Luckily for you, there's a way out. Simply contact your friends and family before Christmas, allude to your financial situation, and ask them not to get you any gifts this year. That way, you won't feel guilty when someone presents you with a PS4 bundle, and all you can give in return is a really neat picture you drew of a snowman. You turn up on Christmas pleased with your solution, only to discover to your horror that That One Guy has gotten you a present anyway.What's Wrong With It
There's a name for the ironclad social rule that follows the giving of a gift. It's called the rule of reciprocity. After receiving a gift, most people have a strong desire to give something back, even if the gift was from a complete stranger and even if they didn't ask for the gift in the first place. It's why charities send you free stickers, grocery stores hand out food samples, and that vacuum salesman keeps hanging around outside your house doing free yard work. They all know that there's a good chance you'll feel uncomfortable enough to spend money on them just to balance things out.
Dylan Ellis/DigitalVision/Getty Images
"I see 'El Tigre Loco' sent me an extra severed finger with the meth shipment this year. I'll let him live."