So I was cleaning out my bedroom the other day and of course I found all the things I didn’t know were missing until I started to clean up. Most notable was about $50 in already rolled change from who knows when (which of course will stay in that state unused for some time) and a pile of gift certificates and gift cards from birthdays and Christmases past. I wonder if I have already reached the stage of life where I don’t really have wants. I can remember being a kid and having wants for things…wants that were so strong they certainly felt like needs. Those things gradually became less and less and as I could begin to afford my own “wants” I didn’t want anywhere near as much. Now, I accumulate acquisitive power in the form of gift cards that I don’t use because I can never decide what I might want or need. Sure, I buy books every so often and read them once or twice. I buy clothes too…but pretty much only when they have moved from being a want to being a need in the most literal sense. The internet has essentially negated my need for both music and movies. I don’t really play games anywhere near as much as I used to and I have only limited hobbies. I do like camping but I’ve reached a point there where unless I decide I’m going to summit everest or thru-hike the AT…I don’t need anything further unless something happens to break. I guess that means I’m the kind of person who that whole “ a donation has been made in your name to [insert name of favorite charity here]” kind of a gift is really pretty good. I think a small part of it is that I’m pretty particular about the things I spend money on. I buy very little for myself without research of some sort or another though I really don’t like shopping and I hate the feeling of buyer’s remorse. This means that I don’t buy things at all frivously and so a gift often feels foreign because its someone elses interpretation of what I might want but the silly thing is that I want so very little that most gifts would never match up. That makes receiving gifts always a bit unsatisfying and I worry that even the donation gift could leave me feeling the same way. Person A says “I didn’t know what to give you so we made a donation to the ASPCA.” I say “Oh that’s great…they do good work.” In my head I think, “Wow, helping animals is nice but we have people that need help too…a donation to Catholic charities would have been better because they have lower overhead and do a good job of helping people.” I suppose its all in the spirit of giving and I shouldn’t be so particular and I don’t want to totally withdraw from Christmas gift giving (though that would honestly suit me just fine). I do enjoy giving gifts when I have the means to but I run into the same problems…I insist on placing the same restrictive rules onto gifts given as I would place on items purchased for myself or items received as a gift. Carefully thought out to provide maximum benefit…trivial presents always seem worse to me than none at all. I know some of you are saying, “it’s the thought that counts.” I totally get that mentality…I just can’t do it. In my twisted Christmas world, I need it to work out both ways. I need the gift to match the thought…something that sends a message. Because even gift giving isn’t altruistic in its entirety…we as people do derive some joy out of making others happy and a crappy gift doesn’t allow me to reap that particular reward. I don’t wanted feigned happiness…I want the real thing and that’s tough to do. So with that said…my Christmas list is pretty empty this year. In case you are really desperate to get me something, I’m a big fan of the following charities and non-profits, a gift to them will make them happy, me happy, and you happy
Happy chrismahanukwanzaa! Patrick OUT!!!