The idea of spending a no-gift Christmas is not new, particularly in Nigeria. In a country where many can barely afford three square meals a day, spending Christmas without giving or receiving gifts from anyone is not a big deal. They are only grateful for having enough to eat during the season and beyond.
For others, spending a no-gift Christmas is dull and appalling. But times are hard globally and many family and friends are opting out of handing out gifts and are, instead, coming up with alternative creative Christmas ideas. If you are reading this, you are probably one of them and it is not a shameful thing. So welcome to this space as we share ideas on spending a fun Yuletide without gifts.
What is no-gift Christmas?
According to moneybliss.org, a no-gift Christmas is a holiday season where no gift is exchanged among family, friends and well-wishers. This can be done for a variety of reasons which we shall discuss shortly. A no-gift Christmas occurs in times such as the current period when there is global financial instability. It is an intentional act, but it does not mean that such a person who keys into this concept does not care about family and other loved ones.
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Reasons for no gift Christmas
To cut costs
As earlier mentioned, the world is going through a massive financial crisis. Most people are no longer as financially buoyant as they were before. Everyone is managing, trying to survive. So spending a no-gift Christmas has gradually become an appealing idea because it means saving money that would have been spent on gifts.
To reduce stress
Imagine waking up every day and cracking your brain about what gifts to buy for the people you care about. It does not stop there as when you come up with ideas, you begin the arduous task of shopping. Ever tried shopping during Christmas? Believe me, it can be stressful, especially if you are doing it at the last minute. But spending a no-gift Christmas reduces that stress for you.
To spend more meaningful time with family and loved ones
A lot of people gift items to their families and loved ones as a way to make up for whatever shortcomings they have. For instance, if you feel you would not have time to be with your children, you send gifts to compensate for your absence. With no-gift Christmas, you are forced to concentrate on the important things during the season – spending more quality time with the people you love.
To help treat your kids to the true meaning of Christmas
A lot of people grew up receiving gifts during the Christmas season that they forgot or do not even care about knowing the true meaning of the celebration. Many children believe is a season of having fun and getting magical gifts from their parents. That is not right. Christmas is a period of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and what he stands for in Christianity. It is also a period of reflection on how you spent the year and what you will do better the next year. Doing a no-gift Christmas will teach your kids to know about Christmas beyond getting gifts.
To simplify the holiday season
With gifts off the cards, you get to spend a simpler but more meaningful Christmas. No more thinking about what to buy for your spouse, kids, friends, or neighbours. No more budgeting for stressful shopping. All you care about is preparing quality food and spending great times with the people you love. It is as simple as that.
To declutter your home
The thing about constantly getting gifts from people is that your home will be cluttered with items, most of which you do not need. Your shelf is filled with Christmas cards that are gathering unnecessary clouds of dust. You have more plastics than you need. Your home is littered with unnecessary items. Do not get me wrong, people often gift essential items but many times, those items serve their purposes and then become useless.
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Ideas for Christmas instead of gifts
Take a family vacation
In Nigeria, many families take Christmas vacations to their villages to celebrate with their extended families. You can do something like that. If you have the means, why not take your family to exotic locations to make Christmas more special? It will be fun and no one will miss the tradition of exchanging gifts.
Start kids-only Christmas gift
Maybe you are used to exchanging gifts with everybody, from your grandparents to the newborn baby in your house. But now that you want to start a new tradition of no gifts. Start with limiting the gifts to the kids and see how it goes.
Plan a festive outdoor activity
Oh yes, you can spend a fun-filled Christmas by planning outdoor activities with your family and friends. Picnics, going to the mall, visiting the cinema, attending a friend’s party etc are fun outdoor activities you can enjoy this Christmas without spending a dime on gifts.
Instead of spending money on gifts, you can spend a little extra on making special meals. For instance, if your family and friends are used to eating the usual Christmas white rice and chicken, you can add something different like pepper soup, cake, cookies, pies etc. Make sure the food you will prepare will be a pleasant surprise to your loved ones, something they will enjoy. Good food is usually a gateway to the heart. They will forgive your decision not to exchange gifts.
Donate to charity together
That money you have budgeted for gifts, you can donate to charity organisations like motherless babies’ homes, old people’s homes, IDP camps, and other places where the less privileged reside. Plan the charity donation together with the people you love and do this as part of your service to humanity. It is so fulfilling to put a smile on someone’s face, especially if the person is in a situation where there seems to be no hope.
So, what do you think of the no-gift Christmas ideas listed above? Will they help you plan a less expensive but more meaningful Christmas? I am sure they will. Have a wonderful Christmas!