Happy Consumer Holiday

My older family members are a bunch of assimilationists. Which I can kind of understand, given family history. Hey, who wouldn’t want to fit in? And I dearly love my grandmother, despite her proclamation that Christmas is an “American holiday.”

Depends on who you view as American, I guess.

So how do we celebrate Christmas? Why, we celebrate it in the true spirit of capitalism!

(It should be noted that what follows is just a collection of loose thoughts that drifted out of my head. Don’t blame me if you read the whole thing and then want ten minutes of your life back.)

In my family, Christmas is a holiday that revolves around presents and food. Unfortunately, the food is assimilationist as well.

Last year, I celebrated December 25 by cooking a seared salmon with citrus glaze, served fetchingly upon a bed of vegetables (nappa, bokchoy, snow peas, etc.), a kale salad with apples and cranberries, lovingly dressed with a homemade dressing and a beet and carrot soup. Accompanying this was a lovely loaf of a hearty bread.

What did my family members scream at the dinner table? “WHERE’S THE HAM?!” I kid you not.

I despise ham. And now I am going to jump off from my pique about the lack of appreciation for my beautiful dinner to complaints about presents. Because I am just that shallow.

I wrote previously that I do not regift. But then I remembered that is a lie. Because just the other day I gave the trash collector (who is an inordinately cheerful young Latino guy) a present that I received in the mail.  Also somebody tends to send me two pounds of chocolate every year and I typically give those to the mail carrier.  Who is a not-so-cheerful older Asian guy.

Regifting is probably not such a nice thing to do. And there should be rules about it, like you should not be allowed to give your mother-in-law a used gift that you cadged from one of your other in-laws. But there are worse things.

I received a copy of a book titled something like “Fit not Fat” from this relative.  Just a note for next year, folks:  Try not to give gifts that have an implied negative message.  Like if you think one of your relatives needs to shape up a bit, keep it to yourself.  Stay out of the bookstore self-help section.  Unless of course, you’re buying for yourself.  In which case I’d like to suggest the titles. Because I am just that mean.

This relative has also lectured me repeatedly about the evils of potato chips and other high-fat foods.  I will probably stop eating potato chips when somebody pries the bag out of my cold greasy fingers.  Also, I don’t quite get the point of the lectures since this same person also sends me two pounds of chocolate every year. I actually am pretty fit, in part because I know enough to give the chocolates to my mail carrier. Who is a skinny guy. Which maybe makes sense, because fat people are supposed to be jolly. Therefore skinny people must be miserable. Like I am when I don’t have potato chips.

Damn, just writing this has made me want some potato chips.

Unfortunately, I cannot go to the store because two days before Christmas the credit card company shut off my credit. Somebody ordered a bunch of computer stuff over the internet. The credit card company tagged it as fraud. And rejected all subsequent charges. Like the one I was attempting to make at the gas station while it was sleeting.

So I called the credit card company. And the customer service rep said that because I am a super-duper special customer and my shit doesn’t stink, a new card would be expressed to me at no charge and I should get it in two days.

Me: But two days from now is December 25.

Rep: Oh. (long pause) Well, in that case because of the holiday you probably won’t get it until next week. Maybe 8-10 business days. And you have to be home to sign for it.

I guess my shit does stink after all. But hey, you’re still reading.

Anyway, in the spirit of the Consumer Holiday, feel free to drop a comment about the worst present you’ve ever received. Or if you feel all warm and fuzzy, you can comment about the best one. I got a bookstore gift card last year. It was kind of like enabling, but it felt soooo good.

Happy Consumer Holiday. See you in the new year.


11 thoughts on “Happy Consumer Holiday

  1. I really don’t like the idea of people spending money on me, hence I secretly hate Christmas with a passion. That’s just between you, me and the internet though.

  2. I received a holiday soda as a gift from my secret santa. Seriously, it was a bulb ornament shaped Coke with a polar bear on it. It was the worst. And I hate it when people say, “It’s the thought that counts.”

  3. First, I have no problem with regifting. I think it has a bad rap.

    Second, my former mother-in-law once gave me elastic-waist polyester pants.

    Third, what if you’re fat AND unjolly?

    Fourth, I’d take the salmon over ham any damn day.

    Merry merry, Resistance.

  4. I’m usually a huge advocate of forming no-gift pacts. There’s nothing I hate more than getting a gift because someone felt obligated to get me something. These types of gifts are usually worthless/useless and it will just remind you that that person knows nothing about you.

    That said, I do think the best gifts are the ones when someone puts some thought or time into it. Even if you still find the gift itself is not to your liking it’s nice to know someone gave you something for a reason other than, “it’s christmas,” or “we’re relatives” etc. These situations, although rare, make me pretty happy.

    As for re-gifting, it really embodies everything I hate about giving “obligation” gifts in the first place. You’re just passing the buck. If someone wants it they can have it, but I won’t pass it off as my own gift. Especially if I think the person I’m giving it to won’t really appreciate it. But there are always exceptions.

  5. Actually I was just thinking, when I was a kid I’d get cards with a little cash inside. It’s probably the second best thing you can get/give. On one hand you’re admitting, “I don’t know what you well enough,” and also, “I don’t want to waste your or my time pretending we care.” You’re being nice, considerate, and a little bit of a jerk, but honest at least.

  6. I like potato chips with ketchup. Especially when I’ve got a sore throat, the ketchup and salt is amazing.

    Merry Christmas! And what do you do if you don’t regift? Donate it?

  7. Best gift: My husband had loved ones from far away take photos and he hung them around the house so it was like they were here for Christmas.

    Why: Exceptionally thoughtful.

    Worst gift: Life Savers Book.

    Why: I’m not in second grade anymore.

    This Christmas was gross a little because I am currently working in retail- which is the antedote to Christmas cheer and a spirit of compassion. It was like hell barfed up all its residents in the middle of the store I work at.

    Also I hate watching people act foul in order to get useless crap for cheap. And for what? It’s going to break down. None of it matters.

    I say eat those chips with relish. I’m like that with Cocoa Pebbles. Yeah, I’m soft-bodied and I am jolly. Why? Cos I gots my Cocoa Pebbles that’s why.

  8. You lost me when you said you despise ham*, but you won me back with potato chips… Mmm, potato chips. My own little way of assimilating to American culture has been adding them to my everyday lunch.

    Worst gift ever was the time my then-boyfriend’s mother bought me incredibly ugly hair-clips designed for long hair, when I had a very short haircut. It was pretty much “I hate you” with a bow on it.

    *Even though your hamless dinner did sound lovely.

  9. I am so using your menu — it sounds delicious whatever time of year. I foresee a new tag line: “resisting turkey assimilation one salmon at a time!”

    Happy New Year!!

  10. jlie made me eat some potato chips with ketchup.

    I’m laughing imagining morecowbell in those pants and Soda and Candy with a bow perched up top.

    There is a resale shop here where the proceeds benefit victims of DV. I feel happy and un-guilty dropping off new unwanted gifts there.

    c, I’m sorry for your retail experience. But the phrase “hell barfed up all its residents” is a keeper.

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