Gifts have always been a huge part of Christmas. The excitement of Christmas Eve, the naughty or nice list and Santa’s visit, all revolve around what you’re going to get. Christmas has become synonymous with gifts. No longer just a small token of love or something special that signifies the relationship between the receiver and the giver. The image we see each year is a large happy family gathered around a trees that is nearly eclipse by brightly color packages tied up with bows.I fall into to this category as well. I won’t go to a holiday party without a gift for the host/hostess. Office parties, get-together’s, etc all have small gift giving obligation with them that I religiously obey.
Well not this year. My partner, Adam has been rallying for no presents for years. Last year after Christmas, my sister Tori and I join “the dark side”. The three of us ambushed our mom (Adam is my mothers other “son”) and convinced her that in 2013 we would go gift-less. Now, my mom is a Christmas LOVER! She has a garage full of decorations, a Christmas savings account with automatic withdrawal from each check and has always done without to get my family the perfect Christmas gifts and a stocking filled with what seemed like tangible love.
So, I must admit that I’ve always been a staunch opponent of this kind of Scroogeish attitude but I figured one year would shut Adam up for good. After all, he had been converted to a being a list giver after receiving everything on his list the last few years! So, a no “adult” gift Christmas it would be. We would buy only for our daughter, Corina. She’s 15 so we still did gifts for her. Christmas is for kids after all. The magic the excitement, the gifts. Adam and I set a $200 limit on Corina’s gifts and stuck to to it.
We vowed that everything else would be the same. We decorated mom’s house with a tree, wreathes, lights, boughs, and garlands as usual. Adam and I didn’t do a tree (we have a few cats) but instead used a few of our favorite holiday items to bring a festive feel to our home. Mom’s tree sat twinkling as usual, unaware that she wasn’t brooding over a nest of glittering gifts. It’s not what under the tree but whose around it!
Well, the unexpected, the miraculous even the misunderstood happened: I loved gift-free Christmas. I enjoyed the extra time to relax with friends and family. We hit up a couple holiday parties and did just that. I didn’t miss the worried hours of contemplation of what to buy and who to buy for. But, most of all the absence of frantic mall trips, computer log-ins and last minute gifts thrown in a “gift bag” with love will never be on my holiday schedule again! EVER! This time I’m happy to admit I was wrong, that I did love it and will be doing it again!
My family was together and enjoyed many fun holiday moments. Adam played Santa and Corina was a dancing Penguin for the Shingletown Community Christmas. I bought gifts for children of a needy family in the name of my dad. We baked, we decorated, we watched holiday movies. Nothing about our Holiday season changed except the stress and expense of gift giving.
Try it next year, I dare you!