My family went hard during the holidays when I was a child. The decorations, the parties, the food, and, most of all, the gifts. It pains me to imagine all the time and money spent on holiday gifts that I honestly can’t recall now. This isn’t to say that giving gifts is inherently bad – it just should not be the primary focus of the holiday. Years down the line the things we remember aren’t how many gifts we received, but the memories we shared.
We’ve talked about how this holiday season may be different than past years. It’s important to band together with our loved ones rather than go through the motions we so easily fall into this time of year. In that spirit, we asked our family to consider taking the holiday gift-giving down a notch. Not because we don’t want to show our love and appreciation, but so that we can show it through less materialistic means. Some of our family will be together over the holidays, but not everyone. Would gift giving replace spending quality time together? Instead, we should feel grateful for the gatherings we’ve had during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year.
Gift Giving Isn’t the Only Thing that Matters
In light of our recent move, our engagement, and our lofty savings goals, we decided to get real about our budget and our expectations. Can we afford big ticket gifts this year? Do we want our loved ones to buy us things we may or may not need? Is gift giving the end-all-be-all for demonstrating love and affection?
The honest truth is that gift giving is not a priority for us this year. Even if we could find the perfect gift that shows someone how much we care about them, we think it’s more important to dedicate our time and attention than our wallet. We prefer celebrating an experience-based Christmas that creates new memories. Sharing a meal, seeing Christmas displays, playing games – these are the things we’re looking forward to this year.
The True Spirit of the Holiday Season is Appreciation
Of course, we will probably receive some gifts from family and friends. And that’s perfectly okay. We are thrilled that our loved ones want to show us that they care. But the key for us is to not to take it for granted. That’s something that sometimes gets lost this time of year. The goal of the holiday season is not to receive, or even to give, but to appreciate our good fortune and hope for even better in the coming years.
If you are looking for inspiration for your own No Gift Christmas, consider these ideas from some of our favorite blogs:
- Minimalist Gift Giving – The Minimalists
- The Experience-Based Christmas – Northern Expenditure
- Our St. Nicholas Tradition – Montana Money Adventures
- An Intentional Approach To The Holiday Season – Break the Twitch
- All the Things You Don’t Need for a Perfect Holiday – Becoming Minimalist
Even if a No Gift Christmas makes you feel like Scrooge rather than Jolly St. Nick, take time this holiday season to set expectations for gift giving. The more we share our feelings around giving and celebration, the more meaning we will get out of the holiday season.
~ Ms. RW