Here's an article from THE TELEGRAPH ... another assault at Christmas and tradition:

Martin Lewis: It's time to ban Christmas presents

Giving to children is a joy but does everyone else need a gift too? This Christmas try adopting a brave new approach.

Martin Lewis: Is it time to ban Christmas presents?
With Christmas just five weeks away, there's still time to pull back and agree on No presents this year. Photo: CHRIS TERRY

Is it time to ban Christmas presents? Across the country people are growling at the enforced obligation to waste money on tat they can't afford, for people who won't use it. Festive gift-giving has lost its point, risks doing more harm than good, mis-teaches our children about values and kills the joy of anticipation of what should be a joyous time.

Before you think this is just curmudgeonly bah-humbug, this rant isn't about presents under the spruce from parents or grandparents to children or spouses. It's about the ever-growing creep of gifts to extended family, colleagues, children's teachers and more.

I first braved this subject on my website back in 2009, expecting a snowstorm of protest. Instead, many people joined my call to arms, relieved they were not alone in their distaste for the gifting ritual.

The next year, I polled 10,000 people on whether we should ban presents. Seven per cent said ditch all of them, 30 per cent said to all but children, and a further 46 per cent said limit it to the immediate family. Fewer than one in five supported giving beyond that.

Yet even with years of economic stagnation, each successive Christmas, Eid or Hanukkah, too few brave the peer pressure and shut up the giving shop. With Christmas just five weeks away, there's still time to pull back and agree on NO PRESENTS THIS YEAR.

Christmas is not a retail festival, mangers aren't sponsored by Argos (yet). Let me set out my stall.

We're disconnecting from why we give

The expectation of presents isn't culturally exclusive to the West. Anthropologists refer to it as ''ceremonial gift exchange''. Common are gifts upon marriage or coming-of-age ceremonies. This makes social and financial sense – I see it as a form of prudent social banking.

For example, when a young couple begin married life, others give cash or gifts to them as a start-up fund, providing a rapid net inflow of funds or goods.

As people age and often gain financial stability, they give gifts to newly-weds, effectively paying the system back. Over a lifespan it evens itself out, so it's an efficient method for society to focus cash on when and where it is needed.

Yet Christmas gift-giving outside the immediate family doesn't work that way. We simply swap presents, so there's no net movement of funds or goods.

Gift – giving creates an obligation on the recipient

By now, many rabid presentpushers may be spluttering over their wrapping paper, yelling "you're obsessed by materiality, what about the joy of giving?".

Of course, gifting can warm the cockles, but it can also, in some cases (shh, whisper it), be just a little selfish if you can't de- link giving from receiving.

Social convention says give a gift to someone, or their children, and you usually create an obligation on the recipient to buy back, whether they can afford it or not. If that obligation is something they will struggle to fulfil, you actually let them down.

Gift giving mis-prioritises people's finances

Christmas presents are a ''zero-sum'' game, as people usually swap gifts of similar value. Look at it as a simple equation:

David gives Nick a £40 blue tie for Christmas; Nick gives David a pair of £40 designer orange socks.

The net result ... Nick has spent £40 and got a blue tie; David has spent £40 and got orange socks.

Effectively, you pay to receive someone else's choice of object. Fine if people have wealth, but consider Janet and John. Financially, everything's bonzer for her, so she decides, generously, to buy gifts for all and sundry. In her cousin John's case, it's a pair of £25 funky cufflinks. Yet he's skint, in debt, and has three kids – but pride obliges him to buy her something of equal value.

Without the gift-giving obligation, would John have really chosen to prioritise spending £25 to receive cufflinks? Instead, perhaps he'd have replaced his children's shoes or repaid some debt. Worse still, maybe he borrowed more to buy Janet her gift.

In other words, giftswapping skewed John's priorities. He would've been better off if Janet hadn't bought him a present.

Don't fill landfills

Whether it's a naff knitted jumper from Aunty Beryl or a novelty naughty nurse outfit from your workmates, unused gifts are sent all the time to fulfil seasonal obligations. It's money spent on unneeded, unwanted and unused goods. That's bad for our finances, doesn't help the environment and just clogs up landfills.

