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Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

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Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby Scepcop » 22 Dec 2011, 21:26

Do any of you think that Christmas gift exchanges are pointless and troublesome? I know when you're a kid, it's like the highlight of your life, but now that you are a practical rational adult, doesn't it seem more trouble than it's worth - just to follow some dumb tradition everyone else is following, that was obviously created for commercial purposes?

I mean, you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on gifts, and others do the same for you. And then when you get your gifts, they may not even be what you want or need, so you end up having to find a place in your home to put them. Isn't that dumb? I mean, if you needed something, you'd go out and buy it yourself right? Why play this guessing game of exchanging gifts, just to end up with useless junk that you don't need with no place to put it? lol

Yet because everyone's family and friends are doing it, they feel obligated to submit to the pressure to do the same, even though deep down they probably don't want to. It's like that every year. Why doesn't someone break the cycle?

Christmas is overrated anyway. Most family gatherings (especially in the US) are composed of people who don't even really care about each other, acting polite just for the sake of the holiday season. It's so fake.

Have any of your families broken the chain and decided not to exchange gifts with others? Isn't it a waste of time and money, and unnecessary and troublesome as well?

My parents used to exchange gifts with others a few times back in the 80's, but eventually they and their friends and relatives realized it was pointless and stopped. My dad always said every Christmas: "If my friends get me a Christmas gift, then I have to go out and get them one too. What a hassle! That's why we don't do that anymore."

I think when you have little kids, the gifts thing is a huge thing to them, so the parents agree to it for their sake. But once the kids are grown up, then the whole thing is no longer necessary. Gifts don't bring joy to adults. They only bring joy to the pocketbooks of those producing and selling them commercially.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby ProfWag » 22 Dec 2011, 21:51

Scepcop wrote:Christmas is overrated anyway. Most family gatherings (especially in the US) are composed of people who don't even really care about each other, acting polite just for the sake of the holiday season. It's so fake.

I disagree with you more on this statement of yours than I do your 9/11 theories. Sorry.
Although Atheist, I cherish the Christmas season as a time to reflect and remember how precioius family and friends are. True, there are family members whom I care little about, but I also don't spend time with them at Christmas. There may also be an in-law or two that I don't care if they show up at dinner-time, but that also means that perhaps we could use the time to strengthen our bond.
Family and friends can be one of the true pleasures in life and if it takes a Christian holiday once a year to remember that, I see no reason to change that. (Though I do think Christmas cards got a little out of hand through the years...)
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby Craig Browning » 23 Dec 2011, 04:10

First of (and probably most important of all) is to remember that this IS NOT a "Christian Holiday" but rather a Pagan Observation onto which the Christian cult imposed itself by borrowing various symbols and related lore. They did the same with numerous Pagan celebrations with Easter being the other more noted imposition. Yet, the symbols and significance tied to these two particular examples still mirror the pagan essence around things NOT some kind of Christian exclusive lesson. Once such things are understood and we're able to put these Holy Days into perspective, we begin to see how Universal they are and that no one really hosts exclusive rights to it or the collection of symbols tied to them. Then again, not all parts of the world celebrate the Yule Tide season in the same way; Santa Claus as an example, is not typical to cultures outside the UK, US, France & Germany where he's been highly commercialized. Then too, in the UK he's "Father Christmas" and not that fat over-sized elf popularized by Coke-a-Cola and Macy's here in the U.S. Spain actually celebrate the arrival of the Three Magi/Kings as do the majority of Latino based cultures (even though Mexico tends to include Santa in their agenda due to the strong U.S. influence within their culture.

