Mandatory Christmas Gifts

All day, I have been watching my mom struggle to come up with gift ideas for the family gift exchange on Saturday. This is something new that the family is doing this year: A five dollar limit on a gift that can go to anyone in the family.

As soon as I heard about this new idea, I was not a fan. It seemed so impersonal to me. Right away, I spotted a problem: (and I am not trying to be greedy or self-centered or anything like that) My mom bought a tin of popcorn. I cannot eat popcorn because I have braces. Then, she bought a board game because my brothers needed a gift too. I live alone and the board game is impersonal as well.

It almost seems like gift giving has become an obligation. What happened to giving gifts to people because we want to? Gifts should be from the heart. Not only that, but I have an aunt and a cousin that will be critical no matter what the present might be (which will definitely not make me feel happy, especially since I am not a good gift giver anyway). Not only has gift giving become mandatory, but it has become a time to be ungrateful.

I never did buy a gift because I was not sure if I would even be around for the celebration. I probably won’t be but it did not stop me from looking up polite excuses, just in case because I have been feeling guilty, even though the celebration is several days away.  My aunt and cousin will talk if I choose not to participate as well. However, I really liked the excuse about how I am downsizing in my apartment.

As I watch my mom struggle to find gifts, it makes me thankful that I have made the decision not to participate. After all, Christmas is not about the stress, the obligation, or the ungratefulness.

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