What are the holidays without gifts?

by Kristina on December 20, 2012 · 5 comments

Good Morning Dinks.  Let me ask you a serious question…how are you spending the holidays? Every family has their own traditions; some of us spend the holidays eating dinner with family and friends, some of us exchange gifts in front of a warm fireplace and some others bare the cold weather and tour their neighbourhood singing Christmas carols. What are your holiday traditions?

Something Different This Holiday Season

For many of us we spend the holidays with family and good friends as we exchange gifts.  The pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be both a stressful and a financial burden.  This year my mother’s family decided not to exchange gifts because I have an aunt who is going through a personal bankruptcy.

There is never a good time to be going through financial struggles, but it’s especially hard during the holidays.  My aunt is in the process of losing her personal assets as well as her business due to some bad investments and some not so great business decisions.

My mother’s family decided not to add to her financial stress and this year we decided to have a family dinner aka a family get together in the afternoon to enjoy some good food, lots of eggnog and great music – there is always dancing at my family gatherings.  No gifts were exchanged and everyone still had a great time.

Christmas Without Gifts

I personally appreciated the fact that we were not exchanging gifts during the holidays this year because it saves a lot of time and a lot of stress.  I love the way a Christmas tree looks when it is fully decorated with tons of wrapped gifts underneath it but honestly what does that say about me? Does it mean that I am superficial or does it just mean that I love me a cute Christmas decoration?

I live 5 hours away from my closest family member and therefore I don’t get to see my family very often during the year. I do enjoy seeing my family members throughout the year but seeing all 25 members of my family at the same time in the same place can be a little bit overwhelming.  Not exchanging gifts cuts down the family gathering time from 8 hours to 4 hours and it also gives out-of-towners the option to drive home instead of staying overnight. I think that this was appreciated by all family members who had to travel.

Save Money as a Family

If you are looking to start a new Christmas tradition and not exchange gifts this year try to think about other fun activities that don’t involve spending hundreds of dollars on gifts for everyone on your list.

Host a secret Santa gift exchange with a maximum dollar limit.  This means that everyone buys one gift with a $40 value and everyone picks a gift from under the tree. This eliminates the need to buy a gift for everyone on your list.

Make a donation to charity.  If you are hosting a Christmas dinner you can ask all of your guests to bring a non perishable food item or an unwrapped toy and then you can donate all of the gifts to a family who is less fortunate.

Go out to a restaurant. If the thought of having 25 people in your house and then having to clean up after them is not appealing skip the family dinner and go out to a restaurant.  It saves time and money but you still get to enjoy quality time with your family.

Photo by lizmarie



{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dave@50plusfinance December 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

For a change, we should treat Christmas like Thanksgiving and just have a great meal with friends and family. Let’s drop the presents for adults and give to only the children. The cut off age can be 18.

There is to much pressure for gift giving and it distracts from the true meaning of the holiday. I remember many holiday meals and gatherings over the years but none of the gifts. It makes sense and shows what is important. Great post and meaningful to me. Have a great holiday and a healthy new year.

2 DC @ Young Adult Money December 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

We do exchange gifts with pretty much all of our family members. It can be stressful or difficult to buy that many gifts, but it is fun to exchange gifts with everyone. With that being said, I would not mind doing a secret santa gift exchange or simply not exchanging gifts for a year.

3 eemusings December 21, 2012 at 5:11 am

Christmas isn’t a big thing in my family (no tree for many years, and thus no gifts under it). Not sure what we are doing this year yet actually- presumably lunch and feelgood movies…

4 Kristina December 22, 2012 at 10:36 am

I love feel good movies…especially on Christmas. My favourite Christmas movies are How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon), A Christmas Story and oddly enough Gremlins…even though I know it’s not a feel good movie. Happy Holidays everyone.

5 Jerry December 24, 2012 at 10:15 am

I think our kids would go crazy without the prospect of gifts. It might lead to a family mutiny! I think our insurance for a somewhat peaceful Christmas is at least some gifts for the kiddos.

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