No-present Christmas good idea

For textbooks: Just the facts, maam.

For textbooks: Just the facts, ma’am.

amber hall

In case you haven’t heard, financially, things aren’t going so well. Monday, Washington officially announced the United States is in a recession — which apparently we have been in since December 2007. Most people would be able to handle this financial burden, except that it happens to fall on the most consumer-driven holiday: Christmas.

While experts are saying that Black Friday sales are off to a modest start, parents are so worried about their financial situation they are writing to major toy companies, asking them to stop marketing to their children because they won’t be able to buy them as many toys this year. While I personally find American consumerism to be a little outrageous, I think our current financial crisis is the perfect opportunity to try a new holiday tradition.

A few weeks ago, while my parents and I were visiting with my grandmother, she brought up the subject of Christmas and how she wanted to implement a new rule: no presents. Her declaration sounded a little shocking and, I hate to say it, blasphemous. That is, until she explained her reasoning. She told us that her sister and her family had tried the no-presents rule last year and it turned out to be “one of the best Christmases they’ve ever had.” Suddenly, her reasoning didn’t sound so ludicrous.

After all, isn’t discovering the true meaning of Christmas the point of almost every Christmas episode of family oriented sitcoms as well as every bad Christmas made-for-TV movie? They love to drill in the viewer’s brain that Christmas is really all about family and spending time with those you love. While I have always found this revelation to be a little overdone, not once has it ever occurred to me to actually put it into practice.

Also, by having a no-present rule this Christmas, you will also get the added bonus of not experiencing shopper’s anxiety. As anyone who has worked on Black Friday knows, desperate, stress-ridden shoppers are terrifying if not plain unattractive. Instead, you could sit at home and debate about whether or not you can afford to make cheesecake and apple pie for Christmas dinner this year (which you can because you are not spending that money on yet another candle for grandma).

Ultimately, this year I’m looking forward to Christmas for the first time in years because I am interested to see how this no-presents route will affect our Christmas. I’m not saying that everyone should adopt the no-presents rule. But maybe a few modest presents and more family should be the route that people take this year.