Does anyone still give gifts to everyone in their life? There was totally a time when it was acceptable, if not expected, to give everyone in your immediate family and friends a gift for Christmas. Even when the economy wasn’t amazing there would be people stretching the few dollars they had to make everyone happy. Maybe I’m just catching up now because all of my family is thinking about saving money for the important shit in life. It really has less to do with how much money everyone else makes than what specifically they would like their money to go towards.
The obvious solution to the conundrum that is buying Christmas presents for everyone (including that one annoying person that you don’t talk to anymore on purpose that just so happened to buy you something and tell you about it) is simple, have a Secret Santa. No matter how you do it, whether drawing names out of a hat, using some lazy-ass app, or just having an independent party assign names; make sure it really stays secret. Growing up in a family where keeping secrets was not an easy undertaking, making this process work has been arduous. But finally we decided to include significant others between the 4 children and not figuring out who has whom based on 8 people is a little more difficult. Yes, people will still find out, but it makes it at least trickier at the outset.
Not only does the average person not have the money to spend or want to spend said money on a person that they don’t actively see on a regular basis, but it generally results in a impersonal gift (usually a gift card or article of clothing that you will never wear again). An Uncle of mine would routinely buy presents as he had no significant other or good friends worth buying presents for and that was much-appreciated. But then you get into the difficult scenario of extracting gifts from people that you wouldn’t otherwise see. It makes for an awkward visit and even more awkward expectation of continued visits. Nothing on my Uncle, but when I was in high school I wasn’t outwardly trying to regularly hang out with my father much less his brother. Now would be a different story (depending on the situation).
But this Uncle of mine brings me to another unfortunate issue within the gifting of extended families or friends; there’s always an individual who is more than happy to take advantage of people. And sometimes it’s just tough not to avoid the voices in your head saying that this extra purchase just won’t be a smart one. And then the asshole taking advantage of you gives all these over the top ideas and doesn’t allow for a cheaper option. My aunts and uncles had been told for a while not to get us Christmas presents from the ages of 15 or 16 on, not just because they wouldn’t know what to get us but because we just didn’t need any more shit. Then our parents would hustle to make sure our cousins were taken care of. Sure, it’s nice that it happened. But at some point all of it is just excessive.
So this Christmas (assuming it’s not too late), don’t buy your second cousin or your best friend from second grade a fucking present. Spend that money on a bar tab the Friday after Christmas when you have the opportunity to show off new clothes or just show off in general per usual. Wait till 2020-something when the economy is back on its feet till you waste time and money wondering what you can spend several hundreds dollars on to make the people you won’t see again for another 365 happy.