It’s the thought that counts in Christmas | Opinion – Gulf News

Posted: December 18, 2019 at 2:48 am


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In multicultural societies, the pressure to buy stuff never lets up throughout the year

Every Christmas I get into a panic trying to find the perfect presents to stuff into stockings because people are usually never happy with my gifts.

I trawl the malls looking at wonderful things like bath bomb soaps, wooden, hand-crafted knee massager from Kerala and essential oils that help make your home smell like it was strewn with lemons cut in half.

I pay attention to the gifts I buy in this season of giving, as most of the presents I receive have to be re-gifted and then some poor soul is then left wondering as to what he or she should do with the coffee mug with a picture of a fat, overweight, obese Santa, smiling benevolently.

Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist, would be proud of us, as my wife and I become a one-family recycling unit after each festival. Do you think they will know this gift we are giving is a re-gift? I ask my wife guiltily. Just throw away the box, and wrap the gift in that fancy tissue wrapping paper, says my wife.

(Amazon, Flipkart and Ali Baba, should start a new department called One mans (womans or any other gender) trash is another persons treasure and sell the returned stuff at a huge discount).

By the way, in this age of self-awareness isnt it time that Santa should be depicted as a hot, slim, vegetarian health freak with neon green trainers who goes jogging with his elves?

The pressure to make you buy gifts for the people you care, starts way, way ahead of Christmas, sometime in the beginning of October. The emails start pouring in your inbox and then you think; Should I get the spouse the latest waterproof Kindle, even though you know she does not read books, so you could quietly take it back from her later?

The online retailers know how to cajole you and make you type in the CVS number that is on the back of the credit card. We like your face, take 75 per cent off on any item only for this week and you fall for it.

Living in multicultural societies such as India, or Canada, the pressure to buy stuff never lets up throughout the year.

In India, every Diwali, the festival of lights, the whole family goes to a jewellery shop and buys tons of gold jewellery as if they were savvy investors who knew that the time has come to invest in this metal. (Luckily, you do not have buy gold for your friends and relatives, you buy it for yourself).

In Dubai, another multicultural society, the biggest stress is wondering to which Eid tent you should take your friends to as hotels vie with each other to attract customers with scrumptious buffets and the eating goes on well into the early hours of the morning.

Meanwhile, in India, the Eid parties are extravagant after the monthlong fast and spas and saloons do roaring business and the textile shops are packed and tailors become the heroes of the hour. Newspaper adverts entice people to buy everything from a new scooter to clunky furniture.

Meanwhile, back to gift-giving in Christmas and the courier service, UPS, has dubbed January 3 as National Returns Day as tons of packages are sent back to retailers.

But there are some people who love shopping so much, such as my wife, that returning the gifts becomes shopping too and the fun begins all over again.

I will be keenly following the jolly old gentleman on NORAD Tracks Santa while he delivers gifts to people across the world, but I doubt if he will make another trip to take back returns.

Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi

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It's the thought that counts in Christmas | Opinion - Gulf News

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December 18th, 2019 at 2:48 am

Posted in Self-Awareness