Who Actually Gets a New Car for Christmas?

by TTMK on December 3, 2012 · 13 comments

The holiday season is a time of cheer and giving for many people.  It’s also a time of a little bit of suspense, when it comes to the gifts that people are giving one another.

Sometimes we want to give gifts of clothes, tech items, tickets to games/shows, or other traditional things. Other times we may even give a gift card for Christmas.  What about giving a big ticket item? By that, I mean a really big gift – like a new car!

Up front, I can tell you that I couldn’t imagine ever giving such a gift, or getting one either.  Nor would I want to.  With that out of the way, I’ll share that my thoughts about this centered around the TV ads that I’ve seen in recent years where a person gets “surprised” over the holidays by a shiny new car with a big ribbon on it sitting in the driveway.

In these ads, the person getting the gift seems so happy and excited to get the gift.  You can just see the affection in her eyes (or his, if he’s the recipient), and the giver appears to have done a good job.  How romantic, giving such an amazing gift over the holidays!

Or, is it really so romantic?  Or practical?  Or sane?

Yeah, I know that they’re commercials, but come on people! Unless someone is firmly entrenched in that top 1%, how does a person actually go about buying a major gift like that?  There are a number of questions I have:

  • Is this really a gift, or a purchase of something you need (or want, most likely) that is masqeurading as a gift?
  • If it’s a gift, are you giving something that she (or he) really likes, or something that you like?
  • How do you just commandeer that kind of money on your own, and apply a unilateral decision on how money is to be spent?
  • Is the recipient someone that demanding that he (or she) needs that big of a gift to be happy?
  • Just who in the middle class has that kind of money laying around for gifts?

I don’t personally know anyone who has received a car as a holiday gift.  Maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong circles! Or, on second thought, maybe I’m hanging out in the right circles.  🙂

My Questions for You

Have you ever seen these ads where people give/receive new cars as holiday gifts?

Does this concept seem a bit far fetched to you, or do you know folks that have done this?

Just how do you think one would actually pull this off?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Christopher @ This that and the MBA December 3, 2012 at 7:44 am

Ahh Yes the lexus to remember sales event with the car in a bow….oh hunny go look outside I just bought you a 50k car. I hope you like it..oh hunny but we are in so much debt…the point is i love you…

I have always wondered this myself…glad i am not the first…

I do not think I know anyone who has had a car purchased like this…maybe a parent for their kids first car but it was not a nice one like on the commercials.


TTMK December 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Christopher – you know, I think that that people can tell each other they leave one another without buying a pricey car! I too don’t know anybody who bought a car in that way.


Christopher @ This that and the MBA December 5, 2012 at 7:53 am

Good post we always hear it and it just goes in one ear out the other…


The College Investor December 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

I don’t know of anyone who has bought a car as a gift for anyone. However, I did buy my new car at Christmas time, because I got the last car of the model year at a huge discount because they were trying to get rid of it before year end.


TTMK December 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Robert – now that’s a good way to do it. My Dad tried that approach quite a few years ago and got good deals.


Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter December 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

The commercials are hilarious because they are so far from reality. I have never received a car for any type of special occasion. I would feel awful is if someone spent that kind of money on me.


TTMK December 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Miss T – I know just what you mean, in that I too would feel bad if someone spent that kind of money on me. I don’t think I’d feel to great if I spent that money on myself either! 🙂


Ryan @ Planwise December 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I feel you on this. The one most notable to me is Lexus. It’s also usually a woman getting a new car with the husband and kids all looking super stoked and happy.

I mean in reality I don’t think this is very reasonable. Unless, as you said they are part of that 1% and have a lot of money to toss around and buy a car. I also think there is a misconception that they are bought the car cash upfront. I’m sure they still have payments on it.

Perhaps they have been saving for the car and the particulars of the purchase price, etc have all been discussed and the husband/wife goes to get the car to surprise the other person because they already had plans to get the car anyway?

Or maybe a gift to a recent college grad/bday/xmas gift. I think these might be a few situations where it’s somewhat plausible but overall I think it’s a joke.


TTMK December 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Ryan – I too think that this is all so strange. Can’t see a car as a holiday gift for most people, except those in the highest income/net worth brackets.


AverageJoe December 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I’ve only seen it once, and the person actually needed the new car. Because the spouse didn’t expect it that day (but knew they were getting one in the next few weeks) the husband decided to put a bow on it and call it a present. Luckily, she really liked it. Otherwise, that would have been a fun day at their house!


TTMK December 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm

AverageJoe – glad it all worked out for them! True, it would be interesting to get a gift that you don’t like, which came directly from money that was yours.


Emily @ evolvingPF December 3, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I remember my parents got my sister a bike for Christmas one year. That’s about as close as I’d like to come!


TTMK December 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Emily – that’s a pretty solid Christmas gift! More appropriate transportation gift than a brand new car!


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