Why We’re Trying A No Gifts Christmas

Larry David explaining why he didn't bring any gifts this year.

The holidays are easy when you’ve got money flyin’ out of your ass, am I right? But when you have layoffs, illness, the quitting of toxic workplaces, pandemic, inflation, and the simple fact that money doesn’t go as far as it used to – then frankly, they’re not so fun. In fact, ALL of these factors can make the thought of the holiday season and in turn, holiday gift buying, downright stressful. So that’s why we’re trying a “No Gifts” Christmas this year.

How We Arrived At The No Gifts Christmas Decision

For our tiny family of three, the deciding factor was the expense. $25 for a Tshirt at Target or Amazon? You’re out of your mind, Jack! And we’re adults! I can’t even imagine how stressful it is trying to buy for a brood of kids!! But truly, we decided at the last Family Meeting that our days of gift giving – for ALL the special occasions – birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc., were over. But WHY, you ask?

sparkly gif informing us that everything is terrible.
Everything IS terrible. Terribly expensive, that is.

Let’s face it – it’s hard out here for pretty much everybody unless you’re Elon Musk, and fuck that guy. For us peasants, it’s much more difficult to survive on what we got coming in. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen online talking about they’re making MORE MONEY than they’ve ever made in their LIFE, yet they’re STILL struggling to get by. Don’t believe me? Take a look at TikTok or this reddit for a sobering view on how truly hard out there it is for working folk. People simply aren’t making enough money to afford any kind of luxuries. <cough> GREEDY CEOS <cough>. Again I say, NOBODY is. That is to say, unless you’re an oligarch reading this on a yacht in the middle of the Caribbean, in which case –

The words "Brother Can You Spare A Dime" set against an image of coins.
Or Sister. Seriously, it’s hard out here for us regular folk.

The Financial And Emotional Stress of Seasonal Gift Giving

If you’re a Gen X-er, you might have grown up with a parent or parents that survived The Great Depression, like I did. My father was a very frugal man, but Christmas was the one time when it was nearly guaranteed I would get the Expensive Thing I waited ALL YEAR for. Jesus, no wonder he was always so stressed out around Christmas. Now that I’m an adult, I get it. Even though I don’t have children to buy for, I do have a mama and a husband. And of course everyone DREAMS of giving and receiving The Perfect Gift. You know, that gift you (they) open and it’s immediate happy tears. Jackpot!! YOU DID IT!

YOU GAVE THE PERFECT GIFT!

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll chase that high year after year after year. Until the day you decide THIS IS IT! I’m DONE with this! You think to yourself, I’m not going to spend a fortune this year. People are gonna get what they get and that’s it. I don’t even goddamn know what to buy anyway, {insert family member or friend here} already has everything anyway, so fuck it.

That’s not very holiday spirit-y of me, but that’s exactly what I thought this year. Plus, I have a confession to make to you all – I hate buying gifts. There. I said it. I absolutely DETEST buying gifts. But nary did I know I was to get a gift of my own in going no-gifts with my family…

Jack McFarland from Will and Grace is wrapped in a blanket and telling someone out of the image, "What you're selling, I ain't buying. Just like a No Gifts Christmas!
Not at the store, not on Twitter, and NOT on the TikTok shop.

Turns out my mom and my husband hate trying to buy gifts too and get JUST as stressed out as I do about it. Talk about a mind blower!

I couldn’t believe it either at first.

A No Gifts Christmas Is A Relief To The Psyche

And a GIANT fucking relief, which was cemented when I floated the idea of a No Gifts Policy for Silverman House just before Matthew’s and my birthdays, which are two days apart and fall just before Christmas. So between birthdays and Christmas, that’s kind of a lot of money to spend, you know what I mean? And let’s not even talk about the hidden expenses of Christmas! What do I mean? Have you seen how much wrapping paper costs? Even at Costco, it’s still expensive! And where does ALL that beautiful wrapping paper wind up?

Zoey from Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas gets handed a pile of gifts and doesn't look real happy about it. This is why we're doing a No Gifts Christmas - no gifts = no stress!
See that look? That’s how I feel about buying gifts.

That’s right, I bet you said it to yourself before even reading this sentence – IN THE TRASH.

I mean, first you have the expense of the gift itself, right? And not just the cold hard cash spent, but the TIME AND ENERGY you spent selecting that perfect gift for your loved one. Then you wrap it with shiny paper and curling ribbon and sparkly bows, right? Unless you’re me and let Amazon do the wrapping but THAT COSTS MONEY TOO! However, consider this –

All that time and effort spent wrapping those gifts goes literally in the garbage. Think about it. If time is money, then ALL THAT GIFT WRAPPING is CASH IN THE TRASH, to quote that old 90’s informercial. Along with the $$ spent on the wrapping paper itself! Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? And we all wonder why we’re so goddamn broke all the time. I mean, the fact that a loaf of bread costs $5 probably doesn’t help matters any, but I digress.

Larry David said NO GIFTS, so I say NO GIFTS. Just like Cady Heron does splits on trees, so I DO splits on trees. Hashtag, NO GIFTS SPLITS ON TREES.
Exactly right, Larry David. That’s the way to go.

Going No Gifts Is A Gift In and Of Itself

Another thing my mother, husband and I all have in common is we all HATE (and I mean HATE) wrapping gifts. I’m good at it, but I still hate it. My mother farmed out the gift-wrapping to Matthew and I last year, she hates it so bad. So this year, I thought to myself, JFC, if we ALL hate shopping for gifts and we ALL hate wrapping the gifts…what the fuck? Why don’t we do away with the whole goddamn tradition?! And you know what?

THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WE DID.

And what a relief.

Turns out we really did give ourselves a HUGE gift in going “NO GIFTS” this Christmas. Actually, there were SEVERAL gifts we gave ourselves – no going into debt behind the most commercial holiday on the PLANET (thanks, capitalism); no WORRYING about the money spent on same said holiday; and most importantly, we gave ourselves back the gift of TIME, the most precious currency in the world. What could be better?

The only gift I want this Christmas Season – time.

Final Thoughts On A No Gifts Christmas

If you’ve read any of my past blogs, you know I struggle with the holiday season in general. A few years ago, I managed to enjoy the Christmas Season, but by the next year, I was right back to my Grinchy ways for all the reasons I listed above. But funny enough, once my family & I decided that we were going no gifts this year? I started enjoying the holiday season a LOT more. I can smile at the decorations, the movies, and all the corny Christmas songs and not immediately feel like oh, fuck, what if they don’t like what I got/how much money did I spend/how much money did THEY spend/are we gonna all be broke afterwards/goddamn I don’t want to wrap these presents/oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck.

Yep, that was pretty much my and my family’s exact thought process. So that’s why going No Gifts this Christmas is – at least for us – the BEST gift we could ever give one another without breaking the bank or tanking our mental health. Being with my family and having, thank God, enough to eat, a roof over our heads, and all the cheesy Christmas movies we can watch is present enough. It’s not about the gifts for us anymore. It’s about being together.

And isn’t that what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown? Being with the ones you love?

Well, I think so anyhow. And however YOU celebrate, I hope you’re having if not a wonderful Holiday season, at least a non-stressful one.

Thanks for reading,
Meredith Silverman

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