I Spend All My Gift Cards On My Children

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I’m a grown man, so most of the presents I receive are gift cards. No one wants to guess what to buy me. Hell, I don’t even know what to buy myself.  I buy the things I want already. That’s what an adult does. I have money in my pocket, but I rarely think about what I want. What I need? That’s a different story. That’s always on my mind.

Actually, the only thing I really want in life is to be happy. Can you buy that? Buy me that.

If not, just get me an Amazon gift card.

Not only am I a grown man, as stated earlier, but I am a grown dad. So all of these gift cards go to my kids or, at the very least, things that support my kids.

Sounds magnanimous, huh? Look at me, atop Mount Great Pop, standing proudly in the face of my sacrifices. Music plays. Birds fly. People applaud. He spendeth his gift cards on his children. How noble.

i sing the loudest when im alone

It’s not. There’s nothing noble about this. It’s nothing that we, as parents, do because we think we’re great or actively feel we are making some big gesture. We do it simply because they take all our money anyway.

People are aware of this parental pull to toss our cash away on the little demons. They will literally hand me a gift card and demand I spend it on myself. Grandma Pearl would look me dead in the eyes and demand it.

Use this on YOU! Not them! You!

Ok, Grandma Pearl.

Four hours later, I’m buying baby wipes, Sour Patch Kids, and construction paper on Prime. It just is what it is.

The money all goes to the same pot. That’s the misconception people have when they tell you to buy your own things with it. I don’t separate my money. I guess some people do. Elon Musk and Scrooge McDuck – those people are organized. I’m not. I just dump most of it somewhere and peck at it like a baby bird.

Don’t get me wrong. I try to use it myself. I look around Amazon and attempt to think outside the box. I look at desk toys and insane kitchen decor. There are so many things I want to peruse but would never buy, like action figures from WWE, He-Man, and the Golden Girls. I keep looking.

Down a rabbit hole of nonsense, I go. Eventually, I settle on an Aztec Death Whistle. For less than $20, I can have this conversation piece in my own house. I picture people saying, “Oh, what’s that?” Then I can say, “An Aztec Death Whistle.” It would be awesome.

In my cart it goes.

For four days.

Then I take it out.

That’s not to say that some items don’t fall through the cracks and end up on my doorstep. I have a Tibetan Singing Bowl, Chinese Baoding Balls, and a Tornado in a Bottle that have all come to my home in similar ways. Most get deleted from the cart. These select few have not. They are the chosen ones.

Look, we have groceries to buy and things to do. Money in eventually becomes money out and, even when you get yourself to a spot where you can feel a cushion, you’re always leery of someone pushing. What you have today, you might not have tomorrow. Free Money buys food.


So, does that mean I’ve wasted my gift card? Did you read the whole thing just to get to this depressing end? No. There’s a moral and a meaning behind it all.

Using my personal birthday gift card to buy groceries sounds sad to someone who has never had to buy groceries for other people to eat. The truth is that the worry about feeding a family and keeping things moving forward is real. When I use that gift card to buy my kids birthday presents and food, it buys me something too.

Peace of mind.

The older I get, the less I really desire material things. Sure, they’d be nice, but I can wait. The shiniest thing isn’t always the best and I’ve lived through too many lifecycles of name brands to put much value in them. We paid hundreds of dollars for pants in 1989 that people laugh at today. Stuff is just stuff.

Happiness is a different story. Being free of stress and worry is the real key to a happy life. For any dad, gift cards can help buy that.

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