A Defence of Christmas Presents

Have you read any of those articles written by one of those “holier than thou” journalists telling you that Christmas shopping is destroying the planet and you should be content to give and receive only hand-knitted socks and scarves (preferably from recycled wool)?

I know I have read plenty of them, and they annoy me (and if you haven’t read any of them, here’s one by George Monbiot that somehow manages to suggest that we’re buying each other sprinkled rhino horn)

I like Christmas shopping. I like trying to think of a gift for someone that is thoughtful and useful, (though I do admit this will tend to be a book more often than not). No-one in their senses would ever want to receive anything knitted by me, simply because I cannot knit to save my life. I see nothing wrong with getting a mascara for a friend who always uses make-up, a book that I would recommend to a family member or even a toy to a child who has been begging for it all year. Moderation is key here. I’m not saying everyone should receive ten presents, but it would be sad if no-one received even one.

And I’m not particularly fond of decorative ornaments that take up space on my bookshelves, but I know some people love them – and I don’t think myself morally superior to those people. It’s the air of moral superiority in those articles, the dismissiveness that is particularly hurtful.

I also have a suspicion that these sort of articles are written by people who never actually NEED anything for Christmas. In my family, it is common enough, for example for women to exchange gifts of a nice night cream that you know someone will use every single evening, but is slightly nicer than the one you know she would buy for herself. So it’s given to the other for Christmas. It makes sense. It genuinely shows that you care for the other person. I’m pretty sure a lot of people exchange similar gifts – little treats for the other person that are both useful and thoughtful.

I feel like the journalist who writes this type of article already has the most lovely things he can possibly buy for himself, so doesn’t understand why others might ever want things that they use every single day for Christmas. But they do.

Even toys get used more than once – I still own the treasured lego box I got one Christmas when I was four, which I played with till I was about 12 ( I am now 25). It has already used by two different sets of cousins, and my Mum keeps it as a ‘guest toy’ whenever people with young children come to visit.

Let people enjoy the Christmas they have and stop making them feel guilty about it. Stop being a Grinch. Please.


Image credit: pixabay.com/rawpixel

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