Anti-consumerism

Another Christmas. No present was bought, given, or received.

Not trying to make a statement or doing it for some ideology or anything, but I just somehow never caught on with all these gift-giving traditions.

The only time I gift things is when I just happen to stumble upon something that I think someone will really appreciate, and I give zero regard to occasion, and never go out with the intention of buying presents.

It’s not the money, and I definitely enjoy spending a lot of time helping friends do stuff, etc, so it’s not that.

I think it’s due to my super-practical family never having a gift giving tradition. Growing up, I never received birthday presents or Christmas presents or any-other-occasion presents, and for me that’s just natural (didn’t know that’s unusual until much later). I didn’t and still don’t feel like something is missing from my childhood or anything. On the other hand, I have always been given quite a lot of financial freedom from very young age – I could ask for and get pretty much anything I want. Though surprisingly, I didn’t ask for much at all. I was never into those card games (which apparently cost quite a bit?), pokemon/digimon/whatever-other-mons-there-is, toys, or electronics gadgets. Heck, I didn’t even own a cell phone or carried a wallet until grade 12.

Ironically, despite all the spending freedom, I actually spent way less than other kids who had parents that insist they fight for and earn each of their toys. Funny, that eh? Maybe the way to make kids non-materialistic is to let them buy anything they want? Taking things away only makes them want those things even more.

I’m all for consumerism – buying stuff brings happiness, and $ is a small price to pay for happiness.

But seeing how stressed some people get trying to do all the “Christmas shopping” as some kind of obligation, I wonder if that still brings happiness.

My system of not giving or receiving presents seem to work pretty well for me. Every once in a while someone will give me something and I’ll feel guilty, but luckily most people will stop giving you stuff if you don’t give them stuff also, so it works out and I receive very few gifts nowadays. And it doesn’t seem to be harming my friendships.

Maybe give it a try if you are getting stressed out and not enjoying Christmas shopping?

I wonder how long I can keep this running for, or if I will eventually¬†succumb to societal norms, but I’m cherishing it for now.

Maybe until I FINALLY get a girlfriend? Still decidedly single (by choice of course… just not my choice!). I may be willing to do this little dance of buying gifts if it can make someone genuinely happy.

PS. Actually, coming to think of it, I just don’t seem to buy much stuff at all.

Couple months ago I came back from a 3 weeks trip to Europe (*), and had $0 on the customs declaration sheet coming back. I didn’t realize it until I had to fill out the form. I wasn’t intentionally avoiding buying things. Just didn’t end up buying any. I almost never buy souvenirs because I don’t believe objects do much to bring back memories. At least not nearly as much as memories themselves, pictures, videos, and blog posts, all of which are free.

Doesn’t mean I don’t spend money of course… the thing I buy the most is probably 100 octane leaded AvGas, which I always promptly burn into our lovely atmosphere. I probably spend more money on that than most people on everything else combined. Helping out with the Saudi economy!

* Ok, to be fair, a lot of it was just hacking robots all day, but there were quite a few days of traveling and sight-seeing, too.