Every year around the holidays I spend lots of time and energy on gift-giving and gift-receiving. Whether it’s figuring out what other people want me to buy them, or whether it’s me figuring out what I need to tell other people I want – it’s cumbersome and expensive.
Gift-giving has turned into a gesture that’s often stressful. Christmas shopping can quickly turn into a financial burden. It can also be very time-consuming. Time which could be better spent.
I’ve never really liked rushing around in crowded shopping centres on the days leading up to Christmas. Every year the holiday season seems to become a bigger competition of who can buy the better and more expensive present. Mass consumerism reaches and all-time high during the holidy season.
And the consumer madness doesn’t just stop on Christmas Eve. Nope, people are ready to go shopping at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day to spend even more money on things they probably don’t need (or have the money for). I’ve even heard of people waiting to celebrate Christmas until after December 25th when everything goes on clearance! Seriously?
This seems completely absurd to me and not what the holidays are all about. So that’s why I’m choosing experiences over gifts this holiday season.
Why I’m Choosing Experiences Over Gifts This Holiday Season
By living a more minimalist lifestyle, I’ve been focusing on spending my time and money on experiences rather than things. I want to live a life full of adventures, not stuff. I want to discover new places and have stories to tell. Check out our recent weekend trip to visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany!
And this is why Christmas is looking a little different for me this year.
I have decided to re-think gifts this year and spend more time making memories with loved ones instead of running around buying more stuff. We all have enough stuff. We dont need anymore.
What we do need more of is meaningful experiences. The holiday season should not be about presents. It should be about spending time with the ones you love.
So instead of giving each other a gift this holiday season, my boyfriend and I have decided to create memories instead. We are planning to visit some new places in Europe, experience Switzerland in the winter together and focus on how incredible our life is.
If you want to lessen the stress of gifts during the holidays (and save some money!), I challenge you to propose re-thinking gifts to your family or significant other. Instead of multiple gifts or creating a list of things you need to buy or want other people to buy for you, suggest a secret Santa exchange and plan a family activity or outing.
Prioritizing meaningful experiences during the holidays will ensure that you and your family focus on what’s important during the holidays – people, not things.
Here are some ideas for spending time together during the holiday season:
- Christmas Baking
- Visit Christmas Markets
- Weekend Getaway
- Bonfire Evening
- Family Games Night
- Sledding Day
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Living abroad this Christmas is making this transition to no gift-giving easier for me. I don’t have to justify my reasons to anyone, except my boyfriend who, thankfully, is totally on board.
I can see how difficult it could be to convince your family to not buy gifts or to explain this to your young children. But even if you just start small, say by reducing the number of gifts you give, to one meaningful gift, you will teach others that less is more.
Always remember that love doesn’t come in the form of a perfectly wrapped present under the tree and that your time is the most valuable gift of all.
I encourage you to spend this holiday season making memories with the ones you love.
With love and gratitude,
What kind of holiday traditions or activities does your family have? How will you spend more time on experiences over gifts this holiday season? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this topic!