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The Joy of No-Gift Christmas

By The Atlantic

Many families who opt out of buying stuff are coming up with creative alternatives and new traditionsRead full story

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  • As the world becomes more secular, I can see our traditions evolving ever more. My family doesn't do gifts anymore for a Christmas that we never were religious about. We've turned to quality time and travel and even moving away from animal-based feasts to plant-based. Maybe cultures are pivoting away

    As the world becomes more secular, I can see our traditions evolving ever more. My family doesn't do gifts anymore for a Christmas that we never were religious about. We've turned to quality time and travel and even moving away from animal-based feasts to plant-based. Maybe cultures are pivoting away from commercialism and back to our roots without the flair of religion or gifts made in China.

  • To each his own but perhaps a ‘let’s get on the same page about the budget/money minimum this year for gifts’ may be a better route. Going from gifts to full on no-gifts may lead to some unwanted peer pressure or disappointment

  • I have a very different attitude to Christmas now that I have emigrated. I usually get up early, go for a run around the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, FaceTime friends and family in Europe, stop by Zabar’s for a chocolate blackout cake, visit friends for an orphan’s Christmas dinner with

    I have a very different attitude to Christmas now that I have emigrated. I usually get up early, go for a run around the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, FaceTime friends and family in Europe, stop by Zabar’s for a chocolate blackout cake, visit friends for an orphan’s Christmas dinner with the most lavish and colorful buffet you’ve ever laid eyes on, get high and candy and chocolate, then take in a movie, and walk home. Perfect day.

  • The no gift approach is appealing but, then again, I really enjoy giving gifts. When times are tough financially, I adjust my spending and give what I can. I don’t really care, one way or the other, what folks choose to do. Do what works for you. Happy Holidays.

  • I tried to get my family to agree to this the past few years with little luck, but we've finally agreed on either Secret Santa or White Elephant to minimize the number of gifts and help everyone's budgets. I'd love to have a family vacation during the holidays instead, but that might be a losing battle for now.

  • IMO Christmas is fundamentally about Christ and serving others. It’s his name in the holiday. I’ve had several friends and family members forgo presents and instead choose to do a deed they feel Christ would have them do, like serving at a soup kitchen, or donating all would be gifts to people in need

    IMO Christmas is fundamentally about Christ and serving others. It’s his name in the holiday. I’ve had several friends and family members forgo presents and instead choose to do a deed they feel Christ would have them do, like serving at a soup kitchen, or donating all would be gifts to people in need. The world needs a lot of peace right now, and “mas” just isn’t enough.

  • My family isn't anywhere near a "no-gift Christmas" but we've definitely moved towards a Christmas season of "more experiences than gifts." My brother is off to school and I lived in a different time zone for more than a year, so we emphasized new traditions, a lengthier Christmas brunch, some movie-watching

    My family isn't anywhere near a "no-gift Christmas" but we've definitely moved towards a Christmas season of "more experiences than gifts." My brother is off to school and I lived in a different time zone for more than a year, so we emphasized new traditions, a lengthier Christmas brunch, some movie-watching together, and a trip to a city close by.

  • Three-years-ago, I gave up on the commercial Christmas trap. It was difficult, I felt guilty, but I persevered with only one present to my son. Instead, we spent more time with friends and family cooking special lunches or dinners.

    As a Christian, I thought what would Jesus want us to do for his birthday

    Three-years-ago, I gave up on the commercial Christmas trap. It was difficult, I felt guilty, but I persevered with only one present to my son. Instead, we spent more time with friends and family cooking special lunches or dinners.

    As a Christian, I thought what would Jesus want us to do for his birthday? Easy! He told us: love one another.

    We asked whoever wished to go to go Christmas caroling. No rehearsals, because it was the thought that counted. We sang out of tune, but laughed a lot. We took plenty of sweets too to nursing homes, fire stations, police stations, a few lonely homebound seniors. It was great!

    This year the guilt is gone. My decorating takes a short time, and we spend time praising Jesus. Isn’t that the true joy of Christmas?

  • I am all alone now and I’m retired and on Social Security. I don’t have the financial ability to purchase gifts for my

    For my small family.

    This year is the first time in my life that I chose not to have a Christmas tree.

    It saddens me to look at it without gifts below it. The spirit of the holiday

    I am all alone now and I’m retired and on Social Security. I don’t have the financial ability to purchase gifts for my

    For my small family.

    This year is the first time in my life that I chose not to have a Christmas tree.

    It saddens me to look at it without gifts below it. The spirit of the holiday is for the birth of the Christ child and I always made sure my children grew up knowing the reason for the season.

  • I now ask all of my friends and relatives who want to give me something for Christmas to make a donation to food for the poor, my favorite charity. Currently, $80 gives a kid in Haiti food for a year and water for life. They don't just give stuff away, but build infrastructure to prevent such hardships

    I now ask all of my friends and relatives who want to give me something for Christmas to make a donation to food for the poor, my favorite charity. Currently, $80 gives a kid in Haiti food for a year and water for life. They don't just give stuff away, but build infrastructure to prevent such hardships in the future. Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are so blessed with abundance that we don't see poverty the same way as the rest of the world.

