Friday, December 27, 2013

Returns on Christmas Investments

It is the day after the day after Christmas, and I sincerely hope that everyone had a special and meaningful celebration this year. And it wouldn't hurt if you got the gift you wanted, so I’ll hope that happened for you, too.

But, the simple fact is that even if we all got what we wanted, it may not have come in the right color or fit as well as we hoped. And those gift cards? Well, we probably planned what we would like to purchase with them before we even received them. Not to mention the fact that this year’s Christmas season was a three week whirlwind of purchases, as opposed to the four week white-out blizzard of a purchasing season to which we are accustomed. It all adds up to this: The nation’s retail outlets and malls are full of happy shoppers, ready to make even more purchases.

Some items are still in stock! GET THEM! They’re on sale!? GET THEM DOUBLE!

If I’m sounding a tad bit sarcastic, it’s because I am. It seems like the ideal objective this time of year would be to enjoy a relaxing day or two off surrounded by the loved ones with whom you don’t always get to spend time. And let’s not forget that as gift-givers and gift-receivers, we are in a good and fortunate place to begin with. Good times and bank accounts are like the wind; they’ll blow south just as quickly as they rise north. With that in mind, we are lucky to be experiencing a gift exchange this season and a good deal of thanks should accompany that.

That said, I am steadfastly dedicated to written (though not always lived) optimism, so let’s put a positive spin on the returns, exchanges, and gift-card purchases that are taking place.

What’s the point of getting back to the mall the day after Christmas, returns and exchanges in hand? The point is that you’re still in the Christmas spirit! Someone who loves you gave you something that doesn’t fit…or that doesn’t interest you…or that you just won’t use, but they gave it to you in the spirit of Christmas. So while Christmas is still in season, there is an opportunity to exchange the item so you can make use of that generosity. How gracious is it to accept a gift that you’ll throw in the closet and forget about?

For example, when I was seven, my Memere (pronounced “meh-may” for those of you even less French than I am) gave me a sweatshirt that fit well and kept me warm. Unfortunately, it had a picture of a sweet-looking bunny wearing a pink ribbon on it, and I was a boy hoping for a Ninja Turtle. This bunny, it should be said, did not appear to know any of the martial arts. Just as I took it out of the box – and a look of horror crossed my face – my mum jabbed me in the side and gave me a stare that said, you love it.

“Thanks, Memere, I love it!”

The next day, my mum facilitated the sweatshirt’s transfer to a family friend. She liked bunnies, so the gift was far more fitting. Though there was love in the giving, how gracious would it have been for me to keep a sweatshirt that my Memere would never see me wear? Except, of course, under duress. 

Merry Christmas everyone!

P.S. Enjoy these pictures of a near-empty Prudential Mall, especially if you’re there wading through the crowds. ;) 

Til next time!

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