The holidays are often spent overspending, stressing about finding the “perfect” gift, and being so rushed we don’t have the opportunity to fully enjoy the company of our loved ones. Over the course of my childhood and now into my adulthood, my family has progressively descaled the gift giving. It’s not because we’re cheap or that we don’t enjoy the act of gifting, but we’re opting for more quality time instead. Things like avoiding consumerism and wastefulness and trying to be more environmentally aware are some other key motivators as well. But realistically, we would rather be surrounded by one another than by stuff. And to be perfectly honest, dodging that financial hangover in January has it’s benefits.
Now, this is not to say that we don’t treat ourselves and one another or that there is a strict no-gift boycott. Our Christmas just isn’t centred around gifts. It’s centred around food (lol). No, just kidding (sort of), it’s more about family and friends and the time spent together. In lieu of gift giving, we will do some extra special activities like going for walks with the dogs down the trails in Paris as a family, to the movies (and obviously purchasing the overpriced popcorn) and escape rooms, or we’ll take the family out for brunch and dinner. Someone will treat drinks and another will treat for apps. It really doesn’t matter who pays for what, as long as we are together making memories. Being a family who loves to entertain, one of our favourite things to do over our gift-free holidays is to host dinner parties and game nights and having saved a little extra cash allows us to splurge on our favourite foods and wine. Personally I would much rather have a full stomach than a full closet. Anyone else?
I know this is not for everyone, but it works well for my family- mostly because we are all on the same page. There are also lots of other ways to cut down on your Christmas spending this year by introducing some new gifting alternatives. Reconsidering who you buy for and what you’re purchasing can be a great start to new traditions. For instance maybe you introduce gift giving secret Santa style, where you only buy for one person. Instead of spreading your resources of money and time thin, you can devote more efforts in picking out something that person will actually really enjoy and use. Or, maybe you have a rule that the gift has to be regifted or second hand. One I really like is giving homemade gifts. Being someone who loves to bake and feed people, I make up cookie and square trays for all my family at Christmas. You still get all the feel goods of regular gifting but it’s more meaningful, and seriously, who doens’t want homemade cookies at Christmas?! Better yet, use your gift budget to bless a charity this Christmas.
Considering that 50% of Canadians claim they will be spending less on gifts at Christmas this year, I’m curious to see what other alternative gifting trends emerge. Do you give gifts during the holidays or do you have other Christmas traditions? Let us know by leaving a comment on Facebook and Instagram!