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Broke-Ass Holiday Survival Tip: Don’t Buy Any Gifts

Updated: Nov 09, 2011 15:24
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Warning: I am about to sound like a cynical asshole, but maybe it’s because I’m being a cynical asshole. Or maybe I’m just being realistic. My purpose is not to judge anyone who participates in purchasing and gift-giving during the holidays. But, I know that the holidays can be especially stressful for Broke-Asses, so I’m sharing how I have dealt with it: just don’t buy any presents for anyone.I am anti-present, in the physical, here is a wrapped-present presented to someone for the purpose that the calendar date of December 25 is nearby. I don’t purchase Christmas presents for anyone, and I of course don’t expect any presents back. In fact, I will tell people not to get me anything, not in the polite way in which I try to sound humble but then are surprised when they get it for me- I truly do not want them to purchase anything for me.

Look, I understand that the idea during the holidays is to be selfless and find ways to give, but going into the Christmas rush to try to find something for family members and friends because I have to check it off a list- that’s just bullshit that no one should deal with. The worse feeling is that someone is going through the same stress for me, spending their money on something I probably won’t like, will have to pretend I like and prove to the person that I use/wear it whenever I see them. I would rather them save their money. And spend it on me in having more money to hang out during the year and able to go out to dinner or drinks more often.I am not anti-gift entirely- if someone was somewhere and saw something they felt compelled to buy me because “it made me think of you!” and it was specifically because I would appreciate and love it, I am flattered and grateful. I love crafty people that love making things for other people, but because they want to and not because a certain date on a calendar is coming up.

Many of you reading this (thank you if you are! Reading my pieces are the best gift I could receive) will think I’m a heartless asshole who doesn’t understand the true spirit of giving. You very well may be right. If I celebrated Christmas, I may feel entirely different. Many of you love Christmastime because it means spending time with your family, enjoying the exchange of gifts because it is a result of the love your family has for each other. I don’t mean to shit all over that; I am not really even directing this to you. I am envious of you, I hope that you get to spend every Christmas with your family in that way for the rest of your life.

What I do know for sure is that I’m a cynic who sees the holidays as a mass display of capitalism and consumerism (really stores? You are now opening on the midnight after Thanksgiving Day?!). I’ve also been around too many people complaining about how stressed they are because they have so much shopping to do before the holidays and they HAVE to get presents for everyone. Really? They HAVE to? I say get rid of the stress, just give up the gift exchange. Spend the money visiting your friends and family at a time later in the year and travel prices aren’t crazy.

So, if you are especially broke around the holidays, which by reading this (again, thanks for that gift!) you likely are, consider laying down the no-present rule with friends and family. Not just to save money, but to save some stress and large crowds. Save your money to use throughout the year on people. Take them out to dinner after a job promotion…make a surprise visit to your parents in April…or even use the money to pay your rent so you won’t have to rely on others later.

It may be a big change for you and your family, but declaring a “present free” holiday is a surefire way to save money, so it’s worth a try.

Now don’t even get me started on how I feel about Thanksgiving….

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Robin Hardwick - Cost-Conscious Connoisseur

Robin Hardwick - Cost-Conscious Connoisseur

Robin was raised in the shopping malls of suburban Long Island, New York. As a teenager, her life goals were to become a writer and marry Bret Michaels. After attending college at the University of Delaware (yes, in the state of Delaware) and earning a graduate degree educationl at NYU, she's achieved only one of those goals. Along with writing, Robin enjoys performing improv comedy, internet memes, cross-stitch, and showing off her alarmingly extensive knowledge of obscure pop culture trivia. Currently, Robin resides in Oakland, CA and is writing a book about the 1980s teen book series, Sweet Valley High.


  1. wtf
    November 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    this was the most illegible post ever

  2. […] You can even donate funds in someone else’s name- makes a great holiday gift (although you already know how I feel about gifts…) […]