Skipping Christmas (shopping, that is!)

By MaryAnn

For the past several years, I’ve been cutting back on buying Christmas gifts.

Well, haven’t we all?

My friends and I usually get together for a seasonal meal, sometime between  Christmas and New Year’s, but we don’t buy gifts for each other anymore. My husband and I may exchange one gift, and otherwise enjoy the season by spending time with family and friends, or going to a special Christmas concert. In short, I’ve finally convinced most of my friends and family that I don’t need any more stuff!

But…what about those special people to whom you just HAVE to give a gift?  What can you do that won’t break your budget, yet will be meaningful and appreciated at the same time?

I have several solutions that have worked well over the years. Aside from the obvious home-baked goodies or handmade crafts, here are some other ideas:

Most nonprofits and charities, both local and national, welcome donations year-round, but particularly during the holiday season. It’s like giving two gifts for the price of one–if you donate in someone’s honor, the charity benefits and so does the person you honor with your gift.

In my community, as in many others throughout the country, there is an alternative gift fair which benefits local nonprofits. Ours is called “Tis the Season”, which in previous years has raised over $30,000 for area nonprofits. The “gift” prices begin at $5, the color is perfect, the price is right, and there’s no waiting in line. Donors receive a holiday card to give to the recipient, naming the nonprofit who benefits from the gift. Read more about this concept at

Other ideas include giving special gift certificates for things that are hard, if not impossible, to purchase: the gift of a day in which you don’t have to do housework or cook, the gift of a special visit to or from a special person, the gift of your time or talent to someone who needs it.

What is most important to you during this holiday season? Take time to think about it, make a list if necessary, and focus on those truly special events or time with special people. Read a favorite story, such as Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, or watch a classic movie like It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas.

Because, as the characters in John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas discover, skipping the whole holiday season isn’t so easy. But with a little thoughtfulness, you can make it more meaningful!

One thought on “Skipping Christmas (shopping, that is!)

  1. I love the idea of an alternative gift fair of nonprofits! I hadn’t heard about that being done as a community event. My family has been moving towards this kind of giving over the past couple of years and we all did it this year. Unplanned, we all chose different places to give, spreading around the Christmas cheer! Thanks for sharing suggestions on skipping some of the shopping this holiday season.


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