If you’re working to maintain a budget this year or you’re simply focused on removing physical clutter from your life, the holidays can be a particularly stressful time. Especially in the busyness of modern life, it might feel like all of the preparations are barely worth the little time we actually get to spend with the people we care about.
While it is wonderful to have people in your life that want to exchange gifts, something definitely worth being grateful for, it also adds more stuff to your home that you don’t really get to choose, and might not want or need. In addition to that, it’s really hard to let go of things that someone else has given you because of the sentimental aspect of your relationship with that person.
There are still a ton of ways you can embrace the holidays without the marathon shopping sprees and stress of getting just the right thing for everyone on your list. Here’s what you can do now to get started on making that happen.
It’s super important to start talking to people in your life about this as early as you can. If you wait until the day before the celebration, you’ll only be met by resistance and most likely, frustration. At that point, people have already purchased whatever gifts they were already planning and it’ll be too late to change the tradition.
If you bring up the idea of doing the holidays a little differently this year sooner rather than later, you’re more likely to have a warm reception than be met with mild annoyance. Keep in mind, especially if your friends and family have been exchanging gifts for years, it might take some time for everyone to embrace a more minimalist holiday.
This will vary depending on whether you’re talking to a group of friends or your family, but try making some suggestions for ways to have fun together without the gift exchange. It definitely helps to bring these things up with a lead-in like, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be awesome if…”, or “How cool would it be to…” so that it starts off the conversation in a positive light.
It doesn’t matter what the activity is, it could be playing board games, watching a football game or two, or getting the group together to volunteer at a local nonprofit and give back to your local community. Position it well and it’ll help encourage the switch in activities.
As I mentioned above, it really is about how you position the discussion with family and friends that can make all the difference. It sure would be hard to argue with someone wanting to spend more quality time with you, wouldn’t it? Especially for friends and relatives that you only get to see once or twice per year, why not make every moment count while you’re together?
You can make this even more effective by asking what kinds of things they might like to do this year instead of exchanging gifts. That way, it tells them what you’re interested while asking them what they’d like to do instead. A total win-win!
If you have a longstanding tradition of gift giving with friends and family, it doesn’t necessarily have to end. But you can have a conversation about exchanging fewer gifts and doing more stuff together that will help keep your budget on track and reduce stress during the holidays. That way, you can focus on doing more of what matters most and enjoy your time to the fullest.