Monday, December 10, 2012

The Gift-Less Christmas 2012

I have read about people not giving gifts on Christmas but it never really happened in our family…until this year. 

I enjoy thinking about and purchasing gifts for people.  I am known to purchase a gift for Christmas on January 5th and stash it away to give 11 ¾ months later.  This year has been quite the opposite.

I have a hard enough time wrapping my head around the fact that it is cold outside let alone that Christmas is right around the corner.  Originally, I had planned to do more gifts of experience with family, which we will still do; however, it will not be in the form of a gift for Christmas this year but something that we carry out throughout the year together.

I think it all started back in May when hubby and I went to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon for our 5 year wedding anniversary. I was completely astonished by the amount of consumption that went on by vacationers and then again in October when I went to Disney with my mom, brother and niece.  These two trips really changed the way Todd and I look at consumerism.

According to the Merriman-Webster Dictionary, Consumerism is defined as:
the theory that an increasing consumpion of goods is economically desirable; also: a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods

We have been advising friends and family since June that we are not going to buy into the consumerism mentality of Christmas.  To date, we have done pretty well with it.  I will admit that we do have gifts for my two niece’s who are 4 and 6, but they are simple and practical (which is the only gift they ever get from Auntie M anyway). 

There are people who feel that we are doing this because we are cheap and don’t want to spend money; however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Yes, we are frugal, but I love nothing more than thinking about and giving gifts to others. We have decided that instead of giving once or twice a year, we will be giving to our family and friends throughout the entire year and committing to spending quality time together as the year progresses.  In my opinion (and that is only what this is,) I don’t feel Christmas is (or should be) about the gifts.

I want to leave a lasting memory on my friends and family of love, loyalty, laughter, experiences and collective time with one another.  These are the memories that last a lifetime. 

Frugal Babe wrote an article last year (and another just last week) entitled Christmas Our Way where she explains what they do for Christmas each year. 

What are your thoughts on a giftless Christmas?
Have you cut down on your gift-giving this year?  I would like to hear about it!

DISCLAIMER:  This is something my husband and I have discussed extensively over the past several months.  Each family is different and we do not oppose other’s beliefs in gift-giving.  As I always say, “To each his own.”  


  1. Gifts are minimal. My granddaughter (8) will have gifts for Christmas. I made homemade gifts for my daughter and picked up a couple of dish towels with the same theme. I may pick up some costume jewelry or something. My son will get a small amount of cash so he can go out to dinner or pick up a book - he's halfway across the country this year- and my mom will get a gift or two. That's about it except for the small donation at work to get our manager something.

    1. Kathy, I love that you are doing homemade (and minimal) gifts this year. That's awesome!

  2. I've also been doing more thinking on the consumerism of the season. The few times I've been in stores this season, I've just been blown away by people pushing around carts full of stuff. It's just hard to understand how people can spend so much and consume so much when there are people in their communities without adequate food.

    This year, we purchased our boys a few small gifts. They each have a puzzle as their 'big' gift and we've put some small things in their stockings like toothbrushes, toddler snacks, etc. We've not spent much but in some ways even what we've done so far seems a bit excessive, especially knowing that they'll be getting gifts from 2 sets of grandparents, 4 sets of great grandparents, great aunts/uncles. Part of us would like to say no gifts but at the same time we know that family members enjoy giving gifts to our children. (And quite frankly, we do too, it's fun giving a child a gift you know they'll love!) It's hard to know what to do. I don't think there's a right answer or a wrong answer and we all have to decide what's best for our families.

    1. Rachel, I completely agree with everything you've stated. And you are right, there really is no right or wrong answer.

  3. I think people are accustomed to getting SOMETHING, so maybe just a picture and a handwritten note would suffice. But yeah, I am right there with ya on the crazy consumerism - I have nephews and I can't stand how their mom will get them stuff from a toy retailer (items ranging in price anywhere from $50 to $200 apiece) and then they will lose interest in these items after a week or two. Ugh. Ack!

    1. I agree about children loosing interest. Adults do too! :-) I am surprised at how many adults act like children when they dont get "what they want" for Christmas. I think we all know the gifts arent what is important. I cherish the time we spend with our family. I will always remember my brother being home from the Marine Corps last year, lying on the floor with my niece playing a board game with our pup sleeping in front of him. I will never forget that "mental picture."