Opt for a stress-free, debt-free, environmentally friendly Christmas | Ban unnecessary presents

This year, myself and my family have all agreed to do Secret Santa this year for gifting to adults instead of buying for everyone like we normally do. 

And here's why....

Christmas has become a retail festival and it shouldn't be!

Christmas should be joyous but causes some people unhappiness, debt and worry. Many people feel obliged to buy gifts for others that they know they won't use, with money that they don't have and cause themselves stress they don't need.

And I think part of the reason of this is that we have disconnected from why we give gifts.

Gift giving originally, anthropologically, was actually a form of social banking. For example, a wedding. You'd go to a wedding and older, richer people in the community would give gifts to the younger couple to help them start out. And as those younger people age, they then pass it back to the younger people again, and so it carries on throughout the generations.

But with Christmas it's a zero sum game. I give to you, you feel obligated to give back to  me at a similar value.

Now, to fulfill that obligation we do tit-for-tat giving, which means people end up with, well, tat!

Tat which inevitably ends up in landfill. Plastic tat which will never degrade and will cause our planet harm.


Some people might think, hang on, what about the gift of giving?

But in reality, that can actually be selfish.

It can misprioritise peoples finances and create a financial burden.

You give a gift to someone worth £20. You are financially comfortable and £20 is nothing to you. The recipient then feels that they need to buy a gift worth £20 back, however, £20 to them could be the difference between eating well that week or not.

So it is time for us to get off this gift-giving treadmill. Sometimes the best gift is releasing others from the obligation of having to give to you. Let's work together to ban unnecessary Christmas presents. Not for your spouse or for your children, but that ever expanding list of friends, cousins, neighbours and teachers that we feel forced to buy for. 

Together, now, before Christmas you can all make a no-present pact.

Or maybe a hand-made Christmas where you all make something for each other? A great excuse to learn a new skill perhaps?

Or like us, opt for the Santa route and cap it at an affordable price.

Or even better, if you can afford it, say you know what? I'm not going to give to that extended list this year, I'm going to give to charity instead.

There are so many options if you open up the discussions with your wider list of people.

It is a difficult subject to raise and you might feel embarrassed but you'll be surprised at how many people agree with it!

Christmas this year for us is all about the Children and the memories, as I think it should be!

And whilst it is all about the children, I think it is important to note that some children come from families who don't have a lot of money and so when 'Santa' brings them on toy or some second-hand games but brings their friends an ipad or games console, it is upsetting and confusing for them. They think they must have been bad. So spoil your children rotten if that's what you can afford to do, but be mindful of those who can't and maybe think about having one present from Santa and the rest from you?

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