It’s no secret that exchanging gifts and gift-giving are a huge part of the holiday season. However, if you’ve found yourself less excited about the entire process of exchanging gifts, you should know you’re not alone. It turns out, a lot of people would prefer to give up gift giving if their families allowed it and if they had any alternatives to buying Christmas gifts.
Nearly 70% Want to Skip Buying Christmas Gifts
According to a holiday survey in an online Harris Poll on behalf of Suntrust, a surprising 7 in 10 people said they’d skip gift-giving this season if it were okay with their friends and family. And, it isn’t just the Grinchy types who hate the season. For the most part, they would rather spend the time actually doing something with their friends and family members than on buying or making gifts.
Holiday Stress and Debt Compounded
For a lot of people, the holiday season comes with stress and anxiety. When you add the obligation of gift exchanges, a large number of Americans face a tremendous amount of financial anxiety. This means not only worrying about debt and money during the season but also feeling the pressure of spending money on things they really cannot afford.
In fact, this pressure to overspend has been proven to result in a mountain of debt after Christmas is over. And, with as many as 25 percent of Americans experiencing post-holiday depression, gift-giving and the financial aftermath can be especially difficult for many families.
Alternatives to Buying Christmas Gifts
So, if you decide to forego gift-giving, can you still have a joyous holiday season? The answer, of course, is yes. It doesn’t take buying and receiving gifts to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family. Of those surveyed, 25 percent said they would rather use the money on activities and experiences instead of gifts. You might want to consider some of these alternatives to buying Christmas gifts.
- Take a family trip or plan an activity. It can be as large or as simple as you all agree on, from doing an escape room together to taking a family trip skiing. In any event, it might be cheaper even if each family covers their own expenses, than buying each person a small gift. Plus, you can plan the event at any time of the year – it doesn’t necessarily have to be on Christmas day – which could save you money as well.
- Have dinner and watch a movie. You don’t have to skip the entire Christmas day festivities. You could still get together for a holiday meal and then plan to watch Elf, A Christmas Story, or any other of your favorites.
- Volunteer together. An activity that not only teaches children the importance of volunteering is helping out over the holidays. Sure, it might be difficult explaining that they’re helping feed people who can’t afford a Christmas dinner instead of receiving gifts, but the feeling you get from helping make someone else’s Christmas a little brighter might make up for it.
- Pay down debt and save together. This might not be an alternative that sounds like fun either, but in the end, it might bring everyone more joy than exchanging gifts. Of those surveyed, 37 percent said they would rather pay down debt and 47 percent said they would save money or invest. Each person/family can use the money they’d use for gifts to either pay down debt or save for a big family trip or event later.
Don’t forget that finding alternatives to buying Christmas gifts doesn’t necessarily mean you have to completely skip out on giving toys and gifts, especially to the kids. If you only replace gift-giving among the adults, it can make a significant difference to those with large families and huge networks of friends.
This Season Find What Works for You and Your Family
It isn’t too late to reach out to your friends and family members and come up with a different plan. Remember that Christmas and the holiday season are supposed to be joyous and happy. Don’t spend it worrying about the money you feel obligated to spend on gifts.
Would you give up gift exchanges if your friends and family members agreed to it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.