Children aren't born retail snobs

Parents giving gifts to their children at Christmas is a joy. Yet it's still worth examining whether the size of your present pile has an unnecessary impact on your own and others' finances.

Young children often want what they want – whether it costs £2 or £200. Yet if their favourite Christmas toy is just a couple of quid, many parents feel guilty buying that alone. They search for something else to hit their own ''spending cash proves I love them'' meter – often even when in dire financial straits.

The lesson of the past few years is we must teach kids not to completely equate happiness with material acquisition. Sadly, while I've been campaigning to get compulsory financial education in schools for a few years now, many children still only get it through the ad breaks.

Some parents humorously boast that their children prefer the wrapping to the presents. A few years ago, for a pre- Christmas TV shoot, we had giant, empty wrapped boxes by a tree.

Two young children were there to play – I warned them the boxes were empty, but they didn't care, they were desperate to open them.

After giggling through the unwrapping, their joy boomed when they filled their time playing trains and castles with the empty boxes. Children don't judge gifts' quality by the price paid. So why do we judge our generosity to them by it?

Inflationary giving isn't good for the nation's children

School-age children are competitive, comparing gifts. The affluent who buy big gifts add pressure on others who, especially in these times, can't afford to compete.

This gift inflation can be horrid. With tales of birthday or bar mitzvah parties featuring appearances from international pop stars as parents compete to throw the best bash, even well-off parents can feel the pinch.

I remember sitting in a coffee shop, overhearing a 16-year-old persuading her aunt to intercede with her parents so that she could have a birthday limo trip around London, followed by dinner and an expensive nightclub.

When asked why, she named the other girls who had done it, and said she'd look "stupid" if she didn't follow.

Final thought

Some will say my view is unromantic, and others more bluntly call me Scrooge. However, this isn't about stopping festive fun, it's a challenge to pressured, blithe and habitual gift-giving.

When buying's a chore, a thing to tick off a list, does that really help our pockets or our souls? Spending your time making tokens others appreciate, or even just being more considerate, is more in keeping with the spirit of winter festivals. Perhaps the real gift is to release someone from the obligation of buying you a present.

Tips to break the gifting habit

1 Get a "pre-Nupp". There's a stigma to suggesting not giving. To help, we built the Pre-Christmas No Unnecessary Present Pact tool – – which generates a nice email saying "I won't buy a gift if you won't". The automation is deliberate, so the recipient feels it's part of a widespread philosophy, not just you being tight. Alternatively, cut out and send this article – then you can blame me.

2 Set a gift limit. If you are going to give, why not agree a £5 or £10 spending limit within your circle of friends, to reduce waste and cost (the tool above has a pre-Nupp Lite option to do this). Of course, some will bust the limit, but if they do, at least they will be in the wrong, so you needn't feel obliged to copy.

3 Do a secret Father Christmas. Thankfully becoming widespread in offices, there's no reason not to extend this to friends or family, too. For those who don't know, everyone's name goes into a hat, then you draw out who you're buying for. So you only buy and receive one gift, usually within a spending limit.

4 Christmas gift cheques. Whether it's a promise to give your special someone a back-rub, let kids have a sleepover or babysit for pals, your time could be the best present you ever give. To help, go, where we've designed free "cheques" to print for family or friends.

5 Buy gifts for charity. Less wasteful and far closer to the Christmas spirit, why not donate a gift to charity instead? You can give on behalf of someone else, or simply donate a lump sum and tell your friends you've donated instead of giving them a gift. To make it more personal, many charities have their own gift catalogues, so you can choose something specific. Try (Age UK); (World Vision); unwrappedshop.unicef.;

Martin Lewis is a broadcaster and creator of You can join the 7 million who receive his weekly tips by email at


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Good Grief! Can't these nuts just leave people alone? Tweeting this out.

It appears they can't, Robin.  They want to theorize all joy out of people's lives.  Anything "they" don't agree with should be banned. Giving presents is a choice, this guy doesn't seem to understand that.  

The Grinch has come early this year.

I'll say.  However, they've stolen enough ... they are not going to take Christmas!  I always look forward to it and the giving of presents has always been a particular joy.  What this guy doesn't seem to understand is that the joy is in the giving, not how much something may cost.  In fact, the most precious gifts are those given with thought and love, not from the wallet. 

