Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pre-Packaged Christmas Giving

You know what I hate? (OK, this post is about one thing in particular, not my laundry list of issues with the entire world.)

Pre-packaged Christmas gifts. The stores are littered with shrink-wrapped baskets of body lotions, makeup, coffee, "food" stuffs like wild smoked salmon with mustard pretzels. These gifts don't say "I care," they say "I had to get you a present so I grabbed this off the shelf."

I probably could have lived happily--okay, not happily, maybe tolerantly--with these things if not for the year a friend of mine gave me a planter filled with little guests soaps. To give her credit, the planter and the soaps were shaped like cats. Because you know how it is--pick one thing you know a person likes and get something that "relates" to it.

I don't want to sound like a complete bitch here, but I had spent quite a bit of time picking out a blouse for her, as well as a sweater for her husband. I'm not saying her gift to me should have been of a like dollar amount, but it could have used a little more care in the selection. What about me really makes someone say, upon seeing a shrink-wrapped ceramic cat filled with soap, "that's SO Jana!" Don't you hate it when you're so excited to receive a gift, only to open it up and have your happiness deflate like a balloon? Oh, hey, this is great! Thanks so much! I had no idea soap came shaped like cats! I'll treasure it for as long as it takes me to get it home and hide it in a garbage bag.

So I have begun a boycott of pre-packaged Christmas crap. (Of course, I'm sitting here looking at a basket full of chocolates and poached salmon, but I'll consume the chocolate and let the salmon disappear where it shall.) I will not buy those items to give as gifts. The last couple of years I've been giving handmade gifts. Some people might not have liked receiving scarves, but at least they weren't pulled off a shelf and I took the time to pick out the yarn and put in the hours it took to craft the item.

And that leads me to another thing--where has the joy in Christmas shopping gone? I used to love browsing and finding that "perfect" gift. Now it's just such a beating to even get in and out of a store. And the prices are just ridiculous. Forget it. I don't know anyone who needs overpriced Chinese-made crap. Gift cards are the next generation pre-packaged gift, but at least the recipient gets to pick out their own crap. And frankly, I prefer it.


  1. Oh man...I guess it's back to the store for me. You know you are getting fudge. Only thing under our xmas tree this year is empty boxes wrapped in festive paper. One is even wrapped in dreidel paper. Yep, Macy's did the wrapping.

  2. I look forward to your fudge, Becci, because I know it was made in your kitchen with love--and possibly a little doggie hair thrown in.