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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The self-proclaimed holiday grinch

Published: December 9, 2011
Section: Opinions

Now during the home stretch of this semester in a caffeine-induced delirium, I can’t help but laugh at all the ridiculous and commercialized holiday events to which I get to look forward over break. The more I think about these practices, the funnier they seem. Can anyone tell me what clogging my arteries with fried, shredded potatoes has to do with the Maccabees? How does illuminating your house with a billion-dollar electric bill celebrate Jesus? Kwanzaa?
Yeah, I guess you could call me the holiday grinch as my skepticism often overshadows all the cheery little chipmunks singing Christmas songs in knitted sweaters. But really there is just one part of the holidays that is absolutely ludicrous: wrapping presents.

The idea of gift giving, in my opinion, is to brighten a loved one’s day by giving them an object that makes them happy. Before you see the person, they don’t know what the gift is. So really, there is no additional element of surprise by bringing the gift in the plastic bag you walked out of the store with versus bringing it in colored paper. I have no other conceivable thought for why wrapping a gift could be important.

From a purely financial standpoint, the time between you handing the present to the person and the wrapping paper being ripped off and thrown away is probably 15 seconds. You paid $3 for 15 seconds of enjoyment? Einstein’s coffee is cheaper than that and you enjoy its effects even after you’re done drinking it! With that concept, why not use a roll of paper towels with which to dry yourself off every time you shower. Honestly, whoever created this business is a genius and probably rich.

Now that I ragged on what I think are the dumbest customs of all the holidays, I’ll give you what I think is a reasonable solution. Newspaper. Not only do you save money by using The Hoot as your gift paper, but you also enlighten your loved one with the knowledge and opinions of The Hoot staff; clearly the best gift of all and much more useful then sparkly snowflakes. Also, it’s a green solution, great for all the super-hippie, crunchy granola Brandeisians.
All things aside, I respect all the holidays and customs this time of year, and really want to make sure companies don’t scam you this season. Just some food for thought as you watch your credit-card bill skyrocket. Have a great break and happy holidays!