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It's time to stop giving shitty gifts

As we all know, Christmas has become a hyper-consumerist holiday that's all about ~the gifts~. But it's gotten to a point where, in many cases, we've stopped caring about the quality of the gifts and we're just giving them out of obligation. 

We all know the gifts I’m talking about.

The fun card game you got for your friends' white elephant gift swap that someone is going to play once and then donate to a thrift store. The cute mugs with a cookie mix you got for your coworkers that they're never going to make (and the mug they'll use only once a year). The candles you got for your cousins that they don’t like the smell of and are going to collect dust on their shelves. 

They’re the gifts you don’t have to put a lot of thought into, are generic enough that they could really be going to anyone, and won’t make you upset if someone doesn’t end up liking them because they didn’t cost you that much anyway.

And thinking about it that way makes me completely wonder what’s the purpose of these gifts at all.

I thought gift-giving was meant to show how much you care about or appreciate someone.

These gifts don’t really say that to me.

And I think part of the problem is that we feel pressured into having to give gifts to literally everyone in our lives. You might have a work bestie, but oh, you can’t just give a gift to her because it might upset the other members of your team or Susan in HR is going to tell you that it has to be all or nothing. Or even though you haven’t seen Uncle George in 5 years, if you don’t give him a gift your grandma will call you asking why.

And this reasoning for giving a gift is such B.S.

To me, it reminds me a lot of the free t-shirts or swag you get when you attend events. They give it you you because they want you to feel valued, and you also want to feel valued, but in the end you really couldn’t care less about what you’re getting and half the time it goes to waste anyway.

So then I pose the question: rather than giving half-assed gifts to all the people we feel like we have to give them to, why can't we just give thoughtful, quality gifts to the people who really matter in our lives? 

We all already own too much stuff anyway. This just adds to that problem.

It also makes me wonder why gifting has become the symbol of caring during the holidays. We already know that gift-giving is not everyone’s love language. And yet for holidays, especially Christmas, we expect everyone to do it. And we expect it to be a physical gift.

While I’m sure we all do appreciate a really good physical gift, spending a weekend with your grandpa is going to be just as good a gift as a handy kitchen gadget. Or your mom might appreciate you baking with her more than receiving another sweater.

And that is exactly my point. When you tailor the gift to the person and think about what they value the most, you end up giving them something more unique and it’s not something you pick up last minute from TJ Maxx.

Now I want to be clear: there’s no shame in doing that. And people really love stuff from TJ Maxx. But some of us have fallen into a habit where that’s the only kind of gift-giving we know how to do. And so it feels like a chore and we don’t end up really caring about what we give, just that it’s done. Another box we can check off.

And I want to push back against that type of gift shopping and giving so we can return to one that’s more intentional, more personalized, and doesn’t necessarily involve buying more things for more people.


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