Un[der]employment and Holiday Shopping // “If We Make It Through December”

michael scott

Black Friday typically marks the beginning of the Christmas-present-buying season, but on this Black Friday, I slept in until about 10 AM.

It’s not that I don’t want to grab up “hot items at unbeatable prices,” but because of my current financial situation, I just can’t. Since being fired in July, I’ve been making money here and there with my writing.  Some days are more stressful than others with regard to the assignments I get, but for the most part, freelance writing isn’t a bad money-maker for the time being.  It covers gas for my car and food for my belly.  Unfortunately, that’s about all it covers.  Christmas is less than a month away and each and every commercial on TV or ad on a website reminds me that I won’t be able to get my family and friends the kinds of gifts I would get them under normal circumstances.

In years past, I haven’t exactly been “extravagant,” but I have spent a great deal to make my siblings and close friends happy.  I throw the most money at youngest sister’s presents typically, and I do so because she’s this brilliant kid and I want to give her the world.  I guess it comes from having been a surrogate mom to her for years and years.

The gifts I give significant others are also a big deal.  Currently, I’m in an amazing relationship with an amazing man, and I want to give him a gift that conveys at least 1/10th of what I feel for him.  But considering I’m making $0.03 per word on the writing assignments I get (on average), I can’t give him exactly what I want.  We had the budgeting conversation (with regard to Christmas shopping) this past week and agreed on a spending limit.  It’s an adult thing to do, yes, but it still sucks all the same.

What do you do when you love giving people things but aren’t in a position to give as much as you normally would?

Admittedly, I’ve been quite envious of people in my life that can afford to spend this holidays season.  It’s not about being a consumer, exactly.  The way I see it is this: the more money you have, the more power you have, and with that power comes the ability to choose more freely.  I guess, going by this rationale, I’m pretty powerless.

holidays always depress me

It’s not about buying big ticket items, like TVs, or jewelry, or a goddamn Vespa or some shit like that.  If I was able to spend exactly what I wanted, I would get my brother that rare, out-of-print record by his favorite classic rock band so he can play it on his record player, sit back, and enjoy.  I’d get my sister those noise-canceling headphones, because she likes to tune the world out with music.  I’d get my sister abroad that particular memory foam cervical pillow so she can wake up every morning with out debilitating neck pain.  It’s not about the item, but about what it would do for the recipient.

Deep down, I know my loved ones understand my financial predicament and my struggle to make ends meet.  And because of this, I know they aren’t expecting the world of me this holiday season.  I guess I’m more conscious of it than they are.

Anyway, I’ve picked up a thing or two today to go towards presents for others.  Small things, but meaningful.  Things that stem from inside jokes, or things that will remind my loved one of the time we did something ridiculous, or things that make my loved one realize I was listening intently “that one time.”  And I suppose these things, while small, will mean a great deal to the person receiving it, and they won’t gasp because of how much I spent on it, but because of the way it makes them feel.

And I guess that’s what matters most.

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Author: Leila

Just another case of arrested development.

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