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The Grinch Returns

Monday, November 30th, 2009
Posted in Joel by Joel Gross

Every year I dread Christmas.

Why?

Mandatory gift giving. I absolutely hate being forced to give gifts people don’t like or pretending to be happy about receiving gifts that I don’t really want or need.

Don’t get me wrong: Christmas is one of my favorite holidays.  I love the food, trees, decorations, spirit, and even the music.  It’s just that giving gifts is such an inefficient waste.  Money that would be better spent paying down credit card debt, caring for your children, investing in new businesses or just buying yourself something you really want is instead blown on useless crap.

Yes, useless crap.  Someone probably considers wool underwear vital, but I don’t.  Many of these items might be very useful to someone else or to the giver, but rarely does the receiver really want or need the gift he gets.

I should also make an important distinction: I approve of non-required gift giving, I just hate being forced by society to buy gifts for others or have them feel forced to buy me gifts.

Top useless gifts I have received:

  • Bath robe.
  • Salsa. I got this every year till I was 14 and asked people to stop.
  • Video game cartridge for console I didn’t own. I then thought I would receive the console later and was heartbroken when it didn’t materialize.
  • Beef jerky. I still get this from multiple people every year.
  • Clothes. Nothing in the last 6 years has fit.  Not once.

I am sure you could easily come up with your own list of goods you received but did not want or need.  So why do Americans waste such enormous amounts of money?  Because we feel bad and the person who receives gifts but does not give them looks like the Grinch.

Will I give Christmas gifts this year?

Yes.

WHAT?!!??!! Are you a hypocrite? Why did you write this whole post?”, you ask.

Every person who gives me a gift this year is going to receive a tire pressure gauge from me along with a note that reads:

Dear Gift Giver,

Due to your erroneous, but kind, decision to give me a gift I must now return the favor.  Unfortunately for you, I am morally opposed to mandatory gift giving.  So instead of a fruitcake you would throw away or a shirt that doesn’t fit you, I am going to give you a useful item: a tire pressure gauge.  It could one day save your life.

If you don’t own a car, I have a special Christmas message for you:

Burn in hell, hippy.”

6 thoughts on “The Grinch Returns

  1. all you need to do is make a list- then you can be sure to get what you want! I’ll give you my list later.

  2. I am NOT doing all that S&H for you, unless of course you plan on compensating me for the inevitable troubles. Merry Christmas Dear Brother! Sincerely. Young Capitalist

  3. Joel, I have one thing to say to you…..You disappoint me. Why would you use the internet as a tool to complain about what you consider “useless” gifts you have received. All you are doing is hurting the feelings of those people that have ever given you one of those gifts. Did you EVER stop to think that as a gesture of affection for you, but not having the finances to buy you an expensive gift(whatever you seem to think is a worthy gift), a person would have given of themselves to “make” something with thier own hands that they thought you might enjoy. How ungrateful. Even if it wasn’t your favorite gift, you have jsut taken a knife and put it in the back of almost every one of your relatives and/or friends that thought they were doing something nice for you. How “mean-spirited” of you to write this on your “blogging” site. In honor of your “witty blog”, I will wish you a Happy Birthday now and send the “useless” birthday card I had purchased for you to someone that will truly appreciate the card. I sincerely hope that you will take some time and really think about this and get back on your site here and appologize to everyone whose feelings you have probably hurt with “your infinite wisdom”….I think it is time for you to grow up and be a man instead of sounding like some spoiled school boy…

  4. Aunt Ann, I appreciate your feedback on my site. My intention was not to hurt anyones feelings with this post or to criticize gifts I have received. I just don’t like that people are forced to give gifts. I think voluntary gifts & creative gifts are wonderful. For instance, the blanket you knitted for me has been one of the best gifts I have ever received because I know how much thought and time and effort you put into it. I have kept it for years and plan on keeping it with me whenever I move or travel anywhere. My opinion on forced gift giving is different though- when people have to go and purchase commercial items to satisfy a social requirement. I prefer genuine gifts & acts of service to having a specific time when people are forced to do things. I would rather cook meals for friends, go places with them, help them with practical things as they need it all year long than have one or two times a year for gift giving. I certainly did not intend to hurt your or anyone else’s feelings with this post. I was just stating my case for approaching gift giving & acts of kindness on a different year round basis rather than just having a couple of times when people feel forced to do things. I hope I have clarified what I meant in the blog post. Joel

  5. Joel, Your response to my post has me a little confused as to what part isn’t criticizing gifts that people have given you. All of the things that you listed in your useless gifts are ones that I have seen you receive repeatedly in the past and you had always shown much enthusiasm in receiving. If your intention was not to insult and critcize, then why even write a blog such as this, because anyone that reads this is going to see it as a back-handed insult to all the people in your life that have given you gifts that you didn’t think were worthy of giving. I guess that the point I am trying to make to you is to be very careful who and what you blog about on your site here as it will stick with you forever and a blog such as this one does not create warm and fuzzy feelings to those around you….just think on it.

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