It was one month ago today that I had to take my leave from my old position, and I decided that I’d never look back.

That was, until I saw that no one would think my “8 months of experience” was worth following up with an interview, and then watched my bank account dwindle down to $155.23. And then I literally* shit bricks.

I’m not someone who easily panics. Despite my history of taking 20mg of anxiety medicine, and a crippling fear of going to my high school classes, I’ve learned to pretty much mellow out. But the holidays, intermixed with loan payments and other adult finances (for adult things), have left me a broken mess. The year without a Steve Claus.

So, on behalf of Stop Speaking in .GIFS, I present to you my…present…idea…thing.

THRIFTSMAS

(Jesus, I was not expecting that shade of red to be so blinding…but we’ve gone too far now)

Charlie Brown had it right. The spirit of Christmas is in being a cheap shit.

Charlie Brown had it right. The spirit of Christmas is in being a cheap shit.

Welcome to Thriftsmas – where you can relive your days as a high school/college student, and spend the absolute bare minimum of cash on people you love! When you shop for others for Christmas, all you end up doing is getting your name on the calling list of every collections agency on the east coast. Save yourself the trouble of hiding from “the man” by celebrating a whole new holiday, dedicated to the message of Jesus Christ – being flat broke, drinking tons of wine, and falling asleep in a stranger’s barn house.**

Now then, on to the 8 gifts of Thriftsmas, in a lazily put-together list.

And you better believe I won't be checking it twice. Ain't nobody got time for that.

And you better believe I won’t be checking it twice. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

1. Cookies – As the title suggested, one of the first gifts I’m probably gonna be giving to people will be delicious, homemade, hand-baked, delicately prepared, mildly burnt, somewhat disappointing cookies. This is a good gift because, usually, most of the ingredients are already owned. You’re basically down to the decision of “Is this person worth buying chocolate chips for, or do they get cookie-flavored cookies this year”. I usually decided on the former, because I’m not a total dick. But Thriftsmas is about individuality, so spread the wealth accordingly.

You could also wrap them in cellophane, but screw it - go green.

You could also wrap them in cellophane, but screw it – go green.

2. Dollar Store Shopping Spree – This is a special gift for that special person. Not everyone can truly appreciate and enjoy the dollar store gift. No, this one’s for the Great Aunt Edna’s, and the Uncle-Whose-Name-You-Forget-But-He-Always-Remembers-Yours-And-Now-It’s-Just-An-Embarrassment. Dollar store gifts, of course, were never built to last. Sure, the spatula in aisle 2 looks like a sturdy piece of plastic, but after careful observation, you can see the Made in Abaginajar sticker clearly notating its worth. These gifts should only be bought in jest. And please, for the love of the holidays, don’t buy anyone glassware from there. I’m pretty sure they’re made with children’s tears.

I also wouldn't recommend Dave's Toffee Brittle. It tastes like colon.

I also wouldn’t recommend Dave’s Toffee Brittle. It tastes like colon.

3. Homemade Cards If you’re creative, or if you have a ridiculous supply of paper, glitter, and doilies, then homemade cards may be your best bet. The beauty of the homemade card is that each one can be personalized enough to be considered a gift. Maybe you have the gift of the artist, and can draw a picture of your cousin tapdancin’ with Santa. Or maybe you’re a natural-born writer, and can finally find a way to unleash your vibrant vocab on the world at large. Whatever the case, find your muse and go with it. The cards really have to sell your heart and soul. Because people need to find a reason to keep it after they see there’s no gift card inside.

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Who needs a Starbucks gift card when you have…styrofoam hearts…I’m so sorry.

4. Musical Interlude Time to break out that rusty saxophone from grade school, because everyone loves live music. What better way to bring out the holiday cheer than spreading your gift (or lack thereof) for the fine arts? If you already know how to play an instrument, then you’re 80% of the way there. The only thing you gotta do is master “We Three Kings” without breaking out into a nervous sweat. But how hard could that be?

Unless you don’t know how to play an instrument. In which case, just sing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” at the top of your lungs.

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Don’t get trom-boned on these holidays! Heh. Get it? Like “boned”? Puns are never cheap ploys.

5. Poorly-Created Coupons – I want you to flash back to when you were a kid, and you would have to do Mother’s Day arts and crafts at school/chuch/synagogue/your neighbor’s house. One of the most ingenious ideas ever created by a crazed teacher was the homemade coupon. These coupons would have things like “good for one free dishwashing session” or “breakfast in bed.” You can adapt these little buggers for a new use. Let your loved ones know that if they ever want a “free cuddle”, all they have to do is whip out their non-refundable slip of paper, and they’re good to go. And take note of who ends up using them, because they’re a much worse person than you.

Retro-Gift-Coupons-Template-for-Microsoft-Publisher-2013

The perfect gift for that friend who spends every Sunday clipping coupons for 4 hours.

6. Hot Chocolate Kits – Screw Swiss Miss and Land O’ Lakes, for you’ll be the new talk-of-the-town with these ridiculous gifts. Somewhere, someone thought it would be a good idea to take a plastic bag, fill it with generic hot cocoa, top it with chocolate chips and marshmallows, and tie it up in a little bow, just to give it as a gift. And because this insane person exists, you now have a new option for a cheap, shitty gift of the season. It’s one of those “thought that counts” type of gifts that people never use. It’s also the perfect excuse for each recipient to stop sending you their shitty homemade Christmas cards through the mail.

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To be honest, I only picked this photo because I laughed at it for a solid 7 minutes.

7. The Re-Gift – This is a holiday tradition, and a serious option for many of us. I can honestly say that I’ve done this before. Blindly. I’ve friggin’ re-gifted presents to people without knowing what was inside. To this day, I STILL don’t know what were in half of those gifts. But I can fake it with the best of them, and say “hey, no problem, it’s the least I could give you, you deserve it, etc. etc.” But blindly or not, some gifts are just not necessary in your life, and may better benefit someone else’s. And there’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve given someone else something that’s a piece of you. Or you’re clearing out space in your home. Which is also totally cool.

Christmas-Present

“Hey, hope you enjoy that thing! Cherish it for a lifetime!”
“It’s a sweater for a cat.”
“…Enjoy it for nine lifetimes, then…asshole.”

8. The Super Re-Gift – The holidays can call for some pretty desperate measures. And, like the re-gift, I’m guilty of the “Super Re-Gift.” This consists of wrapping up a “gently used” item in your own home, pretending like it’s brand new, and giving it to a friend or family member who doesn’t know you once owned it. This requires tact, so make sure that the item isn’t as blatant as your living room television, nor as used as a scratched disc version of Beetlejuice. It also helps to own a shrink wrapper. Think of it as an investment, so you can treat your home like a goddamn Blockbuster.

Re-Gift

“Hey, hope you enjoy that cat sweater! Enjoy it for nine lifetimes!”
“…Didn’t your cat used to wear this exact sweater?”
“…Yes, and he died. Thanks for reminding me…asshole.”

Well, that about “wraps” up Thriftsmas ideas. Keep in mind that, as opposed to Christmas, the Thriftsmas season goes from the beginning of December until the last day of the month. Because people know you can’t afford to have this shit locked down to a single date.

*not literally. Although a night of Chipotle is the equivalent.
**I cannot confirm or deny these borderline heretical comments, but just like Dale from Talladega Nights, I like to imagine my Jesus in a tuxedo shirt.

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