It’s the thought that counts
Dec. 8, 2017
by Ivan Raconteur

I nearly got sucked into the holiday gift-giving hysteria, but I came to my senses just in time.

While I was working at home one recent weekend, I had the television on. I wasn’t so much watching it as using it for background noise.

During that period, I was exposed to an alarming amount of propaganda regarding Christmas.

Advertisers kept hammering away at the urgency for buying gifts.

Christmas at the bachelor estate tends to be a modest, low-key affair, geared more toward napping than getting caught up in any yuletide dog-and-pony shows.

Despite this, advertisers had nearly convinced me that I should buy my cats a Christmas present because, after all, it’s their Christmas, too.

About that time, I experienced a moment of clarity, and it occurred to me that Rylee and Braylie had just spent nearly three days playing with a piece of packing tape they tore off of a cardboard box.

If they can have that much fun playing with a piece of garbage, I reasoned, I would be foolish to spend any money to buy them a gift.

If I do feel compelled to give them a present, I can just choose something nice for them out of my recycling bin, and no money will need to change hands.

I realize this will be a disappointment for the people who sell overpriced cat toys, but they’ll just have to find another stooge.

I suppose if I wanted to be a little festive, I could just wrap a couple empty boxes for the cats and let the girls unwrap them. They do seem to enjoy tearing things apart, so they’d probably have as much fun with that as they would if I actually put gifts in the boxes.

It’s not uncommon for the cats to spend an entire evening playing with an empty carton from a case of adult beverages if I toss one on the floor for them.

That’s like a double gift. I get to enjoy the contents of the box, and the cats can use the empty container to play hide-and-seek or whatever games cats play.

This entire exercise reminded me that gifts may be purchased more for the benefit of the giver than the recipient.

Sometimes, this may be the result of advertisers playing upon the emotions of consumers and using the holiday theme to convince them to spend more than they can afford buying things people don’t need, or perhaps even want.

I believe there are times when some people buy expensive gifts for others to prop up their own egos or perhaps to overcome feelings of guilt for not doing what they really should be doing.

For example, I suspect there are parents, especially older parents, who don’t want another token gift from their children. What they might really want is to spend some time with their kids, perhaps going out to enjoy a nice meal together.

But in this cold, commercial world, sometimes we get confused.

I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with buying gifts for people we care about. I’m merely suggesting we might want to give it some thought and make sure we are being honest about the reason we are choosing the gifts we select.

In my case, I honestly think I’ll find a couple nice cardboard boxes for my cats, and I bet they’ll be just as happy with those as they would be with the most expensive gift I could find in the pet store, especially if I take the time to give the cats some attention along with the gift.

When it comes to gift giving, cats aren’t all that much different from people. It really is the thought behind the present that counts the most.

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