In a video I posted about three years ago, I explained how I don’t give gifts to my children on Christmas day. 😮😄 It’s true! Joe and I stopped giving gifts to our children and each other twenty-three years ago. I always remember the year because our twenty-three-year-old daughter was born a month before that Christmas.
Everything felt so commercialized and I had turned our holiday into an advertisement out of a catalog that Christmas morning. And rather than be happy about it, I looked around and thought, “I can’t keep doing this.” And I was only doing it because it’s what everyone else around me was doing. Peer pressure at its finest!
So I thought back to my childhood and realized I missed the simplicity of the holidays back then. My mother always made sure to make it about Our Lord and a celebration of Jesus’ birth. She baked a birthday cake, we would sing “happy birthday” to Jesus, she gifted us oranges (a Saint Nicholas reference) and then we would eat breakfast.
Yes, my parents gave us gifts but there weren’t very many (about three or four) and they weren’t the focus of the day. The focus was on Our Lord (attending Mass), our family gathering, the huge meals and having a blast with my cousins. 😁
It may not have been called a “minimalist Christmas” but that’s what we were having and now we continue that tradition. Although in a modified way. So here’s how it works…
Even though I choose not to give gifts, my children sometimes do. So Christmas Eve is the day we chose for our family gift-giving day. But no gifts are expected or required from anyone. Something I remind all of them every year so that they don’t feel pressured or guilted into buying anything. Not healthy! So it’s the day for those who choose to give Christmas gifts to go ahead and share.
Also gift-giving is one of the five love languages and is beneficial for the person who resonates with that language. The person giving the gift actually feels loved by the appreciation shown by the receiver. I only ask that if it’s a gift-giving year for them, that they try to pick out a gift that is practical. 👍🏻 And I think my few gift-givers did really well this year.
I also remind them to give a gift because they want to and not for the purpose of getting a gift in return. Very important! (My Father taught me this years ago and it’s so true.) Some years they’ve chosen to do a grab-bag and other years they pick and choose who they want to buy for. This year turned out to be a pick and choose year.
While working on getting us out of debt, I set up bank accounts for my five youngest children to learn about earning, spending and saving. So they all used their own money to buy these gifts. They chose who they wanted to buy for and how much they wanted to spend.
Another small way we keep our Christmas minimal is by repurposing our grocery store paper bags. There was a lot of wrapping going on today, even though no one bought more than one gift for some and not any for others. But we didn’t spend a penny on wrapping paper, bows or ribbons.
So everything was wrapped in grocery bags and tied together with garden twine from my workbench. Joe spent $3 on tape but that was it. I wrote the TO and FROM in marker on the top of each gift and called it a day. 😍
Are you looking to simplify your Christmas gifts or the whole day altogether? It doesn’t have to be a crazy, chaotic stressful time if you don’t want it to be. If you want a peaceful Christmas with the focus on Christ, now is a great time to start making those changes. ❤️