4 Ways to Avoid Getting (and Giving) Holiday Gifts


In my last post, I told you that I love giving gifts to my friends and family to show my love and appreciation for them. But in the last few years I’ve begun to change my mind about gift-giving traditions. Why? Because I’m tired getting “clutter gifts”.

how to avoid getting and giving holiday gifts

I’ve been working really hard at simplifying my house and my life by clearing out clutter. I’ve been clearing out physical clutter from my house and a lot it has come into my house and my life in the form of gifts.

It’s not that I don’t love my friends and family, I totally do! But, many of them are terrible gift givers. They give things that they think I’d like, but in reality it ends up being clutter in a matter of a few weeks (months if it’s lucky).

That might make me sound like a terrible brat, but I’d rather not get (or give) so many gifts this year so I can focus more money on paying off debt and building savings. Plus, I’d rather my friends and family not waste their money on things I don’t want or need either.

Here are some ways I’ve tried to avoid getting (and giving) so many holiday gifts.

Be Honest – To a Point

After last Christmas seemed out of hand with way too many gifts and not enough focus on other holiday traditions, I had a talk with my immediate family to try and change things. I mentioned that I love how much we care about each other, but that our gift-giving has gotten a bit out of hand. I asked if we could set spending limits for shopping for each other or set an item limit for how many gifts we get. I also told them the reasoning behind my request was that all of us are adults now so we can buy most of the things we need or want on our own. My family seemed receptive to my idea for a more minimalistic Christmas, so we’ll see how it turns out this year.

Give Suggestions When Asked

One of the best ways to get better gifts from your friends and family is to give suggestions if they ask. My mom always asks what I want for Christmas, so I give her a few ideas of things I need or have been wanting. I know she appreciates it because it makes it easier to shop for me. Other times, I have said that I’d like cash to put toward debt or that I didn’t want any gifts. Be careful with that one though as most people don’t take no for an answer and you might end up with a clutter gift.

Just Say Thank You

I don’t exchange gifts with too many people outside of my family. I’ve switched to more thoughtful DIY gifts for my friends and usually try to make them things that will be used up instead of something that will eventually become clutter sitting around their house. The other way that I avoid having to give so many gifts is understanding that some friends will give you gifts no matter if you got them something or not. I’ve had to get used to giving them a heartfelt “thank you” without having a gift to offer them in return.

It’s hard to not give in to guilt gifting at first, but it gets easier over time.

Avoid Gift Exchange Parties

I do love holiday parties, but I try to avoid ones centered around gift-giving. Instead I try to suggest other things for holiday parties with family and friends, like playing games or sharing holiday treats with one another instead of being focused only on giving gifts.

There are some gift exchange parties that are tough to avoid, like holiday parties for you and your co-workers. I always go to them and try to participate, but I’ve been lucky in that many of our office parties have not had a gift exchange. If they do it’s been white elephant.

Unfortunately, giving and receiving gifts is a common part of the holidays and it can be difficult to avoid getting (or giving) too many holiday gifts.

How do you avoid getting (or giving) too many holiday gifts?


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