  • We do modest gifts for our daughter for Hanukkah (books, socks, etc.) and that's usually about it. Every holiday season I'm very glad to be blowing off the annual consumerist madness and the accompanying stress.

  • Personally, I love gift giving. Growing up, my parents went all out in making every Christmas special. Getting to see people's faces when I giift them, whether it's my family, friends or team, is one of my favourite parts of Christmas. It's never about the physical gift but, as the old adage goes, it's the thought that counts.

  • Christmas takes on different meanings to different people but the focus of the Christian holiday has been on the gift of God giving us His Son. If you don’t believe this the holiday has taken on more and more by economic interest which has become the hub of the Western worlds economic gage of our economy

    Christmas takes on different meanings to different people but the focus of the Christian holiday has been on the gift of God giving us His Son. If you don’t believe this the holiday has taken on more and more by economic interest which has become the hub of the Western worlds economic gage of our economy. Cutting back on gift giving and making a different direction is a good idea. But giving to others has been a great blessing to both the giver and receiver. Thoughtful focus on why you give maybe the best first thought!

  • I like Christmas and really enjoy giving gifts. It’s not a Christmas Day thing, I like getting gifts for my Wife (no kids) all month long. She is a dedicated Gardner. This mont I bought her trees, Arbors, raised flower beds, and thousands of flower seeds and bulbs. She gets something almost daily. Great

    I like Christmas and really enjoy giving gifts. It’s not a Christmas Day thing, I like getting gifts for my Wife (no kids) all month long. She is a dedicated Gardner. This mont I bought her trees, Arbors, raised flower beds, and thousands of flower seeds and bulbs. She gets something almost daily. Great fun, we even got married on Christmas Eve. So a no gift Christmas ain’t going to happen here... there is few greater joys, than giving a gift that brings joy to another. No gifts, seems introspective to me and, takes some of the Joy out of Christmas. I realize Christmas has become overly commercial, and you could donate to a charity instead. My thought is to donate and buy less expensive gifts. All a good gift needs is really knowing the other person and getting them something that will bring them joy. I told my wife I got her a gift that only cost $14.95, and it would make her scream, in joy, and dance without music. When we got it she did exactly that, and it was a $14.95 double blossom White Amaryllis...

  • But how will US retailers (and capitalism) survive?!?

  • Love this! I have started this this year! I’ve seen the impact of “gift-giving Christmas” with the kids from this generation, and it can get ugly. We should teach more about “for Christmas you give to other kids what you are blessed enough to get from Mommy and Daddy!”

  • I will play the christmas song on the piano)

  • I love Christmas and so I feel very saddened by the lack of the traditional Christmas. My memories of Christmas and my own child makes me wish we could give that type of Christmas to all children but it is not to be! This year the tree is up but there will be very few gifts! And the day will still pass

    I love Christmas and so I feel very saddened by the lack of the traditional Christmas. My memories of Christmas and my own child makes me wish we could give that type of Christmas to all children but it is not to be! This year the tree is up but there will be very few gifts! And the day will still pass no matter what! Jesus is the true reason for the season. Cuba or other sun spots would be nice but it’s not meant to be. God bless and Merry Christmas to all.

  • I love gifts. But they can get out of control. This is an interesting perspective from @theatlantic via @qz

  • Just remember, gift buying keeps our economy growing. I don’t buy gifts....but you should.

  • “Resist consumerism.”

  • We are going to Cuba for Christmas this year and have forgone all of the prep and shopping. I have not enjoyed this time of year more in 20 years. A few lights up and that’s it. No malls, no mess, no problem.

  • I can dig this!! ✌🏽🎄

  • A gift becomes meaningless when the giver knows hardly anything about you.

  • For me, the idea of reducing gift-giving is wonderful, with one major issue. My daughter and I, both adults and living together, spend our Shmoney and time on making the house truly festive and beautiful and playing Christmas music and baking Christmas treats for the grandkids and visiting Christmas

    For me, the idea of reducing gift-giving is wonderful, with one major issue. My daughter and I, both adults and living together, spend our Shmoney and time on making the house truly festive and beautiful and playing Christmas music and baking Christmas treats for the grandkids and visiting Christmas events. However, the children go to school. And every time they return to school after Christmas all of the other kids talk about what they got for Christmas. Because we have a rather low income and their parents have a rather low income my grandchildren have not been able to brag about their own gifts. In fact, they've been made to feel bad because the gifts they get don't compare at all to the gifts many yet. To stop gift-giving altogether for them would be very difficult for them when they go back to school. I know that there are things they can tell their peers about their commitment to no gifts at Christmas, but their young, and it would still hurt.

  • Soooo.... Cheap?

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