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[P]
No-Shopping Christmas

By Agent000 in Op-Ed
Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:29:57 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

I would like to propose a change. This change would be very large, yet not difficult. It would dramatically reduce the stress in our lives during the most stressful months of the year. It would save us money where money would normally be thrown away to debatable purposes. It would save gas, electricity, paper, plastic and, on some level, your soul.

I propose a No-Shopping Christmas.


Maybe I'm a Scrooge, or a Grinch, or a disgruntled youth. Or maybe, I've just seen enough. Last year, I got to view capitalistic Christmas from the front lines: working at a popular multinational economical clothing store, in West Edmonton Mall, more commonly known as the world's largest mall. Out of 800 stores in "The Mall", I would venture to say that mine was one of the busiest.

When I looked up from my cash register, I could see the line stretch all the way back into men's denim. I looked at all the faces: tired, stressed, wanting to smack the whining children around them. Nobody really wanted to be there. And with the exceptions of the moments when I stood up on a ladder and gave out coupons, no one was having fun.

Why were they there? Why were they buying clothing that would probably fit poorly and be returned in a few weeks? Obligation, of course. Centuries of the Christmas Holiday, and decades of the modern "Consumer Christmas" has instilled the idea that gift giving is a social obligation, that you will be judged poorly by your peers if you are incapable of presenting them with a satisfactory gift. This has led to Christmas becoming recognized as an economic booster. A terrific booster, actually: Hundreds of billions of dollars in retail sales that wouldn't otherwise exist.

However, the economy isn't the only thing Christmas boosts. It's also a stress booster, a divorce booster, and a credit card debt booster. A dead tree booster and a garbage booster. A greed booster. Make careful note of that last one folks; does the world really need more greed?

Somewhat similar to Buy Nothing Day, No Shopping Christmas is a simple, yet heavy concept: buy no gifts for Christmas out of obligation, and inform others of your intent so that they do not feel obligated to buy you gifts in return. Don't waste money on lame decorations, and thank you kindly for not killing the trees. Spend time with your family and friends instead of spending money on them. Participate in the traditions of your religion of choice. Or not. Accept Christmas as a time for rest, relaxation, and spending time with people outside of shopping malls.

Implementing this concept, I see a world with much less stress and much more value. A world where children would receive fewer cheap plastic toys, but have their college education paid for. A world where we plant a tree in our backyard, not our living room. A world where time is valued more than money.

This holiday season, go out and don't buy something.

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Display: Sort:
No-Shopping Christmas | 226 comments (202 topical, 24 editorial, 1 hidden)
TG'ing (2.69 / 23) (#1)
by curien on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:27:09 AM EST

This is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. No presents, no weeks and weeks of advertising, no lying to children. Just friends, family, and good food. (And beer.)

--
Screw teh tiger woods! I am teh Lunix Tarballs!
And tofurky~! (none / 2) (#25)
by A Proud American on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:01:06 PM EST

Yum...

____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


[ Parent ]
And Turducken! (2.75 / 4) (#43)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:47:08 PM EST

Yum Yum!
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Coonass! <nt> (none / 3) (#83)
by bankind on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 10:29:05 PM EST


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Re: Turducken (none / 1) (#203)
by hoops on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 12:54:25 PM EST

I noticed you linked to a recipe for turdicken rather than to one of the various places you can purchace a ready made one. Have you actually contstructed a turducken from scratch. I have and it is something I shall <blink>NEVER</blink> do again.

I was 2 solid days of deboning various fowl and making stuffings, not to mention an entire night of cooking. The worst part was the final assemble of the thing. Stuffing oozed out everywhere, on the counter, on the floor. My wife still talks about "Turducken Poop" begin all over the kitchen.

Man they are good though...
--Hoops
If I were a koala bear, the first thing I would do is urinate all over you and bi
[
Parent ]

What? (2.87 / 8) (#30)
by curien on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:14:16 PM EST

You think lying to children is a good thing? I'll leave religion out of this, as it can't really be called a "lie" (I'm not saying it is or isn't) if the person doing the telling believes he's telling the truth. But I cannot condone a grown person purposefully -- nay, gleefully -- misleading a child for his own entertainment.

Oh, and getting drunk most certainly is a delightful pastime. Alcoholism is not -- but please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I don't like presents, and no, I wasn't very well-off as a child. OK, so I do like presents, but I don't like feeling obligated to get people things. I don't like shopping, I don't even particularly enjoy the gift exchange process. I'd gladly give up my claim to any and all gifts in return for never giving one myself.

--
Screw teh tiger woods! I am teh Lunix Tarballs!
[ Parent ]

agree (3.00 / 5) (#143)
by frozencrow on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:46:52 AM EST

I was also not terribly well-off. While it was fun to receive presents, I don't particularly enjoy the xmas thing, or the birthday thing for that matter. If you wanted to get a present for someone, then you could do it any time. If you're doing it because you "have to," then that obviates the whole point of the exercise.

[ Parent ]
But what about (2.20 / 5) (#45)
by mcc on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:53:46 PM EST

But what about those of us who hate our friends, hate our family, and don't like food?

[ Parent ]
Well (3.00 / 8) (#46)
by curien on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:00:58 PM EST

I imagine you wouldn't like Thanksgiving very much.

--
Screw teh tiger woods! I am teh Lunix Tarballs!
[ Parent ]
Defending Beer (2.83 / 6) (#50)
by oat5tout on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:11:55 PM EST

If I may be so bold as to assume it was my earlier comment that inspired the addition of "(And beer.)" to curien's post, allow me to defend it being there. Or at least call you out for equating drinking beer with getting drunk. Apparently the two are one in the same for alcoholics (who are unable to curtail their drinking at a moderate level), but to the majority of people having a couple beers with dinner is not unreasonable. And drinking beer, especially the darker varieties, has been shown to have many positive health effects. Though, if you needed that link, you might also be interested in this link about tobacco being bad for you...

Free Rush! -speek
[
Parent ]

Why not give the gift... (2.80 / 5) (#128)
by hershmire on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:43:42 AM EST

of accepting other people's opinions?

And calm down. A beer at Thanksgiving does not a diabetic make.
FIXME: Insert quote about procrastination
[ Parent ]
You're showing your ignorance (2.80 / 5) (#156)
by curien on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:48:16 PM EST

Beer can be an acquired taste, and some beers almost certainly are, but alcoholic beverages in general are not. Many wines are quite sweet, and fine liquors are quite good, even for an uninitiated drinker.

Finally, alcohol in general (and beer in particular) does not make you throw up, even if you're unused to it, until you've drank an awful lot of the stuff.

What was that you were saying about unsubstantiated opinions? ;-}

--
Screw teh tiger woods! I am teh Lunix Tarballs!
[ Parent ]

I hate WEM. (2.50 / 10) (#6)
by Dr Caleb on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:32:33 AM EST

Especially at Christmas. It's like friggen hand-to-hand combat.

Tens of thousands of people on the right hand sides of the mall, tens of thousands more going the opposite direction on the left. Like four counter rotating chains of human suffering. And (insert deity) help you if you want to go from phase 2 to phase 3 on the first floor by the ice rink.

Yea, +1FP - a time of the year I could do without.


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.

The thing that bugs me about WEM (2.80 / 5) (#81)
by ZanThrax on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 08:44:03 PM EST

is all the damned tourists lollygagging shoulder to shoulder down the halls, no destination in mind. There are stores that I go to in the mall, and I like Silver City (although the South Edmonton Common's better); but I mostly stay away except during the slowest times because having to go from one part of the mall to another at one-quarter normal speed because of the tourists is too agravating.

Who goes on a vacation to see a fucking shopping mall anyhow? It's even more ludicrous than buying an RV so that you can "camp" at Wal-Mart.

There is no spoon, there never was a spoon, and there never will be a spoon.
[ Parent ]

What else (none / 3) (#108)
by metalfan on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:58:33 AM EST

is there to see in Edmonton? The "ski hill?"  The snow?  The fields?

The Drop of Doom has got to be the best part of WEM.  But even that is only about 30 seconds of entertainment.  Once is enough for me.

[ Parent ]

There's not much else to see here (none / 2) (#182)
by ZanThrax on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:17:42 PM EST

so why come here on vacation in the first place? Go out to the mountains and enjoy the skiing and scenery. Hell, go to Calgary for the Stampede if that's your sort of thing. Drumheller to see the Tyrell Museum. But I really don't see the tourist draw of Edmonton. I love my city, and it's a great place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit it.

There is no spoon, there never was a spoon, and there never will be a spoon.
[ Parent ]

Agreed. (none / 2) (#185)
by metalfan on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:43:10 PM EST

Anyone going to Edmonton for his or her vacation (on purpose, that is) should become a moving target at the WEM shooting range.

[ Parent ]
Hey... (none / 0) (#234)
by gjetost on Sat Nov 22, 2003 at 01:01:41 AM EST

The world's biggest of anything is a great place to visit on a vacation. Wait until I tell you about my trip to Minnesota ...

[ Parent ]
Ahh _THE_ Mall (none / 3) (#127)
by 0xA on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:38:19 AM EST

I really wish that place would just sink into the ground.

I noticed something when I was up there for Thanksgiving this year, it is spreading. I wanted to go to the oriental market where Crappy Tire used to be to get some stuff for dinner. It took me 30 mins to get to WEM from St. Albert. As you come south on 170th this big retial horror show starts at Mayfield road. Nothing but big crap filled chain stores as far as the eye can see. It is also some kind of stupidity vortex, as soon as you cross 104th Ave your brain gets dialed down 3 notches or something. People swerve across 3 lanes of traffic without warning. God know it is worth a 12 car pile up so you don't have to circle around to get to Best Buy. Every time I go through that area the blight gets bigger and bigger. So very sad.

My brother and I usually go to Future Shop on boxing day about 7 am. He goes and looks at whatever and I get a year's supply of batteries for $6. Last year when we were done we considered going by the Sony Store in the mall to look at some MD stuff FS didn't have. The parking lot was FULL at 8:30. We kept going.

[ Parent ]

It's beginning to look a lot like... (none / 1) (#199)
by grendelkhan on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 10:27:26 AM EST

Look anything like this?

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]

+1FP (2.44 / 9) (#7)
by Imperfect on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:33:11 AM EST

I like it. Well-written. Short, to the point, with sufficient reasoning behind it.

Also, I would love it if I didn't have to go and spend money I don't have on presents for people I don't like this year.

Not perfect, not quite.
Indeed, handmade gifts evoke the true spirit (2.45 / 22) (#8)
by Adam Rightmann on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:42:48 AM EST

of Christmas.

Every year, my family gathers around and makes Care packages for the parishes of our brethren who live oppressed in Albion, suffering under the cruel yoke of the Church of England.

In it we include pictures of the Virgin (cut out from youth magazines and laminated unto wood), the Sacred Heart (also laminated), a copy of the New Jerusalem Bible, plans for a home made Sten gun as well as some of the harder to machine parts (receivers, springs), and a modest amount of ammunition, in case the Anglicans decide to try to drive the true Church from their shores, as they are wont to do.

We also exchange homemade gifts amongst ourselves, the crayon picture my oldest made of Lutherans, Baptists, Hindoos and Mohemmadans burning in eternal hell fire for rejecting the True Church occupies a prominent place in my office.

Mheh (none / 3) (#137)
by ksandstr on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:20:33 AM EST

[snip]
>In it we include pictures of the Virgin (cut out from youth magazines and laminated unto wood) ...

Oh please tell me you're not talking about britney.

--
Gegen kommunismus und bolschewismus und terrorismus, jawohl!

[ Parent ]

Quite right. (1.79 / 24) (#9)
by sllort on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:46:35 AM EST

Let's fucking steal everything instead.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
You seem to have forgotten... (1.33 / 6) (#29)
by RobotSlave on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:13:40 PM EST

...that for Linux Zealot, there is no such thing as "stealing." For him, Christmas shouldn't be about this evil, evil buying and selling, it should be about sharing the hard work of strangers with his anonymous "friends."

[ Parent ]
Oh fuck (2.06 / 16) (#11)
by sllort on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:50:11 AM EST

Tell me you did not just post a comment to let us know that you disagree and will post a comment containing your disagreement.

I do not deserve to be assaulted by the obvious.

I just know that if I turn on CNN there's going George W Bush on the set, informing us that tomorrow he's going to say something stupid.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.

you've got to be kidding (1.90 / 10) (#78)
by m a r c on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 08:15:36 PM EST

oh please rate me, i'm ever so insecure
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]
Not as bad as Halloween (2.27 / 18) (#12)
by roley on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:50:32 AM EST

Christmas is a huge event for companies to cash in and make lots of money, but at least it's still got some base in Religion and general good will.

What is truely worse is the rampant consumption coming up at the end of October where candy sales go through the roof, expensive costumes that will only get used for a few hours a year (maybe only that one year)are purchased. Plus the holiday has lost any elements of being spooky as I have grown up over the years and realises just how hokey it's all gotten.

Halloween has completely been swallowed by commericalism and I don't think it's worth participating in at all.

"Enternity lies ahead, and behind. Have you drunk your fill?"

don't agree (2.91 / 12) (#20)
by speek on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 12:18:33 PM EST

Halloween is one of the best community holidays. The candy is a minor expense, and one can be as spooky and creepy as you have motivation and imagination for. That part is up to you.

With all the kids out in the neighborhood after dark, parents walking around, talking to each other, meeting the kids as they tromp up to your door, gives a great feeling of community that most holidays lack, since most holidays are family oriented. Next to Thanksgiving, Halloween is my favorite holiday.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

not around here (none / 2) (#147)
by frozencrow on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:04:03 AM EST

Around these parts, the kids only trick-or-treat before dark, and given the time of year, this usually means that by the time you get home from work, they're already done. I'm told that it's because of all the hackers, terrorists, and pedophiles. There are still plenty of halloween parties and displays of consume-making talent, but alas, traditional trick-or-treating is dead here.

