Christmas Shopping Sucks

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
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Re: Christmas Shopping Sucks

Post by cmonkey »

Yea it's awful. Take shopping and make it a seasonal sport. Twice as awful. Then you have to buy wrapping paper and guess how much that costs?

DW and I opt for one or two really special things and usually consumable at that. DW got me a chocolate advent calendar from Aldi this year. I got her an advent calendar of candles.

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Re: Christmas Shopping Sucks

Post by C40 »

Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:12 pm
I've tried the "let's cut back on gifts approach" but it doesn't go very far, and it makes me feel guilty. I've tried making things and offering experiences but the scale seems to be tipping towards me having more money than time these days. Any other tips?
(emphasis mine). I recommend you work on the "makes me feel guilty" part. Why do you feel guilty?

Personally, I opted out of gift giving many years ago. Basically as soon as I was an adult. Maybe that was sort of a cop-out as I got the presents when i was a kid and kids get more than they give, and then renounced holiday gift giving for myself. I had it pretty easy as my family soon joined in for the most part.

This is not something to feel guilty for. You don't owe the universe or the people participation in a made-up and stupid tradition. I don't have much advice to offer on how to not feel guilty, but I definitely recommend you work on this problem closer to the source of conflict. It's potential much easier than trying to find a better way to do something that you don't want to do.

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Re: Christmas Shopping Sucks

Post by vexed87 »

@c40, I detect heavy leaning on Harry Browne's writings?

Guilt is experienced for a reason! It's because stiffing someone in an act of mutual reciprocity might come back to haunt you. Consider it from the evolutionary perspective. Come the eventual failure of your hunting and gathering expedition, maybe you snagged your loin cloth on a stray branch and subsequently pulled your groin or something, someone who doesn't play fair can't be counted on to help you out in your own time of need. If you have no one to rely on, you really don't want to be injured and be in need of a tribe member sharing the proceeds of their successful hunt. Mutual reciprocity was the basis of economic interaction and our success as a social species before the market economy and money worked its tentacles into everything we do.

Financial relationships are terminated at the checkout, which is just as well considering the number of people we have to deal with in modern life. Real human relationships are long term. Cheating someone of reciprocity of a gift is not a good basis for a long term relationship, of course, the behaviour doesn't make sense if you put money at the centre of your human relationships, nor reciprocity within time constraints, money as always is just a tool. Humans, being social beings are not great at surviving on their own, hence the desire to want to keep others happy by reciprocating their gifts, that way we are not being perceived as a cheaters/free-riders in risk being shunned by the tribe and being forced to go it alone, where we are likely to expire.

Of course, if being frugal is in our web of goals, gift giving shouldn't cost the earth and we wouldn't wish to play with people who are keeping score (i.e. these homemade cookies I received are not == bicycle I saved from a skip, laboured on 100 hours on and gifted), this usually the hardest emotion to deal with, especially in expectations of others. Forsaking gifting/keeping score is only wrong if practised in the wrong spirit!

Regarding the idiocy of the arbitrary overtly commercialised tradition that is modern Christmas, the consumerist side certainly has sketchy origins and retailers have their own motivations, but it wasn't always that way. Of course, coming to a mutually beneficial agreement not to give gifts or setting spending caps are all legitimate, but these are also acts of mutual reciprocity.

Gifting something that you laboured for one way or another that is well received by the recipient is one the few things in life that makes people feel really good about themselves. Being a provider is meaningful in tribal life. Being a taker for too long is dangerous.

Hence the crazy way people express it today, giving flashy gifts and spending crazy. They are trying to recreate what was lost within the constrains of the market economy and earn their position in the tribe. Wasting money is something to avoid if you care about the bottom line, but gift giving is an an important part of relationships, usually it can be practised informally and unscheduled. It just so happens, Christmas is one day of the year that I am reminded to take part in that social interaction to a wider degree than I otherwise would in my busy modern market driven life. Evidently, this year it's DW that did the hardwork, and now I realise that I need to make it up to her, less I'll get thrown out on my ass.

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