Gifts are burdens. I need to make this hurtfully clear, because many people who love gifts can’t seem to get it. It’s not that I just don’t care about gifts — I purposefully dislike them. There’s no way to say it without sounding like an unappreciative and entitled prick, but I’m ready to take one for the team if it makes the relentless gift-givers stop. So please, stop. I don’t want your gifts.
I have anxiety. Have since I was 16. I take drugs for it. I’ve gone to therapy for it. Nothing compares to the relief I feel from simply owning less. It’s like coming home to a clean house every single day. It’s a well-organized desk with zero distractions. It’s omnipresent bliss.
When you add something to my life unexpectedly — well, you ruin that.
Now I have to find a place in my life for this thing I never asked for. If I needed it, I would already have it. If I didn’t need it (which I don’t, because I’ve lived my entire life so far without it), now I feel obligated to keep it and return the favor.
So now I’m stuck with this thing I didn’t ask for, feeling social pressure to be grateful when I really want to give it back, and on top of that I’m obligated to provide a reciprocal gift, regardless of the fact that I never wanted to do this in the first place.
It’s worse than just giving people money because I’m expected to keep whatever they gave me. I’d rather pay them to not get me anything.
I can handle one gift. I’ll say thank you because I really do appreciate the gesture, then put it in a dark corner until an acceptable amount of time has passed and give it away. Two gifts, I could use some Xanax. Three or more and I’ll enter sleep-away-my-problems mode to avoid a meltdown.
Every Christmas is a meltdown. Every single one. I receive more than I can handle and end up throwing brand new things away. I’ve tried refusing gifts as a matter of principle. Didn’t work. I’ve threatened to throw unopened gifts away. It’s an empty threat, because I can’t be that heartless.
The problem is me. I’m aware of that. I said I have a problem. It’s you though, too — you incessant gift-givers, because projecting your lifestyle onto people with different lifestyles is rude. Would you force a vegetarian friend to eat meat? Your former alcoholic friend to drink? I hope not. Then why force anyone to accept your gifts?
I will give you gifts and want nothing in return (isn’t that the true meaning of a gift?) This is my lifestyle choice and I don’t assume yours are the same. Please do likewise, and remember that for people like me, gifts aren’t gifts, and they actually hurt more than they help.