[ Parent ]
where do you live? (none / 0) (#162)
by speek on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:11:32 PM EST

I'm in Rochester, NY. It's cold and dark by 5:30. They once, long ago, tried to cancel trick-or-treating, but that was met with universal revolt, thank god. There is something so very cool about parents sending their kids off after dark to get food from strangers - it would be sad if it died.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Man (none / 0) (#173)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 05:25:22 PM EST

If kids came to my house before dark on Halloween I'd send those little bitches away.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Halloween is my favorite (2.87 / 8) (#27)
by straif on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:08:17 PM EST

First off, depending on who you ask, Halloween also has a base in religion.

Plus the holiday has lost any elements of being spooky as I have grown up over the years and realises just how hokey it's all gotten.

Has the holiday changed, or have you?  Expensive costumes are not required...a $2 bandana, $2 eyepatch and a few days of not shaving...instant pirate.

When I was young, the holiday was all about candy and more importantly, being scary.  As I grow older, I see it as a way to express parts of myself that I normally don't have outlets for.

I will agree, that Disney and other merchandising machines have created a demand for costumes based upon the licensed character du jour.  I think this is sad.  It reinforces the idea that creativity is for other people, and your place is to buy it.

I have mixed feelings about Christmas.  I like getting stuff and I like giving stuff.  What I dislike is the vision of the "perfect" Christmas.  I don't like the obligation to scurry all over town to visit relatives, many of whom I have no particular relation with, other than at a genetic level.  This holiday should be celebrated out of joy and love.  All too often, I see it celebrated out of obligation: obligation to give gifts to near strangers, obligation to travel, obligation to create the perfect day.  Some of this is due to the "commercialization" that is always to popular to complain about.  Mostly, though, I think it is because this is a "family" holiday.

Halloween has none of this pressure.  There is no ideal Halloween.  No elaborate meals to make and no requirement to fly across the country to spend October 31 with family.

One year, I'd been hospitalized in early December and needed a few weeks to get back on my feet.  There were some people who thought it was odd that my wife and I didn't get a Christmas tree that year - that we had other things to think about.  People won't think it's strange if you don't put up fake cobwebs.

I don't think Christmas is all bad.  I just think people that try to make it perfect only end up ruining it.  I dislike being dragged into other people's Norman Rockwell dreams.

On the otherhand, I loathe Thanksgiving.

[ Parent ]

Halloween is fun (3.00 / 5) (#103)
by Merc on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:09:18 AM EST

The commercials suck. The store displays suck. The crowds suck. The ankle-biters suck. But when you have cool friends with fun costumes who use it as an excuse to throw a party, that's great.

A few years ago right after the movie came out, a bunch of my friends dressed up as the cast of Titanic, after it went under of course. They wore costumes that looked almost exactly like the people in the movie, only they used makeup to make it clear that this was the "post drowning" version of the character. These guys were almost all graduates of an Industrial Design program, so they were skilled at building things, but also really artistic. I can't remember the other costumes, but they were good too.

Now what other holiday gives you an excuse to do that?



[ Parent ]
Let's see (none / 2) (#169)
by UnConeD on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:19:21 PM EST

Last week I went to a dress-up party, 'What do you want to be when you grow up'. 6 months ago, those same people had a 'Neckermann, your touroperator!' party (exotic destinations) and before that a nerd party.

Who needs a holiday to throw dress-up parties?


[ Parent ]

It's The Great Pumpkin! (none / 2) (#155)
by error 404 on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:27:03 PM EST

OK, there's a lot of commerce around Halloween. But there isn't a central message to it, there really isn't anything to be swallowed up by commercialism. The Great Pumpkin will not be bringing you cosmic gifts no matter how sincere your observance is.

Unlike Christmas, it is entirely optional. Enjoy it or skip it. No obligations.

Unlike Christmas, there is no mass dream of what it should be like. No Currier and Ives, no equivalent to White Christmas, no equivalent to Night Before Christmas where the characters are all defined and described.

My own observance (and this is odd, because my wife and I own a costume shop) this year will probably not be any more than handing out candy at trick-or-treat last Sunday. I wore street clothes, but I had fangs on and enjoyed a big glass of V-8. Kind of neat because I creeped out the big kids and just didn't show teeth to the little ones.

I'v been pretty busy with the shop lately. Day job helps my sanity - most of the time I CAN'T be at the shop. Yep, making a few bucks. Not getting rich. Having fun. Most of our business is rental. We do very few licensed things - Grinch and Spiderman is all we have as regular stock. Mostly because they just don't interest us - we have more fun with either imaginative or historical - but also because of the cost of inventory and the risk of changing fads. Yep, we have some Power Rangers. Our turtles have lost their ninja attributes, so they still get some use.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Even sicker (none / 0) (#168)
by UnConeD on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:15:24 PM EST

...is how there seems to be a combined effort of introducing the holiday in Western Europe. When I grew up, halloween was a weird thing they did in the E.T movie with spooky costumes. I remember asking my sisters or parents why they were dressing up.

Not long ago I saw a message on a youth forum asking 'Why don' we celebrat halowean? Its kewl!' (actually it was in Dutch, but I tried to keep the style in wording).

Now my university student restaurant is serving 'halloween specials' tomorrow and the day after. The supermarket has a giant pumpkin near the entrance. TV stations are showing a series of scary movies. The list goes on.

And even less people here know what Halloween is about than in the US.
I doubt we'll be seeing children trick-or-treating anytime soon though.

[ Parent ]

Correction (none / 0) (#223)
by UnConeD on Sat Nov 01, 2003 at 07:18:31 AM EST

My sister apparently had a couple of trick or treaters. There was also a group of annoying brats without costume, who simply ran around, checking for open doors, running towards them, shouting 'trikortreet' and expecting tons of candy.

[ Parent ]
Uhh...yeah... (2.23 / 13) (#21)
by SwampGas on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 12:24:41 PM EST

I hear this every single year.

Here's an idea...then just don't participate in the holiday.  If you want to do the religious side of things, go ahead.  Otherwise ignore it and don't buy anything.

Problem solved.  One less unhappy stressed out face to to stand in line and make someone else unhappy and stressed.

yeah (none / 3) (#36)
by Politburo on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:29:03 PM EST

are you one of those people that told the persons objecting to the pledge of allegience, "just dont say the pledge, DUH!"? The idea that not participating in some social 'requirement' is the same as that requirement not existing is ridiculous.

[ Parent ]
No? (none / 3) (#42)
by SwampGas on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:42:02 PM EST

are you one of those people that told the persons objecting to the pledge of allegience, "just dont say the pledge, DUH!"? The idea that not participating in some social 'requirement' is the same as that requirement not existing is ridiculous.

Yessir, I did.  If you don't feel like doing something, then just don't do it.  Other people doing it is none of your business or concern.

The author of the article mentioned how unhappy and stressed people get...but that's their CHOICE.  I don't EXPECT gifts from people and people don't EXPECT gifts from me....you won't find me in long lines.

Repeat after me: I AM NOT PART OF THE SHEEPLE.

[ Parent ]

oversimplification (2.75 / 4) (#54)
by Politburo on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:25:57 PM EST

I already do not participate as you describe above. However, I can certainly agree with the view that the holiday is indicative of an more far-reaching problem with our society; a problem that needs to be addressed. Of course, there comes a practical point where it is impossible to change people, and Christmas is something that a lot of people do enjoy, for varying reasons, and do not wish to change, so I do not naievely expect the 'anti-christmas' view to be widespread. At the same time, again, there is a clear distinction between not participating in the holiday, and the non-existence of the event in the first place. Currently, I do not do much around the holidays. This is not because I'm enjoying any vacation time. It's because you usually *can't* do things around the holidays. The movie theatre I frequent is in one of the biggest malls in the area. Naturally, it's packed during the holiday season. This, in turn, hampers my 'ability' to view a film at the theatre I like. If the holiday and madness wasn't there, problems of this nature wouldn't exist. Again, I'm not so naieve as to think this will happen in the next 1000 years, but that doesn't stop me saying it's a better alternative than just 'not participating', which is impossible, and an incomplete solution (although it is the solution which maximizes benefit-effort)

Repeat after me: I AM NOT PART OF THE SHEEPLE.

I hope the irony was intentional.

[ Parent ]
You ever *try* not participating in Christmas? (none / 3) (#98)
by mjfgates on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:46:21 PM EST

I've been telling my family not to send me any stuff for Christmas or my birthday for ... ummm... twenty-five years, now. They still keep doing it.

[ Parent ]
Send it back (none / 2) (#102)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:04:02 AM EST

Chances are pretty good that it will only take one package marked "Refused by addressee. Return to sender." to get the point across.

[ Parent ]
no... (none / 0) (#149)
by frozencrow on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:11:40 AM EST

It takes a lot more than just one, unless you mean "one per person." Even then, it may take more than one per person. Some people who used to send me "birthday money" have switched to larger, more awkward things, typically presented at times and locations which maximize the discomfort and annoyance associated with refusing the gift.

[ Parent ]
Not THAT extreme... (none / 0) (#167)
by SwampGas on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:03:14 PM EST

I've been telling my family not to send me any stuff for Christmas or my birthday for ... ummm... twenty-five years, now. They still keep doing it.

I'm not saying you should send stuff back...

Sure, I buy a few things for a few people...but it's not stupid gifts that I give just for the sake of giving.  I don't participate in the "hype" or the "Christmas spirit" but it doesn't mean I NEVER do ANYTHING nice...

Examples:

When I was with the ex, I got her a ring for Christmas...something she wanted and something I WANTED to give her.

Tickets to a hockey game for a friend's little brother.  He always wanted to go but no one ever bought him tickets.

[ Parent ]

No-Rating Kuro5hin (2.13 / 30) (#22)
by pb on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 12:41:46 PM EST

I would like to propose a change. This change would be very large, yet not difficult. It would dramatically reduce the stress in our lives during the most stressful hours of the day. It would save us time where time would normally be thrown away to debatable purposes. It would save electricity,  bandwidth, memory, and, on some level, your soul.

I propose a No-Rating Kuro5hin.

----------------------------------------

Maybe I'm an old-timer, or a Troll, or a disgruntled adult. Or maybe, I've just seen enough. This year, I got to view solipsistic Kuro5hin from the front lines: posting comments on stories all over the site, more commonly known as Kuro5hin. Out of the many stories in "Kuro5hin", I would venture to say that the ones I posted in were the most interesting.

When I looked up from my posts, I could see the combative ratings stretch all the way back under the troll bridge. I imagined all the faces: tired, stressed, wanting to smack the whining children around them. Nobody really wanted to be there. And with the exceptions of the moments when I browsed around the diaries and gave out 5's, no one was having fun.

Why were they there? Why were they rating comments with labels that fit poorly and be forgotten in a few weeks? Obligation, of course. Millenia of combative human behavior, and years of conditioning have instilled the idea that rating is a social obligation, that you will be judged poorly by your peers if you are incapable of presenting them with a satisfactory evaluation. This has led to ratings becoming recognized as a useful tool. A terrific tool, actually: Hundreds of thousands of ad impressions that wouldn't otherwise exist.

However, the ad impressions aren't the only thing rating boosts. It's also a stress booster, a divorce booster, and a credit card debt booster. A bandwidth booster and a load booster. An envy booster. Make careful note of that last one folks; does the world really need more envy?

Somewhat similar to Rate Nothing Day (aka "I can't talk to the mod_perl server Day"), No-Rating Kuro5hin is a simple, yet heavy concept: rate no comments out of retaliation, and inform others of your intent so that they do not feel obligated to rate you in return. Don't waste time on lame comments, and thank you kindly for not killing the electrons. Spend time with your family and friends instead of ignoring them. Participate in the traditions of your religion of choice. Or not. Accept your free time as a time for rest, relaxation, and spending time with people outside of the Internet.

Implementing this concept, I see a world with much less stress and much more value. A world where children would receive less useless feedback on the Internet, but have their parents pay attention to them. A world where we plant our asses in our backyard, not our living room. A world where time is valued instead of wasted.

This year, go out and don't rate something.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

Your plan is doomed to fail (2.75 / 8) (#35)
by sllort on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:23:50 PM EST

Telling people not to moderate on k5 is like trying to solve AIDS with abstinence: people just aren't going to give up fucking each other.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Every day (2.50 / 4) (#66)
by KilljoyAZ on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 03:44:33 PM EST

is "I can't talk to the mod_perl server" day.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Genius - try this one! (2.57 / 7) (#67)
by Queenie on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 03:53:47 PM EST

We should all create our own version:

I would like to propose a change. This change would be very large, yet not difficult. It would dramatically reduce the stress in our lives during the most stressful months of the year. It would save us money where money would normally be thrown away to debatable purposes. It would save gas, electricity, paper, plastic and, on some level, your soul.

I propose a No- Pooping day.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe I'm a Scrooge, or a Grinch, or a disgruntled youth. Or maybe, I've just seen enough. Last year, I got to view enourmous poopies from the front lines: working at a popular lake, in West Irondequoit, more commonly known as the world's smelliest lake. Out of 800 beaches in "The Lake", I would venture to say that the one I worked on was one of the filthiest.

When I looked up from my beach boot, I could see the line of swimmers stretch all the way into Canada . I looked at all the faces: tired, stressed, wanting to smack the whining children around them. Nobody really wanted to be there swimming with poopies. And with the exceptions of the moments when I stood up on a ladder and sprayed the air with Lysol, no one was having fun.

Why were they there? Why were they floating along shit and probably hating the  smell returning daily to the lake for a  few weeks? Obligation, of course. Centuries of the bathroom habits, and decades of the modern " Poop anytime Concept" has instilled the idea that pooping is a social obligation, that you will be judged poorly by your peers if you are incapable of holding it in with a satisfactory grin on your face. This has led to pooping becoming recognized as an economic booster. A terrific booster, actually: Hundreds of billions of dollars in retail sales that wouldn't otherwise exist.

However, the economy isn't the only thing pooping boosts. It's also a stress booster, a divorce booster, and a credit card debt booster. A dead tree booster and a shit booster. A shit booster. Make careful note of that last one folks; does the world really need more shit?

