As the holidays are approaching, it’s natural to get a bit stressed about it all. Sure, it’s a time of cheer, baking and get-togethers with friends and family, but there’s also shopping for presents. And for the average folk, lots of lots of presents.
Sure, everybody’s doing it, but does that mean you have to? Is it possible to not give any gifts this Christmas?
Some of us feel pressured about getting gifts for everyone that you know. Their friends, family, neighbors, even the mailman. But how many of these gifts you purchase are actually meaningful? In other words, are they even items that they want?
So many of us, caught up in mall crowds, online shopping sales and seeing other people’s shopping hauls feel like we need to just spend, spend, spend. And when you’re stressed out, we just want to get the shopping over with, leading us to make now so informed choices.
In fact, there are some that end up maxing out their credit or even go into debt over all this consumerism. Is it really worth it when your gift ends up getting tossed or worse yet, at a landfill near you?
Give Yourself Permission to Spend Less
Look, there’s nothing wrong with giving, and I’m certainly not saying you should be selfish this holiday season. But you can give yourself permission to spend less, or not at all. It’s perfectly ok. And if someone you know expects a gift, then that’s their problem.
It’s perfectly ok to be upfront and tell people you choose not to participate in gift giving and offer them as honest an answer as possible. You may be in debt, or you’re going to be if you spend money on gifts. Most people will understand.
Something else you can try saying to your friends and family is that you’d rather spend time with them, and it means more than any present you’ll receive. What you’re doing here is giving them permission to not give you presents. This will hopefully ease the pressure you feel to buy gifts.
What About My Partner?
Yes, your spouse or partner may not feel the same way you do, and that’s ok. They’re entitled to feel the way they feel. But if you’re committed to spending less this holiday season, you need to have that honest talk.
Start by writing a letter or just saying how you feel. The important thing to note is that you do so in a way that doesn’t make you sound resentful or accusatory towards the other person, because that will get you nowhere.
Alternatives to Gifts
Again, the idea of giving less gifts isn’t just to be cheap, it’s to be more mindful of the ways we show how much we care for our family and friends.
If you’re stuck on ideas, here are a few to get you started thinking about how you can make Christmas a lot less stressful:
- Volunteer together with friends and family and a homeless shelter or other charitable organizations
- Have donations made in your name (or others if you’re the one doing the donating) your favorite charity.
- Do a gift swap where everything gathers their unused items to swap at a party
- Provide an experience, such as a dinner at our house, or go on a small trip together
- Make gifts, like baked goods or knitted clothing
At the heart of Christmas should be goodwill and cheer, not buying presents. Now go and enjoy yourself this holiday season.