By Jennifer Outcelt, Creative Content Architect
My husband has an extreme aversion to the gift giving gambit of the holiday season. He’s by no means a Grinch when it comes to the decorations, feasts, time with loved ones, magic of Santa for our daughter, or general joy that the holidays can bring. Yet the capitalist consumer driven aspects of rearranging money into stacks of useless stuff to shove under a tree leaves him wanting… well, less.
To him, finding presents for the people he loves (and some he just likes) is the same feeling as John Travolta trying to find the intercom system in Pulp Fiction. Confusing, awkward, and unnecessary.
A few years back he requested a gift-less year. My poor indoctrinated brain could barely comprehend the concept, so I put up a bit of a fight. Eventually, we compromised and decided to condense our Christmas gifting to a singular special gift for each of us. At the time, our daughter was too young to understand Christmas and so we only got her a few essentials as well.
Much to my surprise, it felt better to get the one gift than it had in previous years getting a bunch of smaller gifts. Even more to my surprise, was how exciting if felt knowing that I had found just one awesome gift for my husband that he would love. In fact, that one gift is now considered the best gift he ever received and is talked about (and used) daily. Oddly, I don’t actually remember what gift I received… but I do remember having a wonderful, joyful, and playful Christmas. And I think those memories are more important.
Ever since, I have been looking at Christmas through a newly defrosted lens. We have continued the one gift rule between us and it has saved us stress, money, and time. We are now focused on the decorations, the food, the games, and the merriment of the family. After all, I’m an adult with a big girl job, and if I really want something, I can go buy it.
This attitude has even trickled down to other gift giving events. We have asked for experiences in lieu of toys at our daughter’s birthday. Now we have an amazing membership to the Anchorage Museum and can visit anytime we want to have a fun and active day out of the house. WAY better than a voice changing, battery operated, megaphone. Well… at least in my opinion.
The point is, that once we decided that material gifts should be limited or absent, the time we spent together became the goal and the reward. I found a cool article that dives into the money side of the holiday spending. I thought it complemented our recent gifting changes nicely and might offer you a new perspective on how to allocate your holiday funds.