Somewhat similar to Buy Nothing Day, No pooping day  is a simple, yet heavy concept: poop no longer out of obligation, and inform others of your intent so that they do not feel obligated to poop after you  in return. Don't waste money on lame toilet paper, and thank you kindly for not killing the trees. Spend time with your family and friends instead of spending time in the bathroom. Participate in the traditions of your religion of choice. Or not. Accept the no pooping day as a time for your anus to practice some rest, relaxation, and spending time with organs outside of the daily pooping tasks.

Implementing this concept, I see a world with much less poop and much more value. A world where children would receive fewer shit compliments, but have their holding abilities enhanced. A world where we plant a poop in our backyard, not our living room. A world where pooping is valued more than money.

This holiday season, go out and don't poop!
________________________________________________ ... :) ...
[ Parent ]

Mixed feelings (2.25 / 12) (#23)
by thelizman on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 12:41:54 PM EST

On the one hand, I'm sick of Christmas. It's supposed to be a holiday where Christians celebrate the "birth of our lord jesus christ™". In truth, they completely ignore the message of Jesus and go on a spending orgy trying to impress their friends with their holiday spirit.

On the other hand, Christmas is the one time per year where you can give someone a gift for no better reason than to give them a gift. So, here's my proposal: Everyone does a gift exchange. You get a group, and in this group everyone is assigned another person. Two people cannot be assigned to each other. It has to be a chain. Everyone agrees on a value for the gift, and you spen within 10% of that value (before taxes). The receiver is to give the sender a list of at least 5 items in that price range they want, and the giver chooses which one to get. Then everyone gets together christmas eve for a potluck dinner, and trades. I've done this in years past, and it's a whole lot more fun. Of course, the rules don't apply for parents with children under 18 - they can still engorge their kids with capitalisms delights.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Oh? (2.85 / 7) (#34)
by Politburo on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:23:01 PM EST

Christmas is the one time per year where you can give someone a gift for no better reason than to give them a gift.

No, that's every day *but* Christmas/other holidays/birthdays/anniversaries/secretaries day/etcetcetc.

[ Parent ]
why don't you (2.80 / 5) (#53)
by speek on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:24:23 PM EST

just write a contract and have everyone sign it. That way you can be sure to remove all potential ambiguities in your relationships with all your friends and family. In addition to your wonderful "Christmas Gift Contract", I suggest you also make "Let's Be Friends Contract" and "You're My Child Contract".

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Gift party (none / 2) (#172)
by kestrel13 on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 04:49:46 PM EST

What my extended family does, because we are very large and it would be prohibitively expensive to buy gifts for all the other members, is play a gift game at our Christmas eve potluck. Everyone over about 16 brings a gift worth around 20$. Everyone gets a random number, and the first person chooses a gift and opens it. Then the next person can either choose another gift and open it, or take the gift that the first person has. If you get your gift taken you can either choose a new gift or take another one (but not the one you just had). There's a 3 take limit on gifts so that people don't keep going around in circles. It's pretty fun, because people start making all these alliances to get the gift that they want, and it's just a good social time.

[ Parent ]
Nice math (2.83 / 18) (#31)
by McMasters on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:14:25 PM EST

but no one told you to explain how you got your answer in double-space. Minus eleventy billion for contributing to the failure of my PgDn key, and a lump of coal, just because.

An ex-JW agrees: Buy Nothing (2.87 / 16) (#33)
by grout on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:22:50 PM EST

Christmas as a Jehovah's Witness is remarkably stress-free. Everyone else is buying crap and worrying about who they're going to piss off; meanwhile, JWs are just taking it easy and avoiding the malls.

As an ex-JW I would never go back to JW life for a billion dollars; it's a totalitarian nightmare ... but now that I'm out, I'm expected to join in the X-mas "cheer", and I find it shallow and hurtful.

A pox on both their houses.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

-1 It's not Halloween yet [nt] (2.11 / 9) (#39)
by kero on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:34:57 PM EST



-1 Middle-Class Armchair Lefties (1.23 / 13) (#40)
by Dirty Sanchez on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:37:18 PM EST

I despise Buy Nothing Day and all the middle-class dogooder values that it stands for.

Clarification (none / 2) (#115)
by joecool12321 on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:59:36 AM EST

OK, this is really just a request for more information. On the one hand, I think it's sorta dumb. Lots and lots of people get jobs over Christmas. I'm a college student, and I'll be helping pay for school by taking a job over the holiday season. Furthermore, many markets rely on holiday sales for year-long jobs. They over-produce games (or whatever) knowing they will sell a whole bunch at Christmas. A mass-market 'buy nothing' would kill jobs and throw people into unemployment.

OTOH, having more money that I didn't send to the corporation means that I'll have more money to donate to my local charities. I budget my charity spending along with everything else (sortof...) and having more money from not spending on Christmas will translate into more money spent there. I really don't need anything more than what I have right now, so it's not like I'm gonna be buying a new wardrobe or something. Furthermore, while I recognize that not all corporations are bad, there are many corporations that are bad. But my not spending money isn't an attempt to say "NO!" to the corporation qua the corporation. Instead, my choice to not spend money represents a rejection of a mindset which pervades our country--a mindset of rampant consumerism.

So I guess I don't see a real reason to spend much money on Christmas. My goal this year is to spend half what I spent last year. I will still buy supplies for the different things I'm making a few close friends and for family. In this I agree with you: it's dumb to expect to spend nothing at all.

The problem with making gifts is that it's often quite pointless. Aside from sentimental value, I don't particularly want to spend a lot of time working on something that will be thrown in the back of the closet. If buying a new tie for my dad (for instance...definately not what I would do) will result in a gift that will be useful to him, it seems worth it.

So to the community: any ideas for gifts one can make that are still useful?

--Joey

[ Parent ]

How is this libertarian? (2.42 / 7) (#44)
by Fen on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 01:50:07 PM EST

Huh?  Sure we're mostly intelligent and thus libertarian, but this piece has little to do with it.

Also, it's not social change.  This isn't abolishing slavery or "intellectual property".  Nobody will arrest you for not buying gifts.
--Self.

Not Social Change? (2.85 / 7) (#55)
by virg on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:28:07 PM EST

> Also, it's not social change. This isn't abolishing slavery or "intellectual property". Nobody will arrest you for not buying gifts.

Nobody will arrest you for dressing as the opposite gender either, but to say that means it's without social consequence is incorrect. There are indeed many folks who get perfectly incensed when they don't get Christmas gifts. Christmas card lists almost always have check boxes for who reciprocated with a card, so you can mark off of your list those who don't send you one. Not giving gifts or visiting relatives during the Christmas holiday carries social stigma for many, so it is indeed a social change to do something different.

> Sure we're mostly intelligent and thus libertarian...

Oh, please get over yourself. Please.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
And of course, the *.99 pricing. (1.58 / 12) (#47)
by Fen on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:02:07 PM EST

That's what makes me sick more than anything else. It's the retailer saying--"I think you're very stupid, so I'm going to pull this little trick to make you think $9.99 is much cheaper than $10.00. OK, stupid, now buy my product."
--Self.
9.99 (none / 3) (#52)
by R0O on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:17:22 PM EST

Actually, the most important reason for the 9.99 is security. It is a lot harder for the average person to run up a sale of 10 items for 1.99, 5.99, etc. and skim the till without adding things up wrong and getting caught. If they bought 10 things for 10$ they would have no problem fudging the numbers and pocketing some of the cash. R0o

[ Parent ]
How's that? (2.75 / 4) (#56)
by Fen on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:33:33 PM EST

Oh, to make sure the drawer opens to make change? I've heard that. But that's not the reason. Why are iTunes songs ninety-nine cents?
--Self.
[ Parent ]
so then it's the employees that are stupid [nt] (none / 1) (#57)
by durkie on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:38:24 PM EST



[ Parent ]
true (none / 1) (#58)
by Politburo on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:42:28 PM EST

but with the decline in cash usage, and the rise of anti-theft technologies (rfid, mainly), hopefully we can see a decline in .99 pricing. hell hopefully we can start doing away with one-at-a-time scanning at registers, since that's the bottleneck.

[ Parent ]
I hear they 'tax' products.. (none / 2) (#69)
by McMasters on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 04:09:34 PM EST

..in the New World.

[ Parent ]
Comment zeroed (none / 3) (#92)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:16:02 PM EST

You didn't use hexadecimal.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Got me. (none / 2) (#178)
by Fen on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 06:11:20 PM EST

That's 63h cents. Although those who use hexadecimal are too intelligent to bother with *.FFh pricing.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
*.99 (none / 2) (#126)
by joto on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:32:41 AM EST

Well, to tell the truth. I get fooled by it. Not when I'm conscious about adding up prices of course, but who the regularly maintains consciousness when shopping for stuff? It's a boring, mindless, and stupid activity, and unless it's something expensive, I generally don't care. At least not beyond going to the cheaper stores. In this mode, my sub-consciousness only sees the first digit. Maybe I'm stupid, but I would say I'm just lazy.

[ Parent ]
iBook G4 starting at $1099 (none / 2) (#132)
by muyuubyou on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:28:52 AM EST

http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/71308/wo/QS71Kg1 91KxY2cUqJj22rplVEES/0.0.7.1.0.5.21.1.1.1.0.0.0.1.0

[ Parent ]
I do .98 pricing. (none / 2) (#138)
by error 404 on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:27:20 AM EST

I price aftermarket CDs and post them on Amazon and Half. (No, it isn't my real job. The record store owner hired me when I was down - unlike most employers, he was willing to ignore my overqualifications - so I feel I owe him. And I can use a few extra bucks.)

The boss says he has some research (I haven't seen it, I don't know whether it's real or UL) that shows pricing that ends in .98 maximizes sales. It isn't so much that we think we are fooling the customer as that people are so used to that kind of pricing that the initial impression when you see any price from $9.00 to $9.99 is "ten bucks". And when most of the merchandise is priced under $5.00, a few cents per item matters.

Besides, with online stuff, a penny less than the competition puts me above him in the list. I don't think you are stupid, I just know that if there isn't a good reason not to, you are more likely to buy the first one on the list than the second.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

I'd buy the nearest whole dollar. (none / 1) (#177)
by Fen on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 06:09:24 PM EST

You have a price list. A buncha items are $999.99 or whatever, and one is $1000.00. Who stands out? I'd immediately go for the $1000.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
When I'm in charge (none / 2) (#202)
by error 404 on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 11:15:27 AM EST

the prices are nice and round, except for very low priced things. At the costume shop, I'm an owner, so my opinion (and my wife's) rules. Prices tend to be very round numbers - almost every price over $15 is in $5 increments. Prices below that are mostly in $2.50 increments. Prices below $2.50 are mostly in $0.25 increments.

Part of the reason I can price that way is that there is little competition, and a great deal of differentiation between us and our competition. It is unlikely that we will lose a sale because we are a few cents more expensive than the other guy, or gain one because we are a few cents cheaper. Where pricing loses us sales is when the customer just isn't willing to pay that much for the item. Our main competition is "I'll just skip it", not "I can get it from Marge's or Bartz's for less".

At the record shop, though, I follow the boss's logic. I'm not paid to think there. Literaly - I charge a lot more for work involving serious thought. Also, there is huge competition and almost no differentiation in aftermarket CDs on Amazon or Half. Differentiation between the two sites, sure. Between two well-rated vendors on the same site, no.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

We did this last Xmas (2.92 / 13) (#51)
by randyk on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:12:40 PM EST

We didn't buy any gifts (well we had some stocking stuffers and my son got a nice desk he wanted), but instead on Christmas we gave money to one another. We then went out the next couple of days to our favorite stores and bought what we wanted. Lovin' the clearance items and the (relatively) short lines. So, we got lots of cool Xmas presents on our own time, going shopping when *we* wanted to. Everybody was happy with what they got and we had fun doing it.


--

"undefined behaviour includes but is not limited to me kicking your ass" -- cod

What about surprises? (none / 2) (#141)
by gidds on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:32:14 AM EST

Some presents are welcome but not surprising: things you've requested/hinted, or are obvious to people who know you. Maybe these could be better bought yourself in less stressful circumstances. Clothing, books/music/DVDs/&c probably falls into this category.

But what about those presents that you wouldn't necessarily have chosen for yourself? Maybe things you hadn't spotted, or didn't realise were available, or hadn't considered for yourself? Things you'd wanted but decided you couldn't afford or didn't have time for? Gifts from far away, mementoes of holidays or loved ones? All of these are surprises, and can be that much more welcome and loving because of it.

Of course, there's nothing that says presents have to be bought in the few days before Christmas (well, unless they're perishable!). My mum has a 'present cupboard' which she slowly fills up through the year as she spots things for people. Of course, I'm sure she gets things nearer the time, too, but it's a great idea, and one I wish I had the discipline to follow more often.

Presents are meant to be a sign of love for people; maybe we should try to buy them in that spirit.

Andy/
[ Parent ]

errr (none / 0) (#235)
by gjetost on Sat Nov 22, 2003 at 01:11:36 AM EST

If everyone gives money to everyone else, why don't you just keep you own money and buy what you want?

[ Parent ]
Every christmas (2.66 / 9) (#59)
by techwolf on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:44:44 PM EST

my family picks 2-3 people and buys ONE gift for each. with a few rules

1) no super cheap shit (i.e. a box of paper-clips)

2) Nothing over 100 bucks (there have been exceptions bu these were rare)

3) use some common-fucking-sense

and every year christmas is a hell of a lot of fun......no stress


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson

be the change you wish to effect (2.71 / 7) (#60)
by durkie on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 02:55:16 PM EST

don't buy gifts for people you don't want to buy gifts for (which could be everyone). if people complain or give you mean looks or are upset, then explain your reasoning...nothing personal, consumerism, blah blah, stress free what have you...long lines glaven and so forth. if they understand, then you've made a crucial step. they've now seen your plan in action and can determine for themselves what they think of it, and whether or not they want to do it.

if they remain angry, then you have two things to consider. the first is that time heals all wounds, and you can't expect a big change like this to happen seamlessly. the second is that you're probably not losing that much relationship-wise if your chums and associates remain pissed at you over one measly gift, even after it was explained to them that it wasn't personal.