There's a ton of such nuance and trivia that few of us are aware of and thus, it gets ignored. Similarly, there are countless other elements we all share and which have been a primary part of the season since the beginning of time it would seem; starting with the idea of New Life and Hope because of the New Light. . . the long nights of winter's darkness is passing as the new Male Consort of the sleeping goddess comes into being, his presence taking us from the darkness and into the light. . . the literal transition from the long nights of dark and return of the longer days of purest light, which lends to our psyche, hope, a new beginning, joy and reason to celebrate -- it is a time to embrace the new and all that it allows us to know in way of opportunity and the fact that change is likewise afoot as the old is discarded and the new allowed "in".

The Commercialism of the Yule-Tide Season is a plight created and sustained by Humankind and as such, it is up to us to neuter it and it's influence in our world. There are plenty of reasons for doing this as well as ritualized approaches that would allow us to make it all credible.

    > We Could Sacrifice These Material Things by Burning Them in the Name of God. . . that is to say, for the sake of that divine essence so many of us imbue this season & society with.
    > We Could Do Away with Commercialism within Our Gesture of Gifting. . . create simple "modest" gifts that would be exchanged rather than patronizing the Temples of the Money Mongers who would hoard away the monies given them, whilst barely placating the needs of their employees.''
    > We Could Establish a Social Ethic in Which Commercially Purchased Gifts of All Kinds are Taboo -- an immoral and highly unethical type of gifting.
    > We Could Legislate Bills into Law so as to Forbid ANY FORM of Religious Based Ornamentation and/or Proclamation; furthermore, limiting and seriously curtailing key associations of the season with divinity (especially given the theological facts surrounding the more accurate season of birth when it comes to the Jesus child, and latter death pageant.)
These are things that "Could" and probably "Should" be done. Not only would it neuter the "tradition" of commercialized Christmas observation (a tradition begun in the 1870s), it would encourage the sort of social interaction the holy season has always stood for; to honor and remember those that have fallen over the past year, counting our blessings while evaluating and preparing for our future; believing in the miracle of accomplishing those goals and the hope set within our being for getting there.

When we remove the religious implications from Yule and learn to see the humble and more honest essence of it's symbolism and message, THEN we will become honest celebrants as to what this season is all about and what the gifting exchange actually signifies.
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby derrida » 23 Dec 2011, 05:26

Scepcop talking about rationality.. that´s funny..

well i might be an atheist, but i enjoy this season
i love also giving gifts to the people i love.
i love walking malls.. looking for the perfect gift..

all right all that was bullshit..
i havent bought a present for my girl and i trying to hypnotize myself into driving to christmas crowded places... god damn!!
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby ProfWag » 23 Dec 2011, 09:07

Craig Browning wrote:First of (and probably most important of all) is to remember that this IS NOT a "Christian Holiday" but rather a Pagan Observation onto which the Christian cult imposed itself by borrowing various symbols and related lore.

Very true Craig. I always greet people this time of year with Merry Paganmas!
If I remember right though, some of the traditions are Christian. The tree, carols, cards, and, of course, the man himself-- St. Nicholas. Gifts are probably pagan though.
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby Scepcop » 23 Dec 2011, 14:42

ProfWag,
Are you defending the hassle of spending hundreds of dollars every year on gifts just because it's a tradition? Wise people realized long ago that it wasn't worth the trouble to exchange gifts just to have a lot of useless junk to store. Come on now. This is a no brainer. Why didn't you at least agree with that?

Is it because you want to disagree with me on everything? Or because you believe that a custom should always be followed, even if it's purely commercial? Sheesh. You are no freethinker at all. You don't even see the obvious.
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby Arouet » 23 Dec 2011, 16:16

Scepcop wrote:ProfWag,
Are you defending the hassle of spending hundreds of dollars every year on gifts just because it's a tradition? Wise people realized long ago that it wasn't worth the trouble to exchange gifts just to have a lot of useless junk to store. Come on now. This is a no brainer. Why didn't you at least agree with that?


It's fun. It's nice to think of others. It brings people together. Seem like pretty good reasons.

Is it because you want to disagree with me on everything? Or because you believe that a custom should always be followed, even if it's purely commercial? Sheesh. You are no freethinker at all. You don't even see the obvious.


