Christmas presentsHow The Grinch Stole Christmas is one of my very favorite Christmas movies, but apparently I never learned the Dr. Seuss classic’s lesson. I realize that the holiday season shouldn’t be all about presents and pretty wrapping paper and big, fancy bows. I know that there are more substantial aspects of family togetherness and shared joy that I’m supposed to be celebrating. But would I want to forgo the holiday shopping for a gift-free Christmas? No. Not at all.

Lately, I’ve been hearing lots of stories of “gift-free” Christmases. They make cool human interest stories. They make the the holidays feel more emotionally mature and less materialistic. Complaining about the commercialization of Christmas has become something of a holiday tradition in itself. One of our wonderful Facebook commenters left this message on a picture of a child’s letter to Santa Claus.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Christmas has really lost it’s meaning which is about family, friends and helping others. How about trying to reclaim Christmas for the true spirit and avoid gift exchange? We stopped participating in gifts for the last *THREE* years and it has REALLY felt FABULOUS!!!! Puts more emphasis on the true meaning and our family doesn’t mind. Try a new tradition….if you don’t have kids, no gifts at all, instead – just have a lovely meal, gathering and maybe some movies. Donate items to the needy. If you do have kids, help mold your children better by reducing their gifts to just one item and buying an item for someone in need that they can present personally. Imagine children and families appreciating the holiday for its true purpose and reducing financial stress, shopping stress and avoid creating little gift mongers. Its a crazy idea that can actually work!

Guys… I’m a gift monger. I love gifts. I really love buying them for people and wrapping them up and the expensive wrapping paper that I keep especially for the holidays. I make my own bows and gift tags. I spend more money than I budgeted for and I don’t feel guilty at all.

In my mother’s house, there are normally enough presents to pass around that we take literally the entire day to open gifts. Don’t get me wrong, we take plenty of breaks. There are stockings first, then a huge homemade breakfast. Then we open a couple rounds of a gifts and we break to let the kids (and dads) play with new toys that they’re excited about. There’s more opening, more breaking. At some point in there we have a huge dinner. The holiday is made to take all day long, but there are plenty of gifts in there keeping things busy.