You might think that someone who goes “gift-free” at Christmas might have fallen on hard times. Or you might think this person might simply be a scrooge who has forgotten about the spirit of Christmas. But Heather Greenwood Davis, a Toronto, Canada writer and mom and her family are neither. Together with her husband and two children, she decided to skip the presents in favor of getting back to family—for the second year.
She claims that after a year of traveling around the world with only one bag each, her family realized how few things they actually needed. Changed by the experience they chose to bring that mindset back to their home life in Canada.
The family is still decorating a tree, baking cookies, going bowling, spending time snuggling, hosting dinner, and spending lots of quality holiday time together. They’re just not buying gifts for each other or others on their former Christmas lists. Heather Greenwood Davis explains that they are choosing to live on less, spending more time together, and opting to be “present-free and presence-heavy.”
She adds, “I wasn’t in the mall fighting over a sweater that the person I was buying it for would likely have to be in line for a few weeks later to exchange. I wasn’t pulling my hair out over whether I’d spent too much or too little. And in January when there were no huge bills that still needed to be paid.”
Some people thought she and her family were nuts. “For some reason our family’s decision to opt out of something was seen as an insult or affront to the way they were choosing to celebrate the season.”
Others admired the decision. But she and her family didn’t do it for the praise or the confrontation. They wanted the time they could regain to spend together.
There are many ways to give the gift of love at Christmas … and they don’t have to come in wrapped packages with big price tags (and the debt to match).
What do you think? Would you consider going “present-free and presence-heavy”? What are your favorite ways to give the gift of love without spending a cent?
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