What's wrong with commercial traditions? I'll repeat: it's fun. It's nice to think of others. It brings people together.
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 24 Dec 2011, 06:56

I do Yule and will occasionally will put up a Christmas tree because I like the way they smell. I don't do the gift buying/giving thing at all unless I wind up in some sort of dumbass gift exchange. I hate those things. I prefer doing something like a cookie exchange, complete with the recipes and spend Christmas morning volunteering at a local event for families with children who have next to nothing then over to a local shelter to help serve dinner.
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby Arouet » 24 Dec 2011, 07:09

Just spent over $500 today xmas shopping - mainly for the kids though rumour has it that Santa is bringing me Batman Arkham City this year! (if I've been a good boy that is!). And he's bringing my wife Gears of War 3. I think Santa is a bit of a geek!
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 24 Dec 2011, 07:11

Arouet wrote:Just spent over $500 today xmas shopping - mainly for the kids though rumour has it that Santa is bringing me Batman Arkham City this year! (if I've been a good boy that is!). And he's bringing my wife Gears of War 3. I think Santa is a bit of a geek!

Santa is so NOT a geek! He brings geeks, geek things. I'm sure that once the grandkids come along, I'll be out there doing the Santa thing 'till I drop. Christmas is all about the kiddies!
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby Arouet » 24 Dec 2011, 07:19

Haha, my nieces and nephews are all at video game age now - makes it easy to buy - tons of $20 games out there!
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby Craig Browning » 24 Dec 2011, 09:27

ProfWag wrote:
Craig Browning wrote:First of (and probably most important of all) is to remember that this IS NOT a "Christian Holiday" but rather a Pagan Observation onto which the Christian cult imposed itself by borrowing various symbols and related lore.


Very true Craig. I always greet people this time of year with Merry Paganmas!

If I remember right though, some of the traditions are Christian. The tree, carols, cards, and, of course, the man himself-- St. Nicholas. Gifts are probably pagan though.


The Tree comes from the Yule Log which is celtic in origin common to those settling in the Germanic lands... The Cards came from the clan of the Hallmark hedonist. . . St. Nick. . . now here we have an interesting character in that in Italy the gift bringer is actually a Witch. . . I don't have the books with all that info any more a husband & wife wrote them back in the 80's "Wheel of the Year" and I want to say "8 Sabbots for Witches" but not positive on that one. . . I do know that Ray Buckland has a book or two out on this topic and the historic ties between the older Pagan rites and how they were Christianized.

While I do like that idea of "Merry Paganmas" I believe the applicable term would be Merry Solstice or Blessed Yule

I did find one little ditty whilst channel surfing this morning though. . . I think it's fitting to the topic.

What Would Jesus Buy?
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/what-would-jesus-buy/

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 5981560376

I can't for the life of me get those links to work as video. The first link however, has some added commentary that's fun. I really think we need to share this with everyone we know.
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby ProfWag » 24 Dec 2011, 10:48

Craig Browning wrote:St. Nick. . . now here we have an interesting character in that in Italy the gift bringer is actually a Witch. . . I don't have the books with all that info any more a husband & wife wrote them back in the 80's "Wheel of the Year" and I want to say "8 Sabbots for Witches" but not positive on that one. . . I do know that Ray Buckland has a book or two out on this topic and the historic ties between the older Pagan rites and how they were Christianized.

You're referring to La Befana who comes on the night of the 5th of January. Her story is indeed quite like that of our Santa, but as someone who was living there just a few years ago, the Italians are becoming more like the rest of Europe during the holidays. You're right though that La Befana is the one kids wait for.
I'll admit, there is something quite magical about Italy at Christmas time. Most definitely not the commercialized version of Christmas we have in the States. Germany is quite nice as well--especially their Christmas markets with their version of wassel.
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby ProfWag » 24 Dec 2011, 10:59

Scepcop wrote:ProfWag,
Are you defending the hassle of spending hundreds of dollars every year on gifts just because it's a tradition? Wise people realized long ago that it wasn't worth the trouble to exchange gifts just to have a lot of useless junk to store. Come on now. This is a no brainer. Why didn't you at least agree with that?

