Season’s Gratings

22 12 2010

My co-slaves in the corporation I work for are a generous bunch, people who can’t celebrate their birthdays without feeding everyone within a 1-mile radius of their office with rudimentary birthday grub. And when the Christmas season comes ’round, their propensity for generosity kicks into high gear, and I spend the two weeks prior to the 25th watching my desk disappear beneath a pile of presents. I literally just sit at my desk and get one gift after another, and while getting lots of free shit may seem awesome to some, it is quite bothersome for me since many of the gifts I get are neither that nice nor useful, and are from people I barely know.

Apart from the four other people I work with in my department, I barely interact with anyone else. Regardless, mere acquaintances still bother to grab some random trinket, wrap it in paper, write my name on a card, and have the whole thing sent to my little cubicle, which is so much more than I am willing to do for any them. I get stuff from people I’ve only spoken to less than five times the entire year. I get stuff from people I don’t even like. And the thing is, I am unwilling to blow my bonus on useless objects for utterly random humans in honor of the birth of someone who very likely never existed. However, the more I refuse to reciprocate, and the higher my gift pile gets, the more I look like an asshole.

I cannot see the cheer and goodwill in this mad rush to give near-strangers stuff they don’t really want, much less need. I can understand giving gifts to loved ones, whose tastes I am far more familiar with, and who, having spent significant chunks of their lives putting up with me, truly are deserving of a token of my gratitude regardless of the fact that Christmas is a hoax to begin with. But just because I work on the same floor as Person X doesn’t warrant my giving her a cheap bracelet she has barely a desire to wear, or a bar of organic soap that’ll petrify by her sink over the next few months.

I really think it’d be the greater gesture to not give anything: no wasting of packaging materials, no extra shit to lug with you on the commute home, no guilt feelings for not liking these people, and, well, no crappy gifts.

(Pic c/o