Given that I am an organizer, I've taken the whole gift exchange to another level in the past. I'm talking spreadsheets and checklists.
I tracked what I bought for whom, the price paid, and how much it cost in wrapping paper.
It was a little much I know, but ultimately I was curious as to the cost of it all. By cost I mean physical dollars, time spent, and joy received.
The grand total was $1,000+, way too much time in stores and searching for parking, and minimal joy received.
For a 20-something working her first job and trying to keep up with the pace of the holidays, I found myself at a crossroads.
The immense pressure I felt to find the "right" gift at a affordable price multiplied by the desire to up level my wrapping divided by all the parties and events I had to attend to give out those gifts, and I realized it wasn't worth it.
What was the point of it all?, I thought.
Where was the joy of the season?
Fast forward to the next year and I proudly declared to my family and friends that I was no longer participating in the gift exchange. I would not be giving nor receiving presents that year. I was simplifying.
Their looks of shock made me want to rethink my no present policy. Was I being a Scrooge? Christmas, a hum-bug?
NO! I was setting boundaries so I could experience the joy of the season how I wanted to experience it.
If that meant that I got funny looks or passive aggressive comments, well then so be it.
I had a choice and I was exercising it.
The No Present Christmas was some 8 years ago now and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am so glad I put a stop to the gift exchange for me.
I invite you to do the same. What is it that you want to experience in your holiday season?
And what is that you want to let go?
If it is less decorations, then donate what you don't love as you take it down.
If it is less commitments, then practice your response, "thank you for thinking of us but we won't be making it this year."
If it is less stuff, then encourage others that it is there presence and time with them that you value. Not the stuff they give you.
Are you ready to simplify Christmas?