I'm the Christmas Gift Receiving Grinch

Look, I love the holidays just as the next person. The cold weather (love it), the Christmas decorations, and the time off from work. OK, that last part doesn’t really exist anymore now that I’m self-employed. The best part about the holidays is being with friends and family, catching up on what we have missed when our lives won’t let us get together as much as we should. The holidays have always been something special for me. I used to really enjoy spending time setting up decorations with my mom and baking holiday treats. Yes, men can bake. Don’t even go there!  I would help my mom every year put up the decorations and the tree. We would spend quality time together and just have fun. Then my life started to get more hectic and I lost that.

Hey Mom, I know you’re reading this…Let’s bring that back and do some holiday decorating together again. Our conversations are priceless.

As I have grown older, got married, and had two kids, my time with my mom and dad has been diminished. The sad part is they only live about 10 minutes away from me since we moved. I can only blame myself for this, but life doesn’t seem to throw me many breaks. I have a very successful business that I’m proud of. I’m trying to make the best out of all the opportunities thrown my way. This is why I love the holidays. I get to take some time away and enjoy seeing my family. I cherish the time and don’t care about the gifts or even the idea of gift giving. The sad part is I don’t see the same thing with the rest of America.

The Search for Deals Has Become the Focal Point of Christmas

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Christmas is no longer revolving around the religious aspects. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not. This holiday is strictly revolving around retail and shopping. This is a money holiday now. I’ve officially called the end to the traditional Christmas. It’s over people. Wipe your tears off your face and move one!

Over the past few years, retailers have fought to make their sales and deals the mainstay of Christmas. Hell, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two biggest shopping days of the year. I was never really one to partake in Black Friday shopping, especially going out and waiting in line. I have better things to do and sleep is one of them. Waiting in line for a door buster just seems stupid to me. If I want a good deal, then I will go online. Most stores put up 70% of their deals on their website. That’s the power of online shopping. They even just open their online deals earlier and earlier each year. Black Friday is the entire month of November through the day before Christmas now.

Everywhere we turn, we see sale this or deal that. You can’t get away from it. Even before Halloween ends, Christmas stuff is going out in every store and they are pushing their deals on everyone. Most stores have Black Friday deals well before Black Friday. Walmart has even extended their Black Friday to encompass multiple days. Amazon has done the same thing. These stores are fighting for every dollar they can get from consumers.

One of the things I  hate is many of the so-called deals are really no deals at all. Most retailers slowly increase prices before the holiday and then drastically cut them for Black Friday. This means you probably are paying the same price as you could have in July. This is a common practice in retail. Hell, I used to do it on my online e-commerce site. There is no way you can reduce prices by 80% and still make a profit. There is just no way. The other thing I hate is when retailers try to bring you in with these deals, but the products are actually sub-models of their brand counterparts. This happens most often with electronics, especially televisions. There are even some stores where you can find models which have only been produced for holiday shopping days. They are inferior models which have lesser parts in them and aren’t built to last. They crap out soon after purchase, but you got a deal right?

I’m Taking a Stand Against this Consumerist Holiday

No, I’m not forgoing Christmas. I like it too much, but I like it for the time I spend with family. I’m taking a stand against the massive spending which companies want me to do. They want me to get into debt so I can have the latest and greatest toy or electronics item. They want me to swipe my credit card for every item they have on sale. I don’t want to do it and I’m not going to. I’m standing up against this crap. I’m standing up for the idea of Christmas. I want to focus on spending time with family, friends, and enjoying the true holiday spirit.

I will be buying gifts for my family, but I won’t be spending more than $20 per person. Our family has grown with children, so now we have secret Santa (here’s how we rock it to save even more). We only buy a gift for one person and that’s it. It lessens the burden of buying gifts for ten people and keeps my budget on check. I won’t be one of those who spends nearly $600 on gifts for their family. I have more objectives to reach with my money and blowing it on crap is not one of them.

If I do shop on the big shopping days, it will be online and I have been tracking prices over the past 6 months. I will make sure I’m getting a good deal on something. I surely won’t be taking the retailer’s word for it. I work with some of the biggest retailers in my day job, so I know what’s going on here. I see how they are marketing. They want people to spend, spend, and spend some more. Debt or no debt, that’s not the focus. It’s all about profits and the bottom line.

We, as Americans, have lost our way. We are too focused on buying gifts and getting the best deal. We don’t even know what Christmas is about anymore. It’s all about buying gifts and finding the best gift for your loved one these day. It’s not about gifts for me. I would rather not have a gift. I have what I want and don’t need to wait for Christmas to get it. This holiday has been lost to the retailers, but I’m taking it back for myself and for my family. I’m taking it back for the old school traditions we once followed.

My Christmas is going to be about quality time, not quality deals.

I hate receiving gifts on Christmas

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6 Comments

  1. First, we lost my step-dad in 2014, so I highly encourage you to spend time with your folks. I wish I’d spent more time with him though and it makes me sad that he’s not here anymore.

    I agree men can totally bake, a lot of fabulous chefs are men! I don’t think we have to get rid of gifts the way some people do these days, but I think gifts should be like a side thing on the overall theme of Christmas.

    When I was growing up I remember getting 5-10 gifts for Christmas, thereabouts, now parents feel like they have to get kids 20+ gifts for Christmas. It’s a little scary. In the bible, there’s a story of how Jesus chased the money changers, buyers and sellers around the temple, so I’m pretty sure he’s none too pleased of our over-commercialism. Matthew 21:12

    Like you I think the best way to deal is participate in as little of the consumerism as possible. Now that I’m in college, we don’t do gifts, and I’m totally okay with that, my mom thinks gifts are for children that are under 18.

  2. It’s still good that you get to have some quality time with your parents, Grayson. I hope you get to spend more next year. By the way, I also skipped Black Friday, which I am happy about despite I missed discounts.

  3. Nice post but how come you didn’t help me decorate?? And I now expect lots of baked goods this time of year from you 😉

    Finally, one nice thing we’re doing this year is donating our gift money instead of buying gifts. That’s always a nice alternative for those who feel they need to buy something for those they love.

  4. I cannot blame the retailers. They are there to make money and lots of it. So to say it’s all about the bottom line is true, but that’s what they do and what they are there for – to make money for their shareholders. If anyone owns stock in a company that makes its employees work on Thanksgiving, then you are speaking with your money (not you – the author – just people in general). The problem isn’t the retailers – it’s the parents who don’t say no, don’t stay informed on what the “right” price or model is, and who don’t plan their budgets and time appropriately.

    1. I don’t know if we can blame “parents” so much as just consumers. Parents are consumers and aren’t the only ones shopping for the holidays. I know the role of retailers and they continually use marketing to get us to spend more. They use tactics to create urgency to get us to depart from our money. No, it’s not just the retailers here, but our drive to purchase stuff we don’t need. This is on people (not just parents).