Celebrating the Holidays Without Gift Overload

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

It never ceases to amaze me that as soon as Halloween is over, the focus of most marketing communications completely shifts to Christmas. This year seems to be especially crazy. I’m already getting emails with Black Friday sales and it’s only the 5th of November. On the television, most commercials are advertising Christmas gifts and everyday there are news reports encouraging people to shop early due to the supply chain issues and shipping challenges. This bombardment has me thinking of things that we can do to celebrate the season without buying a ton of presents.

For me, the best part of the Christmas season is spending time with family and friends. Here are some ideas to make the experience of the Holidays special, without getting caught up in the commercialism and stress of it all.

  1. Instead of buying a lot of small gifts, use the money to buy a vacation for your family. The memories from the experience will far outlast any items that you would purchase.
  2. Plan a special activity to do on Christmas Day. If you live where it snows, go skiing, sledding or snowshoeing. If you live in a warmer climate, go for a hike or go to a park and play a game.
  3. If being outdoors isn’t your thing, you could spend the day indoors playing a game.
  4. Another fun thing that I love to do for Christmas is to cook a special meal. I like to pick a theme that is something different and challenges me to create foods with new flavors. We’ve done Mexican, Italian and Thai over the years. It’s fun when you enroll your guests and family members to contribute to the meal with their own special creation. 
  5. If you visit family during the day, I like to bring a special bottle of wine or another item that the hosts will enjoy. 
  6. Try baking a special dessert that can be enjoyed on Christmas Day. Or you could give the baked items as gifts. The memories of baking as a family and savoring the taste of something that was created with love will last far longer than a toy that ends up on a shelf.
  7. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a crafty person. But some of the items that I set out during the holidays were gifts that were handmade and given to me. This can be a fun way to learn new skills and to challenge the creative side of our brains. 
  8. Considering donating time or money to a non-profit that is meaningful to you. This is a great way to bring the family together to give back to the community. 
  9. If you’re still feeling the need to buy gifts, consider shopping at small vendors and supporting local stores in your area. 

I believe that its far more important to create memories and traditions than it is to see who gets the most presents under the tree. The joy from giving gifts to those we care about can come in so many more ways than physical items wrapped under a tree. Rather than getting caught up in the stress of the season, I challenge you to take a step back and focus on creating memories that will last a lifetime. 

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