The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
EdithKeeler
Posts: 1070
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by EdithKeeler »

Tis the season... for gifts from coworkers, well-meaning friends, etc. Sigh.

My bestest friends know to give me something consumable--a bottle of wine is my favorite gift to receive. However, others... When I had employees, I always gave them gift cards to local restaurants where people typically went out to lunch from the office. Everyone goes out for lunch at the office at least once in a while, and I think that for the most part they were appreciated. No one needs another trinket on their desk.

My old boss was a compulsive shopper, and would come up with these really odd gifts that I have on good authority that she bought solely because they were super cheap. So over several years I ended up with some strange-patterned pottery, weird scented candles and a lot of oddball household items that were of nice quality, but were marked down for quick sale at Nordstrom or Dillards.

My current boss gives absolutely nothing, because it would cost him money out of his pocket, and he still has the first buck he ever made. Being cheap myself, I'm actually OK with that, and he's a pretty good boss.

Another manager in the office last year gave candy, which to me is an acceptable office gift. Consumable, most people like most candy or have kids or parents or grandparents who will eat it. This year, however, I got a weird household item that I will never use!

We will have a "funny ornament" exchange, with a limit of $5. Ok, the "Dirty Santa" game is fun as we try to steal each other's ornament... but at the end you're still stuck with an ornament you're probably never going to use. Best case, you can put in the "Dirty Santa" ornament exchange next year.

Other well-meaning friends will give other trinkets--a calendar, a little plastic flower, a pencil holder.

I will make cookies, and put them in zip lock bags. (And not to brag, but I make GREAT cookies). I make them for certain friends, and keep a few bags handy for when I am not expecting a gift from someone, so I can give them something back. I will give my boss a bottle of booze, even though you're not supposed to give your boss a gift, but he's a pretty good boss and a very good guy. And I'm not as cheap as he is!

But seriously. I would totally do away with ALL gift exchanges at Christmas. My family did years ago, and we have never regretted it. I love my friends, and I'm glad my friends love me, but I don't need any more stuff! Really!

lilacorchid
Posts: 476
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by lilacorchid »

Yes, I am grumping around here about all the stupid trinkets I'm going to have to find a place for and don't get me started on how stupid I think gift cards are! (Just give me the money if you want to give me money... don't make me sell the card at a loss so I can unlock it.)

It would seem the less commercials I see, the more disgusted I get with the message that I need to buy things for everyone. I would rather they spend the money on coming to visit me. /grumpypants

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12999
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by jacob »

Can you recycle the gift cards as presents for other people next year? (We've done that.)

1taskaday
Posts: 462
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:45 am
Location: England

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by 1taskaday »

I have gone in to "shut down" since last Friday 6th December.

It’s that time of year again,it’s time to shut down.

Traffic is getting nuts for no earthly reason,out of the blue all the chaos suddenly starts.

That’s when I take my queue,it’s time to prevent major energy leakages.

The pressure (especially for female martyrs), is massive at Christmas.
Trying to do everything perfect and make all dreams come true is their Christmas mission.

The house needs to be shining,the decorations sparkling,large open fires blazing and plenty of homemade food ready for any guest that just may feel like popping in.

Fussing,fussing,and more fussing.

No thanks,I will avoid this if at all possible …

I don’t have many Christmas visitors as I try to leave the country and fly to the sun on Boxing day or 26th December every year.

Even if I don’t go,people are so confused about our where abouts now at Christmas, that they just never expect us to be at home.

Ah what bliss …

This excludes the necessity of any type of fussing and we just pass through Christmas like any other time of the year.It’s really just a nice break from work for us, with no extra work.

As for Christmas dinner,something fast and simple like steak or lamb with ice-cream for desert,all previously delivered by the grocery van.I refuse point-blank to get caught in any Christmas traffic.

In my mind I'm in official “Shut down”,my family will get the message eventually … it’s just that time of year!

Chad
Posts: 3845
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by Chad »

The benefits of being a single guy. People are just happy you dress yourself and manage to show up for a function or two.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6625
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by jennypenny »

Chad wrote:The benefits of being a single guy. People are just happy you dress yourself and manage to show up for a function or two.
I want to be a single guy when I grow up. :P


I refuse to go overboard buying stuff that will end up in the trash. I don't do cards. I decorate my table with small potted herbs instead of centerpieces and I give them to everyone to take home as their gift. I bake tons of cookies and hand them out to anyone who requires a gift.

The best antidote I've found to holiday binging is giving or volunteering. It's a better way to pay it forward or re-gift. Ask people to collect for something instead of exchanging gifts. That way people can buy something, but it's not just plastic junk that will end up in the garbage. Ask for pet food and treats for the local rescue. Collect books for a nursing home, games and DVDs for a senior center, or supplies for a food bank/soup kitchen (most publish a list of needs online). Have the office sponsor a heifer or well in an impoverished country.

I think many people are willing to avoid buying useless stuff if you give them an alternative.

5to9
Posts: 192
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:32 pm

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by 5to9 »

I have made some progress over the last few years in convincing people to get me consumables or nothing at all.

Where I am struggling is with the kids. Anyone have any tips for convincing rabid grandparents that our boys really don't need 7 new toys each for Christmas?

leeholsen
Posts: 325
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:38 pm

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by leeholsen »

a great thing to watch are the shopping channels. its 24 hours of stuff you dont need. for instance, i've seen them do a hour on clothes hangars multiple times. i have yet to buy a hangar in my life, but people call in and swear theyre great. its halarious.

