He’s got an hour stand-up special set to debut on Comedy Central early next year. But for now, comedian Dov Davidoff has something to say about Christmas.
The best thing that ever happened to Christmas was “the letter.” It absolved us from any gift exchanging responsibilities with family. It was a letter my brother drafted upon returning from Nepal. Something about there being “too much clutter in an already cluttered world, and not wanting to add to it.”
I don’t like gift exchanging. It’s almost always a bad deal. As far as material goods, there is very little I want, and “piece of mind” cannot be found at the mall. The odds of someone getting me something I want are remote. And then after they’ve gotten me something I don’t want, I now owe them something they probably don’t want. Let’s just exchange bags of garbage. It costs less, and we can put each other’s gifts where they belong anyway— in the garbage.
The more I think about this whole gift exchange operation the more absurd it becomes. I had family I barely knew, sending me socks. Why not send me an old magazine or a packet of ketchup. It’s almost insulting. Out of obligation, I send them something made from cheap cotton. Now we’re shipping athletic wear back and forth across the country in some sort of “awful gift competition.” The same people win every year…FedEx. I spend time (I’d rather be doing something else with) finding something I think they’ll want. They do the same for me. I don’t want what they give me. They don’t want what I give them. Maybe we should both push a heavy rock up a hill and wave at each other, call it Sisyphus day.
It’s a tradition of futility and I want out. I have no beef with the symbolism of gift giving (closeness, warmth, appreciation) etc. This can all be accomplished with a note or letter, ideally “hand-written.” Technology and materialism are strange bed fellows. The hand written item is now so rare, it may seem like more of a gift than a gift.
“Gather ‘round everybody. we’ve recieved communication from the past…It’s been written in the ancient hand of the beast.”
It’s so uncommon to get something written by the human hand, I feel there should be some ritual associated with it. Maybe I’ll cover it with dust, and blow it off by candle light, during a full moon, but not before hiring a small man with large shoes and a pointy face to play the medieval flute, and as his silhouette dances among the trees, a tear will fall from my eye, knowing this might be the last time.
Also, the gift exchange is a personal liability.
* If I get something for a girl, and we’re “just banging,” she may get the impression that I’m not completely disconnected, emotionally. Before you know it, she’s expecting eye contact, and less “dog style.”
* If I give someone something lame, then I’m a little more lame than I was before I sent it. Now I’ve wasted time, energy, and money on something that actually makes this person like me a little less.
* If I get something too expensive, the person now thinks less of me for “over-valuing” our relationship because they don’t feel the same way about
* If the person is meek and a-sexual like my good friend Michael, and I give them a pair of Nikes, they may think me inconsiderate. I should’ve known they’re in the “indie- comedy” game, and non-New Balance is strictly forbidden. They may say, “how am I supposed to run away from tail and be passive aggressive in these? They just don’t have the support”. I may say something like, “Hey fag, are you doing an improv character called “Ironic Man” right now? You’re all about originality and not being hacky, and “doing it different,” but you’ve done just the opposite by agreeing to an actual type of shoe with all the other 30yr old virgins.”
Now there’s is distance between us that would never have been there if not for the gift.
A black woman cutting my hair in the black barber shop said something to me that made sense. She said, “the only real holiday is your birthday, ‘cause that’s just for you. The rest of em’ are just to make money.”
The holiday season has become so intertwined with business cycles it seems the origins of celebration have been lost in a tornado of plans, purchases, trips, reservations, and obligations.
For more info on Dov, check out his official site at dovdavidoff.com. To snag a copy of his 2008 album, The Point Is…, click on the image below.