A no-shopping Xmas? (2.33 / 6) (#61)
by pyramid termite on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 03:13:39 PM EST

Last year, I got to view capitalistic Christmas from the front lines: working at a popular multinational economical clothing store, in West Edmonton Mall

Hmmm. So what are you planning to do for a job if this happens?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
surprisingly... (none / 0) (#222)
by /dev/trash on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 09:36:15 PM EST

the store will be there December 26.

---
Updated NEW 10/15/2003!!
New Site, More Parks
[ Parent ]
I did it the other way around (2.93 / 15) (#63)
by Toshio on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 03:29:55 PM EST

Through the years, I have developed another approach to consumerism and gift giving. For both social occasions that there is social norm, that I would have to receive gifts (birthday & New Year), I explicitly tell the people that I do not accept any gifts, nor do I bring any. When the eyebrows raise, I go on to explain that from what I understand, the time is the most precious gift of all, as there is no way to regain it. If somebody willingly (not under some societal pretext) spends time with me, I accept that time as the greatest gift that the person could possibly give me.

Most fresh acquaintances usually think this is just me, trying to play humble, and still bring gift along, just to see that gift duly thanked for, and immediately stuffed in some place that has "dust-gatherer-stuff-only" written all over it. This can be really disturbing experience for one bringing the gifts, but so far the topic has always come up later in the evening, and slowly they realize that certain things can be more than just nice words.

It sound strange, but through years, I and people around me became accustomed to these different social norms, and we also give gifts to each other, not because we are expected to, but because we feel we can give something meaningful to each other. At the same time gifts lost their social status price (I bought you the most expensive gift this year), but become more or less small items that have actual utility value. This usualy means that at worst people think of me as peculiar, but never cheap or unfriendly. After all, they still get some material gifts from me through the year, don't they?

The way things stand now, we still gather for social occasions, since in these times of scarce free time, every excuse to relax and socialize comes as a gift on itself. The only difference is that we don't buy any special gifts to come around, but we are all happy to be together, and to share the time together. This sharing is probably the greatest gift we give to ourselves. In a way, this realization is probably the main reason for the following paragraph that can sometimes be found in my comments here and elsewhere.

Thank you for your time.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
I used to be like you (none / 3) (#118)
by auraslip on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:15:01 AM EST

But I like giving my friends presents.
___-___
[ Parent ]
But I do give presents (3.00 / 6) (#160)
by Toshio on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:00:22 PM EST

It is just that I don't feel obliged to do them on certain social occasions, unless I also have other reasons to give them.

To try to put it simply: if I see something that strikes me as useful to one of my friends or family, and I can afford it, I just buy it as a present to be given at an earliest convenience. Just as well, I sometimes buy simple presents to the partner just because I feel like it (and I do get presents back for just being nice ~365.25 days/year - did I mention, I also consider love to be a present than cannot really be bought or bribed). What I don't do is to buy presents because because it is deemed to be proper, or even to show how good friend I am (sic).

What I'm doing is simply opting that each day in the year has the same chance of me buying you a present. The two days associated with presents are simply of no consequence to me. What I like to see on those two days is to be among myfriends, colleagues, and family talking, socializing, and feeling good. The two days when I like to get that very special present of somebody giving me a little their time, a little of their lives. All this at the same time I'm giving them the same present back.

It is interesting that somebody actualy said that first he thought I'm cheap. After figuring that he gets some 5 odd presents each year from me, with rough values of $15 each, and almost all of them with immediate practical use, he now thinks that those that bring him single present each worth around $80-$100 but with no or little pracitcal use are a bit on the cheap side. The difference in monetary value is more than made up for by difference in the practical, utility value. Besides, everybody is pleased to see that somebody thinks of them more than just when thir PDA bleeps "birthday in 3 days" for their name.

Gifts and giving are probably the clearest way of that old addage that you should do to others what you want others to do to you (I'm an atheist though, but I'm not blind or deaf yet) manifesting itself. You usualy get exactly the same response back as is the one you're giving out. As somebody else answered to me above, the world is not perfect, and there are still people that will make you break the rules, just to be at peace with them (mother or father in law, somebody) but in this case I think that little bending is in order, since you can't really teach an old dog any new tricks. Balance between wishes and expectations was, is, and will always be very important. Among peers the things work out pretty smoothly though. We're still young and we don't expect whole world to dance to our tune.

Thank you for your time.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
Yeah, (3.00 / 4) (#122)
by dhk on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 06:49:07 AM EST

that's exactly what I do:

stopped celebrating birthdays (who on this world should be interested in my getting exactly so much older as the earth needs for a circle around the sun?), stopped congratulating or even celebrating others' birthday, stopped giving or receiving presents for christmas.

This has several positive effects:

  • First of all, you have a "no stress time" around christmas. You can spend this power on celebrating this time the way it was meant in the first place
  • People love the idea that they won't any longer have to remember what you have given them last years christmas.
  • Of course, but that's only a plus, not the main reason, it can be cheaper. But this could be neutralized by positive effect no 4:
  • I can give a present to somebody every time of the year. So, when I find a book and say to myself "ABC would love to read this book" I just - horrible to say - buy it and give it to ABC the next time I meet him. He/She will know for sure, unlike with christmas presents, that I wanted to do him a favour and they I thought of him.
Of course, there is one drawback: There are people who won't tolerate this. I met only one (my former mother in law) and I must say that any friend who insits on time-of-the-year-presents instead of hey-I-thought-of-you-presents is simply not worth keeping.
- please forgive my bad english, I'm not a native speaker
[ Parent ]
Agnostic Family = No Yr End Holidays! (2.40 / 5) (#64)
by Queenie on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 03:30:41 PM EST

Which meant that from Dec 24 to Jan 1 - we had time off to laugh at the expense of other who where stressing about the Holidays. It was fun. However, I must say I like decorating a christmas tree.
________________________________________________ ... :) ...
See also (2.90 / 11) (#70)
by freestylefiend on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 04:38:04 PM EST

Buy nothing Christmas

Or you could celebrate after (2.66 / 6) (#72)
by tofubar on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 05:28:24 PM EST

When shit is cheap, that's what my family did, we had a Christmas a month later.

Celebrate Epiphany instead... (none / 3) (#80)
by baron samedi on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 08:40:04 PM EST

Make it a tradition to celebrate Epiphany (Jan. 12th - I think). You can catch all the sales, and have a big feast and exchange gifts, and just drink beer on Christmas... Those Greek Orthodoxers must be on to something...
"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]
Epiphany is Jan 6. (none / 2) (#94)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:29:15 PM EST

Another alternative is to figure Christmas by the old calendar (which is currently 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar) as Russian Orthodox are wont to due.

[ Parent ]
Question (1.80 / 15) (#73)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 05:46:00 PM EST

Why do you hate Jesus so much?

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
Why I voted it up (2.40 / 5) (#74)
by kidorfer on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 06:14:19 PM EST

I agree that people worry too much about gift giving and people take christmas far too seriously.. My family has used an artificial tree all my life and we have used the same decorations all my life, therefore we only once purchased decorations. Maybe it's because I am so broke this year (starving student) that I agree with your proposal but I think I agree with it because I have seen how much people go through at christmas and for once I would like to just relax and spend time with my family.

or even better. (1.00 / 7) (#75)
by zeigenfus on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 06:48:36 PM EST

Steal something christmas! Riot and loot what you want from multinational corporations! Smash their doors and level their walls! Tip their shelves and leave their courtesy phones of the hook! Cross against traffic, swear in public, steal candy from babies, smoke illegal drugs, and laugh when it isn't appropriate! MWAHAHAHA! Seriously though, its a fairly good idea, but it won't work, because buying good christmas gifts for people you love, while trying, is WORTH it come christmas time. What needs to happen instead is to promote personalized gifts that do not require hefty purchases. I make clothing for friends and family at christmas, and I haven't been asked for a reciept yet.

BAH -1 HUMBUG! (1.25 / 8) (#76)
by bovineaquarium on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 06:57:20 PM EST

I couldn't read through this without grimacing.

Sure, Christmas IS too commercialised... as is everything in our capitalistic society, but stop living life like a whinging, ill-educated fool and look at the bigger picture. Life, love, hope, happiness.

Everything else I wanted to say has already been said here: http://www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/10/28/112522/71/28#28

Christmas may suck for some, but only for those who want it to.



-1 BAH HUMBUG


----------------------------- Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur
This is why... (2.00 / 5) (#82)
by gilrain on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 09:00:41 PM EST

...I buy everything except groceries online. Not just at Christmas, although that is a season I really appreciate my habits. You completely avoid the crowds, the traffic, the waste of gas...

More detailed than a simple rating-up (none / 1) (#113)
by Count Zero Interrupt on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:42:12 AM EST

I think what you touch on here is a difference between not getting presents for chirstmas and not standing in long sweaty lines to buy ill-fitting (in both the physical and style aspects) clothing, a significant perspective this article ignores. One can still participate in american ritual without the painful bits, except of course loss of money, everything here involves money.

I do shop both online and in person, but i find that the peak in-person shopping time of year stretching from thanksgiving to ironically about a week before christmas is a good time for me to go all-online. After all, even the lamest, most generic of online christmas/etc gifts, the amazon.com gift certificate, guarantees its recipient with some consumer happiness, if not much in the line of gratitude. And isnt the other's happiness the point driven home by the overnumerous television specials, and that story by o henry?
--> Just trying to be helpful, in my own way.
[ Parent ]
There's a good chance you can buy those online too (none / 0) (#184)
by ZanThrax on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:47:11 PM EST

Depending on your location of course. If there's nothing except food that you like to see before you buy, I can't imagine that your that picky about your lettuce that you feel the need to look it over before paying for it.

There is no spoon, there never was a spoon, and there never will be a spoon.
[ Parent ]

Don't do this ever again. (3.00 / 9) (#85)
by Jed Smith on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 10:47:01 PM EST

Great. The average reader will now never get to my comment, which actually tries to help this poor writer out. I see forty-two pages of complete crap.
_____
K5 is dead. Steve Ballmer made the most insightful comment on a story. -- jw32767
didn't you get the memo? (1.72 / 11) (#87)
by circletimessquare on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 10:54:20 PM EST

capitalism replaced christianity as the religion of the west

oh well, every religion needs it's heretics


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Ho! (2.80 / 5) (#120)
by supahmowza on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 04:31:45 AM EST

I reject your capitalist god! MY god is Fox News, thank you very much. I'd put Fox News into some Latin prayer, but I don't know Latin, or prayers.


Drugs are the solution to all life's problems
Well, drugs and handguns
[ Parent ]
How about Spanish? (none / 1) (#166)
by drivers on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:59:09 PM EST

Zorro Noticias.

[ Parent ]
Capitalism? (none / 2) (#121)
by omrib on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 04:41:07 AM EST

Capitalism may be the force which drives shops to open 24h a day around christmas. But think carefully - is it the force which drives YOU to buy things at christmas? Would you increase your capital by doing so? Do you do it out of profit considerations?

Shopping is a sacrificial ritual, or at least a sacrifice-substituting ritual, and has nothing to do with the other side of business. Yes, the producers may spend their time thinking long and hard on how to maximise their profits (answer: sell cheap tacky stuff which normally sells well on christmas). But consumers simply make a sacrifice - they sacrifice their time, their guilt, their money and their nerves. What for? For the same reasons they sacrificed their sons 3000 years ago. To please someone. To get rid of guilt. To feel a bit better about themselves. To be part of the game. To belong.

Capitalism has to do with the side which exploits those feelings, and nothing else.

[ Parent ]

Vote this down. Quick. (2.28 / 7) (#89)
by Jed Smith on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:05:39 PM EST

Someone put another 0 on this comment. It helps the writer little and takes away from comments below it by throwing the reader off the page.
_____
K5 is dead. Steve Ballmer made the most insightful comment on a story. -- jw32767
plus won eff pee: great idea bro (en tee) (1.00 / 7) (#91)
by UncannyVortex on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:12:31 PM EST



Good idea (2.85 / 14) (#95)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:30:36 PM EST

I say we forgo all the presents and frippery and get back to the real meaning of Christmas: the celebration of the winter solstice.  Fewer gifts and more human sacrifices, thats what I say.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
Real meaning of Christmas ? (2.50 / 4) (#163)
by MediaTracker on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:34:36 PM EST

Wasn't the origin of Christmas related to the birth of some skinny dude some 2000 years ago in Middle East?

[ Parent ]
That depends on what you mean by Christmas (2.83 / 6) (#174)
by UserGoogol on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 05:39:31 PM EST

Well, yes and no. The word "Christmas" dates back to the celebration of Christ's birth, but that was very very clearly tacked onto previously existing holidays like Saturnalia and Yule, which were basically Winter Solstice holidays, especially Yule. (Most biblical scholars feel that there is no particularly sensible reason to think Jesus was born in December, anyway.)

[ Parent ]
No (none / 3) (#180)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 07:07:53 PM EST

He was born in March.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Actually, Dec 25th... (none / 1) (#228)
by Gregoyle on Mon Nov 03, 2003 at 04:37:10 PM EST

was the birthday of Mithras. The reason the church moved Christmas to that day was to try to fit in better in Rome, where Mithras was worshipped by many of the elite.
-------

He's more machine now than man, twisted and evil.
[ Parent ]

Hah (2.25 / 4) (#99)
by Julian Morrison on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:57:36 PM EST

Some bright eyed commie/green/puritan nutball suggests this every year. Been doing so since Cromwell. It's as much a tradition as holly. And as per usual the ordinary people will shrug, say "so you have a miserable time then, we like stuff and food and giving presents" and go on buying. So much for that.

