Somehow, all of this joy and cheer becomes infinitely more joyful and cheerful when a material trinket is attached to it. Stores and companies have no qualms capitalizing on the good nature of holiday gift givers by magnifying the importance of giving gifts to unbelievable proportions. After all, what's Christmas without gifts?! Well this Christmas, my family decided to find out. Here's what we found out:
- No Stress, No Mess - Without the pressure of outdoing last year's haul, we found ourselves stress-free. This left more time to enjoy the holiday season. Not having to set foot into crowded malls or spending countless hours looking for deals online meant more time for singing, watching Christmas movies and the people we love. It also meant that there was a whole lot less mess. No cutting, wrapping, stashing, stacking, storing or hiding. NO MESS!
- Mo' Money! Mo' Money! Mo' Money! - The most obvious benefit of forgoing presents was the financial savings. The best part of the holidays this year was not being broke when all was said and done. Of course, we still splurged on refreshments and meals, but no credit cards reached their limits this year. No bank account was drained this year. No currency was harmed in the making of this Christmas.
- The Great Gift Conundrum - What do you get the guy or gal who has it all? NOTHING! It's perfect. Spending hours, days, weeks or even months worrying about what gift to get someone who is hard to shop for was so last Christmas! This Christmas was all about joy, peace and the company of family and friends.
- The Reason for the Season - Without the distraction of gifts and all that comes along with it, we were given an opportunity to focus on the true reason for the season. This Christmas was not sponsored by Walmart, Target or any other retailer. There were no appearances by Sony, Samsung or Apple. It was just family, friends and the freedom to decide what we wanted the holiday to mean.
It is a bit ironic, but in a way not giving gifts turned out to be one of the best gifts of all. Our Christmas was peaceful and stress-free. Additionally, we were able to alleviate some of the stress from our family and friends by telling them in advance not to give us gifts this year. I have to admit that this is not something that we would consider doing every single year, but it was a nice break from the over commercialization of the Christmas season.
Now that we are refreshed and reset, perhaps we will give presents next year. Perhaps we won't. Either way, this was a great way to focus on the people that are important to us.