Christmas is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. I love almost everything about it. The get-togethers with family and friends, the delicious food, the decorations, all the Christmas scents.
I enjoy everything about the holidays … except the huge debts that often come with the Christmas season. The endless list of Christmas presents for loved ones, friends, acquaintances, teachers, bus drivers and work colleagues can put a massive strain on the household budget. I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge, but the truth is that it can get very expensive to make the gift list.
If you love to celebrate the holiday season but don’t want to pay off your credit card by the New Year, this year you should consider spreading the joy with unused Christmas gifts.
Pros and cons of not giving gifts for Christmas
Christmas without traditional gift giving may sound shocking. What is Christmas without bought gifts? But you can still enjoy all the spirit and feel of Christmas without queuing in the mall or frantically trying to give away all of your Christmas gifts online. This year instead of spending a fortune buying generic drugs gift cards or scented candles, consider putting a non-dispensable Christmas present under the tree.
A Christmas with no expenses is just another way of enjoying the holidays. You can still give gifts, you just don’t have to spend all of your money on them.
The benefits of a no-spend Christmas
If you’re tired of the over-commercialization of Christmas and just want to enjoy your holidays without having to buy a gift for everyone you know, there are tons of perks to spending Christmas without including:
Less vacation debt. Not having to buy a material gift for everyone you know can save you a lot of money and avoid credit card debt. In 2019, Americans had an average of $ 1,325 in vacation debt, according to a survey conducted by MagnifyMoney. This year, celebrate the holiday season without spending too much or blowing up Christmas shopping budget.
Less stress. I find Christmas shopping stressful. Despite my best efforts and planning, I always have a long list of last minute gifts to buy. Instead of enjoying Christmas music, baking, and the company of my family and friends, I walk back and forth to the mall or sit in front of my laptop on Amazon. It’s stressful and not the way I want to spend my vacation.
No more impersonal gifts. A by-product of last minute Christmas shopping is buying impersonal gifts. When I’m in a rush I just start buying what I can to cross another name off my list. This results in money being spent on things that the recipient may not even use or care for.
The cons of Christmas without spending
I believe the benefits of a Christmas present far outweigh the disadvantages, but there are a few more things to be aware of.
Not everyone will understand. You are likely to meet some family members or friends who are not interested in your Christmas gifts. They might feel like you’re just cheap, and they might feel offended if you don’t get them a “real” Christmas present.
It can be uncomfortable. If you’re going to a Christmas party at work or with friends and everyone else is handing out store-bought gifts, giving away a DIY gift can feel awkward. However, many people will love and appreciate the personal touch when they receive a handmade gift.
Creative ideas for non-spending Christmas gifts
If you’re in the mood for gifts this year, there are tons of experiential and DIY gift ideas to try. I love receiving experience gifts and DIY items because I feel like they are often more personal, creative, and thoughtful than many store-bought items.
Create an appointment voucher book
Sometimes the best gift you can give your partner is your time. Your undivided, full attention. If you have someone special in your life, consider making a book of 12 date coupons. That is a guarantee for a special appointment in the month. One coupon is good for a sunset stroll, another for a trip to your favorite restaurant. A date coupon book can be filled with amazing Experiences for couples to enjoy together.
Cook their favorite food for a loved one
There is nothing more important than spending time with the people you love and value. What better way to recognize someone and show them that you care than to prepare someone their favorite food? Sit down with a drink of your choice and enjoy great food and conversation. These are the moments that will really be remembered.
Build a time capsule
This is a fun gift idea for the whole family. Engage your kids by letting them choose some of their favorite items for the time capsule. Add photos and written notes about your future self. Then seal the box and open it for Christmas of the following year.
Create a Tell Me Everything Notebook
One of the best gifts my children have ever given my parents was a “tell me everything” notebook. Just get a notebook and let your kids fill it with any questions they would like to know about their grandparents. Have them paint pictures, insert photos, write poems or stories. Once your parents have answered all of the questions, they can return the Tell Me Everything notebook as a future gift for their children.
A surefire way to get to a person’s heart is through the stomach. To the right? This year you’re baking something delicious Christmas treats and cookies and give them away. Grocery gifts are really one of my favorite gifts. They make great gifts for a Christmas party as they can be shared with everyone. You can decorate a mason jar and fill it with goodies, or find a nice box and wrap it up.
Homemade Christmas decorations
If you want to delight your kids with free Christmas gifts, let them help you create personalized Christmas decorations. We just use that Recipe for salt dough to make creative Christmas decorations. You can use cookie cutters to create Christmassy shapes and then add color or glitter to complete your creative creations.
What no-spend Christmas gifts are you going to try this year?
Stick to your Christmas budget this year and enjoy a more frugal vacation. A beautiful mason jar filled with your favorite Christmas treats or a beautiful handmade gift is much more personal than an online gift card.
– From Jessica Martel