Huh? (none / 1) (#124)
by gruk on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 07:35:02 AM EST

Some of us take this further and simply do not celebrate the festivity in question (me, mostly because xmas-as-normally-done is a commercial rather than religious festival and I'd rather not partake of either). Saying that, me not celebrating it should not in any way hinder you to, so I hope you will have a nice one.

[ Parent ]
Control your Christmas (3.00 / 15) (#100)
by causticmtl on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 11:59:20 PM EST

Agent000, I sympathize with you. I work in a store that, in those last three days before Christmas, was raking in $20,000 during the 11-hour period that we were open. The average item is priced between $10 and $50 so that's a lot of crap flying out of our store on an hourly basis.

Most of these people replying to your story have never worked retail. They can't possibly understand having four customers demand your attention *now* "because I'm double-parked" (like that's your problem) as your rushing to get change for the cash register at the other end of the store. They will never know how completely drained you can be, both physically and emotionally, after dealing with the herd for a double shift. I say herd because often after one of these double shifts, I would say to myself: "Animals ... the lot of you, all animals".

I felt exactly like you did for many years about Christmas. I have been working retail in a games store for 12 years now and I haven't been able to enjoy Christmas until the last two years of those twelve.

What changed? I got a girlfriend who actually knew how to enjoy Christmas. She taught me that Christmas can be fun. All you have to do is take control of it.

Three years ago, I would go to my in-laws. They were all whackos sporting strange diets readily telling people, directly or not, how to enjoy themselves and what to think. The last two years I was with these people during Christmas, I argued till 4am on the 25th.

Last year, I (we) decided to take control of the situation. We were sick and tired of being guilted into a crappy time during Christmas. We invited them to our place for Christmas this time along with my parents and a bunch of our friends. In our house, there are no rules. You can drink, you can smoke, you can say "fuck", and we baked a turkey with cranberry sauce, and one of my friends made a Christmas log with plastic zombies on it.

We didn't buy gifts really. We bought a lot of food, we had a little Christmas tree, and some stocking-stuffers. That's it.

We've had more than one person tell us that that was the best Christmas they've ever had.

The point here is to hell with the obligation(s) and the crushing guilt that comes along with Christmas. Make it your own and you can't go wrong.


Oh, and be kind and patient to the people who serve you when you go shopping for your gifts during Christmas. If you think your day sucks, ask one of these people how they're doing.

... and +1 FP. Although not a terribly original thought (everyone I've ever met who has worked retail has "thought of this"), it's still a valid topic of discussion.

Slightly OT: "how's your day?" (3.00 / 8) (#125)
by fraise on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:27:37 AM EST

I worked retail during two holidays, which was enough for me: the 4th of July in a gift shop (US national park) and Christmas in a mall gift store - major chain, won't say which though.

A job in a privately-owned store in a national park is about the worst you can have, for several reasons (in short, they don't fall under state employment regulations, which are usually more protective than the basic federal ones). The 4th of July we had lines from all four cash registers that overflowed outside. At one point in that horrific, monotonous day, a young couple chatted with me while I rung up their purchases. They mentioned how lovely the park was, how wonderful it must be to live there for a few months rather than just come on a quick visit, and "wow, it must be just, so cool, to be able to earn money doing all that! I bet you love your job, don't you?" They were extremely well-meaning... but I looked them straight in the eye and said, "No, I'd give anything to work somewhere else. I work 70 hours a week and earn federal minimum wage. I have no time or energy to visit the park. On top of that, you're probably the only people today who will have treated me kindly." It was true - and furthermore, they're the only customers, from both jobs, who ever asked how I felt. I did have a few other customers who were friendly - I can remember all six of them: a French woman, two German university students, a violinist (he brought his violin in the store), two Spanish tourists, and my piano professor, who had no idea I was working Christmas.

[ Parent ]
For all you retail monkeys... (1.62 / 8) (#152)
by dickles on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:24:00 AM EST

bitching about Christmas shoppers and their unreasonable demands of store staff, don't worry. Eventually all your jobs will be replaced with RFID tags and self checkout systems. You might be asked to come in at night and stock the shelves, at least until the robotic stocker system is completed.

[ Parent ]
Unless (none / 3) (#206)
by smileyy on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 02:38:54 PM EST

Unless they look hot and fuckable.  Then they might be kept around as eye-candy.  Or ass-candy.
--
...alone in suicide, which is deeper than death...
[ Parent ]
people = problem (2.85 / 7) (#101)
by Rainy on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:01:48 AM EST

Gifts oil the much strained network of relationships (personal and otherwise). If it was not strained, there'd be no need for 'obligatory' gifts. Gifts would be very rare and extremely thoughtful. Now, the gifts are simply a way of saying "I don't hate you.. I don't dislike you either.. at least, not enough as to not shower you with moderately expensive gifts, for varying definitions of moderately and expensive."

If people stopped giving packaged, portioned, expected gifts, there's no telling what'd happen. It's reasonable to expect it would not be as bad as 3rd world war, but then again, maybe it would be worse. Angry reactions are chained. From the lowliest level, garbage men and computer support persons - it filters up to the highest: consmetic surgeons and richest royalty of europe. Whose trembling finger is on the red button? If he has a really bad day, that's not a big deal - you have to have a stable psyche to be given this kind of responsibility.. However, what if he has 3 bad days in a row? 5 days? A week?

Christmas shopping is an abomination, but the world needs it, dammit.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

So it is only a slight exaggeration... (none / 3) (#110)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:18:36 AM EST

... to say that the connotations of your post is that we should keep the Christmas gifts so as to avoid global nuclear holocaust. Interesting, and the case has merit I'll admit. But wouldn't it really be more honest and simple to say that you like to get gifts, so we should all give them? :-)



[ Parent ]

Economic Downturn = Nuclear War (3.00 / 4) (#116)
by joecool12321 on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:23:05 AM EST

Destroying the economy will lead to nuclear war. Mead in '98,
Forget suicide car bombers and Afghan fanatics. It's the financial markets, not the terrorist training camps that pose the biggest immediate threat to world peace...

That's the thing about depressions. They aren't just bad for your pensions. Let the world economy crash far enough and the rules change. We stop playing The Price Is Right and start up a new round of Saving Private Ryan.

OTOH, consumption leads to nuclear war. Trainer in 2000,
Thus  market forces determine that the Third World's resources are mostly taken by Third World elites, Transnational Corporations and shoppers in rich world supermarkets.  Consequently market forces are the major and direct causes of the massive global injustice and deprivation that results in the avoidable death of some 30,000 to 40,000 Third World children every day.  It is therefore no exaggeration to say that market forces are responsible for more deprivation, human suffering and ecological destruction than any other single factor
--Joey

[ Parent ]
I most definitely do not (none / 2) (#186)
by Rainy on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:46:14 PM EST

Matter of fact, I never got a christmas present. Maybe when I was 6 I got a small plastic toy soldier, but that's the only thing I can think of. I did not like it, either.

I don't want presents. But I'm not a typical social person. I don't like to talk, to mix, to get or give gifts. But from what I see around myself, people really do need this shit. Like they do need medicines even though it'd be better for them if they kept good care of themselves, but they did not for all of their lives so even if they start now (they won't), it's still going to take years.

Or any number of other things. Compromises.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

A Controversial Proposal (1.17 / 17) (#105)
by rmg on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:22:01 AM EST

Every once in a while, an article like this one comes along whose superficial appeal to the hermits, anti-industrialists, and shack dwellers of the K5 electorate simply cannot, on their first superficial reading, resist. Unfortunately, such malcontents and shut-ins tend to be at their computers at odd hours and as a consequence get the better of the honest working people who browse only during work -- that is, the segment of the readership that maintains the balance and sanity on our front page.

What can be done about articles that manage to make it past the scornful -1s of these employed, economically useful stabilizing elements of our community? How can we restore balance to our front page?

The answer is simple: The Move to Vote button. We all know its function in the edit queue, but I submit to you, dear reader, that its post-queue counter part would serve a much more important and useful purpose. Often we see blog detritus like this article snatched up by lunatic fringe elements, and it is time the reasonable members of this community had the choice of putting this tripe back where it belongs: the voting queue. There it will have the opportunity to get voted down as should have happened the first time around.

Now some might argue that once a story has been voted up, that once the article has been voted up, the people have spoken and it ought to go to the front page. This is, of course, nonsense. Rarely does an article get more than a total of 500 votes. On a site like K5 with an impressive readership of over 50,000, this turnout represents merely 1% of the total possible voting base -- hardly a quorum by any reasonable definition.

It is time that the admins here lived up to their high minded ideals and allowed us the ability to properly regulate the voting process. Toward this end, a mechanism for undoing the intermperate orgies of unbridled +1 FP'ing from the mob is essential. Only through a proper system of checks and balances can the K5 community move forward into the next millenium.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks

Oh, rmg, you're just as much of a shack-dweller... (none / 2) (#106)
by causticmtl on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:44:17 AM EST

rmg has posted 3841 comments, 0 stories, and 68 diaries.

Hooooo-wee!



causticmtl-news
The best in investigative local journalism.



[ Parent ]
If you don't have anything useful to say (1.42 / 7) (#107)
by rmg on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:48:18 AM EST

Please don't post. I am sorry if I have so often felt the need to bring such and such a thing to the attention of my fellows, to bring some oft overlooked point to the attention of my fellow technology enthusiasts.

Your post here, on the other hand, is the sort of ad hominem meta-wankery that has mired useful discussion for the past several months. If people can't get past personal attacks of this kind and other miscellaneous navel gazing, the site will only continue to flounder.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

You have no respect for the facts! (none / 3) (#109)
by causticmtl on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:09:10 AM EST

How dare you use your silver-tipped tongue to bring shame on one who merely tries keep your shenanigans in perspective.

You have already rallied one of your fellow "technology enthusiasts" (or perhaps he was but a manservant) against the noble process of local, investigative journalism.

I hope you know what you're doing. I shake my fist at you.

[ Parent ]
"honest working people" (such as myself) (none / 0) (#153)
by bangbangsplat on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:44:25 AM EST

"as a consequence get the better of the honest working people who browse only during work -- that is, the segment of the readership that maintains the balance and sanity on our front page." If you only browse during work youre stealing from your employer (as I am proudly doing now) so dont give me this holier than thou bullshit about being honest--thats like the heroin addicts who argue with the cokeheads about which is worse... !!*
"I like to string words together into chains and beat people with them." R. Duke
[ Parent ]
Stealing from one's employer (none / 1) (#158)
by rmg on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:18:20 PM EST

Is a proud tradition dating all the way back to the Roman Empire, when centurions would play games of frisbee with their large round bucklers. While you might argue that their sloth led to their eventual defeat by the barbarians, that does not in any way mitigate the flair traditionally associated with slacking off.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

case in point (none / 0) (#201)
by snodgrass on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 10:39:58 AM EST

I think the way that your comment has been rated is a perfect illustration of what you are saying.

6 zeros?  Moderating abuse at its finest.

[ Parent ]

People already do this (2.75 / 8) (#111)
by Slobodan Milosevic on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:35:39 AM EST

http://www.buynothingchristmas.org

---
"Where else do you have deposed Eastern European dictators commenting on the politics of open source? Nowhere, that's where."
--grouse on why he loves kuro5hin.org

Not my bag. (2.20 / 5) (#112)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:36:56 AM EST

...But I appreciate the idea and sentiment.

I like better my strategy of the past few years. A contribution in the names of all my friends and loved ones to nice charity. Print the cards from online, and that is that.

Note, this doesn't really work with grandparents and parents. Home-made art and such cover that just fine.



Wow, I can't believe this made frontpage... (1.13 / 15) (#114)
by Dinner Is Served on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:44:03 AM EST

All this really amounts to is another whiney tech support jockey complaining about his crappy job. This guy doesn't like Christmas because that means he has to work his ass off. So of course, like every new-age bourgeois intellectual, he'll try and analyze the underlying meaning of a practice, then only to reason a conclusion that derides any participants of said practice.

Tis nothing new, and it certainly won't be surprising when the author gets a real job and starts partaking in the practice that he once hated. The moral of the story: Crappy jobs suck. Working hard sucks. When you work hard at a crappy job you're bound to hate it and hate the people you serve.

The solution? It's time to get over yourself, hippy. There is no reason for anyone to care about your 5-minute cashier philosophy. We like how things are and we're not going to change it because your pansy ass had ring up a few more victoria secret bras.
--
While I appreciate being able to defend against would-be rapists who might suddenly drop in from the sky, I don't appreciate not being able to see the Northern Lights. -- mfk
Except.. (none / 2) (#123)
by lowmagnet on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 06:49:55 AM EST

I agree with him not because I have a lousy tech support job (which I don't, I have a rather nice development job) but because I too am tired of this holiday. Somehow people don't listen to me EVERY YEAR when I tell them I don't really feel comfortable with this particular holiday and i don't want to participate. I'm not religious, so I don't have that reason to celebrate the Christmas holiday. I don't like shopping for myself, let alone anyone else. I don't like letting people down and the stress that involves. The OP has some good ways around these issues. Though I do take umbrage with hir concept of shifting the gift giving holiday somewhere else. Moving the stress doesn't make it go away.

[ Parent ]
Stupid you (none / 1) (#189)
by kidorfer on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 02:16:17 AM EST

He doesnt work there anymore stupid

[ Parent ]
Not that it matters (none / 2) (#191)
by Josh A on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 03:23:00 AM EST

You obviously didn't really read it anyway.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Diversification ... (none / 2) (#117)
by Shubin on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:42:58 AM EST

... is a key to success.
Why only Western Christmas aka Jesus Christ's birthday ? Leave it to those who are real Christians and can not live without it. For other people there are many options : Orthodoxal Christmas (7th Jan). It is in no way worse.
There are other great religions; you can celebrate the birthday of the Mohammad (find the date yourself). Another good option is the birthday of Buddha - just pick your favorite Buddha or simply choose ANY suitable day.
So for any broad-minded person there are :
2 Chrismases
3 Easters (includind Pesah)
6 New Years (normal, orthodoxal, Chinese, Jewish, Muslim, astronomical - spring equinox).
Almost infinite number of other events.
Thus every day is a good day for gifts, celebration, etc. What's your problem ?

