In December last year, I wrote about my challenges of buying gifts for my husband.
A few weeks ago, my oldest son mentioned a Kindle. He then ended up using his birthday money from Grandma, and bought his own.
My middle son ordered his own present on e-bay with money he’s been saving since Kindergarten, (yes, he’s great at saving money from Grandpa and Grandma since birth.)
My youngest son says he wants nothing more than for us to allow him to enlist in the Army and attend West Point. (I’m not going to touch this subject right now.)
I know I should be grateful they don’t ask for presents, and part of me likes to believe that our year of frugal living in Belize shifted their attitudes towards acquiring less, however, this does bring out the “guilt factor” of having a tree with nothing underneath it.
What are you doing for your family, friends and the world this Christmas?
I think the Christmas present thing is insane..The ads on the TV (the Lexus in the driveway with the bow, the diamond ads) just make us feel guilty! "tell her you love her with a diamond…" Just tell her!!! Seriously, if my husband did either I would kill him. When I want something or to give him something, I buy it. My kids have all they need, a little money for their bank accounts and a box of chocolate and a nice meal with the family is enough. Christmas is about Christ, not presents..I would love to hear about your son joining the army etc…I have some friends going through the same thing..
We are completely over giving Christmas presents. Last year we done a hand crafted Christmas–any gift given had to be hand made by us. That went over really well.
However, this year we decided on (almost) no gifts. I have a 18 & 14 yo..I picked them up a few things for their Christmas stocking(itunes card, magazine, book & earphones). That is all they will have to unwrap.
However, we are taking a family vacation. I think this will become our standard. Pack our bags and go somewhere and spend TIME together. Just the four of us. This year we will be spending time in Costa Rica. Next year the kids have hinted about New Zeeland. I know some might think that its too expensive to travel, but it's not if you plan accordingly. We've been planning this trip for over 6 months and have been living frugally for much, much longer than that. I'm incredibly good at planning budget travel and it's paying off.
Honestly, I think time is the greatest gift we can give to those we love. As my children get older it's the only gift I want from them.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy (& gift free) Holiday.
Oh gosh – blush! Thank you so much for the mention. I use the money from my shots to support: http://seeyourimpact.org/
As for presents, living in Sweden – in a place with few shops and not watching Tv or ads keeps us out of the consumer rat race. I love buying presents, but more and more am buying things like 'experiences' to create memories rather than things. E.g. an outing to the theatre, a museum or something like that.
Last year I bought my husband a donkey – well, a donkey that went to someone in S. America who relies on it totally for transport…
It has taken a host of unexpected 'issues' in my life to realize that it's more important to give your time. To do something for someone, rather than give them a gift from a store. To truly celebrate the gift of BEING with those you love. You are definitely on the right track, I think.
Thanks for the post.
My son always likes clothes and tools. He is the only one in the family that I can pick clothes out for. Isn't that crazy?
Honestly though our family doesn't get into buying tons of gifts. Everyone gets a few gifts but the highlight is just being together, enjoying good food.
That is the greatest gift. I hope you have a Blessed Christmas!
Love Di ♥
I like the idea of giving or sharing an experience with someone. I have to admit that with grandkids I do buy gifts, but I especially like getting them tickets to some event.
Thanks for your comment. The diamond thing has always irritated me. You're right, our kids have a good life unlike so many around the world. You can e-mail me through my contact me page if you wish to ask about the army and my son.
I am so in favor of the travel gift. We took our kids to Kenya and Tanzania, thanks to my dad many years ago. They still talk about it twelve years later. Good for you, and have fun in Costa Rica.
I agree present buying is crazy and I do think Americans are starting to understand their precarious situation.
Robert the Skeptic says
We have opted for no gifts this year; we can't afford it, our kids can't afford it. We will get some things for the grand kids to open, but that is it. We just don't want to buy into the whole commercialism of Christmas this year.
When I was working on my theology degree (back around 1970), one of my instructors posed an interesting question.
