Our reasons for not exchanging gifts at Christmas are threefold.
1.) It's forced. In my mind, gift giving should always be a joyful thing.
I can't tell you how many people I've heard from this year (and every year) who are so stressed out because they have to buy gifts for "x" amount of people. They get frustrated trying to think of what to give that one person who is so hard to buy for. They dread getting out in the crowds. They moan and groan over how much money they had to drop, and proclaim the recipients had better be thankful.
Truly, it goes against everything Christmas is about. God gave us Jesus joyfully, willingly, without repentance. The angels sang and rejoiced over His birth. The wise men were honored and humbled to be able to give their gifts to a baby king. There was no grumbling. No stress.
Christmas time is automatically a (happily) hectic time of year for us. With so many families in town, it's busy, busy, busy all season long traveling from even to event. We are very happy to do that. We love being with our family. But we're not going to ruin the spirit of the season by getting grumpy over all the gifts we have to buy. Our families know we love them, even if we don't buy them gifts, and like I said before, we try to be spontaneous in our gift giving throughout the year.
2.) Our Children.
Kids can get so selfish at Christmas time. No matter how much you try to teach your children that Christmas isn't about gifts or Santa, they're still going to look forward to the presents the most every year.
In the beginning we even tried to ban our parents from buying the girls Christmas (and birthday) gifts. We simply don't want that to be their focus at Christmas, and we certainly dont want them to feel they deserve gifts just because it's Christmas. We want them to associate Christmas with Jesus and spending time with our families, the greatest gifts of all.
We realized very quickly that banning gifts was a futile effort! It's just not fair to ask a grandparent to withhold from their grandchild. They love giving to them, and when they do, it carries none of the negative, stressful situations described in reason #1. So our girls still receive Christmas gifts, just not from us. And we try very hard to make sure our girls know these gifts are not expected, but always an extreme blessing.
3.) Our Finances. This is the very last, and least, reason.
Winter is the slow season in the remodeling industry, so this time of year is usually pretty tight anyhow. This year we are also closing on a new house which needs some repairs before we can move in. We see no reason to add to that by feeling like we have to buy gifts for everybody, too.
We do have one gift we've made a tradition of giving to our families, so it's not like we do nothing. And we LOVE playing the dice game, too (you know, the one where if you roll doubles, you get to pick a $5 gift from the pile, etc.).
But even if finances were no issue at all, I think we'd still skip out on gift exchanges for reasons #1 & #2.
So tell me, what do you think?
Do you get stressed out over gift giving? Do you wish you could just spend Christmas with family and not have to worry about the gift part? Or do you relish the opportunity to get out and shop? Is it your favorite part? Do you think we have gone overboard? BE HONEST! I want to know!
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