I am tired of hearing people moan about stressing out over Christmas shopping. If buying me a gift for Christmas is going to lead you to seek counseling then I don't want the damn thing! Geez! Kind of defeats the entire purpose of the whole thing, no?

For years we've heard people complain about all of the work that is associated with celebrating what is supposed to be the "most wonderful time of the year." What happened to all of the peace, love and joy? I'll tell you what happened. We all bought into the commercialization of the holiday. The desire to please a loved one with a simple gift, handmade or purchased turned into a mad rush into Black Friday and big screen TV's and the season's hottest toys, always in short supply to help drive up the price. God forbid your kid is the only one on the block without a 'Fingerlings' or gender fluid Barbie.

Buying gifts for co-workers, mailmen, hair dressers, nail technicians, back rubbers and tanning salon attendants has become time consuming and costly. But, we'd better not be the one who forgets and be branded as the cheapskate or unthoughtful. Now, add to that the baking and Christmas cards and all of the yard decorations that are bigger and better than the Jones' across the street and one can understand the stress.


To heck with what everyone else is doing. Take a step back and remember when the Christmas season was last "good" for you and go back there. Take it easy. Make it about family and the simplicity of giving and doing what you are capable of. Take back the season and your life. Slow down. Smile again.

A new Harris Poll offers some encouragement that perhaps the whole thing is running its course. The poll says 69% percent of respondents would forgo gift giving all together if friends and family would agree. 43% say they feel pressured to buy gifts and spend money they cannot afford to spend.

60% say with the time and money saved by not trolling the malls endlessly looking for gifts they would spend more time with loved ones. 47% say they would save money or invest it, 37% would pay down debt and 25% percent say they would use money saved from not buying gifts on activities with friends and family.

Some might argue that those folks sound like selfish cheapskates. To me, they sound like folks who have been chewed up and spit out by Maddison Avenue and are looking to find their way back to simpler times when Christmas was something entirely different. It was fun.

Resist the stress and rediscover Christmas. We'll all be happier.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.