Better luck for next year

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Christmas is the pinnacle time for consumer society to over indulge, with shoppers spending hundreds of pounds on food, alcohol and gifts. The hype and overzealous can sometimes lead to over-eager gift buying in an attempt to cross that person off your list and does beg the question of what happens to unwanted gifts; it’s bound to happen.

We’ve all been there; sat by the Christmas tree with your family and loved ones, ‘Rockin’ around the Christmas tree’ belting in the background of laughter and excitement as you anticipate the next gift to come your way, wondering will it be something from your Santa list. But then as you slowly unwrap your present, you realise it is yet another novelty, knick-knack memento from Dad, or ill fitting, ghastly clothing from a distant relative who feels compelled to buy something, despite not knowing a thing about your current likes and interests.

The former, I can definitely relate to; I have come to realise my hatred for knick-knack novelty gifts; the whoopee cushions, character underwear and stress balls of this world, that are described as ‘unique’, ‘quirky’ and ‘fun’ but as I see it in my maximization of utility philosophy, are; ‘cluttering’, ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unimaginative’.  If I wanted to de-stress from exam and coursework jitters I wouldn’t use a stress ball, I’d hit the gym or talk it out with my bestie. If I really wanted to hear the god-awful sound of flatulence escaping I wouldn’t use a whoopee cushion for kicks, I would just need to hang out with my boyfriend and his mates for any given length of time.

So the question is- what to do with these unwanted gains? As children, my Mum had a kiddie present box under her bed, full of generic his and her gifts for impromptu parties and last minute, forgotten birthdays.  With hindsight, I think this is pure genius. Maybe we as students could do the same? Afterall, aren’t the majority of us strapped for cash and with numerous social groups, someone is always bound to have a birthday. Secondly, you could set yourself up as a budding Internet entrepreneur and sell on eBay. You never know, you might get a much dearer auction wage than your gift’s original price, and could then put this dosh towards something you really do want. Or thirdly, with the festive season- a time of charity, sharing and reflection, drawing to a close, you could fulfil one more good deed for 2011 and donate to charity, upholding the waste-not-want-not mantra.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the Grinch who stole Christmas and I know that it is the thought that counts. But if someone else can benefit from my unwanted discards, please help yourself. I myself know that I’ll be heading down to Barnardo’s at the beginning of term in an effort to de-clutter my postage stamp size room. So don’t leave your unwanted merchandize rusting and dusting on the shelf- be proactive!

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