It all started with a little text asking “Would you be ok with an adult gift exchange?” from my mother-in-law to my wife. I nearly did a dance right there. You see my mother-in-law LOVES Christmas and has for years had the tendency to go a bit overkill on presents (at least to my taste). I’ve noticed as I get older I really do want less stuff (let’s face it I already own most of things I want in life). I’m more into give me a few things that I REALLY want and skip the rest (you know like the sweater you hate at once, but seem to hang onto for two years out of guilt). I would rather spend my effort seeing people and enjoying their company than buying more stuff.
So that gift exchanged cut things back a bit more. Yet it gave me an idea to take that to the next level and suggest to friends of ours to stop exchanging gifts for each other as well and focus on the kids instead. They also agreed! It seems I’m not entirely alone in getting a bit too much stuff over the holidays.
With those two agreements we have managed to take down our Christmas budget by about $250 to a total of $1335. Actually since I’ve been keeping records, we will now only be budgeting $185 higher than our 2003 budget with no adjustment for inflation. I should point out too, that in the 10 years of records I have we have never once went over our budget.
While I don’t think I’ll ever get down to a no gift Christmas, I am pleased to see that we have managed to resist to urge to keep expanding our shopping lists. Yet instead I have expanded the amount of vacation I take over the holidays. I notice having more time off just prior to Christmas I actually have time to do things and enjoy my vacation. I don’t run around shopping, wrapping and generally losing my mind.
Have you reduced your Christmas over the years? Any tips on talking with friends and relatives on buying less? Or how do you cope with all the rushing around that seems to happen?