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Christmas – Joyful Gifting

by Sarah McMurray

Christmas – Joyful Gifting

You have a plan for Christmas and you’ve talked it through.

Now, to shop. Or not. Your plan may not involve any gifts at all.

One of my favourite “How We do Christmas in My Family” stories involves a family with adult children. The entire family gathers on Christmas Eve to all shop for food, and then they spend the evening and the following day preparing it for each other and eating together. No presents, no decorations, no stress. That’s their Christmas.

Or you can dial it back with a Secret Santa-style one-present-each. The admin can be handled online so everyone gets a name to buy for and a wish list if required:

Add in a White Elephant / Thieves’ Christmas Game and you’ve got the entertainment sorted too.

While you can dial back the gifting, that doesn’t seem right to many of the people I’ve spoken to. For them, gifts are at the heart of Christmas – the source of much joy and excitement. And if they are a pure source of joy, then I say, go for it.

It’s when gifts become a source of regret and financial pain that a small re-assessment is needed. Which doesn’t mean “no gifts.” It means finding a way to give presents, with no downside.

Joyful Gift Giving with No Downside - a Short Primer

Consult your plan, communicate about expectations, and keep a record of what you’ve bought and what it cost. A note on your phone will do if the idea of setting up a spreadsheet drains you of joy. Just know that trying to keep it all in your head will lead to confusion and mistakes – not because you are inherently bad at keeping it all in your head, but because we all are.

For some truths about “the perfect gift” as well as some excellent suggestions click here:

If you want to sidestep supply chain issues and support local, this article points you in the direction of Maori and Paskifka businesses:

If you want to make the gifts you give, check that you have the time to do so. Burning the strawberry jam you wanted to give as a present is not a fun way to spend the last hours of Christmas Eve. Also, be clear-eyed about the cost of supplies (Insta-worthy twine and Christmas ribbons are not cheap). If you want to indulge your crafty side, try here for gifts to make:

Finally, if you decide to go shopping IRL, do not step into the mall without a list. The mall environment has been carefully designed to be overstimulating, and to put you in a foggy frenzy of “Maybe-I-need that? Oh look, maybe I need that as well – I’ve already overspent, may as well get it too.!” Try not to be rushed, or thirsty or hungry. Stop to re-hydrate whenever you feel the foggy frenzy closing in.

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