He: Do you know how to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year?
He: Give me a present every day.
Me: That could prove to be expensive.
He: I didn't say, "Buy me a present"; I said, "Give me a present."
Profound difference! And good to remember.
Give presents at this time of year? Absolutely! Buy presents? A very different story.
I hope you and your 4 men have a joyous Christmas, Gutsy Sonia.
I love the pinks and oranges in Soul Food and got the matted photo. Can't wait for it to arrive.
I read your post Barbara and can see your own journey to reach this conclusion. Thanks.
I know you have a close family and your devotion to them shows.
I know. Small kids love to open gifts on Christmas Day. I remember the doll house I really longed for as a child.
What's it like for you in Botswana?
Like your approach.
Thanks for pointing this important difference out. I like it, and Merry Christmas to you and your family, including Miss Sadie.
what i wish for at Christmastime is being together with my family, eating good food and watching It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. Every year – it's become a tradition.
sending best wishes to you, sonia, for a very happy holidays and a joyous New Year~
With eight grandkiddos I stopped buying my own two children Christmas presents but I still buy them and their spouses birthday presents.
I figure it's all about the youngens anyway!
God bless and have a very blessed and Merry Christmas filled with love and laughter!!! :o)
Miss Footloose says
We're doing less and less in terms of gifts at Christmas. One of my daughters wants no presents, but a donation to an orphanage in Tanzania she knows about. We try to come up with meaningful gifts like that.
Although I enjoy the cheer and festivity of the holidays, the consumerism is crazy. Still, it seems it is what most people want: buying and buying. We've not been to a shopping mall this year.
Miss Footloose says
@ Deb: Experiences like travel are so much more important than stuff. Experiences make memories, broaden the mind. Giving your kids a view of other parts of the world is invaluable. Well, you already knew that 😉
Enjoy Costa Rica. It's gorgeous!
Kelli Nørgaard says
I agree with so much of what you said, but I cannot imagine NOT giving gifts to my family, especially Mads and Jess…. not because it is expected, but because I love deciding what to buy them (I don't ask for wishes… .I make mental notes all year long…) and then actually going out and shopping for it, and then the fun of wrapping it and most of all, their faces when they unwrap. I don't spend an enormous amount of money or go into debt… I just do it because I like to remind them at this time of the year that they are important to me….
I wish I could make something homemade, but I cannot, so instead I search for those little things they have mentioned all year long ….
Finally back in Casablanca.
Tomorrow we're going to have Finnish xmas ham with Finnish mustard, good wine etc. 🙂
No presents but we write letters to each others.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
I have given up buying Christmas presents many years ago. I have been to some people's houses where presents were stacked half up the living room wall. It is disgusting. There will be no shopping mall and all the rat race that goes along with it for me. My 3 nieces each have a savings book, and I deposit a little money in them, and I send my mom in Germany some flowers, and that's it. I love to chat with my family for Chrsitmas or any other day during the year. This does more for my enjoyment than any present. I refuse to spend money like it is going out of style and then pay off the debt for the next two or three years. That is stupid and insane. Besides, I cannot figure out what the point is of buying stuff and then getting stuff in return. To me, it is much more satisfying to go out any time I want, and buy something that I need or want for myself. So, there you have it. Nice article, Sonia
Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says
I don’t know why I hadn’t seen this before. Your sons are amazing. My off spring seem to be very demanding despite their time with little in Costa Rica. Maybe it comes later?!
Love Leo’s concept but it would be hard for me to give my 6, 10 and 13 year old nothing. I only get a tree for them though, otherwise I’d gladly go without that and all the fuss!
Hope the t-shirt fitted:) I wear mine quite a bit;) xox A
Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot recently posted..5 Unexpected Life Lessons Learned Camping in Australia
Gutsy Writer says
I’ve been looking through my old posts since switching to WordPress which is why you probably didn’t see this before.
Yes, age makes a difference.