Look Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, you know. –Lucy Van Pelt

It really isn’t that I hate Christmas. Not exactly. I just hate the obligatory feel of the whole gift-giving process. You can say it’s the thought that counts all you want but the reality is, for many people, it’s the gift that counts. Whether driven by the expectations of the receiver or the insecurities of the giver, the value of a gift is often perceived literally: $20? $50? $100? What’s the appropriate “value” for a close relative? A family friend? A co-worker? Is one expensive gift enough or does it need to be buttressed by a couple of smaller ones to be satisfactory? When giving cash (or a gift card), why is it always for more than the gift you would have bought otherwise?

And, why is it that any of these questions need to be asked at all? Maybe they don’t. Maybe it’s just me.

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