That's right, I'm going to do it.
The virtual blackmail members of a family inflict upon one another by recoursing to well-established social norms so they can extract as much as possible from those from whom they should demand as little as possible in terms of exchangeable tangibles.
That's really what irks me, the exchangeability and the tangibility of the objects demanded, and not so much the demanding.
I will forgive people who are in love with each other the grand pains they can inflict upon one another, but not the small ones. Because however much all pain people do one another must be stopped, one is performed as a desperate mark of uncontrollable love with no thought of the ego (which is presumably already shattered: "Charlie, you bitch, let's work it out!"); the other is performed underhandedly by a sick ego that cuts the other 1) in order to avoid cutting itself, 2) with the hope in mind of not being injured itself in retaliation (it always hides behind a sophist-icated justification).
And the Christmas programme, the structure it provides set rules by which one can determine who got the other the best gift. Even if it isn't the case that each one wants to see the other lose as much money as they have in the purchasing (and this is highly suspect), then the very fact that each weighs the other's gift against their own on these finely calibrated scales which allow for the expression of will in ratio of money spent to income and 'thoughtfulness'--this boils down to two lovers using a well-crafted societal mechanism to attempt to best the other.
Gift giving is not always like this: the ego can be inflated in the giving of a gift without the diminuation of the other so long as it happens outside an exchange-based system.
If people are to give gifts, they should not do so during Christmas, or at least should not do so by exchanging them at Christmas with someone they love. Maintain your ability to love above all else, and give them to the poor, or someone else you don't like or whose face you won't see when they open the present.
There we are.
But seriously. However mediated by society all our relationships may be, we do need to reserve the right to declare the medium a poisonous one.