starting over


Posts Tagged ‘money’

On Christmas.

Clearly I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

I grew up in a family that constantly strived to be normal, to fit in with the social norm. We wanted what everyone else wanted, we didn’t like what everyone else didn’t like. We were nobodies.

As harsh as I make it sound, I still loved those times I had growing up and following the traditions that everyone else had. I look forward to going home and watching the Christmas lights turn on at 8pm even though it wastes electricity, decorating the Christmas tree even though we don’t look at it and take it down in a weeks time, cooking Western food for a Western style Christmas dinner even though my mouth waters to think about my mom’s home-cooked Chinese food.

Does this sound strange? I think it does.

I was stressing this weekend of what to get for my family. One year my parents and I bought my brother a Sony Clie which he used for all of 6 months and now I never see him use it even though he claims he does. And it cost approximately $250. I debate for a long time what to get my cousins, whether to buy my parents anything, how much I should spend, what would they like, all those random materialistic questions that arise when gift-shopping. While bringing this up with A, he asked me if it was really worth it.

Is it worth it to spend money on these gifts? Do we really need them? Do we benefit from receiving monetary gifts from others? If it was something we wanted, really really wanted, would we not have gone out and bought it ourselves?

I think a new social norm needs to start. I think people need to stop giving gifts and start giving time. I learned this from A. It’s a very hard concept to swallow, because I get giddy when I buy a gift I think someone would love, and I take so much care into wrapping it that he thinks I’m crazy. But when you sit back and really think about it, it’s all so commercialized that it feels very phony. Deep deep deep down inside, that is what I think when I hand people their gifts. It’s very sad, I know.

How does this new trend start, then? I think our generation is too late in the game. I think the free-thinkers like A with this new concept in giving will be socially outcasted because we’re too based on materialism and it’s the dollar amounts that define the people we are. I see this in myself because while I want to embrace A’s new idea on giving, I can’t see it as something I would do for fear of the social norm.

What do you give, if at all, on Christmas to those you love? Is there a general understanding of the idea of gifts and monetary value that you’ve come to understand, and are you okay with it?

For Christmas, I would like to spend more time with friends. To engage in meaningful conversations on top of the daily “this is what I did”, “did you catch the lastest episode of [insert random tv show]“, “have you talked to [insert random name] lately”. Who can gift me this amazing gift for Christmas?