My wife and I are still on vacation, but we’re enjoying it from our own home. Two full weeks off is amazing — especially when I haven’t had much time off the rest of the year.
This year we did Christmas a little bit different. We agreed up front not to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on each other or for our families. We communicated to our families that we really felt like we had everything we need and most of the things we want. Getting us extra stuff just because you “have to” seems a bit silly. It is the thought that counts behind the gift, but with all of the stuff currently in our house adding more needless items is wasteful and clutters our space.
Our gift to our parents? Coming home and spending an entire week. Seriously, that never happens so it was a real treat. I guess I should say the real gift for the Moms was “we will come home and eat everything you put down before us.” Apparently clean plates and full stomachs make our mothers happy. I’m all for that!
This change in giving tactics went over surprisingly well.
We did tell our parents that if they absolutely had to get us anything we would allow it. But we pointed them in one direction — helping fund our future children’s education. We are just starting to save in this category (and yet it still terrifies me!), so every little bit counts.
Of course there were still a few small gifts here and there they still gave us. That would seem to defeat the purpose, but not really. They were small, personal, and not just more stuff.
I highly recommend trying to change your family’s Christmas expectations.
We finally settled on this idea because Christmas isn’t about spending money. Standing in line at a retailer… away from your loved ones… getting stressed out… is no way to spend a holiday. So we simply said no to it this year. And it worked out well.
Granted, I can imagine this being nearly impossible once children arrive on the scene. America is built on a consumerism mentality. We will have to fight hard nearly every day (especially every holiday) to avoid our kids having it driven into them. Imagine a Christmas scene with only a few small wrapped gifts under the tree rather than fifteen for each child.
I guess we’ll find out some day.