Not buying != not giving (2.44 / 9) (#119)
by Jetifi on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:59:09 AM EST

Make something yourself. Put thought & effort into it. Both count for more than money in the ''show you care'' dept.



my dad (1.62 / 8) (#129)
by karb on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:52:47 AM EST

Is a small business owner.

He kills himself every christmas.

If it is wasn't for everybody going pell-mell every christmas he might not be able to stay in business.

Did it occur to anybody that while christmas might be irritating it might also be good for the economy and create jobs?
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

Broken window fallacy (3.00 / 6) (#139)
by rujith on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:27:48 AM EST

That's just the "broken window" fallacy: - Rujith.

[ Parent ]
No handmade gifts please! (2.69 / 13) (#130)
by StephenThompson on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:03:11 AM EST

To be blunt: dont give me garbage for christmas that I have to keep until the day I die or my house burns down.
Back in the day, handmade gifts might have made sense because individuals commonly had skills to actually make things better than commercial manufactured products.  But today people tend to have no generalized craftmanship or artistic ability (why should they), and manufacturing techniques have improved quite a bit.
I would feel quite put out to realize that you spent 20 man hours on some thing I have to pretend to like when if you had simply asked me what I wanted it would have taken you two minutes on amazon.com.  

You need better friends (none / 2) (#190)
by Josh A on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 03:16:18 AM EST

There are still some people that can produce quality items, from chocolatiers to furniture designers, tailors to fine artists, and the fruits of their labor are (at least currently) superior to the mass produced junk amazon, et al. are hawking.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 1) (#196)
by SlamMan on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 07:08:31 AM EST

True, but just what percentage of the population can do that? I may be quiet good in my field, but that doesn't always translate into a good gift for someone else.

[ Parent ]
Word (none / 1) (#227)
by Josh A on Mon Nov 03, 2003 at 07:13:46 AM EST

Excellent, your new friends will be a member of an elite minority.

You might consider becoming this type of friend for others... if you have time and inclination to become skilled in a new hobby.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
artistic ability (none / 1) (#215)
by blisspix on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 09:14:09 PM EST

It's sad that people these days are not expected to have artistic ability or a knowhow for crafts or carpentry. Before we started paying other people to do stuff, most people (or at least women) knew how to sew a little, maybe knit, do embroidery et cetera. And men were able to put together tables and chairs and so on. Why have we lost this? Isn't it important to know how to do this stuff anymore?

As for me, I can make stuff that's better than what you can buy, at least better than sweatshop crap from China. I can sew, knit, paint, sculpt and so on. I'm learning to design fashion so I can make all my own clothes instead of using Vogue patterns. I spend a lot of time learning new crafts because I think it's important to know them.

[ Parent ]

If You Must Buy... (2.50 / 10) (#131)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:22:36 AM EST

...Buy in summer. It's the most stress-free time to do Christmas shopping. I like to start in June and have everybody covered by September. By Hallowe'en the stragglers should be taken care of.

Why shop frenetically when you have 12 months to take your time? In May you see something in a store and think, "Oh, X would like this," so you buy it. You put it in a closet. You cross their name off your list. Easy as 1-2-3.

People who whine about having to brave stuffed shops are the same weiners who complain that it's hard to get to work on time due to glut of traffic at ten minutes to nine. Think ahead. It's a fucking predictable event, Christmas (and rush-hour). Christmas never takes you by surprise. It is not a movable feast. You can set your calendar by Christmas.


___
I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski. Personally, I pref
Problems with six months early (3.00 / 5) (#146)
by pin0cchio on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:03:03 AM EST

I like to start [Christmas shopping] in June and have everybody covered by September. By Hallowe'en the stragglers should be taken care of.

Problem 1: Tastes change. The tool or toy that a fellow wants in June may not be the same thing he wants in December; he may have already acquired it through other means, or me just may not want anything like that anymore.

Problem 2: Not everything has a 6+ month shelf life.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Solutions with six months early (none / 1) (#192)
by Josh A on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 03:31:40 AM EST

Solution 1: Give them what you want them to have. They need your help anyway.

Solution 2: Want them to have things which have longer shelf lives. Apply Solution 1.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Friends who shop too much... (none / 2) (#179)
by Valdrax on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 06:40:30 PM EST

I tried this once, and three of my friends ended up buying for themselves the very things that I bought for them.  One of my family members managed to do this to me twice that year.  It was kind of frustrating since I had to do last-minute shopping to replace the gifts anyway.

[ Parent ]
Arg (none / 1) (#193)
by Josh A on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 03:33:54 AM EST

That's what you get for shopping at the mall.

Google is your friend. One-of-a-kind items (like art) are your friends. Foreign e-commerce sites are your friends. Shopping excursions to large cities are your friends, unless you already live in one, in which case perhaps trips to smaller but unique cities might be your friends.

Whimsy, creativity, time & thoughtfulness, and planning are your friends.

Of course, your other friends may not be worth all this...

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
this plan would destroy retail (1.60 / 5) (#133)
by modmans2ndcoming on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:37:42 AM EST

so, it saves us money for a short period of time, but then ends up costing us money because we send the retail sector into a depression because they did not make 3/4 of their sales this year.

Er, oh well (none / 1) (#151)
by fractal on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:19:23 AM EST

"destroy retail"? What a loss to the world that would be. Seriously, why not turn our backs on the orgy of shallow consumerism that Chrismas has become? Of course, this is never going to happen until the economy completely collapses anyway, so it's nothing to worry about.

[ Parent ]
As reasons go... (none / 2) (#183)
by grendelkhan on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:29:43 PM EST

Look, profit isn't a universal good in and of itself. If the retail sector had to eat babies to maintain its profits and jobs, would you be screaming that the poor, poor retail sector simply had to eat those babies?

Constant, burning greed is a strong argument against consumerism. "It props up retail" isn't a legitimate argument for consumerism.

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]

Good riddance (none / 2) (#204)
by scruffyMark on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 01:00:13 PM EST

Any retail outlet that can't survive without obscene Christmas-frenzy-begins-in-October advertising, I won't miss. They're obviously selling crap nobody needs, so who cares? If people actually need or want what they sell, they'll buy the stuff no matter what - if not all before Christmas, then at a more steady rate throughout the year.

Apparently, when Christmas was just beginning to turn into a consumerist orgy, many retailers were opposed to this - it meant that most of their sales would be concentrated into about a month or two. So, they needed to hire a bunch of extra people all at once (hence temporary labour shortages), train them in a hurry (hence inferior service and productivity for customers), and then lay them all off soon after (hence a reputation as a bad employer building over time). Of course, this was probably at a time when most retail business was in useful goods, not molded platic "giftware"...

[ Parent ]

Thank you (none / 0) (#210)
by truckaxle on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 04:58:55 PM EST

As the part owner in a family operated ecommerce store we would not stay in business if it was not for the Xmas rush.

Of course if folks did not overspend during the month of December than maybe they would have some disposable cash remaining to buy their significant other something hot for Valentines day in February :) and would sort of even out the spending curve during the rest of the year.

However, I do agree with original article that Christmas is way over done commercially and needs to be reconsidered. If the custom was to give Christmas gifts completely anonomously that would cut down the gift giving considerably


Some like it hot Mozilla Users get an automatic %5 Discount . . .
[ Parent ]
I love christmas (none / 3) (#136)
by nebbish on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:06:03 AM EST

I start drinking at 8 in the morning with my dad, exchange inexpensive presents with my family and lie in front of the TV until it's time to help get christmas dinner ready. After dinner and washing up I sleep for a couple of hours, then get up and hit the whisky. In the evening me and my friends arrange to meet up at one of our houses, smoke weed and drink Baileys until we pass out.

It really isn't difficult to make christmas enjoyable.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

I thought I was the only one (none / 2) (#142)
by codejack on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:43:37 AM EST

only I smoke the weed with my dad, and drink with my friends. go figure


Please read before posting.

[ Parent ]
Drinking, eating and smoking (none / 1) (#144)
by nebbish on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:54:17 AM EST

Is what christmas is about.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

forgo with presents altogether? (none / 1) (#140)
by dimaq on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:29:51 AM EST

I have an alternative proposition - keep christmas and other, stupid or otherwise, holidays, birthdays, housewarmings et al, just make a habbit of not giving or receiving (or expecting) any presents.

that would solve quite a bit don't you think?

Personally I %^&$%^# hate christmas, cause everything is closed for at least 2 days and everyone supposedly has quality time and I'm bored ^%$%-less.

solutions for Christmas shopping (none / 3) (#145)
by calimehtar on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:59:51 AM EST

I like Christmas and I like giving gifts, as well as receiving. Just a few tips on how to make the experience more pleasant for you and the people expecting gifts:

- Make a present. Lame as it sounds this is actually feasible. You don't have to be more than a decent amateur photographer to have a couple photos that friends and family would like to have on their walls. If you know your photos are mediocre, make the print small and put it in a frame that can stand on a desk, or else print out a photo of you and the friend together.

If you think you might be good, make the print big and put it in a cool frame... a good frame makes all the difference.

Or else take up a hobby - knitting is still cool last time I checked (well, for girls anyway), and certainly wearing mitts, toques, or scarves that look hand-made will be cool for a couple centuries still.

Make things out of popsicle sticks. Sorry, no... that'll never be cool.

- Start your christmas shopping early and buy at stores you want to be at. I get the most mileage from this one -- I like shopping in the boutiques and used bookstores scattered around Toronto. Meanwhile I hate shopping in malls. I go out on weekends whether anyway I'm looking to buy or not, just for fresh air and the atmosphere... so Christmas shopping is just another excuse. I've already bought my first Christmas present of the year.

(Apologies for repost-as-topical - I was going to skip it but people seemed to enjoy this.)

+++

The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret.


Beer (none / 2) (#150)
by Altus on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:16:32 AM EST

A few years ago I was trying to save money so I learned how to brew beer and brewed up mixed packs for my friends and family.  Its not exactly free (cost of raw materials and all) but everyone liked it and it stated my brewing career which is what it important.
"In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women..." -H. Simpson
[ Parent ]
Homemade Presents. (none / 1) (#181)
by grendelkhan on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:28:53 PM EST

I agree; I think the best presents are homemade, representing an investment not of money but of one's own time.

For example, I made a photomosaic poster by clipping close to (was it over? I forget) a thousand JPEGs and running it through Rick-n-Steve. It took me, off and on, nearly two weeks, but when I finally printed it out on the math department's poster printer, in its thirty-six inch wide glory, it was all worthwhile.

'Course, the girl I made it for dumped me earlier this year. Bet she still has the poster, though.

Wonder what else would be a good homemade present.

--grendelkhan
-- Laws do not persuade just because they threaten --Seneca
[ Parent ]

awesome!!! (none / 1) (#214)
by blisspix on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 08:56:37 PM EST

Might do this with some of my wedding photos and give copies to my mother in law and my parents.

[ Parent ]
only one problem.. (none / 0) (#159)
by redrum on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:57:11 PM EST

I'd carry this out only for one problem; the people I buy presents for would inevitably buy the presants I bought them themselves throughout the year...

[ Parent ]
The real reason you hate Christmas (2.71 / 7) (#154)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:13:29 PM EST

Society is about control. Humans hate being controlled. Every year society exerts pressure to make you altruistic. Although you may want to be altruistic (giving to the poor, finding a thoughtful gift for a beloved), you rebel at the idea that you are told to do so. As a result, you may love the purpose of the holiday but not the holiday itself.

I tell you this: that's not good enough. As a member of society I use social conventions as it pleases me. I remind myself to be safe by voting for seatbelt laws and speed limits. We know that these are good things. We don't vote for laws to stop others. We vote for laws to stop ourselves. If we thought ourselves exempt from laws, there would be more laws with greater severity.

Social conventions are no different, but they are derived organically rather explicitly. You can reject Christmas entirely. That is entirely possible. However, if you reject the conventions of the holiday, but not the holiday itself, this is like abolishing laws, throwing away the healthy eating guidelines you set for yourself, and not returning an "I love you" to your spouse and child. You can be a just person without law, healthy without a diet, and loving without ever saying so, but having these obligations make it easier to be the person you want to be.

Christmas is a reminder to be good to each other. It wants for nothing more than "peace on earth, goodwill towards man." That takes generosity. Do your part and honor that even if you do see it as a burden. It is, after all, a burden that you want.

Further, don't celebrate Christmas with ridiculous restrictions that prevent you from getting the perfect gift. I can no more cut a diamond than I can knit a sweater or bake a fruitcake. You can celebrate Christmas without shopping. You can farm your own breakfast, too. Do you, though?

-Soc
I drank what?


Peace and Goodwill don't mean presents (none / 1) (#171)
by prettynicegirl on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:27:11 PM EST

"Peace on earth, goodwill toward man" has nothing to do with buying crappy gifts and getting stressed out. Generosity yes, but there are other ways to epress that generosity. If we'll recall, Christmas is actually technically a Christian holiday celebrating Jesus' birth. That has nothing to do with giving gifts. Our consumer culture has changed it into what it is. It is possible, and probably easier, to be generous and peaceful without getting stressed out over gift-giving obligations.

[ Parent ]
Technically, it's Saturnalia (none / 0) (#175)
by SocratesGhost on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 06:05:38 PM EST

Which was a Roman holiday which the Christians usurped. Also, the Christmas tree was a pagan fertility symbol until it, too, was usurped. But such derivations do little to tell us what to do with a thing now that we have it. We all descend from primates, but does that mean we should live in the forest canopy? Or should we adapt our modern selves to our modern circumstances? I'd prefer the latter and I suspect that you would, too.

So, like I said, cultural institutions are evolved. They change over time to reflect a society's values back upon itself. And like laws, we abandon some holidays that outlive their usefulness and adopt others. Look at Hannukah, a minor holiday except for its proximity to Christmas and so it became more important in Jewish culture and even more Christmas-like in its conventions. I believe that it found a common sentiment in this season of yuletide cheer.

