"Surprise! I love you! Here’s a part of the planet I wrecked for you, Hooray!!"*
A few weeks ago, when my Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I tried again to tell her that I didn't want any gifts. Unfortunately, any time I suggest that she not buy me a present, she looks at me as if I have suggested we go out and murder babies. The gift-giving mentality is very strong with her. So I tried to suggest a) alternatives to gifts and b) practical gifts that I would actually use. I suggested that she give me a certain amount of her time, which she could use hanging pictures and putting up blinds and doing other things in my apartment that are outside of my skill set. I suggested that she make me a nice dinner at her place and we spend a few hours catching up on each others' lives. I suggested that she get my medical degree framed, so that I can take it out of the cupboard where it's been collecting dust for the past five years and display it in my fancy-pants new office. None of these things was acceptable to her.
So what did I get? A cheque. My widowed mother, who is on a fixed income, gave money to me, who will soon be earning ridiculous sums of money as a physician**. How does this make sense? How is this better than her hanging the pictures from my trip to Cuba that have been taking up space behind my couch since I moved in five years ago?
Gift giving is insane.
I encountered another example of this insanity when I was talking to my Mom about my cousin's upcoming wedding. I am spending money that I don't have to fly halfway across the country for the wedding, so I feel like I am justified in being a bit
Rant over. Thankfully it's another seven months until I have to deal with Christmas.
*I've been obsessively reading Mr. Money Mustache for the past month or so, and it is transforming my approach to spending and debt. The article that I linked to is one of my personal favourites and describes my feelings about gift giving much more eloquently than I can.
**Admittedly, I will be using these ridiculous sums of money to pay off my equally ridiculous debt...but that's not the point.