The Gift of Not Gifting

christmas gift budgeting

Christmas is the season of giving, but sometimes giving can become a burden on our wallets. Unfortunately, the burden of giving turns into stress for far too many people. This can be even worse when you have a large family. Growing up, I had a total of seven siblings in my family after both parents remarried. That is a lot of kids and a lot of family gifts! I can only imagine how it would be if we were all still buying gifts for each other and our children. If you are feeling emotionally and financially stressed by your gift list, it might be time to re-think your gifting and suggest a change to the rest of your family for next year.


There are a few ways that families choose to handle the gifting burden. One option is to give to everyone but limit the dollar amount you can spend. Another is to have a sort of Secret Santa where you pick a name from a hat and only buy gifts for that person. Both of these are great ideas that can reduce the financial stress of family Christmas gifts. Plus, everyone still has a gift to put under the tree and open during your celebration.


My problem with this is that it is still a waste of money for everyone involved. How many times have you ever received a really fantastic gift that you loved from one of these gift arrangements? I can tell you that my answer is one time. Yes, one time I received a gift that I actually liked and used. Every other time? Well, there are gloves, hats, scarves, slippers, socks, and jewelry that I never wore and only end up throwing out or giving away. I am literally throwing someone’s money away, and I hate that. Chances are that no matter how much I try to find the right gift, my family members are doing the same thing with my gift to them. Let’s stop the madness this year!


Consider the gift of not gifting next year. What is that? You and your family members decide that you are not buying each other any gifts next year. (Note: I think this really applies best for adult family members. Kids still like to get gifts, and it is part of the holiday magic.) Everyone saves the money and stress of buying Christmas gifts. Take the money you would have spent and buy a nice gift for yourself instead. Use the money to pay down some debt or build your children’s college savings accounts. Donate the money to a favorite charity in your family’s honor. There are so many better ways to give by not gifting at all next Christmas.


What’s the worst gift you ever received from a family member?

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