Why I won’t be gifting this Christmas

Monday, December 10 2012

As I slogged through December 2010 with a one eye on the wallet, and the other on my Christmas shopping list, I arrived at an important realization: I had stopped enjoying what Christmas had become. As a child, the stressful, time-consuming, expensive parts were hidden away; it was fun and full of excitement. As I grew, I gradually came to realize that Christmas is an industry, a Hallmark holiday. I didn’t care for the time away from family shopping, the constant stress to get everyone something, or the fear of gifting something that the recipient didn’t like.

I arrived at the realization that I was playing along because it was expected of me. I also realized that I had started dreading this song and dance every year.

2010 was my last "regular" Christmas. Starting with 2011, I laid out my desires going forward: Do not buy a gift for me. I will not buy a gift for you. However, I will gladly donate to a charity of your choice, if you’ll do the same for me.

As expected, I received a very mixed reaction to this. Some were happy that they could cross me off their list, some really understood my reasoning, and others pressured me to re-join the commercialized mosh pit. I ended up donating to six different charities, and spent more time with family (instead of shopping). Financially, there was no difference, since I donated what I would have normally spent (which is great). Best of all, my conscious was clear, and I sailed through December with zero regrets.

This year, I will be doing the same. I will gladly donate to a charity of your choice if you will donate to mine: Shriner’s Hospital for Children. Simply shoot me an email letting me know that you donated (no need to tell me how much), and which charitable organization you’d like me to donate to.

As far as why I chose Shriner’s, pull up a chair for story time.

When I was in highschool, the band would send a small detachment to Shriner’s on Christmas Eve to play for the children who were too far from, or too sick to go home. Wanting to help brighten their day, I volunteered in December 2003.

We arrived, got set up, and were ready to greet the children, who then started to filter in. Some were wheeled in on gurneys, others walked, some were in wheelchairs. I was surrounded by scared, sick kids who wanted nothing more than to be well and back at home with their families for Christmas. We played our set, and for a brief moment, the kids were happy and all smiles. As we left, I imagined the smiles fading, and the patients being carted back to their rooms. It really put things in perspective for me, and made sure I didn’t take what I had for granted.

This Christmas, I’d like to help those children smile and get well instead of buying you a gift card or a trinket. I do not chastise or look down on those who choose to do otherwise, nor will you hear anything further on this from me. I figured I’d explain why I won’t be gift swapping (indefinitely) and wanted to make sure friends and family understood why.

Keep in mind what Christmas is all about this holiday, and have a great one!


Mountain Lion observations so far

Saturday, August 04 2012

As some of the software I use on my Macbook Pro now requires at least 10.7, I had to retire my trusty Snow Leopard a few weeks ago. After a few weeks of using Mountain Lion, I’ve got things mostly straightened out to where I’m productive again ...

read more

Switched to Disqus

Thursday, March 01 2012

Up until today, I have been an IntenseDebate user for the last two years. I even wrote a blog post about why I chose IntenseDebate over Disqus back in 2010. However, the scene has changed quite a bit since then, leading me to re-evaluate my comment system.

The primary reason ...

read more

An interesting article on fanboyism

Wednesday, August 17 2011

ars technica has an interesting article with a brief overview of a study that looks into fanboyism. It outlines why fanboys tend to defend their favorite brands, often with disregard to facts and history. Read the full thing here.

read more

Mozilla moving towards removing version numbers

Monday, August 15 2011

Following the lead of Chrome, Mozilla is working towards burying version numbers. ghacks sniffed this out in a Bugzilla ticket. See the ghacks article for a brief walkthrough, and check out the Bugzilla ticket for the full run-down.

read more

Fabio on Reddit

Wednesday, July 27 2011

It looks like Fabio is doing an AMA (Ask me Anything) on Reddit, and it is most amusing. I’m not sure if it’s him or the Old Spice PR team, but it’s funny either way. Read it in its full glory.

read more

A word of warning about 1and1.com

Monday, May 23 2011

After dealing with them while working on a client’s website, I can’t, in good conscience, ever recommend 1and1.com as a domain registrar or DNS host. Creating, updating, and re-naming CNAMEs and A entries take an extremely long time, with some users complaining of times over 72 hours ...

read more

Removing some dust

Sunday, March 20 2011

After sufficient embarrassment, I have finally forced myself to update the site. In addition to a visual overhaul, I’ve updated the codebase to use Django 1.3, and brought in a lot of the pieces of our stack we use at DUO Interactive.

I’ve also made the updated ...

read more

Finally up to Date

Monday, November 24 2008

I finally bit the bullet and went through the necessary leg work to get the site upgraded to the latest Django trunk. The fun included adding the new admin stuff and figuring out the newly redesigned comments system.

If you notice anything odd, let me know and I’ll get ...

read more

Adobe Illustrator CS3 Crashing on Saving

Wednesday, April 30 2008

After trying to figure out why Illustrator CS3 kept crashing when saving files, I finally turned up this bit of information that pointed me in the right direction. It looks like if you have your Print Spooler service on Windows XP disabled when attempting to save, Illustrator dies.

One of ...

read more