Christmas shopping, or holiday shopping as it's now called, so that Jews, Muslims and atheists can participate in the frenzy, is in full swing. I'm always reminded of the scene in the Marx Brothers' film, A Night at the Opera in which Harpo and Chico meet, exchange salamis, and go their separate ways.
This is pretty much how the game is played. You give people a bunch of crap that they don't want, so they can give you some comparable crap that you don't want. This is how we bolster the U.S. economy. There are whole industries dedicated to making this crap that nobody wants. In the history of the world, did anyone ever buy a Yankee candle for himself? Do your friends measure space in their homes for those little dancing Santa toys? (If so, do they already have a singing fish?) Have you ever heard anyone say, "Gee, I really could use a hanging reindeer holder for holiday cards?" even if actual people ever really said "holiday cards?"
And for the economy minded, there's re-gifting, a fancy term for passing the crap along. This is almost un-American. Instead of buying new crap, and thus helping to keep the global crap market solvent, people are passing along previously owned crap. Some of this stuff has been in circulation for years. I got a fruitcake last year that had a card in the bottom signed by Jimmy Hoffa.
But I suppose in this ephemeral, throw-away world of ours, it's nice to know that some gifts keep on giving.