Hang on, I’m about to tell you why you should NOT buy Christmas gifts this year. Katrina, did you and Scrooge have coffee or what? Nope. I did not sip lattes with Scrooge last night. Let me tell you a story, from many years ago. It will explain just why you should not buy Christmas gifts.
18 years ago, I was a newlywed. I had just finished college, had a new puppy, a chihuahua named Lucy (I had wanted a chihuahua ever since high school and I saw Clueless and Legally Blonde), and was trying to find a real job.
Before I Dive In…
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Financial Stress Of Buying Christmas Gifts
My husband was working full-time, thank goodness. I did not have a job and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself. I had just graduated with a degree in Graphic Design and was looking for some type of design job. It took me a few months to find a full-time job, but I eventually did, and I loved my job working as the designer for a mega church. It was awesome!
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The catch to this lovely year of newlywed bliss – we had debt. A lot of it. About $90,000 with most of it being from school loans. It felt heavy and burdensome. I was a dumb college student who went to an out-of-state school, and got a fancy degree that I paid way too much money for.
Then We Met Dave
As a wedding gift we were given Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We dove in, and it rocked our world. We went gazelle intense and were determined to pay off all our debt as soon as possible. Both of us wanted to start our marriage off right and debt free. It was the best thing that ever happened to us!
That first year brought a lot of challenges, but we got our act together and worked really hard to pay off debt. We both worked full-time jobs, and I got a second job teaching college design classes in the evenings at the local community college.
As if we didn’t have enough to do, we also started our own side hustle – a graphic and web design company. We worked and worked and worked, and saved and saved and saved.
It took 2 years, but we paid off our $90,000 in debt! It was awesome! We simply live by Dave’s principles and I can honestly say we never fight about money, which is such a blessing. If you are struggling with debt, please check out Dave Ramsey and get in a Financial Peace class. You won’t regret it!
If you are interested in finding out more information on Dave Ramsey and how he helped us buy a car – read this post now – How To Buy A Car The Dave Ramsey Way.
Why You Should Not Buy Christmas Gifts
I tell you all of that because it sets the back story of why you should not buy Christmas gifts. That first year as we were digging out of debt, Christmas rolled around – like it does every year – right? We had been steadily moving along on our debt free journey, not spending money on anything unnecessary and working tons of hours.
December arrived and we both knew we didn’t have extra money to buy gifts for each other – or for anyone else. We made the decision, much to the disappointment of our families, that we were not going to buy Christmas gifts for anyone that year.
Some of our family members just didn’t understand. Others thought it was a great idea. While there were a few who were just annoyed.
Save Money On Gifts – Make Them Instead!
Deep down I still wanted to share the joy of Christmas with our families, so I scraped together a few dollars (and I mean just a few – I think I found $8 by borrowing from other cash envelopes) and went to my local Dollar Store.
Looking down every aisle of the store didn’t turn up much, but I did come up with the idea of making a gift for our family members.
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I found a pack of wooden picture frames for a $1 and a string of wooden Christmas lights. My big splurge was a can of spray adhesive.
After gathering my supplies, I was determined to somehow make picture frames for everyone. I found some glitter at home (of course, I love glitter), and I found an old bag of fake snow in our Christmas decorations. A few hours later, I had made some really cute pictures frames.
Memories, Not Big Gifts
By no means were they anything fancy. They were not elaborate, but they were made with love. Just a heartfelt gift that cost me a little over $1 a piece to make. These picture frames, complete with a recent photo of us and our puppy, was our gift to all our family members that year.
I still have the picture frame today and I love unpacking it each year when we set up our Christmas decorations. The spray adhesive has turned the fake snow yellow over the years, but I love this picture frame because it reminds that you don’t have to buy big Christmas gifts to still enjoy Christmas.
It also reminds me of the year we were getting out of debt and even though we didn’t get or give any fancy gifts that year, we still had a very memorable Christmas and we got the best gift of all – we became debt free!
I know you may not be on a debt free journey like we were that year, and I will tell you that besides that first Christmas, we have purchased gifts for our family all other years.
Have a Clear Reason Not To Buy Gifts
The reason we did not buy Christmas gifts that year was because we had a clear reason not to. We had a goal we were working towards. I want to give you permission this year to not buy Christmas gifts too, and you could have many reasons why.
Maybe you don’t have the money this year, and that is ok! Or maybe you are planning to enjoy Christmas without all the stuff, to just spend time with the ones you love. Again, this is ok!
There is no right or wrong way to do Christmas, there are no rules. It is ok to not buy Christmas gifts. Do what is best for you and your family. Or maybe you are looking to buy Christmas gifts for your kids, but not more toys – you might want to consider non-toy gift ideas.
Your Family Might Be Annoyed
If you decide not to buy Christmas gifts just know that you will probably get some weird looks from family members and friends. You might make some people in your family mad too. I know I sure did. We also requested that no one buy us any gifts either. I think a few of our family members were relived to have one less person to buy for, but some family members were super annoyed.
In the end, it was a personal decision for me and my husband. It’s what was best for the two of us at the time. It made sense and helped us reach our goal of being debt free. I don’t regret it one bit and would encourage you to do the same if you find yourself in a similar situation.
All this talk about Christmas gifts reminds me that I have another post about with non-toy Christmas gift ideas. Read it now – 12 Best Non-Toy Christmas Gift Ideas For Kids
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Either way, let me encourage you to do what is best for you and your family. It’s ok to have a no-gift Christmas – everyone will survive! This year, It’s ok for Christmas to look different than previous years. You do not have to do Christmas the same way as everyone else, or the way your extended family expects.
It’s ok to change things up and do them different, especially if it benefits your immediate family. Plus, there is always next year to resume the regular Christmas gift giving.
Promise to tell me if you do things different this year! I’d love to know how it goes!