I still haven't heard a good reason why we should limit the avenues we have to being generous.

Now, I'm not asking to buy crappy gifts. You can express your generosity any way that you see fit, but I'm saying to not limit your generosity. If I know that my girlfriend could use a really good set of cutting knives (shhh... don't tell her), then I have to buy them because I'm incapable of making them myself. And if I compose a poem to her and put it to music, she'll like that too. But why be cheap? I'll give her both.

The part that bothers me most about some people's disdain for the holiday is that it comes from those who would most benefit by celebrating it (in my opinion). Poor people always find ways of celebrating it and so they don't need Christmas since generosity and thoughtfulness are tangible presences in their lives. My mother used to stuff my stocking with fruits when we didn't have much money. She gave what she could. I know rich people who give lavish presents, just because they can. They never regret the holiday. But in between the poor and the wealthy, those are the people that forget about the giving spirit, who would easily comply if it didn't mean giving up that which they are most attached. They're too concerned with trying to get ahead, or are too interested investing in themselves, financing a new car every three years, going out to dinner more often than they can afford, stopping daily at their preferred boutique coffee shop, buying clothes for every party, taking drugs to forget their own excesses, living lifestyles which are artificial, concerned greatly with their appearance, owning the right set of books, aspiring to pretension because they dare not live modestly, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. These are the people who should appreciate generosity. They make the mistake of associating the cost of the gift with its value. They underestimate the entire holiday in this fashion and find ways to dismiss it.

For Christmas this year, I'm giving my dad a present on Christmas morning. Being in another state I seldom see him. I know that putting a gift into his hands is more valuable than the gift itself. That's generosity. That's Christmas.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
you're still missing the point (none / 1) (#187)
by lucivee on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 12:08:44 AM EST

For Christmas this year, I'm giving my dad a present on Christmas morning. Being in another state I seldom see him. I know that putting a gift into his hands is more valuable than the gift itself. That's generosity. That's Christmas.

You're still missing the point. For crying out loud, give him that present, just don't buy it! Make it, swap it, find it, do whatever it takes, but don't buy the damm thing. The gift is about making the effort.


"and all I got was this lousy P800"
[ Parent ]
I, too, think you miss the point, (none / 0) (#195)
by dhk on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 05:35:36 AM EST

but in quite another direction. A lot of what you say is quite correct, but the main argument is:

"What is the value of a gift which needs a calender scheme (and wouldn't be given without)?"

Of course you're right when you say these social conventions give us a little push. That would be the case in the ideal world.

But for many people it is a hard push and even the obligation to seem generous where they rather wouldn't want to be. This is where Christmas turns into a fake generosity which is worse than "honest lack of generosity".

Taking this together with the elevated divorce rate after X-mas and the entire stress many people suffer in the time, I am quite certain that a re-evaluation "what does christmas mean for me" would give deplorable results for most of them.

To sum it up: In an ideal world your picture would be right, but we cannot make the world better by simply insisting on the scenario. Thus we end up with social conventions which rather oppress people than help them.
- please forgive my bad english, I'm not a native speaker
[ Parent ]

That's a different thing (none / 2) (#208)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 03:28:31 PM EST

Your criticize the holiday itself, but my contention is that if you're going to celebrate the holiday, why put in the limitation of no shopping? Follow up questions:

Why does the happiness of the author require that I not shop for my christmas present?

Why does my greater happiness require that I not shop for christmas presents?

Can I order from a catalog?

If I ask an artistic friend to make something for me (like a statue) and I'll give them money in return, would this make the author unhappy? What if his name is Eddie Bauer?

Is the author not stating his advocation for the abolition of the holiday by exploiting our shared hatred of waiting in lines? Does he really think I'd fall for that?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Agreement, nearly total (none / 1) (#216)
by dhk on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 04:55:24 AM EST

Sure, you are pushing the argument ("Can I order from a catalog?") to a point where it becomes absurd. I should say that expecting people not to buy christmas gifts would be the same fallacy as the other way around. So we are close together here. I take a more liberal stance than agent000 does, I simply say "You can break this circle of must-give-presents and, if you feel bad with the current system, you should try to do so." There a lots of ways to do this. Mine is simple giving gifts when I feel like it would be a good idea to do so. Another one could be that one appoints an arbitrary date his personal "generosity day". The main idea is to relieve people from the burden of "having to" in order to enforce the idea of generosity which is, if I understould you correctly, your goal as well. If anybody does not feel the X-mas mess as a burden then she should of course be free to carry on.
- please forgive my bad english, I'm not a native speaker
[ Parent ]
It isn't about generosity anymore (none / 0) (#200)
by IHCOYC on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 10:35:04 AM EST

I still haven't heard a good reason why we should limit the avenues we have to being generous.
I fear it doesn't work this way anymore. I don't despise Exmas because it's an opportunity to be generous. I despise it because it is a public nuisance.

I'm afraid that in a capitalist country, any holiday celebrated by giving gifts will only work if it is forbidden by law to mention it in public. The candy makers are halfway to ruining Hallowe'en, the last real holiday before New Years Day. (Thanksgiving and Exmas aren't holidays anymore. They're forced marches, less Currier and Ives than Bridge Over the River Kwai material.)

You are right about one thing. People do not like to be manipulated. What's wrong with Exmas is that it is not a joyous occasion; it's a burdensome and unwanted obligation. What is chiefly needful is to encourage people to rebel against it and to overthrow it.
 --
Luce extincta, periculum minus: adsumus, oblectemur!
Stultus me sentio ac pestifer: adsumus, oblectemur!

[ Parent ]

I don't know about that (none / 0) (#207)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 03:17:08 PM EST

If it were only a hassle, that would be one thing. We considered it a nuisance when mothers command us to "Share with your brother" but that's how we learned about sharing. Is Christmas so different and without any redeeming value for you? I know that my mother just lights up when I get her a gift and I feel pride in my own generosity. I don't analyze it each time, but that is what's going on. We learn that giving is good. We may forget this on the days leading up to it, but certainly not on the day itself.

After all, it's the only day of the year that is ordained for everyone to give, and that everyone shall receive. It's built in. We can draw attention away by talking about consumerism, or capitalism, or anything we like. You can make every gift by hand, or you can send a butler or secretary to do the shopping for you but you can never avoid this aspect of giving and receiving. How many opportunities are we given to see the benefits from both sides of the equation?

We just happen to be in a society with a growing apprehension towards capitalism; we resent everything it touches, even if it be in our interest. But it's babies and bathwaters, my friend. We lose something very special in rejecting Christmas.

And since we have this holiday, we must come to terms with it even if we do so by rejecting it. As for me, I'd prefer to see the good aspects of it and use it to my advantage. Anti-capitalists do the same. The holiday is what you make of it. If you think the holiday has lost the spirit of generosity, I'd entreat you to come back to thinking of it in better terms. Make it about your generosity, and that's what the holiday is about. Reaffirm it year after year. Be an example to your family and friends. Do you need other people's agreement with these ideas to gain the benefit for yourself? No, but they're going along with it for whatever terms they have and so we can all be happy.

You can make the holiday a political statement, too, but we have 364 days already dedicated to that.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
The totalitarian vision of Exmas (none / 1) (#209)
by IHCOYC on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 04:43:24 PM EST

We just happen to be in a society with a growing apprehension towards capitalism; we resent everything it touches, even if it be in our interest. But it's babies and bathwaters, my friend. We lose something very special in rejecting Christmas.
It isn't really "capitalism," per se; it's the poisonous atmosphere generated by the Exmas potlatch.

You'd be depressed, probably, at the prospect of an extended stay in a totalitarian country. One of the more depressing things about such a place is the omnipresence of images of the Great Leader. Big Brother's face is everywhere. You cannot enter a public place without having to look at his many monuments. His statues are on every streetcorner. Every time you turn on your radio and television, a voice is telling you how wonderful he is. Loudspeakers on the streetcorner feed a 24/7 stream of regime propaganda. You recognise that much of the propaganda is absurd; it drones on unchallenged nevertheless. Your radio plays a constant stream of songs praising him. There is nowhere you can go to be free from this assault. If you criticize his omnipresence, people whisper behind your back. You want to rebel, to overthrow the government, but you lack the courage, and each day brings new reminders of your failure.

Exmas brings Big Brother to you. You cannot enter a public place without having to see goddamned Santa Claus, reindeer, and other reminders of its looming omnipresence. You cannot watch television, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper without having it in your face. Jingling carols are piped into the building. You cannot run down to the grocery store without being exposed to this crap. If you dare to criticize the holiday, or to grumble at the obligations service to its regime entails, people look at you funny. Every bit of tinsel reminds you of how mighty an enterprise it is, and how weak and ineffective you are. Eventually, you cave in, you mouth the words and send the cards. Ho ho fucking ho.

That is what Exmas means to me. The prospect of facing it another year leaves me just shy of suicidal. I do my part every year to urge everyone to rise up and choke the last Santa with the guts of the last reindeer.
 --
Luce extincta, periculum minus: adsumus, oblectemur!
Stultus me sentio ac pestifer: adsumus, oblectemur!

[ Parent ]

In that case (none / 0) (#219)
by SocratesGhost on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 12:51:28 PM EST

It sounds unhealthy for you to celebrate Christmas. I'd be as despondent if I saw it in these terms. It's a tough reminder to us yuletide revelers that not everyone embraces the holiday in a joyous fashion. It's so counter-intuitive to us that a season of well wishing creates strong depressions in others.

I feel for you mostly because I've come to respect you through the years I've seen you posting here, and if there is anything that I can do, know that you have a friend and an admirer. I'm not going to repeat any holiday well wishing, but will say this: I hope you find an undiscovered happiness over the next few months. Be well.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Make Charitible donations for Christmas (none / 1) (#157)
by Witt on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 12:57:52 PM EST

Rather than buying gifts, a friend of mine often makes $50 to $100 donations to charities on behalf of his family and friends. He picks charities that those people believe in supporting, and then gives them a card indicating that the donation has been made.

I haven't done this myself yet, but he indicates that it seems to work well with his family and friends.

Trust your technolust
-- Jeremiah

I donate $50 to the Human Fund in your name (3.00 / 4) (#164)
by Opium on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:45:57 PM EST

Feel free to print your own donation card.
-Tal

"Ars Gratia Artis"... When will Metallica T-Shirts have this quote?
[ Parent ]
Excellent idea! (none / 0) (#165)
by bobsandwitch on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:54:02 PM EST

Better yet, if someone asks "what do you want for christmas" - say "a donation to the SPCA" (in my case). Nice!

As for the article - we (my family, friends etc) have been doing this for a few years, mostly 'cos, in New Zealand, Christmas is in the middle of summer, so turkey etc is not really appropriate in 25degC "heat", and a picnic on the beach is a lot more fun :)

And besides, most of the people I know are too damn hard to buy for anyway! They either have the smaller (<$100) stuff they need, or they need expensive stuff thats out of my christmas price range......

[ Parent ]

felicitous desire (none / 0) (#170)
by xs euriah on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:26:20 PM EST

Like four counter rotating chains of human suffering.

The image is apt.

I'm ahead of you (none / 1) (#188)
by danny on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 01:45:06 AM EST

I haven't bought any Christmas presents for many years now - maybe a decade. And I hardly receive any, either, though my girlfriend's family may need some training in this area.

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]

I feel your pain. (none / 1) (#194)
by baron samedi on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 04:01:04 AM EST

I myself lament about the state of Christmas. I was raised in a nonreligious family, and so Christmas for us became an event where there was family, friends, food, drink and laughter.

I understand the spiritual underpinnings of Christmas, and I think that there is a common thread about the winter holidays, namely, a time to reflect upon what we have sown through the year, and appreciate what we have. The giving of gifts should be a symbolic gesture of the love we feel for others, but what that gesture is should really be left up to each person as they decide what's appropriate in their relationships.

The commercial aspects of the Christmas season are inescapable. It is a monstrous juggernaut that overwhelms the senses, and suspends reality, allowing people to place themselves into debt, all for what ultimately amounts to the polite version of bling-bling.

So yeah, I sympathize with the author's sentiments, because on some level I feel that this mass marketing phenomenon that is Christmas is shallow, and it encourages material foolishness.

But, like I said, I was raised nonreligious, so for me it's merely a secular holiday, some time off to check back in with friends and family, and have a good time, and I only buy presents for my family.


"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll

Christmas cancelled (none / 1) (#197)
by JanneM on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 07:26:20 AM EST

Christmas has always been very stressful for me. I am not good with holidays, and I detest shopping. The holiday has long been something I have to get through, rather than enjoy.

Six years or so I got so utterly fed up with the whole season that I decided to basically ignore the whole thing. Excellent choice for me, as it turned out. I am not religious, so it does not have any such meaning for me. And adjacent to christmas is New Year's Eve, which is a great time for dinner and party with friends, so I don't really feel I miss out on anything either.

It is made easier for me by the fact that I have no relatives living anywhere near here, and that I live alone - had I a family, christmas would likely be celebrated in some for or another. As it stands, I usually spend christmas alone in my apartment, being happier and more relaxed than most people I know. No stress, touchy relatives, gift anxiety or just plain lots of people. It's not for everyone, but for me, it has been a panacea.

---
Trust the Computer. The Computer is your friend.

Swedish question. (none / 1) (#211)
by Fen on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 05:14:00 PM EST

Hey do you have those gender neutral pronouns like Finnish? They're good.
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Not uncommon to me... (none / 0) (#198)
by pocopoco on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 08:15:35 AM EST

Besides gifts for small children, around anything under high school, my family/relatives have always done the no shopping thing.  This way you still get the gift giving thing to do at all the get togethers and the little kids are happy and not outdone by their friends.  Do mature people really need others buying things for them when they know better what they need?

Christmas is counter-productive (none / 2) (#205)
by dh003i on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 01:39:21 PM EST

On average, all Christmas amounts to is a bunch of people getting in a circle and everyone handing each other $50. What would be the point of that?

