased; but I know from those who do understand — his friends, customers and competitors — that they’re highly unusual in their quality and sound. This makes them almost invaluable to those who use them, yet they’re still far from the staples that people buy regardless of the economy, such as food and warm socks. (Unless, of course, you’re one of those goofy drummer types.)

Being the daughter of a businessman, I get that if people don’t go shopping, business doesn’t happen. And it’s a thorough cycle: When the economy tumbles, people shop less, and the less they shop, the farther the economy tumbles. That's one devil of a problem we’ve got to figure out if we’re going to live sustainably as a species, but that’s a bigger conversation than this post, and frankly, one I’m not yet knowledgeable enough to tackle without making a fool of myself. (You can look for informed coverage of this topic at Rancho Cappuccino.)

So, while I want to tell you about the brilliance of a present-minimal holiday, I also get that if we all stop shopping, right now of all times, that, baby, things aren’t going to get any better. And after a few years of hearing “go shopping!” as the directive following any bad news, the last thing I feel like doing is telling anybody to go shopping. Not to mention that I imagine no number of stocking stuffer purchases is going to be enough to turn around the economy right now. I suppose maybe the point of all of this is just that I feel a little guilty about suggesting that everyone minimize their shopping, and realize that some of these simple decisions can have some rather complicated consequences.

williampdeanssr
12/25/2017 10:30:17 AM

Shopping No ! Several years ago I stopped buying gifts for family and friends. What I did was exchanged it with preparing for the period between January 1 until the first days of Spring. As for Holidays, my holiday begins with Halloween and ends January 1. We shifted our focus to celebrating and eating (Feasting) every couple of weeks until the end of the year. I use Thanksgiving to rebalance my income and share my blessings with my family. Then during the next month we feasting with friends, family and neighbors and celebrating the birth of our Creator's Son. Then like the Christmas Poem says, "then down for a long winters nap". Now for Christmas Shopping, I do believe a lot if not most of the things we buy at Christmas are things we either want or need. So since you already need them, just buy them throughout the year.


Joan Soldwisch
12/25/2017 8:54:45 AM

Shopping, yes. But shopping with purpose and thought. I don't understand waiting for Christmas to buy things better used in spring or summer - like a bicycle. The best times to shop or buy should be 'when it's needed.' Most importantly, buying when you hear that voice in your head saying "Dad would love that." or "Mary's name is written all over that." Switching from Christmas glut to year-round shopping will keep businesses 'in business.' It will Reduce the annoyance of finding the $100 item you bought....marked down to $75 the day after Santa's visit. It will eliminate long lines of people returning the wrong size, color or just-don't-need-it items. Decorate the tree, bake some cookies - maybe volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to a charity. Destress and put more meaning into your life and others.


Joan Soldwisch
12/25/2017 8:54:12 AM

Shopping, yes. But shopping with purpose and thought. I don't understand waiting for Christmas to buy things better used in spring or summer - like a bicycle. The best times to shop or buy should be 'when it's needed.' Most importantly, buying when you hear that voice in your head saying "Dad would love that." or "Mary's name is written all over that." Switching from Christmas glut to year-round shopping will keep businesses 'in business.' It will Reduce the annoyance of finding the $100 item you bought....marked down to $75 the day after Santa's visit. It will eliminate long lines of people returning the wrong size, color or just-don't-need-it items. Decorate the tree, bake some cookies - maybe volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to a charity. Destress and put more meaning into your life and others.





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