Buying gifts is the great burden of the holiday season.
Yes, I say "holiday season." You want to know why? Growing up I remember people saying "Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year." People started saying "Happy Holidays" because the former saying took entirely too long to speak while standing in sub-zero temperatures. Now I'm told it was actually an insidious plot to ... something about stealing Christmas away from Christians ... so I can only assume it was a plan hatched by the Grinch, pre-heart enlargement.
Think of all the umbrage I should have been taking over the years! Well, no use crying over missed umbrage.
To my original point: Buying gifts isn't a burden in and of itself; I actually enjoy buying gifts for people. The burden is the mix of detective work and interviewing necessary to find a suitable gift for someone, less you miss the mark entirely. Case in point:
Person 1 "Hey, Not-Wes, who did you get in Secret Santa this year?"
Not-Wes: "I got my boss, and I have the perfect gift for her."
Person 1: "Oh? It can always be hard to buy a gift for the boss. What did you get her?"
Not-Wes: "Bowling ball shammy."
Person 1: "... Does she bowl?"
Turns out, it IS relevant; although I can't imagine someone being disappointed with such a stellar gift as "bowling ball shammy."
But what about your non-office related gifts?
Parents: Easy. These people loved it when you gave them a macaroni picture allegedly containing your image. You can get them pretty much anything and they'll love it.
Siblings: Gift cards. We all know that the siblings just want to buy their own gift, let's just make this easy on everyone involved.
Grandchildren: I personally don't have any but from what I can tell the best gift to give a grandchild is every toy. All of them. Then throw in a couple books too.
Friends: I'm poor. My friends are poor. We have an understanding.
But then the waters get a little murkier. Cousins you haven't seen in months, nieces/nephews with ever-changing tastes, and, the most troubling, of all, the collegiate freshmen socialist.
Don't pretend like you didn't have one in your family for at least one holiday.
They may not be a freshmen or in college but sometime between the ages of 16-20 a large percentage of people will suddenly decide to grab a fatigue jacket, throw on a thrift store cap and decide they are socialists ... usually after watching "Che" or meeting a pretty girl in their English class.
They're the one at Thanksgiving saying it's an imperialist holiday and refusing to eat anything but "organic" (because a multinational food corporation would never lie on a label!) veggie burger. They're the ones at Christmas who claim that gingerbread men represent the oppressed masses, suffering under imperialist frosting.
Say what you want about the validity socialism as a political ethos, but holidays with the family seem like the most likely/least appropriate place to start espousing ANY political ethos.
Also- if you can't think of the spontaneous socialist in your family, then it was you.
So what do you buy for the person who hates buying things? Worry not shopper, this is America, and we have low cost gifts for everybody, even neo-Socialists.
How about a poster commemorating the great socialist summer camp that was Occupy Wall Street? Oh, remember those guys? With the hand signals and trash can fires; they really thought they were going to do something, didn't they? You can pick up a panoramic photo of Zuccotti Park, birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street movement, complete with protesters, tents, and more than one haky-sack game, all for only $42.75.
What about your more artistically inclined revolutionary? How about a poster print of famed anti-capitalist, minimalist graffiti artist Banksy entitled "Destroy Capitalism" featuring thin, black ink figures and heavy handed imagery? Only $57.99, while supplies last.
Maybe you just want to cut to the chase and get them an iconic poster of hero/villain of the Cuban revolution Che Guevara? They'll love it, if they don't already have one. And it has the added bonus of being the cheapest in the lot at only $13.
Or maybe, just maybe, you want to avoid all this fatigues and Marxism nonsense at the next family gathering. Then the gift is simple: Buy all three of the aforementioned items, wrap them up in some nice Christmas paper, tie a bow on it, and include the receipt. Because nothing is going to test their belief more than if they have to return all of those gifts to the place that sells each and every one of them, Walmart.
Merry Christmas! I got you an important lesson in how the world works! I hope it fits!