How does Christmas work?

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(Photo by Christmas Stock Images)

(Photo by Christmas Stock Images)

I get the general idea – jolly red guy brings you presents, drink eggnog until you vomit, peace unto all, etc. etc.

What about the pile of presents, though, how does that work? When I was growing up, my family didn’t celebrate Christmas. When I got married, my wife and her kids were the Christmas-celebrating type. Not wanting to ruin their lives by making them give up their well-loved traditions, I accepted their strange way of life instead.

This year, I got a few Wii games, some books, small box of Lindt truffles (my new favorite chocolate) and other chocolates, olives, and the requisite shower gel, shaving cream, and deodorant. It’s a pretty nice selection of things; I’m happy to have received them, and I’m grateful for the people that got them for me.

For the things I’ve got, I understand how gifts work. For most small things, and particularly consumables, I get it. It’s a sustainable cycle. I’ll play these Wii games, and by next year I’ll want more. I’ll read the books, and by next week I’ll want more. I’ll eat the chocolates and olives, and by tomorrow I’ll want more. For the books and the Wii games, once I’m finished with them I’ll donate them to a charity shop or sell them on.

How does it work if you get somebody an iPad, though? How do you top that next year? Do you just get the next model of iPad? What if a new model isn’t out by then? Do you get them… socks? What if you get somebody a car for Christmas? How do you top that? I know of a guy who got his three children each a new game console. (That’s two Xbox Ones, and one Playstation 4) What does he do next year? It’s been 7 years since the Xbox 360 came out, so probably a comparable time until the next one comes out. He can’t get them a game console every year, so what’s he going to do?

And if that problem is solved (since I presume it must be, because Christmas hasn’t been shut down due to it), then what about the person receiving all those gifts? So, right now, I’ve been celebrating Christmas for 3 years. I have pretty simple tastes, so I haven’t really accumulated much from those holidays. I’ve got an inspiration hand-made wooden plaque my wife made for me, I’ve got some shirts – I think that’s it. All the other things have been read, watched, eaten, played, and traded back into the circle of life.

What do you do if you’ve been getting things your entire life, though? What do you do if you’re 50 years old and you’re that guy getting an iPad this year? Surely you’ve beeng getting similar stuff all your life, so you’ve now got 50 iPad-equivalent gifts in your house. Where do you keep them all? Do you have a Closet of Christmas Past? Is it all just in a big heap? Do you use the new thing to smash the old thing with, and then just have one thing in your house like a minimalist Zen interior designer?

As I said, I’m new to Christmas. Maybe I’ll figure it out in another 10 years. Or maybe I’ll be buried under all my presents, as I believe has happened to you. I’ll send help.

Let me know your thoughts!