Noted

How To Save Christmas

I’ve had it. I’m over it, I’m sick of it, and I’m going to say something about it. Christmas should be a time where we focus on our families, our close friends, and our faith. Instead, Christmas has become a time where we focus on presents, gifts, cards, parties, spending money, eating too much food, and feeling tons of guilt because we didn’t give or receive the appropriate number of or type of gifts. So, how can we save Christmas? Here we go:

  1. No Christmas decorations may be displayed, in stores, until AFTER December 1st. I do NOT need to see a Christmas tree while I’m wearing shorts and flip flip flops. I think that we should band together and only shop at stores that withhold decorating until after Thanksgiving. Better yet, let’s really, really support those stores with NO DECORATING at all. What a WASTE of time, energy, electricity, man-power, and resources. Instead? Have companies do one of two things: Discount merchandise by the amount of money they would normally have spent on decorations / Give donations to local charities in amounts equal to the total that would normally have been spent on decorations. Which is more “Christmas-Like”? Hanging some cheesy “First Noel” sign on your door with some fake snow? Or buying a kid a new pair of shoes?
  2. If you are over 18 years of age, you are allowed 5 total Christmas presents, 2 of which may come from your spouse or significant other. That’s it. 5 gifts and you are done. This solves many problems. Fist, you don’t have to “fake a smile” when you get the crud gifts that you always get from your co-worker / boss / great-Aunt / etc. Second, imagine the space you would have in your house if you didn’t have all the stuff that you don’t need, use or want. Well, a large portion of the junk you have is the gifts that you received at Christmas, and you don’t have the heart to get rid of it. With my 5 gifts rule, you don’t have to worry about storage or clutter. Third, MOST adults in our culture, at least by the age of 30, have everything that they really “need”. I mean, if you’re reading this post, you can’t be THAT needy, or you’d be out raking leaves or shoveling snow to make some extra scratch. Seriously, do you NEED a new : mp3 player, leaf blower, pocket book, tie, etc.? Nope. (You might WANT some of those things, but that’s what money is for. If you want something, and you have the money, go buy it for yourself…)
  3. There shall be a 3 Christmas party limit. 1 for your work. 1 for his work. 1 for friends / church / etc. That’s it. Again, once you’ve reached your limit, you’re done. No more gifts, no more “dirty-Santa,” no more cramped eating arrangements. (Whomever it was who invented “dirty-Santa” should be publicly hanged from the White House Christmas Tree.)
  4. You child does not HAVE to have the LATEST and GREATEST toys. Nope. Last years model will do just fine. Trust me, it will not hurt to buy fewer items while spending less money. They usually just play with the boxes anyway! Stop feeling guilty!!! Your value as a parent is not measured by how many toys you buy. Get your kids a few, nice, quality items, and have fun playing with the toys on Christmas morning. How many kids get tons of presents, but have no father or mother who is willing to get down on the floor and actually play with the toys?
  5. It should be ILLEGAL to buy a Christmas present with a credit card. Especially if your card has a balance. Oh, that 19.99 bargain for those Gap Jeans? By the time you pay them off, they’ll be unwearable, and you’ll be out 75 bucks. Stop it, stop it, stop it!!!
  6. Hey Bell Ringers. I give most of the time, but when I don’t have cash, don’t give me that smug “have a nice day” when I just walk past you. I don’t need to be made to feel guilty every time I need to run into Wal-Mart for some milk.
  7. One fake Santa per every 100 square miles.
  8. Relax. It’s an awesome, awesome holiday.
  9. There should be some mechanism whereby one can opt out of the whole gift-exchange process. A simple, “I’m not giving or receiving any gifts this year” badge would be great.
  10. If a toy that you buy breaks within the first 24 hours after being opened, then you should have to wear that toy around your neck for the next 24 hours, as punishment for buying an age inappropriate gift.

These are just a few of the (sarcastic?) real changes that I’d like to be seen made for Christmas time. I’m not a Scrooge or a Grinch. Nope, I’m just a guy who sees a lot of stressed out, over burdened, broke, debt-ridden folks who are in over their heads. They need a way out, away from all that Christmastime has become. They need time to spend with their families and friends without the pressure of spending money that they don’t have to buy things that they don’t need.

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