No More Presents for Me!


This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail

You know what I like about Christmas?

Almost everything.

People are nicer, you get the cookies without as much guilt, and reasons to drink are everywhere, which is probably the main reason people are nicer.

You know what I don’t like about Christmas?

The traffic, insects, that anxious twitch some people develop, mince pies, and the stress involved in trying to find a reasonably priced holiday apartment, caravan of camping ground.

What I don’t like most of all, however, is receiving presents.

Every present I get is either crap I don’t need, never wanted or that doesn’t fit.

If I need or want something, I go out and buy it. Since I’m an adult, and one of the best things about being an adult is that it’s Christmas whenever you want.

I’ve actually taken to gift wrapping my six packs of beer. Then every evening I get exactly what I want, and every night is Christmas.

Then whenever I open a present that isn’t beer, it involves the pressure of instantly inventing uses for stuff I never wanted.


It’s a sick game we all play, where it costs everyone a stupid amount to play, and there are only losers.

A cookbook? Because they don’t have recipes on the internet.

A drone? Because everyone wants a toy named after a weapon.

A vase? That’s just a glass it’s not socially acceptable to drink from.

A gift voucher to Dick Smith Electronics? Because they’re still in business and he’s not racist.

A six pack of beer? Thanks me. At least you always know what to buy.

So here’s my number one suggestion for improving society this Christmas. No presents for anyone over 21.

It’s the date when you officially turn into an adult, and when you often get some of your best presents. Meaning that after 21, the presents only get worse. So what’s the point of getting any?


There’s even some logic behind the no more presents theory.

Studies and experts and people smarter than me have proven once and again that your money can buy you happiness, on three basic levels.

The lowest is achieved by spending money on things for yourself. Such as anything except beer.

A medium level of happiness is then reached by spending your money on experiences.

Jumping off things, out of things and into things is usually a safe bet.

An even safer bet is simply travelling, eating dinner, or travelling while you eat dinner.

Which doesn’t include the local drive thru, as I’ve found it to be the birthplace of millions of hollow calories, and the burial ground of every disappointing big night out.

This medium level also suggests that your presence as Christmas dinner is far more important than any presents you bring.


The highest level of happiness you can reach with cash is then attained by spending it on someone else.

That’s right, money can buy you happiness, but only if you use it on anyone but yourself.

Which does help explain why I can’t stand getting presents, but I do like giving them.

So this Christmas, next Christmas and every opportunity you get, do the selfish thing and put your own happiness first, by giving as much as you can.

To children because they appreciate it, and to those less fortunate because they need it, and remember, the more you do for others, the happier you’ll be.

This article first appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

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