For many, panic mode is soon to set in.
My wife was feeling the pressure. With the nephews and other relatives still on the list, I saw her mind starting to race, and her actions becoming harried. I’ve already had to tell her to go slower.
Women especially feel obligated to purchase gifts for everyone, as an expression of love. Even though most of us have everything we need, the ladies (and a lot of men) have hit the malls in record numbers.
I am of the opinion that if you’re becoming short on time, maybe gift cards are your solution. But my wife won’t have it. “What seven year old wants to open a gift card?”
She’s right about that.
But, what seven year old (or person of any age) would not like to open an envelope with some cold, hard cash in it?
If you’ve read this far, some of you may be thinking, “What an unthoughtful gift!” And to that I say, keep an open mind. When I was younger, I was privy to the Christmas shopping genius that was my Grandmother.
Her shopping method? Order her grandson to get in his car, and take a trip downtown to the bank. When there, grab a couple dozen fancy bank Christmas envelopes, go to the teller, and make a withdrawal of varied denominations of dead presidents.
Boom. Christmas shopping completed.
Now, while it may not seem thoughtful to you to give cash gifts I, like Jimmy Fallon, can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like money. Aside from the fact that practically no one will say “You gave me money??” with a disdainful look on their face, there are other advantages to the glorious gift of cash:
There is no stress involved - The process for cash gifts is one stop shopping. The bank is your store, and the teller your retail clerk. “Can I help you?” “Why, yes, I’d like a pound of twenties, please.” And you’re done. No running from store to store. No jostling with others to be first in line.
And no pepper spray. Easy breezy.
You take away the possibility of overspending - At the bank, you can’t buy another toy other than what was on your list, and there’s no sneaking a little something for yourself there, while you’re buying for others. Even if you really deserve it.
If you’re gift giving budget is $300 or $500, there’s no overspending. That’s what you get.
You can focus on family and fun - Gram had no time to go to stores, unless it was to the import store for cheese and mortadella (I drove there, also). She had people to make happy, and mountains of food to prep and cook. And she had to go to church, too. Because that’s what the holiday is about anyway.
You help the economy! – Yes, you do help the economy when you shop at Macy’s or J.C. Penney’s. I’m aware of that. But why not help the economy and your mental state? Instead of going on expeditions through shopping mall jungles looking for hidden treasure, admit to yourself that cash is the perfect gift! It’s a win win! The economy gets a little boost, and you don’t feel like strangling your fellow shoppers!
My Grandmother handed out envelopes like she was the Queen handing out royal appointments. She gave gifts to her favorite people, and every single one of them appreciated the gesture. She would be met every once in a while by an “Oh, you shouldn’t have!”, but every gift was accepted.
I even tried to tell her on a couple of occasions, “Gram, I don’t want your money. You do enough for me.” Remember, I ate meals at her house 300 days out of the year. Or more.
“Oh, come on!!” was the response I would hear. And my hand would extend to take the envelope.
This week, don’t wrack your brain trying to buy yet another gift. Use a gift from an old Sicilian lady instead. Stick a greenback in an envelope, relax, and enjoy the sights, sounds, food, and events of the holiday with those people closest to you. That’s the true spirit of Christmas…