My family is small – as in, I can count on my one hand the amount of family members around our Christmas table. In my opinion, this has never stood out to me as being particularly strange or unpleasant. Our Christmases are laid back, cosy, and we all get to engage in one topic of conversation, so they are more meaningful.
Our Christmases are also far, far more affordable with minimal, if any, present giving. When my brother and I were younger, our tree was littered with only two big-ticket items like bicycles, or a trampoline. Things that would last throughout the year and provide endless entertainment until the next big gift. As we grew up and our desires for big ticket items came with even bigger price tags (it’s also not that easy fitting a Kia Picanto underneath a Christmas tree), the Christmas gifts dwindled down to basically nothing. This has never bothered me and it shouldn’t bother you either.
When the topic of Christmas is brought up among ANY group of people, the conversation soon turns to the gifting of presents, at which point I grow silent. When the question is directed my way, the general reaction is usually: “You don’t get Christmas gifts?!”, after which I then find myself trying to justify this apparent phenomenon. My go-to reasonings are:
- Yes, my parents do love me. We’re just too old for presents.
- No, it’s not a religion thing. We still celebrate the sentiment of Christmas.
- No, it’s not because of capitalism.
- Yes, we prefer to spend our money on nice holidays (only ½ not true).
Recently, while trying to convince a particularly obstinate group that “I’M HAPPY WITH NO GIFTS”, I threw down the gauntlet and wondered why it is even necessary to have this conversation in the first place.
While I do agree that the sentiment of gifting as a means to show appreciation and love is valid, there’s an unnecessary added pressure to the ending of a year that might have been fairly stressful already. And so my resolution for this Christmas is two-fold. One, stop making excuses, and two, accept that people will regard me as The Grinch no matter how many times I try to explain otherwise.
I also thought it wise to share some friendly tips and reminders with everyone who has friends that also participate in a no-gifting Christmas.
- Don’t pressure them into accepting something that can’t “technically” be accepted as a gift, i.e. chores or expensive dinners. In the end, it’s still a gift which will probably have to be repaid with another gift.
- Stop the guilt – your family’s traditions and sentiment shouldn’t affect anyone else’s approach to Christmas.
- Don’t let your own needs minimise anyone else’s – if you’re the type of person who gifts with the goal of receiving in return ( because, you know, “it’s just respectful”) it might be best to take a step back and evaluate what your friends and loved ones desire.
Do you celebrate a no-gifting Christmas? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.