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On the Matter of Christmas Gifts

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“All right, what's this then?”

“It's a present!” Rosencrantz smiled looking particularly pleased with himself. Clasping his hands behind his back and rocking cheerfully on his heels, he continued. “A Christmas present, in fact! Look? See, it has a bow.”

“I did notice that.” Was Guildenstern's testy retort. Lifting up the box from where it had been tossed onto his lap and holding it, dangling, from aforementioned bow, he gave a disgruntled frown. “Let me restate the query: why are you giving it to me?”

“Because it's Christmas, of course! It's just what one does.”

“So, in keeping with capitalism and mankind's insatiable desire for the material, you caved and bought me some silly trinket that will be worth little more than the dust it collects within six months flat?”

“What? No. It's something useful.” Rosencrantz paused. “At least it will be useful once it's out of the box. You know, the type of gift that you pick up to use and think to yourself: "My, I remember when my good friend Guildenstern gave me this spectacular gift, that marvelous chap". But, besides that, it's supposed to be the thought that counts. Not the item, itself.”

“Ah yes, the Thought. An excuse used by people everywhere when, knowing that they don't know what someone else would like, they simply buy a card, or socks, or something that they themselves would like to receive as a present.” The box was given a vigorous shake as Guildenstern snorted derisively. “The Thought – a consolation to make people feel better about themselves because they managed to give something, at the very least, rather than nothing at all.”

“Well, something is better than nothing. At least, given the option between the two, I think something is better than nothing.” Rosencrantz reconsidered. “Except for maybe if your something is a fruitcake.”

“Did you stop for a moment and perhaps think beyond that?” Raising a hand to rub the bridge of his nose, Guildenstern sighed. Deeply. “The holiday itself is nothing! Nothing more than an elaborate sham.”

“A sham?” Rosencrantz frowned slightly. “Isn't it a celebration? A religious rejoicing celebrated as a mass for Christ who was born away in a manger and all such miracles?”

“A celebration of a birth that couldn't have possibly occurred anywhere near the winter months. Do stop and take notice of basic known barnyard breeding habits.” Guildenstern corrected with a dismissive wave of his hand. “It's a corruption of pagan holidays for easier assimilation by the conquering monotheistic culture. Twisted and corrupted further until it has become little more than a watered down snarl of political corrections, twinkling incandescent light bulbs, and lies of a fat man in a red suit who reverse burglarizes houses one night a year.”

A pause.

“...Does this mean you don't want your Christmas present?” Rosencrantz reached a hand out tentatively only to have the box snatched back from his questing fingertips.

“Don't be ridiculous.”