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"No Gifts" Means NO GIFTS!

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Guest blogger Emily: This year I made a deal: No gifts. I agreed with my family, including my husband, that this year we would not exchange gifts. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

boy putting coin in a jar

Instead of buying everyone a gift, I decided we would take what little funds we did have and make a charity donation on everyone's behalf. Alas, NO ONE -- including my husband -- followed through on the deal! They broke the pact, and I now look like an a**.

"Noooo! Don't worry!" they said, handing me lovely gifts as I sat there blushing in disbelief. "It's just a little something! I picked it out months ago!" SO??? Is that supposed to make me feel better about the fact that I didn't buy you sh*t?! Not even a card?!

I mean, I felt awful. But frankly, while I appreciate the thought, I actually think it's kind of rude. It's like showing up with your kids to an "adults-only" wedding, or showing up to a dinner party after having eaten dinner! It's rude. A deal is a deal and a pact is a pact -- especially in this economic climate!

Like many families in this country, mine is having a tough time navigating through rocky financial times. All of our excess funds are being poured into "essentials only," and we're having to make slashes in our spending left and right. Obviously, the decision to cut back on gifts and presents during the holiday season was not an easy one. Who doesn't like to give and receive? But I'm disappointed in my family for not honoring my decision -- our agreement, actually -- and essentially "showing me up" and making me look like the Grinch who stole Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa and even New Year's. I suck!

Look, the fact that my husband went out of his way to buy me a purse I'd had my eye on for a while was very sweet, but I'd be willing to put money (that I really don't have) on the fact that he was secretly hoping that I'd have a little gifty-poo up my sleeve, too. Well, guess what? I don't. I hadn't even thought about it, and now I feel like I am forced to -- and to me, that's exactly what the holidays are NOT all about ....

Should people stick to the "no-gift policy," or is Emily really the Grinch? Tell us what you think!



next: Surviving the Day-After-Christmas Crash
13 comments so far | Post a comment now
becky December 26, 2010, 8:51 AM

Emily is 100% RIGHT! Her family broke a solemn promise and are now blaming her? KUDOS to Emily and BOOO! to her family! Breaking promises is NOT an ideal for kids to be learning at all!

Sara December 26, 2010, 11:02 AM

No gift policies don’t work because many people really like to give. A better bet is setting a low dollar amount limit.

KS December 26, 2010, 9:59 PM

You can only control your actions. You do not control what other people chose to spend their money on. So next year maybe simply make it clear yet again that you will only be making donations in thier name but you will be happy to keep any and all gifts given to you. Besides if you donated money in their name you still spent money on their behalf. I get the sentiment but if it means that much to you return the purse and donate the cash too.

judaica December 27, 2010, 12:13 AM

If you’re looking for that special gift from Israel, then Ziongifts will be all you need. judaica

Amanda December 27, 2010, 5:00 PM

Oh dear. That’s not fair! No gifts means no gifts, of people feel bad. My husband and I got each other one small gift and a few for our LO. It’s overwhelming to receive so many gifts and not be able to give back! http://www.newmommyandbaby.com

Deana December 27, 2010, 5:03 PM

I totally agree that Emily did the right thing. My husband and I agreed that we were not buying for each other, only the kids. I then found out that he bought me something. I felt obligated to buy something for him. I love buying for him, but we really didnt have the money. We could have paid bills with that money.

Jennifer December 28, 2010, 8:33 AM

I agree with Emily.. no gifts mean none. My husband and I have not bought gifts for eachother in 10 years. We both know we love one another. Gifts are not necessary. We do buy gifts for our children but not ourselves. : )

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Shanon December 30, 2010, 4:25 PM

No gifts means no gifts. My family chose to do an ornament exchange with our extended family this year instead of buying gifts for everyone. We all know we love each other, but none of us really need to clutter up our homes with extra stuff. We did buy for the kids though. And my husband and I decided to just fill each others stockings with little things we liked or needed.

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judaica January 2, 2011, 10:06 PM

If you’re looking for that special gift from Israel, then Ziongifts will be all you need. judaica

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