Dec 052011
Christmas Present

Well here we are in December once more, As this is a seasonal topic I’d like to be able to say that December is a the month that brings us Christmas. However, with apologies to Sesame Street, this Christmas is brought to you by the months October, November, December and the number of your overdraft limit.

I’ve resisted mentioning Christmas before now, Christmas needs putting back into December. It’s not like we need reminding that it’s coming and we need to buy gifts for the occasion. Do the retailers really think that if they don’t start reminding us two or three months in advance we’ll all forget about Christmas and won’t spend any money? I like to think we could all boycott any store with a Grotto, Christmas Decorations or piped Christmas Carols and jingles until the first day of December each year. Unfortunately that won’t happen as we’d all starve to death by mid November.

That said, once December arrives I have to join in with Spendmas, the period Before Christmas when the obligatory shopping is performed. I can no longer dismiss the dreaded question, “What do you want for Christmas?” by saying “Go away, it’s only <insert month here>”.  I could be more prepared for the dreaded question by having a list ready on the first of December. But that would mean thinking about Christmas in November and that would be surrendering to the enemy.

“What would you like for Christmas?” should be a nice question to be asked, we all know the objects we desire but the fact we don’t already own them is because we either can’t afford them or justify the expense. That leaves us with the problem of thinking of something we’d like but not enough to actually bother to get ourselves, like a DVD of a film you missed at the cinema that won’t be shown on TV for another two months, or something you need but not necessarily want to buy, such as socks or slippers, because you’ve worn out the ones you got for a previous Christmas.

Once you have this mental list of not so desirable gifts and Christmas morning disappointments, you have to reduce it down in consideration of the person asking the question and limit your response to a price band. This is tricky, if you ask for something they think is too expensive you look greedy. If you ask for something too cheap, you’ll probably get it.

Except where children are involved, you also have to consider how much you intend spending on the reciprocal gift. You can’t ask for something that costs more than you intend spending on the person asking the question, however if you ask for something significantly cheaper than what you buy them, they will feel bad about it on Christmas Morning and over-compensate the following year making you feel bad. You then get into an annual gift war, which becomes expensive for both parties.

One of the worst things that can happen is when the question is asked by someone who isn’t currently on your shopping list. If you can’t politely wriggle out at this moment you can end up committed to buying each other gifts for years to come.

All of this thought process has to be gone through in a moment and the brain has to shut down all the senses while it computes an answer, if you don’t believe me go up to a friend, look into their eyes and ask them; “What do you want for Christmas?