Reyno Rants - More money more problems: Stop giving out gift cards
For many, the holiday season is the happiest time of the year, but for others, it can be a downfall of receiving cash or gift cards.
The mystery has all but left the gift-giving season. No longer are we questioning, “Does this present rattle more like a Lego Set or more like a makeup collection?” Now the only mystery in gift giving is whether Grandma will fold the $20 bill horizontally or vertically this year.
On the one hand it’s extremely convenient to get cash on Christmas because of the freedom it bestows on our empty wallets. Need money for a bar night? No problem. Want to pay off a bit of the old credit card? Easy. Taking an impromptu one-way ticket to Vegas? Questionable, but nothing’s stopping you when you’ve got the gift of money.
The drawback to this is that there’s not much thought or care involved; unless you’re folding that bill horizontally, vertically, diagonally and triangularly to make it into some sort of swan creature. Sure, you won’t ever disappoint anyone with a few $10 bills in a cheesy Christmas card but it really sucks the wonder out of the exchange.
I know Christmas isn’t supposed to revolve around gifts and I don’t mean to take away from the general good will and religious roots of the holidays but the whole spirit of gift giving is that it’s supposed to be a thoughtful thing. It doesn’t matter so much what you’re giving, it’s supposed to be a symbolic gesture that says, “Hey, I saw this and thought that you would really love it”. There’s not much thoughtfulness in giving a gift card to the LCBO– not unless there’s a second gift card for Shoppers so they can get some Tylenol and Gatorade for the hangover later.
By copping out and getting people money or gift cards all we’re doing is making this season another hallmark holiday. It’s just another holiday where your family and friends bow down to the gods of capitalism and make a ritualistic donation to the debit machines.
This year I’m going to make an effort to not purchase a single gift card or give a single bill to any of my family and friends. Dang-nabbit no matter how much of a Christmas Grinch I am, I’m going to at least put in an effort to show my loved ones that I care about them. Even if I’m completely off base and end up buying them a Granny Smith apple when they clearly asked for a new Macbook – I’m going to be the only person in my family not giving out gift cards.
I encourage you all to do the same, even if it’s just a little something. Go ahead and get that gift card, but maybe sneak in a book that they mentioned once, or a little calendar of puppies or something. Something that shows you spent more time thinking of them than you spent standing in line at the ATM.