Could you skip Christmas? It’s a wish of at least 45% of those surveyed in one poll. The reason? Worries about finances. Their budget doesn’t allow much to go towards gifts this year. From the linked article at CNBC:
“Eighty-five percent of those in this year’s survey plan to spend the same amount of money or less on gifts this year, with 54 percent planning to spend $500 or less, and 27 percent planning to spend between $500 and $1,000 on holiday gifts.”
There are many reasons people are rethinking the way they have celebrated Christmas. How many of these resonate with you?
1. It’s too expensive.
2. There are pressures to spend more each year.
3. The gift list is getting too long.
4. It’s too much stress keeping up with all the details.
5. We give gifts to people we don’t care about.
6. The season is too commercial.
7. Our December calendar is overloaded.
8. The kids get the “gimmees.”
9. Much of it doesn’t represent my values.
10. It’s too much about impressing others.
Some people even say they want to ban Christmas presents. After all, you might spend $20 on a gift for Aunt Sarah who then gives you a $20 gift. But since you each got something you didn’t really want, there is $40 wasted and possibly more items for the landfill. (Hopefully those unwanted gifts get donated to a worthy cause.) It’s usually not acceptable to give cash because it shows lack of thoughtfulness. My dad said the perfect gift is cash because it’s always the right color! But if Aunt Sarah gives you $20 and you give her $20, will everyone be happy? Probably not. So we continue the charade of thoughtful gifts that most people don’t really want.
You can have wish lists, but that is just a step away from an order blank. You can try drawing names in the family so that each person buys just one gift and gets one gift. But that is somehow not very satisfying, especially if you never get the name of the person you like the most. You can try to limit gifts to just the kids, but then what do you do with childless people? You can request homemade gifts, but who has the time to make them?
Personally, I’m in favor of gifts just for the kids and then an activity with the extended family instead of gifts. After all, it’s shared experiences that form our best memories. An activity doesn’t have to be expensive to be special. Volunteering at a deserving charity is a wonderful family activity. A friend invites me over for tea in early December every year. I admire her tree, have a Christmas cookie or two, and share family news. It’s much nicer than exchanging gifts.
I’m not skipping Christmas, but I am skipping activities that don’t mesh with our family values. What do you want to teach your kids during the Christmas season? What can you do to make that happen? What activities do not feed into those goals? Every time you make a deliberate choice in how you celebrate the season, it is a little victory. Choosing your kind of Christmas is what will make it meaningful for you and your family.
I wish you a meaningful Christmas season with peace and joy!
Hi, Clay! I can’t understand that either. Just dumb. Maybe they want to show off their expensive cards? Must be some reason!
Wishing you a simpler Christmas!
Clay Talk says
I think that’s some very sensible advice!
I still can’t understand why some people mail Christmas Greeting Cards to the people living next door instead of just wishing them and/or handing the card to them in person.
anexactinglife, when I was a teacher I’d see the poorest kids always had the most expensive Christmas gifts. I guess their parents didn’t want the kids to feel poor. I like family getting together and just relaxing with each other the best. The songs always get to me too!
I like the traditions and food, but not the way so many people scrimp all year and then have a Christmas blow-out! I try to even out spending on gifts and necessities throughout the year.
Marie, I’ve been thinking about it more. I’m not saying to throw off all the traditions that people love or to try to cause family strife. It’s just a goal of mine to shed the meaningless parts and keep what really matters to us. Great nieces & nephews is tough. In a really small family, maybe. I’d rather give them a gift when they are born & call it quits after that. Families are complicated!
Marie at FamilyMoneyValues says
This is a thought provoking post. Lists really do expand over the years. We are starting in on great nieces and nephews now but try to limit the amount we spend on each.