No. We are not Ebineezer Scrooge. We also do not buy traditional gifts for the holidays. Last year we wrote about giving gifts with double the value and half the cost. This will be our second Holiday not giving physical gifts (things) for the Holidays.
Last year, we decided that too much was going on in the world for us to simply focus on buying our friends and family socks and the latest gadget. We decided instead to donate to organizations we believed in like Planned Parenthood and a local Refugee Program in the honor of our loved ones.
I then designed our Christmas cards and listed the organizations on the back to give to all of our family and friends. Yes, all of them, even if their view differed from ours.
This year we decided to not give gifts again and instead we were going to be giving our time, memories, or items we were decluttering from our home that held sentimental value. This looks like homemade ‘coupons’, tickets to events, and some cherished books that I know my friends will love as much as I do.
If you are considering not giving traditional gifts and instead considering donating, giving time or even re-gifting- read our WHY for doing the holidays a little bit differently- and it may solidify the idea. It will also give you some phrases to use with your Aunt and Uncle if they look down their noses.
1. The Focus Shifts to the People
Instead of running around filling our baskets with items or searching for the perfect gift, we spend it with the people we care about. Our focus changed from the things to the people, and this is what the season is all about anyways.
2. Your Budget Will Thank You
While we still spend over the holidays on food, events, or charity giving (alternatives to material gifts) – we do not max out our credit cards to make anyones dreams come true. Many of y friends will fill their baskets with toys or clothes for their children and/or all family and friends. This all goes on the credit card and the budget is tanked.
3. We Talk About and Choose Alternatives
Instead of one of us carrying the emotional burden of gift giving it becomes a conversation for what we want to give and do with others.
4. Memories are More Meaningful
People will remember what you did and not what you have given. We have also enjoyed built and fostered relationships in a way we could not have imagined when we stopped giving material gifts.
5. Lasts all Year Long
Instead of only a short few weeks being the most wonderful time of the year, the things we plan or do last all year long. It has led to conversations and outings at later times. When I have re-gifted my favorite book I bought with a note, we talk about it later on. When we give a coupon for a ”Night Out with Us!” it can happen in the summer over some good beer.
6. We are not Contributing to a Problem
As newer and imperfect minimalists who are trying to declutter everything, we have realized how much stuff we have that we do not need. In no way do we expect to convert everyone to minimalism (Hell, we are still figuring it out), we do not want to contribute to a new pile of stuff.
Do You Buy Gifts?
We do not go out shopping for gifts. Our budget involves charity and experiences with friends and family. We are attempting to live a more generous life all year long giving to what we believe in and living with those we love.
Do you buy gifts? Do you believe in re-gifting? How are your approaching the holidays that may be non-traditional?
I love these ideas. Some day I might be able to fully convert my family, but I doubt it 😉 All consumable gifts this year.
Converting the family is a true challenge!