The gifts have been opened. Empty boxes and shredded wrapping paper fill the trash. Time for another thought experiment: What I give no gifts?
Gift-giving is a social affair but also a financial one. Some people are moderate with their gifting – perhaps for them, the act of gifting is the enjoyable experience. Others want the greatest impact on the recipient, which only comes from spending loads of money.
But what if I give no gifts? Not during the frenzied gift-giving of Christmas, not for birthdays, weddings, baby showers, and the rest. Would I be a monster? A rich, rich monster.
Monster is the wrong word. Pariah is a better one. Or a**hole. Here we come back to the idea of money as part of our social status. If you don’t give someone a gift for their birthday, you’re a cheapskate, tightwad, anti-social.
What about impromptu gifts? “I found this tea in the shop yesterday, and I thought you might like it, friend of mine.” Or, “I found this old book of poetry at the used bookstore and thought it belonged in your collection, wife of mine.” But these are not the gifts you give your third cousin who lives in Ohio or Carl, your cubicle neighbor. These gifts express interest and affection for the recipient, not the empty obligation of fulfilling a spending requirement.
Meanwhile, my wallet is not concerned with philosophical questions of gift-giving. It’s just screaming, “Stop the meaningless spending!” From the mouths of wallets, truth does spring. Wait, wallets don’t have mouths