“Why would someone not want presents?”

In response to a question from the previous post’s comments:

Many moons ago, I became disenchanted with making birthday and Christmas lists. I figured that if I listed the items that I wanted others to give to me, and they listed the items that they wanted other others, including me, to give to them, then it would be most efficient for everyone to go out and get those items for themselves.

Now, being mostly human, I knew perfectly well that “efficiency” was not the point of exchanging gifts. “It’s the thought that counts,” right? But it seemed to me that there wasn’t much thought or sentiment in buying stuff from a list. So I decided to put the would-be list-readers in a position where the thought really would count. I resolved to never again make a birthday or Christmas list. If anyone were to get me a gift, they were going to have to put some real thought into it–to think real hard about me and what I wanted. It was both clever and selfish.

I was pretty proud of myself, but then I realized that to be consistent, I would have to extend my resolution. I resolved to never again read or heed anyone else’s wish lists. (There will inevitably be n exceptions to this rule, where n equals the number of my descendants, plus my wife if I expect her to actually let me have any descendants.) I thought more about the people my gifts were intended for, and I felt better about the gifts I got them. All was well.

Then I grew tired of all the thinking and the gifting. If I want an item and it’s November or December, I don’t want to have to wait until my birthday or Christmas or Hanukkah (my mom’s been Jewish for a while) to see whether I got it. And I don’t want to buy it and have to see the disappointment on a gift-giver’s face when they see that I already have the exact same item. So I just buy the items I want when I want them, and tell everybody not to get me anything. It’s working better and better with each passing holiday.

Besides, the more time and effort that gets spent on gifts means that less time and effort gets spent on what really matters on those special occasions: the appetizers, meal, desserts, and the mere act of showing up to celebrate with others. So now I have a pretty simple policy: no gifts that aren’t food or drink. If you want to give me a gift, buy yourself something you really want, whenever you want, and I’ll reciprocate.

This is certain to be a point of contention ‘twixt myself and future-Missus-V (there isn’t one yet, and if whoever-she-is reads this, things may get all paradoxical-like): I really won’t want to register for any wedding gifts. On that glorious day, all I’ll want is to have my family and friends, and my bride’s family and friends, to show up and cook for me us.


Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
So, what kind of wines do you like? I may work on a bottle of Virginny’s finest for you.
December 2nd, 2008 at 7:51 pm

The Other Mr. V Says:
Mr. V, you seriously have the most outlandish ideas I’ve ever heard, but at least they make logical sense. Good luck on the whole “Future-Missus-V” thing.
December 3rd, 2008 at 9:31 pm

future-Missus-V Says:
To “The Other Mr. V”
Your sarcasm on wishing Mr. V good luck on find his future love, is not appreciated. I know its going to happen. I just do. One day Mr. V will meet me and I will truly be the future-Missus-V.
of course i can still dream can’t I?
December 6th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Mr. Ugamoogahumbabanoonga Says:
Did you go to James Weldon for middle school?
December 6th, 2008 at 11:23 pm

The Other Mr. V Says:
To “future-Missus-V”
There was absolutely no sarcasm when I wished Mr. V good luck on finding a wife. She’s out there somewhere, they just have to meet. Apparently you yourself think you are to be the one, so good luck to as well.
December 8th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

future-Missus-V Says:
To “The Other Mr.V”

My apologies for doubting your good wishes, but people these days never say things that they actually mean. And many thanks for wishing me good luck on my very plausible marriage to Mr. v. We’ve already met a couple times, but he just has to KNOW that I’m the one.
January 12th, 2009 at 10:30 pm