If you’re looking for the true meaning of Gift Giving, how to enjoy Christmas and the whole holiday season without feeling obligated to spend gobs of money. We’ve got 7 ways to overcome Holiday Gift Pressure.
We believe that gift-giving is a tangible way of saying “I love you.” But we also believe that spending lots of money means that I love you more than spending time and carefully selecting an appropriate gift.
A Reader Question about Holiday Gift Giving Pressures
I really enjoy reading about how your family enjoys holidays like Christmas without spending a lot of money (we all know what the reason is for the season, right?).
But unfortunately, my mother-in-law spends too much and expects others to do the same.
My husband comes from a big family, so buying Christmas presents can get REALLY expensive. I suggested doing a Secret Santa gift exchange to my mother-in-law, but she did not seem very enthusiastic.
I would love to give homemade presents (cookies, bread, crafts, etc.) but worry that they will not be enjoyed.
How would you “do” the holidays under these circumstances?
The Answer about Overcoming Holiday Gift Pressures
We have had this same gift pressure issue in our own family.
We have always declined participation in group sibling gifts to parents. This has resulted in a few unkind comments from siblings to our faces and behind our backs.
The Key to Avoiding Holiday Gift Pressure: But we have held our ground, maintaining that Christmas is not about spending more than you can afford, but about spending within your means and being thoughtful in your giving.
1) Start Your Shopping Early
What we usually say is that we’ve already bought some presents for Mom & Dad . . . which is true. We actually shop for Christmas presents starting in January and continue throughout the rest of the year.
2) The True Meaning of Gift Giving
What really matters shouldn’t be the AMOUNT you spend, but the CARE you put into selecting the gift. The true meaning of gift-giving is about the thoughtfulness, not the dollars spent.
3) Suggest Family Gifts
For many years instead of buying each niece or nephew a present, we assembled a family gift basket or goodies, movies, and other fun things.
You could put board games, card games, bocci ball, favorite snack foods, favorite candies or any number of other items in a family gift. The more you know the family members, the easier it will be to assemble this type of gift.
4) Be Consistent in Gift Giving Practices
However, you need to be consistent and “practice what you preach.” We experienced one relative say they couldn’t afford gifts for our family and then saw them spent gobs of money on their own kids, and on their spouses.
There were many years Steve and Annette didn’t buy any presents for each other because there just wasn’t enough money to go around. And we certainly didn’t spend gobs of money on our kids, although they each received numerous presents on Christmas Day.
5) The Value of Homemade Christmas Gifts
We get the idea that homemade gifts may be shunned. It usually happens from someone who may feel guilty because they don’t have the time or the creativity to do the same.
Just know that most people really enjoy them—as long as they are appropriate. Our Pinterest Boards are a great resource for discovering awesome DIY Christmas gifts and treats.
6) Disappearing Gifts
One thing about our culture is that there is no lack of stuff. That’s why we like the idea of disappearing gifts.
If you have grandparents that want to spend a lot, perhaps you could ask for an annual zoo membership or lessons of some sort, so that you or your kids don’t end up with lots of useless or indulgent stuff.
Edible gifts, favorite cookies, snack food, etc are a great option. Keep the holidays simple and they’ll be more enjoyable.
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7) Set Your Gift Budget
If you are a MoneySmartFamily.com Q&A member, you can access our Gift Budget worksheet (this worksheet is also included in America’s Cheapest Family Budget System) to help you determine how much money you can afford to spend on gift-giving next year.
No matter what you do this Christmas try to continue to live within your means. Give from your heart and forgive those who may misinterpret or misunderstand your gift-giving motives. You’ll de-pressurize the holidays and have a wonderful and memorable Christmas. And the true meaning of gift-giving will guide your shopping and bless your family and friends.
Giving gifts is a wonderful way to say “I love you.”
Check out our Unique Gifts money-saving tips page for more gift giving ideas.
Do you have any tips on how to de-stress gift-giving this holiday season?
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