Gift-free Christmas

Limit the Christmas shopping and enjoy the holiday festivities



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I love Christmas. The decorations, the snow and, heck, even the non-stop caroling. The only thing I don’t like? Christmas shopping. And I’m not the only one.

In a recent survey done by Consumer Reports, 68% of respondents said epic crowd sizes and long lines were among their holiday shopping pet peeves. Disappointing gifts annoyed another 19% of those surveyed. And a second, holiday-themed survey from Consumer Reports revealed that shoppers spend 19 hours looking for the right gifts.

That’s a lot of stress.

But research shows that material goods don’t bring you as much as happiness as good memories. Think about it. Can you remember what you got last Christmas or two years ago? Probably not. But you likely remember what you were doing during those same times.

So spend less time worrying about what presents others want and instead think about what will help you, your friends and family have a good time. Cook up a meal in the kitchen, play board games, decorate a Christmas tree or build a gingerbread house. These are the experiences you’re more likely to remember when you look back years later.

As one of my colleagues suggested, “Give the gift of your presence, not presents.”

6 comments on “Gift-free Christmas

  1. The tough part about weening people off of gifts is that we enter into a Prisoner's Dilemma: "I don't want to buy my friend a gift, but what if he buys me a gift? So I'd better buy him something just in case, because worst case scenario I'll still look good. And how much do I spend? I'd better overspend so I don't look cheap in case he buys me something expensive." So you buy each other expensive presents, and the arms race continues. "He bought me something nice last year, he'll probably get me something equally nice this year, so off to the mall I go."

    How do you break the cycle? The solution is to be a brave and mature adult, and broach this difficult and embarrassing subject in such a way that (a) you don't look cheap; and (b) it saves them face. Good luck with that, if you are successful then please let me know how you did it.


    • Hi,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I think it's a matter of making it clear to your friends that you don't plan to do Christmas shopping, probably making that clear earlier rather than later is better. But also mention that it's more important to you that you set up a date to see them during the holidays to celebrate instead of doing gifts.

      A few years ago a group of my friends exchanged gifts with everyone, then we all decided to try a white elephant gift exchange and this year we've decided to pool money to buying board games for all of us instead. Maybe start off by suggesting a Secret Santa first with a group of friends and I'd assume that people wouldn't mind having a shorter Christmas shopping list.

      Josephine Lim


  2. Thank You, I detest the pagan ritual we have turned this holiday into. If we truly want to celebrate Christianity let start by giving to the people that truly need help.

    Our family Brothers six and Sisters six, have changed from giving to each other and bring items for an auction table. everyone bids openly on a bid sheet and when all is done we give needy family's in our home town a gift of holiday dinner and presents for their children.

    We always raise enough to care for three or four families and everyone goes home with an item from the auction table donated by an family member.

    We have great fun out bidding each other and go home happy.


  3. What does everyone say the day after Christmas? They say: "I'm glad it's over". So why do we do it at all? The happiest people I know that enjoy the season the most are those that don't exchange gifts but instead go and do things as families…travel…go skiing…whatever…it's about the time spent together. That time and money spent on gifts would be much better spent actually spending time with those you love.
    My Christmas's are ruined by having to get gifts, advise on gifts, get gifts for other family members cause they can't do it themselves ( I am the families go to tech guy). Don't get me wrong…I am not a Scrouge, but would much rather spend time with those I love…but try suggesting to others the idea of not doing gifts and then you become the bad guy. It's all madness I tell ya.


  4. Your Christmas have no challenge if you don't do Christmas shopping but this time, you don't need to get worried in buying presents and Christmas gifts, because some store and shops start offer discounted and cheap price for perfect gift this Christmas.


  5. Nice Post and Nice Comments.Good job.Discussing like this will definately open some of the readers mind.


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