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Why I’m Not Giving Gifts This Christmas

% sale sign on a storefront window

That’s right, you read that correctly.

Recently, I got into a conflict with a friend about purchasing gifts for Christmas. He felt like he was obligated to purchase gifts for everyone in our friend group. He expressed he could not afford it, and would rather do a Secret Santa to cut down on the amount of gifts he had to purchase.

My low-cost alternative was to do away with gifts for our friend group, and to throw a holiday party instead, where we could all enjoy each other’s company.

In light of this, I made the decision to not give Christmas gifts this year.

Giving gifts over the holiday season is practically unheard of nowadays, but I have further reasoning than just being a decision out of anger.

The harsh reality is that materialism has become a problem in this country, especially around the holidays

People are consumed by what they give and receive. It is a major stress point for several people physically, emotionally and financially.

Materialism has grown to become a key characteristic of the American culture over the last 60 or so years, starting with the economic boom of the 1950s.

Since then, we as a culture have been obsessed with things. “Keeping up with the Kardashians Joneses” has become the new reality and the holidays are no exception.

The question then becomes how much do we really need? In today’s world, we have access to more wants and needs than humanly possible. We have closets full of clothes and every electronic possible. Do we really need to use the holidays as an excuse to receive things we do not need?
There used to be a time when holiday commercials used to start the week of Thanksgiving

Now, we see holiday commercials in September. All for retailers get an advantage over others to get a head start on fourth quarter profits.

In the old days, the holiday season used to be a time of gathering with your loved ones to celebrate the holiday together, not about what you are going to give one another
Many feel like they are obligated to give gifts, when really giving gifts should be a matter of want rather than obligation.

Obligation is when it becomes a matter of stress in finding the “perfect gift.”

As an avid lover of the holiday season, I will be the first to admit that it becomes difficult for us to focus on the holiday season itself without constantly being surrounded by promotions on TV and in stores.

I try to block the noise of the promotions and focus on what really matters: spending quality time with loved ones, enjoying each other’s company. We need to enjoy the present moment while we have it.

Having experienced the loss of a friend this year, it made me realize we do not know how or when this could change.

This holiday season, we need to shift our focus to spending time with our loved ones, creating and practicing traditions, as opposed to worrying what is on everyone’s Christmas list.

And at a very minimum, keep in mind the reason for the season, without which there would be no holiday in the first place.

So this Christmas, I am not giving gifts, but rather aiming to spend time and create memories with the ones I love.

And I encourage you all to think about doing the same.