How to save your sanity this holiday season and get off the gift train for good (part 1 of 2)
I'm always so happy when you post this and more people get on board with shedding stress, financial drain and commercialism. People in our lives know not to bring gifts to our home - not because we're ungrateful but because the greatest gift to us is people keeping their money. My love language is feeding people so a wrapped gift is almost never coming from me....unless it's a plate of food. LOL!
I was totally inspired (years ago) when I read about your no-gift approach to the holidays. I spent some time really looking at my holiday experience and made some tough decisions about what worked for me and what didn’t.
Decorating: I love lights! The lights and candles are what make things festive for me. They drive away the cold and dark that I associate with winter. I start early and limit the decorations to fairy lights and candles.
Christmas cards: I edited our list of recipients to a more manageable number and paid for the cards to be pre-addressed. Thank you for your service Shutterfly!
Baking: I purchased pre-made Gingerbread houses for our Gingerbread house decorating party. I also stopped making a variety of Christmas cookies, now I make three types- the favorites of each of my three kids.
Gifts: I recognized that for me, I needed to share the responsibility and decrease the overall workload. It helped that my kids were getting older and making their own money. Now we do a Secret Santa. My parents, husband, kids, and their partners all participate. We have a $100 limit for the gift and $50 for the stockings (if this seems outrageously high, just know this is a significant reduction in total spending). My favorite part is that my father, husband, and sons are now equally involved in gifting. Previously, 99% of the holiday experience was managed by my mother, me, and my daughter. There were some complaints early on, from my 80 yo father and 24 yo son, but now everyone is onboard.
Christmas day: I cut down on our obligations. No more getting dressed up, traveling, and fancy food. We have a slow-paced morning with a delicious breakfast and then everyone does their own thing. This works especially well for my kids, who are trying to balance time with us and time with their partners’ families. I usually spend the afternoon walking the dogs, napping, and reading.
I love this every year! I’ve been working a more slow-gift boundary, but this year feels like the right time to take it to no-gift.
Another question along the holiday line: how can I set a boundary around family visiting on Christmas? We MUCH prefer to spend the day quietly opening and playing with presents, watching a movie, and having a casual dinner by ourselves. And thankfully, we live away from our family and can do that most of the time. But I’m already getting asked about our plans for Christmas 2024 because grandparents want to come for it. I continue telling them we aren’t planning that far ahead (because we definitely aren’t looking at the calendar 14 months out!) but that just gets the response of “well then there’s plenty of time to make this plan happen.” I don’t mind seeing them around the holidays, but our day-of memories as a small family are my favorite and I don’t want them to change as long as my kiddo still loves it too.
We’ve been moving this direction for a little while in our family, and it’s been so nice. My mom will pick us up pottery at the local markets where she lives, and we’ll buy gifts for kids but that’s been it. I’m about to have my first baby and I want to set a minimal gift standard from the start. Thanks for the tips!
Sorry if you already answered but do you do this with your husband too?
My friends and family and I decided a few years ago not to exchange holiday gifts or birthday gifts. None of us have children, we're all in different parts of the country and are at the point in our lives where if we want something we can buy it for ourselves so it made sense to make the decision. We call each other on Christmas or text and it works for us so I'm totally onboard with no gifts.
Challenging when gifts are a primary or secondary love language for you or your loved ones. I love giving gifts, and would be happy to skip my husband, who’s stressed about giving and is a terrible receiver. But I love exchanging gifts with my daughter--we give each other very thoughtful gifts. So I am looking forward to next week’s edition.
I've tried to do this over the years but stocking gifts for adults would then turn into a thing, and it would be unbalanced and feel awkward.
Now I'm sticking to gifts for kids (with a $ limit in my head - I don't care what others spend), a batch of my homemade granola and one Geometry kitchen towel (I'm obsessed) for each family. FYI these are also my go-to gift for clients because I can pick patterns that match each person's style.
I feel good about it and am letting go worrying about things being "balanced." Can you tell I like practical gifts?! =)
Love this, and it prompted me to text my family about not exchanging gifts this year :)
Exactly what I needed. Thank you very much!!!