Friday, December 21, 2007

everyone should just give cookies for christmas

I like to read this columnist on Salon.com, Cary Tennis. The best thing about his advice is that I often have no idea what angle he's going to take in response to a question. Take, for example, this woman who wrote in a while back: The gift exchange in her family has turned into kids asking for gift cards and instead of putting what they want on the list, it turns into a list of what they don't want this year. It saddens her that she doesn't have the opportunity to pick out something special for her family anymore and now the whole thing just sort of really blows.

As I was reading it, I was all Yeah, what she said! Gift-giving sucks these days! Everything is all hype and commercialized! Down with shopping! But then I
read his response, of which here is a snippet:
"Where, I ask you, are they supposed to find the values that you are talking about? Sure, parents can try to teach them these things. But kids look at their parents, and then they look at the world, and they go, What the fuck? They see the toys spewing out of the world's vast maws of plastic-mold technology, they see the microchips doubling in speed and know that in a year they will be faster and faster still, and tinier and tinier still, and more feature-rich too. They see the new dresses and the new videos, and they know they'll be changing faster than they can change their own clothes. And then they look at their parents, who seem to be moving in black-and-white slo-mo. How can they feel anything but pity and scorn? How can they have any confidence that their parents will even survive the acceleration? In fact it must frighten them that their parents seem so ill-adapted to the world that parents themselves have created."

Suddenly I found myself thinking about how my parents never read this blog because they have dialup and it's such a hassle to get online and then if someone calls the house, they're bumped off and it's totally not worth getting broadband for them because they likely won't use it. What also came to mind was how my dad insists on watching television "live" and won't allow us to start late and fastforward commercials, even though many of the programs are on Indian channels, which aired YESTERDAY over there, so it's really never live for us at all. And my parents aren't even old yet!

So then I was all Right on, Cary Tennis! I have way too much crap in my house, too! I don't need any more things! Everyone should just give
heifers for the holidays! Gift cards aren't such a bad idea! Because if I get run down by another shopping cart at the mall I'm going to kick somebody! And people don't really like most gifts anyway! And anything I get my parents they're just going to be like, "oh you should have saved your money!" and likely it'll sit in the package for a year until I force them to open it. But then I find myself saying and doing the exact same things and I'm all pissed off that I'm turning into my parents. Then after all that, I start thinking about carving out time for one more trip to the mall this weekend to finish up what shopping I have left to do.

We got a lot of scrumptious cookies at the office this week. And there is a good possibility that I have consumed way too many of them today.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of my offspring - the over-educated one - sent a donation to Lutheran World Relief in my name for a Christmas gift. It was thoughtful and didn't require any additional space or time from my life. Perfect.

Become a Woman of Ideas instead of a Collector of Stuff.

lilalia said...

It's hard to imagine that your parents do not make the effort to read your blog. Though mine doesn't either. Some my siblings and some of my friends don't read blogs, and they are young(ish). The reason for this is often their reluctance to adopt any new technology. The whole notion of it is too intimidating.

I think that anonymous above has hit the nail on the head. It is about adopting new ideas and not just adopting new stuff. This is where I think Cary Tennis' argument is wrong: he concentrates on the shell and not the filling.

Alexandra said...

do like the dutch people do- ask the person you're giving a gift to for a list of 5 things they would like (of course specify a budget to them) then... get them one of those things- they'll still be surprized cus they wont actually know WHICH of the 5 things you got them- but everyone is happy- they because they got exactly what they wanted, you- because they were still surprised :) - cadiz i'm waiting for a fab- recipe-and a story - oh AND a picture :)

Sphincter said...

My mom doesn't even know about my blog. I'm not sure she knows what a blog is. And she surely wouldn't like me telling "everybody" on the Internet all my business.

Syar said...

If food (re: cookies) ever went out of style as a gift, I'll know it's time to take up a hermitage in a cave.

Jon said...

My younger sisters think that myspace is the endall off online social networking. It's annoying. But my older sister and both of my parents are regulars. Probably the most regular of all my readers.

As for the Christmas sentiment, I really feel that it's about the giving. When you don't take the time to make up a proper list of the things you would enjoy receiving for Christmas, you're taking away the joy of giving from your loved ones. It's kind of rude if you ask me. I really enjoy making someone happy with a gift, so when they say they don't want anything, it makes me feel sad that I'm not capable of giving them something they can enjoy. While that may not be entirely true, it's how I feel. Just my opinion...

Lia said...

Cookies are a good idea. So are donations. I don't like gift cards because yeah, they're too commercialized. Even if the person knows exactly how much you're spending, you still take the price tag off before you wrap it, right?

I've started feeling that way about kids' toys, though: why get them more stuff to clutter the house if they'll only play with them a few times before outgrowing them? But I buy them anyway.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I'm just amazed to see how children have SO MUCH in the more developed countries. My mother and I don't even bother to buy my nieces and nephews toys, etc. We send books. They read a lot. And play outdoors.

jinius said...

im actually glad my parents dont read my blog. i think a piece of my blog's soul would die if you did. and i would totally be down for xmas cookies! if youre gonna endorse consumerism on xmas might as well actually be consuming something.

Michelle said...

Gift cards are the way to go! I got two this year and will be looking to spend them on useful stuff rather than crap! And don't worry about the cookies, you're totally allowed to eat them all...them all!! =D hehe...