How a screw-up by Amazon taught me the true meaning of Christmas

Is it better to give or receive?

That’s the eternal question — and thanks to a screw-up by Amazon, I think I finally know the answer.

Like many people, I’ve become pretty reliant on Amazon for a lot of my shopping. Even without Amazon Prime’s next-day deliveries, it’s still super-convenient. Order and within a few days, it’s there on your doorstop — no leaving the house required.

So for the Christmas of 2015, when I realised I’d left my gift-buying awfully late, I naturally turned to Amazon. On December 23, I loaded up my cart with books and board games, paid for the one-day delivery to ensure it would arrive before Christmas, and waited. And kept waiting.

On Christmas Day, as we sat around the tree, my family gave me gift after gift, and I had nothing to give them in return. It felt pretty bad.

The presents did eventually arrive, a few days after Christmas. But on December 25, as I received some rad sheepskin slippers, books, and assorted socks and knick-knacks, I couldn’t reciprocate. The process felt hollow.

So there you have it it. Being given new stuff is fun. But it’s being with your friends and family, and sharing with them — whatever form that takes — that really makes Christmas great.

Also: For the love of God, don’t leave your Christmas shopping until the last minute.

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