Friday 3 December 2010

I don't want anything for christmas

I’m not a christian. To me, Christmas is not about Jesus, though I’m all for it being about a Donkey, because “Donkey” is a great word. I realise the name of the event descends from the idea of Jesus’ birthday, but the name has stuck and for almost all of the capitalist world, the meaning has been superceeded by this–

Buy, eat and consume like a fucking pig this christmas

In many ways this reflects the dual message that we’re being given by media channels - especially TV, which is why we don’t own a TV. Another post for another time. I digress…

I like Christmas, but for me it’s about downtime and planning how to kick next year’s arse. but when I tell people that I don’t want anything for Christmas I can come across as a few things —

  • Like I’m having a passive aggressive tantrum at that person
  • “Batshit” crazy

Neither of those two things are a correct diagnosis of my statement. When I say I don’t want anything for Christmas, I mean just that. I have everything, I don’t want anything.

If that person can’t think of something to get me, that’s fine. Buying meaningful presents is really hard, you have to pay attention to the persons life in every way to spot something that they’ve missed. It can be done, but it’s a skill. There is no shame in not buying someone a present for Christmas, you could make something, bake one, cook one or give them something that you have and don’t use that they could put to much better use.

But if you can’t think of a great gift, then don’t feel like you have to blindly go out and buy plastic nik-nakery ( calculator and shampoo set for instance ) to attempt to hide this fact. I’ll say it again, there is no shame in not buying someone a present. When someone does this they’re buying the shit that couldn’t be sold in the rest of the year. It’s crazy and if you want more crazy to add to that pile here’s the life cycle of a plastic nik-nakery Christmas gifts.

  1. Plastic goods made overseas
  2. Plastic goods then shipped to UK
  3. Plastic good sold to consumer automaton
  4. Gift given to recipient
  5. Gift thrown away sometime in January
  6. Gift collected with other Christmas waste
  7. Waste shipped back overseas

This is a horrible cycle and it only benefits the already “uber-wealthy elite”.

So when I say I don’t want anything for Christmas, I mean that I don’t want the person to add to the above problem by just blindly giving me nik-nakery. I’m trying to tell them that I want them to save their money and feel good about just wishing me a happy Christmas. I’m trying to show them that they can just wish me a happy Christmas and I that I’ll think more of them by doing so.

I realise that many people don’t get this and that giving a present is a nice gesture of well wishing and love and I always receive a gift in that spirit. But I always imagine that a wonderful gift from someone that I’ve said “I don’t want anything for Christmas” to, would be a box and inside that box would be a note saying, “Merry Christmas”.

Finally there are people who really need help at Christmas. If we totalled up the amount of nik-nackery that we buy at Christmas and instead of buying nik-nackery, we give all that money to those that needed it, then we’d be getting somewhere close to a really nice meaning for Christmas that humanity could be proud of.

Merry Christmas.