Christmas has become a transaction. Families, in some kind of warped attempt to avoid the materialism of Christmas, ironically turn to a “Secret Santa” option which invariably goes a little like this:
“We can’t afford to buy for everyone, so let’s draw names out of a hat and just buy one ‘good’ present.”
Straight off the bat, the assumption is that if we don’t make the budget higher and put all our funds into one ‘good’ present we’ll only get five crap presents and no one will be happy.
So this is how it unravels: Bill draws Marge. He tells Marge that he’s drawn out her name (so it’s no longer a secret and thus taking away the first fundamental of “secret” Santa) and he promptly asks her what she wants. She says, “just get me a Myer voucher, ‘cause I don’t trust you to get me anything decent, and I’ll go get myself something I want.”
Marge draws out Sue. Marge decides to get Sue a Big W voucher because she can’t be bothered to think of something Sue might want (and besides no one will forget how last year Sue complained for three days about vase she was given). Sue draws Bill. She too asks him what he wants and he says some money because he wants to put it towards a new drill set he wants.
They agree on a price cap of exactly $100. So on Christmas day they exchange the cash and vouchers. No one is surprised and everyone spent exactly $100 dollars. The smile at each other and mumble sarcastic thank-yous. Seriously, what a waste of everyone’s time. Why didn’t they all just go and get themselves something – worth $100 – and forget the “gift giving” charade altogether.