With Christmas upon us, I have been contemplating the art of gift giving. We live in a connected society. Through social media, we have connected with nearly everyone we have ever met. I have old Navy buddies I talk to on Facebook, relatives I haven’t seen in 20 years, weirdo’s that I when to school with, and just about every relationship humanly possible.
So who gets gifts and who does not?
Obviously, this is really a problem for my wife since I only have the responsibility to buy for her. She does all the other shopping. Still, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
Do we give gifts to all our family members? If not, where to we draw the line? Does my Aunt make the cut, and if she does, do her grandkids? If a friend sends me a gift just because they thought of me, am I obligated to reciprocate? (feels like I am being forced to think of them, but what the hell?)
The whole gift giving thing has gotten way out of hand. It often leaves some feeling left out and other feeling obligated. So I have come up with the Halloween-Christmas Gift Giving Proposal (HCGGP). What does Halloween have to do with Christmas? Keep reading, I’ll get there.
HCGGP is intended to bring the joy back to Christmas. After all, Christmas morning should be about the children. Let’s forget the religious stuff for a moment. Remember what Christmas was like when we were kids? Remember waking up and running down stairs to see all those presents under the tree? Remember having to open boxes of socks and underwear just to get to the toys? Remember Mom and Dad looking on, taking pictures, and drinking coffee (not opening the same amount of presents as we got)?
HCGGP has very simple guidelines. First, to receive presents on Christmas you must be:
- A child. A child is defined as a minor living with a parent or guardian who (1) was generally good all year, and (2) Here’s where Halloween comes in…Trick-or-Treated, in full costume, the Halloween before the Christmas in question.
- Teenagers under 18 can qualify for presents if they either fulfill the Trick-or-Treat obligation or, in full costume, handed out candy at home on Halloween.
Under the HCGGP, adults are required to give gifts to any child that falls under the above guidelines, so long as that child is a member of their family. To be considered family, the child must belong to:
- You – either by biology, marriage, or court order.
- Your direct sibling (not the sibling of your former spouse)
- Your offspring and in rare cases your offspring’s offspring (or in redneck teen pregnancy lineages, your offspring’s offspring’s offspring).
- Either one of your parents (yes if you did not Trick-or-Treat on Halloween you must get your young annoying little sister a present – little brothers are never annoying).
Now I know, some will say “what about my husband/wife? Should I get them a gift?” The answer of course is – if you want to keep your marriage, yes. However, spouse gifts should be limited to one very thoughtful gift with a cap pre-decided by both parties.
Let’s think about a world where HCGGP is the norm. No more money wasted on your crazy half-uncle’s weirdo kids. No more being expected to get your neighbor’s ex-husband’s nephew a Playstation 3. Your money (and everyone else’s) can be spent on bigger ticket items for the people who really matter.
The day before Christmas can be spent with the ones we love rather than in line at the UPS store overnighting drug store gift cards to your mom’s ex-husband’s nephew’s daughter who is standing in line in Lima, Montana sending the same damn gift card to you (with less money on it).
Gone will be the days of trying to find a thoughtful gift for your elementary school sweetheart’s third husband. No more opening a stuffed singing cat wearing a noel sweater from your butcher’s half-brother while they look on with eager eyes for your joyful reaction to their ‘wonderful’ gift.
And as an added bonus, the day after Thanksgiving sales will be moved up to the day after Halloween, so you can go from handing out candy to standing in line at Target to get that new Barbie Designer Crackhouse that your granddaughter really wants, and you can finally afford. Plus, if you don’t want to wait in line, you have almost four more weeks to shop! Now, even Thanksgiving can be enjoyed the way God meant it – Getting just as smashed watching the Detroit Lions as they are getting on the field!
HCGGP is my humble modest proposal. I thought of it, it is up to you to implement it. But if you choose not to, please buy copies of my novel, Lazarus Cane, for all of your sister’s BFF’s children (there should be about a hundred of them). I’ll be happy to sign them for you!