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I loathe Christmas shopping. It's not the crowds (thought I really dislike those, too), no is it the money. Christmas-before-Thanksgiving as a retail trap doesn't make me happy, but it's not the real issue either. The part that bothers me is the idea that I have to buy a present for the people that I love right now. Christmas isn't about presents, it's about sharing love for mankind. How does that equate to material possessions?

For me, presents are a spontaneous outpouring of emotion, a way to show someone that you care about their wellbeing all year long. I bought my brother a computer because he needed it for his job. The only way he'd accept the gift was to call it his Christmas present. I have several friends who are leaning towards this philosophy. We're tired of the gifts of obligation and really want to show our feelings in strengthening the connections between us. It's tough to spread the word though. The traditions of materialism on special occasions are strong. I guess it's just one convert at a time...