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What do you want for Christmas?

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  • What do you want for Christmas?

    There is nothing I can think of that I want for Christmas (or nothing in Santa's budget anyway). Naturally, this answer does not please my relatives that want to buy me a gift. So, I'm looking for inspiration for my xmas list (first world problem I know) and was wondering what you folks were asking Santa to put in your stockings.

  • #2
    I always tell anyone who asks me for gift toys.


    • #3
      I like practical things. Comfy socks for work. Or tickets to a Duke game


      • #4
        I love smartwool socks. I also always like running gear (lights, handheld bottle, compression socks, etc). It's harder to find larger ticket item that I would want, but a local art class, dance lessons, membership to a museum, or training sessions with a fitness coach come to mind.


        • #5
          I tell my family "help me retire sooner", via contributions into my investment accounts. "Cash or check accepted." I back it up by saying whatever I need I can find it cheaper than they could.

          It has actually been working the past few birthdays/holidays.
          $1 saved = >$1 earned. ✓


          • #6
            i like when patients make drawings while they are waiting for me......
            too many are just on their phone/ipad now.


            • #7
              I just tell everyone to skip me and get spend more thought on the kids. It is easy to spend a lot of money and little thought on presents. It is hard to figure out what someone would really want.


              • #8
                We go through this with my Dad every year for Christmas and birthday. What we settled on that he enjoys most are just some gift cards/tickets to his local movie theater. He goes with my mom and they have a great time. He says its the best gift we give him.


                • #9
                  Would a well-behaved tween fit into Santa's sleigh?


                  • mkintx
                    mkintx commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I could send you my sometimes-well-behaved teen, if that helps, lol

                • #10
                  A nap


                  • #11
                    Ammo, flannel shirts, carharts. Winter in the midwest


                    • #12
                      I ask for less clutter.


                      • #13
                        There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub holder; a “hilarious” inflatable zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World wall map.

                        They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For thirty seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.

                        Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale(1). Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).

                        But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine t-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped i-phone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog: no one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas Day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.

                        The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production(2). We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.

                        People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility(3). Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.

                        In 2007, the journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, 585 have been shot(4). No one is entirely sure why. But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. It’s grotesque, but it scarcely differs from what almost everyone in industrialised nations is doing: trashing the living world through pointless consumption.

                        This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask “spending on what?”. When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors.

                        Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it. “I always knit my gifts”, says a woman in a television ad for an electronics outlet. “Well you shouldn’t,” replies the narrator(5). An advertisement for Google’s latest tablet shows a father and son camping in the woods. Their enjoyment depends on the Nexus 7’s special features(6). The best things in life are free, but we’ve found a way of selling them to you.

                        The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. In the US in 2010 a remarkable 93% of the growth in incomes accrued to the top 1% of the population(7). The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash. For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this earth are diminished.

                        So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. Witness last week’s Moral Maze programme, in which most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it, somehow, with authoritarianism(8). When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.

                        Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.



                        • Tim
                          Tim commented
                          Editing a comment
                          No need to hold back. You know those tinker toys, legos, doll house and all the other crap that was under the tree years ago? My spouse does her part. Some of it is thirty years old!
                          As far as the rhinos and Vietnamese folks, what does that have to do with presents?
                          We have all kinds of pies. No cakes allowed.
                          Happy holidays, not sarcastic. Best wishes.

                      • #14
                        Adulting with a new home this year, so a vacuum is on the list. I also wish I could decline baked goods from patients for the next month- most rehab offices look like a cookie exchange in December.


                        • #15
                          I second the nap idea.

                          Offer to take my kids to things. That would be the best!
                          If uncle Joey takes my four kids to the zoo I get a day off and the kids have a fun time. It may be a potent form of birth control for poor Joey and we may not get any cousins but it is a risk I am willing to take.