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Our No-Gift Christmas!

What do you do at Christmas time for your family? I’d love to hear about some of your family traditions and what you do for gift giving!

For our family, we do not do gifts. We started this back in 2012 by casually deciding to just do a secret Santa gift game. Someone always still brought gifts though and never listened to the rules :). When our family dynamics grew and changed, it quickly evolved into a strict no-gift rule for the adults by 2017.

I read a Dave Ramsey post a couple of years ago that said something like “Christmas is not an emergency, it comes around every year” and to me (and I’d say my family) there’s really no need to spend thousands of dollars in a months time on “stuff” and spending the rest of the year (or more) paying it off. It’s such a silly concept. I don’t love my family any less for us not doing gifts and appreciate that we don’t have to stress anymore at the holidays.

We would spend too much money, stress out about who will like what or who we still need to shop for last minute and it really took out all of the fun. For me, I would spend $400-700 a year on plane tickets and travel expenses flying to Arizona on top of trying to make sure everything has been bought. As a 20-something year old, it was so hard sometimes! I don’t even know how much my parents spent buying gifts for 3 kids and their significant others, and the grandkids and then aunt, grandparents, etc. It was becoming too much!

Now, we love just spending time together, doing fun games and everyone pitches in for stocking stuffers and food. It’s very much less stressful. In 2018, we decided to all pitch in and do a cabin for Christmas weekend in northern Arizona. It cost us less than $250 for the weekend per person and the memories we made will last a lifetime. This year, we’re having a baby right before Christmas and my family decided to come out and spend it here in Florida with us. This trip cost more than the cabin, but they would have come to see the baby anyways at some point and it was the perfect time to combine quality time and kill two birds with one stone. It’s now about the experiences and memories we make on Christmas now...NOT the gifts and money spent on “stuff”!

This has completely changed the dynamic of our Christmas and I honestly think we look forward to the season much more.

Full transparency, we still do gifts for the kids. Even that has evolved though. It’s not excessive and this last year, we did experience gifts for my nephews and we gave them money to spend strictly on an upcoming trip they were taking to the San Diego Zoo. They loved having their own bucks to spend!

For our stockings, we have a $5.00 limit per person. In our family, we have 8 adults and 2 kids (one on the way) so the 8 adults buy stocking stuffers and we end up with some fun, cute ideas. People have done little shooters, hot chocolate kits, gift cards, mini games, lottery tickets, treats. It’s just something fun to do!

Outside of our family, we volunteer, sponsor another family and give back! Do you do have an act of service tradition that your family does every year? I’d love to hear more ideas!

So, tell me! Do you buy gifts for everyone? Do you buy gifts in a budget? No gifts and more quality time?

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