I agree that this person is a nut.  I do give some Christmas presents - depending on how much money I can spare.  I do not recall ever doing that when I did not want to.  If this guy has a personal issue, he needs to keep it to himself.  And I sure hope he is not breaking any laws - such as selling a goldfish in San Fran, or having a dog sit in a Hotel Lobby in New York, or God Forbid having a soft drink over 16 ounces.  We have so many laws pushed on us by the nuts like this that how can anyone call this the land of the free anymore?

Gee, Obama is right in line trying to ruin Christmas.

Any Republican refusal to accept President Barack Obama’s fiscal plan may ruin Christmas for the nation’s retailers, the White House claimed in a report released Monday morning.

“The National Retail Federation is forecasting that holiday sales will grow 4.1 percent this year … [but] if Congress does not act on the President’s plan to extend tax cuts for the middle-class, it will be risking one of the key contributors to growth and jobs in our economy at the most important time of the year for retail stores,” says the report, which was prepared by the Obama White House’s National Economic Council and the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“The holiday season is no time to threaten middle-class pocketbooks,” urges the report, titled “The Middle-Class Tax Cuts’ Impact On Consumer Spending & Retailers.”

Democrats made the same claim June 28, 2011, during talks about increasing the federal government’s ability to borrow more funds.

“Happy Holidays America: [Rep. John] Boehner plan would have the debt ceiling all over again during the holiday season, which is critical for the economy,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer declared. (RELATED: GOP aims to gut Christmas, White House alleges)

Obama spokesman Jay Carney and top political aide David Plouffe also made the same claim that day.

The new report is part of Obama’s media campaign to blame Republicans for scheduled tax increases, spending cuts and the stalled economy during Obama’s tenure.

The apparent disagreement over middle-class tax cuts — many of which were pushed by George W. Bush in 2001 amid opposition from Democrats — is also part of an ideological fight over the size and ambition of government.

Obama and his progressive allies want to boost government’s spending and clout with extra taxes, primarily from wealthier Americans.

Republicans want to curb governments’ reach, in part by keeping taxes low for all Americans, including the economy-boosting wealthy investors.

That ideological fight is being waged during talks over the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the long-scheduled January arrival of tax increases and spending cuts that could extract $500 billion in annual spending from the economy.

Obama says he wants the GOP to stop the scheduled tax increases for 98 percent of the public, and has promised to oppose any effort to stop planned tax increases for the wealthiest 2 percent.

That position makes it difficult for the GOP to pass a temporary extension of current tax rates, prior to a bipartisan comprehensive tax-reform package planned for late 2013.

Obama’s PR positioning frames the GOP as the instigator of the planned tax increases, which many Democrats have sought for years.

The president’s messaging also seems poised to set up Republicans as scapegoats for the economy’s very slow growth during Obama’s first term in office.

A failure to extend the expiring middle-class tax cuts would cost middle-class families roughly $2,200 per year and hurt the consumer-driven slice of the nation’s economy during the “holiday season” — the White House’s secular version of “Christmas” — says the report.

Yep, more threats and spin by Obama for the mush heads that believe EVERYTHING he says.  Today Jay Carney said it would "ruin the fun if I gave away Obama's fiscal-cliff plans."  "Ruin the fun" they believe it's "fun" that we all are worried about the future and that our hard earned money may be confiscated and redistributed to lazy bums.  A big joke for them.  They laugh and joke while Americans worry about the future for themselves and their families!  No adults anymore, only children who never grew up and who ridicule anyone who knows or wants to take responsibility for their own lives. Then add to that the Socialist agendas of those in charge and you have a complete disaster for the lost American way of life of individual freedoms and liberty!

Not to mention also, the lives that are being destroyed by Obama and his Dem cohorts!  I could add more and more to this ... my anger, I'm sure, is shared by many... I just wish it meant something!!

Plus, the fact that they think it's "funny"!  I'm sure every Czar in Russia and Hitler's regime thought human suffering was funny!  And, the ones who voted for a 3rd party or not at all, also think it's funny.  May there be a special place in Hell for them all!





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