Feeling like you put the “S” in Scrooge because you’re planning on making significant cuts to your holiday gift giving list?
Take a deep breath!
Being frugal isn’t just for folks who are struggling to make ends meet. Folks all over the world finally realize that all this gift buying and credit card debt isn’t worth it. They’re looking for a simpler way to do the holidays this year.
How To Trim Your Holiday Gift Giving List Without Feeling Guilty
Gone are the days where my gift list includes everyone under the sun.
It would start with my parents, my sister and her husband and her three kids, my best friend and her husband and her two children, my four other girlfriends and their kids (8 total), my staff (that was an additional 15), my three bosses, the mailman, the paper boy, my nail tech and hairdresser and the cats. Of course topping it out were gifts for my daughter.
Today I purchased one gift for my daughter and her husband, a gift for each of the kids, and, let me think – ya, that’s about it.
I’ve pared it down to a number that is more than manageable and stress-free for me.
You might be wondering, ” What about all those other people?”
Interestingly enough, most of them are not even in my life anymore. Life lesson: you can’t buy friendship.
My sister, of course, is still around, but the kids are grown now, and we don’t need to be swapping gift cards back and forth. My father and mother have both passed away. I work for myself, so I don’t have the staff I once did. And since my drastic change in lifestyle, I’ve parted ways with all the friends I used to swap gifts with.
Related: My Debt Free Journey
Here’re a few questions to ask yourself when thinking about who to keep on and who to take off the holiday gift-giving list.
1. How important is it to give someone a gift?
2. Is there an alternative to something pricey or expensive?
3. Why do I want to take them off the list or keep them on the list?
When I started making changes to the way I managed and spent money, I had the most difficulty during the holidays cutting people off my Christmas list. I finally had to come to the realization that while it’s nice to give to my kid’s teachers, the mailman, and the paper boy, it’s not necessary.
You can’t use guilt, or they’ll feel bad as a reason for keeping them on the list. While it’s true they may feel sad; you can discuss your reasons before the holidays to make sure they understand why you’re taking them off the list and what an alternative plan to gift giving might look like.
If your budget can’t support buying for all the “extra” people – then trim your list and cut them out.
This applies to family members too.
My friend has eight brothers and sisters, and a zillion nieces and nephews. Each year I watch as she frantically tries to stretch her limited income to accommodate buying gifts for all these people. When I asked her why she puts herself through so much stress and debt, her reply was simple, “it’s the way we do it in our family.”
I suggested she sit down with her brothers and sisters and have a heart to heart.
I gave her the following suggestions:
- Buy only for the children and skip all the adults
- Have a cutoff age for those who will receive a gift
- Have a Yankee swap for the adults and one for the kids
- Don’t buy any gifts and instead, donate the money to a charity in the name of the family
- Set a fixed amount of money that will be spent per person
- Chip in for one large gift
- Have a group party and enjoy each other’s company ~ everyone skips the gifts
- Plan a special Christmas time activity for everyone to enjoy. Maybe attend a Christmas play, go on a sleigh ride, or an ice skating outing.
The ideas are endless. The point here is this: If you’re stressing out about buying all these gifts, your brothers and sisters are probably freaking out too. Now is the best time to sit down and have that conversation so you can decide how you are going to proceed this holiday season.
There’s no time better time to start new traditions. So go ahead and ask your family. You just might be surprised by the answer.
Remember, handmade gifts are usually greatly appreciated by those who receive them; so don’t take someone off your list just because you were not buying them something. Making something from the heart and given with love it is one of THE best gifts to give.
Get creative when coming up with gifts for your list.
The important point to remember is IF it’s important for you to give a certain person a gift, then include them on the list. If not, considering chopping them.