What Grinds Our Gears: How holiday gifting has turned into a capitalist chore

Exchanging presents during the holidays shouldn’t feel like an obligation

A bank balance isn’t an indicator of love. Illustration: Michelle Chiang/The peak

By: Madeleine Chan, Staff Writer

I’ve noticed something alarming this past holiday season. People rushed to get last minute gifts. They didn’t know what to buy, and just settled for the most convenient item. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s a loop where folks hurried to fulfill an annual commercial obligation.

Why is this the new norm? The holidays should be a time of winter cheer, spending time with loved ones, and relaxing before the start of a new year — not a time of sadness, spending, and stress. 

Instead of giving gifts maybe we should give time to our loved ones, and not just for one week of the year, either. Why do people think that spending money shows more care than spending time? Overall, the latter is way better because it builds relationships and doesn’t rely on the ability to buy a “good” gift. And I’m not just saying this because I’m a broke university student (though still relevant), I just think that we shouldn’t have to spend money to show that we appreciate someone.

I know that not everyone practices this kind of retail affection. Some people do prioritize enjoying their loved ones’ company over giving hollow gifts. But when I see that Canadians have a $643 holiday gifting average, it seems that most people fall victim to pacifying the needs of capitalism rather than actually trying to support the ones they love.

In the end, love shouldn’t be found in compulsory gift exchanges. In this new year, let your presence be your present.