Some years ago, I asked my parents what they might like for Christmas, They said “we don’t need things, we need help clearing out stuff, or raking leaves”. So I made a gift certificate, good for a day’s labor. I often help them out with little things anyway, and this was a way to have something to open at Christmas. They didn’t use the gift certificate, though I continued to help in small ways when they needed.
Years passed. The gift certificate became a pathetic crutch (not unlike Tiny Tim’s crutch- the thought might bring a tear to your eye, but for different reasons). I cranked another one out each December, and was embarrassed that this part of the holiday had become a meaningless ritual. I thought up the Gift Critic, and channeled my cynicism into the following, which I included with the last gift certificate.
A Tradition Better Forgotten: The Gift Certificate
Gift Reviews – By Walter E. Gogh
Walter E. Gogh is the gift critic for
The Daily Post Times Record Gazette Dispatch
The opinions expressed are strictly his own.
It’s deva-vu all over again as Greg Gainer delivers another hackneyed, unimaginative “Gift Certificate” to his parents—once more relying on the worn-out cliché that can no longer be considered tired, but exhausted, expired, pronounced dead, buried, and now resurrected in an inexplicable, inexcusable, and brashly unapologetic act of holiday desperation from a lifeless deserted part of Greg’s mind where creativity once lived.
Mouth the words along with me as we read the same old once-clever, now bile-inducing certificate text printed on nearly identical certificates for decades ad nauseam. “The bearer of this certificate is entitled to four hours or yard work…” We don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
While we can all acknowledge the constraints from his elderly parents who “don’t want any more things,” surely a modicum of effort could have yielded some intangible gift more worthy of the receivers and of the season.
This couple- Ron and Sherry Gainer - bore, fed, clothed, and struggled, with an unmannerly, noisy, needy, self-centered, drooling, incontinent, new human. This couple who showed infinite patience— and a wisdom of biblical scale, and who balanced discipline and tolerance, to raise, endure, educate, and ultimately shape Gregory to become a productive member of society. This couple surely deserves some genuine token of appreciation; a testament to their largesse; an acknowledgement of their life-long sacrifice.
But no. Once more Greg’s mind surveys a culture-rich, intellectually stimulating, diverse world of possibility, and chooses generic vanilla. Made with a chemical sweetener. Devoid of heart, empty of life; absent care.
For a Christmas gift, he has “phoned it in” taking us once again down that worn, rutted path of this clichéd holiday cop-out.
Perhaps 2018 will bring a change; If there is a Santa, surely he will come save us from the Yuletide abomination of the Gift Certificate (cash value $0.0002); always received with a measured, polite enthusiasm; never redeemed.
Rated P.U. Thinking readers may be offended by the insult to their intelligence..