Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Guest Post-- Planning a No-Gift Christmas.

Thanks to Micah for being a guest poster for me this week while I'm in sunny Jamaica!  Y'all show her some love!  :)

First of all, a big thanks to Katie for letting me guest post on her blog.  My name is Micah, and you can find my random ramblings and music gushings over at Unabashedly Me (http://unabashedly--me.blogspot.com). Also, congratulations to her and Donny on their wedding.  Funny story – I was reading Katie’s blog and following Donny on Twitter without knowing they were a couple. It took me a long time to figure that out. Maybe I’m just slow. Either way, I adore them both and wish them all the best.

Now, let’s get down to business. I need some ideas, folks.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but my mind is already on Christmas. This is not to say I won’t enjoy Turkey Day.  I certainly will – good food, football and family time are three of my favorite things. But thanks to my love of Christmas music, holiday movies on ABC Family and Hallmark and all the red and green retail displays, I’ve already begun thinking about December 25.

When I was younger, making a Christmas list was easy. There were so many things I wanted, and I believed I deserved and would receive lots of presents each year. This wasn’t too far off.  My parents have always been very good to my brother and me during the holidays.

I remember waiting impatiently for the JC Penney Christmas catalog to arrive in the mail. Then my brother and I would take turns poring over it, making impossibly long wishlists for my parents each year. I would sometimes even include the page number of the item (you know, in case they didn’t know what I was referring to). Naturally, I believed the more items I put on the list, the more things I would find under the tree on Christmas money.  Ha ha.  I guess you could say I was an optimist.

As I’ve gotten older, it’s become a lot harder to give my parents suggestions for gifts. I’m particular about clothes, and with my weight-loss, it’s actually hard to tell what size I’m in right now.  I don’t need any more DVDs, even though there are certainly many I want. I don’t need any more things for my house. I probably have too much as it is.  Honestly, most things I want or need, I can buy for myself. And if I can’t/won’t buy it for myself, then I don’t feel like I can ask my parents to do so.

This year, my family is considering skipping a gift-heavy holiday. But we still want to make the most of Christmas.  So what can we do instead?

One gift each
Instead of buying several things for each other, maybe we could each buy one thing for each family member. Maybe even set a spending limit or a theme. We’d still save money and we’d each have three gifts to open. I love shopping for others, so this would keep things fun (yet inexpensive) for me.

Family vacation
In recent years, I’ve suggested to my mom that we nix the gifts and go on a family vacation. A family vacation won’t happen this year (for a variety of reasons), but maybe someday soon. We haven’t been on a real trip – the four of us – since I was a teenager. My brother and I are both still single, but that might not be the case for many more years. We should make the most of family time while it’s still just the four of us.

“Adopt” a family, child or senior citizen
You know those Angel Trees in the stores? They have families, kids and senior citizens on them.  When I lived in Texas and didn’t get home every year for Christmas, I always felt a little sorry for myself. Then I saw those trees. Instead of throwing myself a pity party, I would pick one or two off the tree and go shopping for them. I love giving, and knowing I was making someone’s holiday a little brighter made my own brighter as well.

Volunteer at a Christmas dinner
Every now and then, you’ll find organizations or businesses who serve a free dinner on Christmas Day. It’s not just for those who are in need, but it’s often a place for those who would otherwise be alone on the holiday for one reason or another. Those dinners always need volunteers – cooks, servers, drivers, etc.

Christmas isn’t all about what’s under the tree. We all know this. But it seems that’s what causes the most stress for people during the holidays. And stress is definitely not on my holiday wishlist. I’m looking forward to trying something different this year, and maybe even starting a new tradition for years to come.

Do you have any ideas for my family?


  1. How is it possible that Christmas is so close already? This year have gone by so quickly! I think a combo of things can work - buy less gifts for your family and use the money you would have spent on a person in need!

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  3. You have some awesome ideas already. I think the Angel Tree is absolutely wonderful. Also, gifts for senior citizens. One of our ladies at work will request donations of items for residents of nursing homes. She tells us what is needed. A lot of times these items can be purchased at Dollar Tree!! (Which is great if you are on a very, very limited budget.) Another thing is Secret Santa. If you personally know someone who is struggling financially, or even hurting/lonely/etc, and you want to do something to brighten them up, buy each person (and pet) in the household a gift. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant. Put the gift(s) in a box outside their door. Then call them (hide your number) and inform them there is something outside their door. They won't feel obligated to gift back because they don't know where the gift came from. PLUS, they will know they are loved and thought of.