Chad wrote:The benefits of being a single guy. People are just happy you dress yourself and manage to show up for a function or two.
and 2nd that. i know i will get married again, but those 1st few months on the way to that are going to be a real conversion or acceptance for the next mrs., or she isnt going to get to mrs.; but i'm not going back to mass consumerism to work until 80; i have plenty of other things i'd like to do.

Spartan_Warrior
Posts: 1659
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:24 am

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by Spartan_Warrior »

Similar to Jenny's idea, I have asked for nothing but charitable donations in my name this year. I get no junk (maybe even a tax write-off), friends and family get to feel like they're giving something, and someone who actually needs more stuff, gets more stuff. We'll see if folks actually give me what I ask for though. This might well be ignored by those of the "giving = retail consumption" mindset.

pete
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:55 am

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by pete »

Some gift cards will have expired by this time next year. The notice is in the small print

User avatar
Ego
Posts: 5007
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:42 am

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by Ego »

pete wrote:Some gift cards will have expired by this time next year. The notice is in the small print
That's called subtlety. Sometimes the reciprocity-nazis just need a little hint that you don't want to reciprocate their unwanted gift. Small boxes of two-year-old stale dollar store chocolates work wonders as well.

lilacorchid
Posts: 476
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by lilacorchid »

jacob wrote:Can you recycle the gift cards as presents for other people next year? (We've done that.)
I never thought of that... but then I would be giving gift cards, and I just don't know if I can do that!

vivacious
Posts: 428
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:29 am

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by vivacious »

Yeah I'm not a big fan of gift cards really. It doesn't show a lot of thought.

I think stuff that's handmade, or the person will actually use, etc are good. And there are some pretty good sales this time of year. Hitting up a few of them or getting some things online isn't too bad.

GandK
Posts: 1995
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:00 pm

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by GandK »

Amen, everybody.

The worst part of the holidays for me is when our extended family members behave as though we are deliberately depriving our kids by not showering them with mass-produced plastic paraphernalia. Some of them try to make up our "slack" themselves. :x

SilverElephant
Posts: 130
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:40 pm

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by SilverElephant »

Chad wrote:The benefits of being a single guy. People are just happy you dress yourself and manage to show up for a function or two.
I'm not single, and my girlfriend's mom is the mentioned "female martyr", while my girlfriend herself is "so much into Christmas". I've been a kill-joy about "the Christmas spirit" (read: spending money and time in so many useless ways" for so long that nowadays people are happy if I simply show up and smile.

1taskaday
Posts: 462
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:45 am
Location: England

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by 1taskaday »

I probably am the fore mentioned "kill-joy" as well, but I find it hilarious when people ask me,(everyday now,as the "Big Day" is getting nearer ),

"Are you all organised for Christmas?", I just have to stop and think,what am I supposed to say to this?

If I say yes all done,-they look disappointed.

If I say "Oh,no don't talk to me,I still have so much to do ..."-they love it and I get to hear every minute detail of their to-do list (very energy draining).

If I tell the truth and say "I have nothing to do,or nothing done"-I have to lose loads of my energy explaining my life philosophy on consumerism and wasting energy on meaningless stress.

What's an INTJ girl to do?

EdithKeeler
Posts: 1070
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:55 pm

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by EdithKeeler »

What's an INTJ girl to do?
I "out" myself when I get this question: "I and my family just don't 'do' Christmas anymore." Most of the time I just get a pitying look and they move on. Fine with me!

At my office Christmas party this year I confessed that I probably wouldn't put up my Christmas decorations this year, because I don't have anything planned, no one's coming over, and no one would be around to see them. "But you should just do it for yourself!" I was told. "You have to put something up, just for you to enjoy!"

Uh, no, I really don't. I can look at my pictures of the tree from last year, because if I put it up this year, it's going to look exactly the same: same tree, same decorations, same tree skirt, etc. It's been wet, the stuff's in the outside storage unit, and I'd have to move stuff around to get to it... and I just don't see the point. I was thinking the other day, if I found out in January I was going to die, I would NOT say, "Boy, I wish I'd put up that Christmas tree one more time." I think I'd be more likely to say "Thank God I didn't waste time putting up that Christmas tree..." This may become my test for everything I decide to do or not to do...

1taskaday
Posts: 462
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:45 am
Location: England

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by 1taskaday »

I have escaped putting up any decorations, so far, as well-I have 2 young teens that really only care about the stuff they are getting.

I'm just wondering will my DH pull them all out or will I finally manage to convince him that it is a total waste of energy.

What goes up must come down ...

sshawnn
Posts: 458
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:17 pm

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by sshawnn »

If you require a gift from us this year, expect a six pack. Creating six varieties of home brew for a variety six pack ended up being more expensive than I wanted but allowed me to do some mass beer making where I honed my skills and furthered my learning of ingredients effect on batches. I traded a worker at the local liquor store a six pack for many six pack cartons and have many recycled bottles so my main expense was the batch ingredients.

SilverElephant
Posts: 130
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:40 pm

Re: The Tyranny of "Stuff" at Christmas!!

Post by SilverElephant »

I enjoy the free time and seeing some family members I like but don't get to see often. Christmas evening itself (the main part, in Germany, where gifts are given, like the morning of the 25th in the US) is quite nice with a special meal and the giving of the gifts. I have a 15€/gift limit and help out my family with setting up the table and the tree.

I find it's very hard to find gifts that are useful, not totally pointless and will not clutter the recipient (so be either extremely useful or something you use up).

Total time spent on everything: 1 hour.

Post Reply