Except, it's even worse stupidity than that. We spend hours and hours looking for some stupid present for someone that they probably won't use for more than a week...giving money would make more sense, since an individual knows more about what he wants than do his friends, or even wife.

The worst part of all is that tons of time is wasted buying a bunch of presents that don't really mean anything at all. A framed picture of you and your friends can mean more to them than that useless lava lamp ever would.

What's really annoying is all the wasted time, effort, and supplies. What happens to most of the stuff you get on Christmas? It does in the closet somewhere, never to be seen again. Tons and tons of "stuff", in the closet. Who wins? Ultimately, everyone loses from the wasted time and worry; hell, maybe if people didn't stress out so much about it, they'd even live longer.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

No shopping?... No Money! (none / 1) (#212)
by scratchy on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 05:17:55 PM EST

Let's face it -- this is going to be a Christmas when many people simply are strapped for cash and can't afford to buy gifts. I know I am... after paying my rent (lost my job, lost the ability to pay a mortgage, thus no house) and heating bill, it's going to be a choice between spending that last fiver on raising a toast to my frinds and my health, or buying something imported from China. That's right, don't buy ANYTHING not made in USA -- that means computers, microwaves, TVs, game consoles, cars, kitchen widgets, and bananas. Two and a half years without a decent job... (I used to have companies calling me asking that I jump ship and go work for them. Well, after the startup I worked for went bust, I can't get passed the idiotic HR acronym scan engine. And if I do, then it's the same old "Wow, look at all the experience this guy has; he'd never come work for us for 1/4 of his previous salary!"). I'll DAMNED if George Bush, Dick Chaney, or Bill Gate want me to compete for a wage against low-wage Indian, Korean, etc workers. Well, to all those executives who exported jobs overseas so they could stuff more shillings into their own pockets, I say: Scrooge You! And we, meaning those of us who are in the middle to lower classes, can do more than just curb our appitite for consumer goods, we can stop having babies! -- our industrial economy is gone forever, and we can't expect to survive on an information-age economy if we let our population keep booming. So, when you spend that Christmas-Club coffer on a fifth of Jack Daniels, and get cheeky with your favorite lover... use a rubber! Merry Xmas!

Au contraire. (none / 0) (#217)
by Antiorganic on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 11:21:08 AM EST

I disagree with the assertion that the offshoring of jobs has much to do with the state of the American economy. It's the same argument that the isolationists make about the influx of illegal immigrants. They say that they're responsible for the loss of American jobs, because low-wage landscaping jobs are in such incredibly high demand. I somehow doubt that many Americans, even unemployed Americans, would be happy taking a low-paying manufacturing job. This resentment of offshored or "outsourced" labor is an Buchanan-esque isolationist PR campaign designed to instill disdain for these foreigners into the hearts and minds of the American working class.

The truth is, national economics is an incredibly complex problem, and attempting to formulate a single cause or simple solution, such as the offshoring of labor, to a complex problem is just silly. There is absolutely no conceivable way that we can possibly hope to compete with more efficient and cheaper workers in India, Pakistan, Taiwan, China, El Salvador, and Indonesia who have nearly nothing and are motivated to work as hard as they can for whatever pittance they can use to feed and clothe themselves. The reason for offshored labor essentially boils down to the progressive labor policies of the last century and a half.

We as a nation have two possible courses of action to rectify the situation. The first and less desirable of the two solutions would be to abolish labor policies such as minimum wage, workweek length, et cetera, and return focus to a working-class manufacturing- and agriculture-oriented state. The second would be to recognize that we cannot compete in the unskilled labor market, and to shift focus to skilled labor, whether this encompasses a craft of some kind, a college education, or a vocational training program. I believe this economic recession is an inevitability caused by the transitory period between our manufacturing-oriented past, and our service-oriented future.

Some would choose to disagree with this, citing globalization and national interdependence as one of the greatest evils of the world. However, I believe a global economy is, essentially, one of the best long-term environments for consumers, and I would love to listen to any arguments to the contrary.

Regardless, education should be a primary focus of our government right now, if only for purely economic reasons.

[ Parent ]

Not exactly. (none / 0) (#224)
by bakuretsu on Sat Nov 01, 2003 at 11:34:20 AM EST

They say that they're responsible for the loss of American jobs, because low-wage landscaping jobs are in such incredibly high demand. I somehow doubt that many Americans, even unemployed Americans, would be happy taking a low-paying manufacturing job.
You are correct in that assertion, however the real problem in offshoring the work of American corporations lies in the technology field. The company I work for has just started shipping database work to India, and we are not alone.

I have relatives working for large insurance firms who have also begun to send a lot of their technical work overseas. This is not only work that Americans may want to do, but work that Americans had previously begged to do. This work is completed overseas for 1/3 what an American would ask to be paid for it thanks to the state of overseas economies.

Now, you are also correct in asserting that national economics are a lot more complicated than this, however, it begs the question: What is really wrong with our economy that we cannot afford to hire Americans to do American work?

My company is a startup, and we operate barely in the black, so shipping our database work to India might be nothing short of a godsend, but for large insurance companies who, as you know, are wallowing in cold, hard cash, to send their work to India for 1/3 the price of American expertise is not helping the status of our job market right now.

It is a travesty that an American can spend upwards of $100,000 on an education in database administration, computer science, computer engineering, computational chemistry, etc., and watch their potential job positions fly out of our borders to be completed by like-minded individuals in less "fortunate" countries.

I would also tend to agree with you that our public education system is in the gutter, and not due in any small part to our dog-eat-dog capitalist society, the same society that kills more people with handguns per year than any other country in the world. We have some serious social reorganization to do before students are excited to learn, and before the schools will be apt to provide that education to them across the board and from coast to coast.

I'm glad to have the job I have, being paid quite a bit less than what I think I'm worth, doing something that might very easily be done by India or China or Pakistan.

Shameless plug: Need art? Fisheye Multimedia, help me buy food this week!

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004
[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#232)
by Shajenko on Tue Nov 04, 2003 at 06:56:02 PM EST

This is not an accident; it's the goal of the Republican party, to impoverish the masses so that they will be forced to take whatever they can get.

www.conceptualguerilla.com



[ Parent ]
Re: Au contraire (none / 0) (#225)
by scratchy on Sun Nov 02, 2003 at 01:12:02 AM EST

Okay, put it this way, we have a huge trade imbalance -- we import goods that don't necessarily make us a richer nation, and export dollars which makes us a poorer nation. The exported dollars allow other countries to develop industries to compete with our own. I could cite industrial production, durable goods, argriculture, services, heck - spices, and now technology and education. Now, as we choose overseas goods over US goods, we hurt our own workers, who then stop investing back into our own economy. Some argue that the added profits that companies earn by producing from cheaper overseas labor is reinvested back into our economy. It isn't -- though the currancy may circulate, the wealth shift begins to stifle local trade, and a downwatd spiral ensues until a new basis for the economy is developed.
The truth is, national economics is an incredibly complex problem, and attempting to formulate a single cause or simple solution, such as the offshoring of labor, to a complex problem is just silly.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't try. I still think of it in these terms: until there is a one-to-one ratio of cost-to-produce-goods between all nations, americans will be competeing for wages with overseas workers. That can only mean one thing: a falling standard of living where the wage/cost-of-living is higher than average, and vice versa. And certainly we aren't seeing an emergence of a social conscience on the part of decision makers (e.g. whether to buy labor at home or go abroad), but rather idiotic trade policies such as Bush's steel tariff, which although it may have saved 5000 steel worker jobs, lost 20,000-40,000 steel manufacturing jobs (the trends has been such that rather than import raw steel, much is lightly manufactured into 'parts' before it's imported so as to not incure a tariff). Now, who do you think has more influence in Washington, the steel companies (which are few in number but huge in size), or the steel stamping/forming companies (smaller in size but larger in number)? Obviously steel producers are happy, and they represent the weathly in this scenario.

I suggested that an inward-facing US economy would preserve our standards of living (and I admit that some nations would be hurt by limiting their economies to their own trades, and certainly we need to adapt by lowering our oil consumtion, etc), but surely a borderless world economy will even out the income levels in like classes across the participating countries, and with vastly differing costs of living across those coutries we exacerbate trade imbalances. Would you agree that this is the same argument as, for example, two states and gasoline, tobacco, or liquor sales? One has a steep tax, the other doesn't. Even this simple case is not trivial when seeking a solution, but it doesn't take an economist to tell you that there will be a net cash flow from one state to the other and thus uneven economic growth.

So, these labor disputes have existed for centuries... the question is, when are we going to do something about it. The people in charge of labor (I mean the exec's of the big corporations, not the US Labor Secretary -- tho with this Administration they may as well be the same) have strong lobbying power and don't want this problem solved because they profit from a wider separation of classes (this keeps down the cost the goods they buy). In fact, most middle to lower class people are too poorly informed to make a sensible decision on what national policies would benifit them, and that's the type of education that's important -- not science and technology; science and technology is not going save the US, since we export that also.
We as a nation have two possible courses of action to rectify the situation. The first and less desirable of the two solutions would be to abolish labor policies such as minimum wage, workweek length, et cetera, and return focus to a working-class manufacturing- and agriculture-oriented state.
Yes, that was my point -- we should stop (or reduce) relying on non-US products, forcing US companies to pay higher labor rates and earn only sensible profits...
The second would be to recognize that we cannot compete in the unskilled labor market, and to shift focus to skilled labor, whether this encompasses a craft of some kind, a college education, or a vocational training program. I believe this economic recession is an inevitability caused by the transitory period between our manufacturing-oriented past, and our service-oriented future.
... that's right, we cannot compete with forign labor, at least not while preserving our living standards. And shifting to a new underlying economy will just put off this trend until those new trades are learned by competing labor forces, which in a small-world environment such as we have today will be almost immediatly.

[ Parent ]
making stuff (none / 1) (#213)
by blisspix on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 08:49:41 PM EST

This year I'm planning to make gifts instead of buying crap that people won't want anyway. I can make candles and jewellery and nice notepads and stuff, fruit baskets etc.

maybe I'll get my sister some knitting needles and an instruction book, so she can make something for herself instead of me buying her a new scarf.

I like the idea of giving to charity, but I wouldn't want to do it on behalf of someone else without their input.

I hate hate hate Christmas shopping. Probably because I don't like shopping, full stop. but I don't mind buying craft materials to make something that will not only be cheaper than stuff from a store but more personal too.

I'm doing the same thing (none / 0) (#220)
by jolly st nick on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 04:41:36 PM EST

Not across the board, but I'm definitely going to be make craft items and reducing purchases. I don't have the strong anti-Christmas feelings that a lot of people have. The problem isn't the commercialization of Christmas, but the overall problem of life as nere dutiful consumer and cog in the machinery of commerce. How do you make connections with other people if that is important to having a fulfilling life?

Anti-consumerism is too simplistic. If your life is defined by opposition to something, you are no more free than if it is defined by acquiescing to something. Consumerism is not the void in people's lives; but the relentless focus on acquisition is a distraction from finding what they should be filling their lives with.

So, I don't see the need to shun bought Christmas presents; I feel it is neither necessary nor sufficient. But I do see an affirmative value in creating something with your own hands.

[ Parent ]

It may be commercial, but... (none / 0) (#218)
by Eccles on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 12:06:09 PM EST

I think back to great memories of my childhood, and I have to admit, Xmas is a big contributor.

OK, maybe covetousness (and satisfaction thereof) was a part of what appealed to my juvenile mind, not to mention the time off from school, but I think it just served to enhance the whole package.  Decorations, food, time with family, cheesy kid-oriented TV specials (in prime time, back before Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon -- not to mention VCRs and Kazaa/torrented AVIs), all made for an overall great experience for a kid.  I remember the Sears Xmas catalog showing up, and spending time leafing through it picking out my favorites.

I think for a kid, a "no-present" Xmas would make it less memorable.

The issue is materialism, not generosity (none / 0) (#226)
by Avelino on Mon Nov 03, 2003 at 05:57:06 AM EST

"Not buying" doesn't necessarily mean "not giving." There are so many other ways to express your love for a child besides purchasing the latest plastic whatnot in the mall.

I grew up in a poor family in a small village in a third-world country, with none of the things you mention. I assure you, though, that my Christmases were eagerly anticipated and quite meaningful and, yes, memorable.

[ Parent ]
my family (none / 2) (#221)
by waxmop on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 09:31:21 PM EST

For about five years now, everyone in my family only buys gifts for one other person and their spouse. We rotate through all the possible combinations year-by-year. My sister usually makes stuff each year. By shrinking down the size of the obligation, we've all gotten in touch with what makes giving gifts fun: trying to come up with a thoughtful gift for somebody, rather than just buying something in order to complete a checklist. People enjoy getting thoughtful gifts. It doesn't matter if it's a photo album, or a new set of pots and pans, or a fancy coffee pot, or a mixtape; the fact that you took time to wonder what might make somebody else happy is what shows.

Oh yeah - Adbusters is a bunch of fussy graphic designers that want to get famous, but don't have much to contribute beyond trite cliches about how capitalism sucks.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar

ok (none / 1) (#229)
by inkster211 on Tue Nov 04, 2003 at 04:52:54 AM EST

Ive done no shopping for many years,,,,always leads to no stress. voila!
--inkster211
alright....seriously... (none / 0) (#230)
by inkster211 on Tue Nov 04, 2003 at 04:57:51 AM EST

I buy my kids great presents....its always easy...its mom thats trouble,,,,the new jag, or sis...the scarborough designer mittens,,,,eventaully i say "nah"...ill just visit them instead
--inkster211
[ Parent ]
No gifts for me? (none / 1) (#233)
by BobRoy on Wed Nov 05, 2003 at 09:19:38 AM EST

If this means that there will be no gifts for me I have to vote against this.

If it's wet, Drink it!


No-Shopping Christmas | 226 comments (202 topical, 24 editorial, 1 hidden)
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