Holiday gifts are nice, no matter what you might be celebrating. For those of us who celebrate Christmas, it’s a lot of fun to look under the tree and see a nicely wrapped gift with a bow, along with your name on it. Of course it’s much more exciting for kids in most cases, but it can be a lot of fun for grownups as well.
So yes, receiving gifts can be fun. Personally, I don’t really need anything in particular, and prefer to give gifts to those closest to me. Giving is more enjoyable to me during the season.
Gifts given to me sometimes make me feel a bit guilty that the person spent hard-earned money on me. If it’s my money being spent, then I might feel less guilty. If it’s brand new car that’s bought for me, I’d feel something other than guilty: outraged!
I bring this up because it’s this frugal mindset I have when I see television commercials that involve a person receiving a brand new car as a holiday gift. You know, the ones where a car is outside in the driveway, with a big red bow on top. The ones where the person getting the gift (usually the wife, from the husband – but I’ve seen it reversed) has that “Oh my GOSH!!” look on her face when she sees the car. There’s usually some kind of subtle hint to the recipient initially, then she looks outside and the jaw drops and eyes light up with wonder and excitement. The message seems to be that she’s thinking “Wow, a brand new car, for ME!! This proves that he (or she) loves me so much!!”
If you’re wealthy, perhaps it won’t matter. But for the rest of us – the so-called 99%, let’s say – a car purchase is a big deal. This isn’t like buying a nice cashmere sweater you got on sale, tickets to a live musical, or even a TV. This is a vehicle. One that probably cost $20,000 or more – sometimes much, much more.
So, let’s see here. If your spouse loves me, she (or he) is then supposed to buy me a brand new car, out of the blue, burning $20,000 in savings? Or, for most people, take out a big loan which might take a few years to pay off?
It’s almost like saying, “Happy Holidays, Honey! I love you so much, and wanted you to be happy, that I signed you up for 4 years of debt payments that we’ll have to work extra hard for. You’re the best, you deserve it!”
You can see what I think of those car commercials. The ones that I’ve seen lately have been these types of commercials, though there might be others this year for all I know. Most commercials in general don’t bother me, and some are quite funny and/or clever in some way. However, these commercials kind of bother me, but mostly amuse me because I think it’s mind-boggling how stupid the premise of a brand new car as a gift is for most people.
Like I said, I don’t need any gifts, though whatever I do get will be appreciated. Just save some zeroes, and stay around $20 instead of $20,000 🙂
My Questions for You
What do you think of these car ads on TV around the holidays? Do you see it the way I do?
Are there any other ads around the holiday season that have made you roll your eyes, or amuse you in some way?
Do you ever think about money being spent on you (as I do), or do you avoid thinking of money in these terms when it comes to the holidays and gifts?