Is it because you want to disagree with me on everything? Or because you believe that a custom should always be followed, even if it's purely commercial? Sheesh. You are no freethinker at all. You don't even see the obvious.

Winston, how 'bout you go back and read my post and point me to where I was defending gift exchanging. I didn't. I believe most people do go overboard on gift exchanging. And that crazy crap of Black Friday is way too over the top.
What my post was referring to, if you would have read it, was my staunch disagreement with your comment on families who don't care about each other. If that was your family, I feel sorry for you.
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Re: Christmas gift exchanges - pointless and troublesome?

Postby Craig Browning » 25 Dec 2011, 00:42

To Shift Gears a Tad. . .

The holidays, at least in the U.S. over the past four or generations, really haven't been the mushy Dickens or Moore type fantasy. It is that time of year when more of us are trying to find a way to NOT be with family or else, in a bitter dispute between whose family will be visited when it comes to the couple with a handful of freshly hatched kids. It is a time for old wounds to be re-opened and long held disputes made difficult.

This is a time of year when the elderly get forgotten and the impoverished left to the whey-side by the bulk of society.

It's no secret that I survive on less than $800.00 a month via SSI. . . I'm one of those terrible mooches according to congress, that simply didn't think ahead and work had enough, etc. So they want to take from me whatever sum they deem right, because I'm a blight and burden to the nation. . . If I need help I must go to a church and ask for it. . . :shock: So, in order to have a hot holiday meal I have to listen to a sermon about something I don't believe in first. . . no thanks!

Aside from the fact that such is a huge ploy by the right to force everyone into a single belief in this country, it's simply wrong and unethical. But there is more to the portrait when it comes to the Holiday's and gift exchanges, etc. How, the humble and content within my building, look out for one another. We exchange cookies, breads and other such such things we've made ourselves; we tuck simple cards beneath one another's door with a holiday wish and so much more. . . and frequently in "silence" no one knowing for certain who the "Secret Santa" really is.

Over the past week my Holiday time has been filled with back & forth trips to the hospital as a yet another chronic issue seems to be entering my life -- an enlarged heart or so it seems, we're still in the investigation phase of things but still, it's humorous how the universe times such things. . . it has to be seen as such or else one might go mad and doing something drastic. Especially when the core of your existence is a 12 year old black cat and whomever you can interact with on line.

Yes, I'm frustrated and most certainly juggling some "dark" thoughts. . . not in the serious mode of wanting to surrender, but most certainly pondering what I could have possibly done in this or a previous life time, to know this level of karmic hell. I'm really beginning to think I had to be Hitler or someone worse, though such is merely dark thoughts.

Overcoming Dark Thoughts is the challenge of this season, not just for me but for millions of us that are without, horrified of the idea of being around anything even hinting at "family" (as in direct kin). We overcome the darkness by finding a fellow to cuddle up with beneath a nearby bridge and share an bottle, maybe even a candy bar if we're lucky. . . we overcome it by the exchange of some cookies or simple well wishes given to others with no expectation of reprise. . . we overcome by finding our own ounce or two of humanity within our selves and relishing it because of the hope it delivers to the desperate and displaced.

When the heart & mind are one and we are able to step outside our own angst, this is when we find ourselves in the true spirit of the holidays, doing what has always been done during this season of tithing and grace. We know that the gift of well wishing has nothing to do with price or image and everything to do with heart and positive thought.

Why must we find ourselves in the throws of carnal poverty before we awaken to such treasures and values?

It is however, this fall that grants to most the greatest gift of all; freedom from our selfishness. ;)
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