Is anyone else Christmas obsessed? I’ve been listening to Christmas music since early November…I know, I am one of those people.
There is some *magic* about the season that, as corny as it sounds, leaves me feeling refreshed, inspired, and thankful.
Ever since I moved from Iowa to South Carolina, the holidays have looked drastically different for my family and me. I actually couldn’t make it home for two Christmases in a row due to working in the hospitality field. Christmas was an extremely busy time of year for hospitality, so I would always end up working (side note – be sure to tip any hospitality workers extra this season!).
Now that I am no longer in the hospitality industry, I am fortunate to make it home to spend time with my family over Christmas. It isn’t always easy to get home, however. A round-trip on a plane costs upwards of $375, and it is a 20 hour drive to my hometown from Charleston.
This year, my fiance, dog and I will be loading up the Jeep Wrangler and driving the long distance home to Iowa. Getting to Iowa isn’t even the most challenging part. Our families both live in the Midwest, but they live about 2.5 hours away. Which isn’t terrible, but that means that just because we are in Iowa doesn’t mean our travel is over.
Last year, my family recognized how difficult it was to even get together for the holidays. It sounds cheesy, but I have 3 sisters who live in various parts of the country. Two of them are married and have other families to visit over the holidays as well. To get our whole family together, for even 12 hours, is an achievement.
So we decided to quit giving each other Christmas gifts.
And last year’s gift-free Christmas was so wonderful that we decided to do it again this year.
We still do our regular Christmas traditions. Though we decided not to do gifts, my mother can’t seem to resist but to put a few things in each of our stockings every year, so we still get to sit around the Christmas tree and open our stockings. And we do give gifts to my three year old niece.
Here are my top 4 reasons why you should join me in doing a gift-free Christmas.
I mean, duh. You can save a ton of money by forgoing Christmas gifts.
Personally, I have a large family. I save around $400 by not giving Christmas gifts. This really helps out during the holidays, because I usually have to budget another $300 for a flight or gas to just drive home for Christmas.
Make for easier travel
My least favorite part of Christmas was figuring out how to travel with all of the gifts I already bought. Do I pay a ton to ship them after I already bought them? Ship them as I buy them directly to my parent’s house? Or take them with me on a plane or stuff them in a car?
It wasn’t ever easy to figure out how to transport all of those gifts. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I am glad to save myself the headache this year.
You don’t have to scrounge up gifts for those who have everything
Honestly, a big part of the reason we decided to stop gift-giving was because we realized we no longer knew what to give one another.
Everyone in my family is older and lives independently. If we want or need something, we save for it and buy it ourselves.
We ended up buying a lot of random, useless gifts for one another. Seriously, I think back to some of the gifts I gave and I am so embarrassed!
You remember the reason for the season
Yes, giving can be a huge lesson to learn over the holidays. But the realization of the difficulty of gift-giving forced my family to reevaluate our traditions. What was really important to us?
Our number one priority was being able to spend time together. Forgoing the traditional Christmas gifts has made the holiday season ore enjoyable for all of us and we are able to experience life with one another instead of finding joy in things.
Not sure if you’re ready to give up Christmas gifts completely? Here are 4 alternatives to traditional gift giving, sure to still save you money.