For years, I've been trying to convince my family members to simplify Christmas by giving fewer gifts. And for years, I've been met with a desire to maintain the status quo of everyone giving gifts to everyone else. This year, however, possibly as a result of my years of
Here (in case this is interesting to you) is how it is all working out:
Girlfriend (M): M is the one person I enjoy giving gifts to, because she has a long running list of things that she wants, which makes her really easy to buy for. And, unlike me, she loves getting gifts. Last year I took this way too far, to the point where it was awkward for me to give her gift after gift in front of her family members. This year, we are giving just one larger gift and one "stocking stuffer" to each other. Our cluttered apartment will appreciate the (relative) self restraint.
Mom: Normally my Mom gives everyone multiple gifts, many of which end up being returned or donated to the thrift store because she bought them months earlier to "save money" and they can no longer be returned. This year, she is planning on one physical gift for each person (maximum ~$30) and one gift card to a preferred store. Some of the physical gifts are still of questionable quality (sorry M), but at least they are smaller, and at least the gift cards will get used.
Because I hate shopping, I once again bought my Mom season's tickets to our local theatre. We go to the theatre six times per year, and it's a great way for us to spend some dedicated time together and to do something we both enjoy. Way more valuable than anything I could find in a mall.
Brother and Sister-In-Law: I consider this my biggest win of the year! My brother and sister-in-law have crazy busy lives, which have gotten even busier since bringing home a new puppy, so I managed to sell them on the idea of no gifts between couples. I'm far happier to spend an hour or two more with them than I would be running around trying to find them a half decent gift.
Nieces: When I suggested to my brother that we not exchange gifts, his first reaction was "But you'll still get the girls something, right?" To which I sighed. Because my nieces have everything. There is literally nothing in the world that either of them needs. Clothes, makeup, music, movies, ski equipment, a new puppy. They have everything. For their birthdays this year, I copied my idea for my Mom and gave them both season's tickets to our local children's theatre. But for Christmas?
One of the things that makes me sad about my nieces is that neither of them really reads for fun. When I was a kid, my single favourite thing was to visit the bookmobile that would come to our neighbourhood once a week. I would return home with shopping bags full of books, which I would then proceed to binge-read until my parents forced me to turn out the bedroom light and go to sleep. (Sadly, I didn't own a flashlight for reading under the covers.) I really want to get my nieces more into reading, so once again I decided to get them books for Christmas. I was very successful with Chris Colfer's book last year, so they will probably always get books from me. Whether they want to or not.
If you celebrate Christmas, how are you doing with your shopping?
Edited to add: Ummm...or Hanukkah. Of course.