December 16, 2005

There is more to Christmas gifts than giving, I’ve come to understand lately. Judging by some ads I’ve seen, the most important thing about a Christmas gift is that you, the person who is giving it away, will benefit by it. Some phone companmy or other, for instance, asks in a brochure that was thrust at me when I walked through a mall today “What Does Your Sister Want?” (Picture of underwear or a pair of earrings.) “Will That Make You Happy?” (Picture of happy sister and sulking giver.) “You should give her a phone instead” (or maybe a phone card from some particular company? I didn’t pay that much attention, I just know a phone was involved.) “Then she’ll be able to keep in touch with you!” (Picture of giver, in bed, sleepily answering phone.) “Come to think of it, maybe you should go with the earrings.”

Sure, it was humorous and it did make me remember it – which is of course the only objective of advertising. It would have been more of a success if I’d remembered whether it was Comviq or Motorola, but still.

But really. I mean, really. I don’t think I’m a particularly generous or good person, but I like giving things away, and Christmas provides a good excuse for squandering lots of money on presents for people I like. It’s probably partly the kind of feel-good hormone that is released by shopping for oneself, and of course also the selfish joy from seeing other people getting happy. I do like receiving as well, I can get ridiculously happy by material things. But I’ll reserve the right not to give away things that will mostly benefit myself, and I don’t particularly like that kind of advertising or what it implies.

So my sisters are not getting mobile phone cards from me this year. Sorry, Ulrika and Pyrola.

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