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Save Money by Not Christmas Shopping – How to Do It When You Don’t Want to Buy Gifts

19 December 2012

Earlier this month we gave you 25 great ways to save money on Christmas shopping. There was one thing wrong with most of the tips we offered, though. They all required that you spend at least a little bit of money. But what if you don’t want to spend any money at all?

This is something that more and more people are starting to look at – especially when you know you’ll be at a family gathering where 50 of your loved ones will be. Some people choose to have a blanket “no gift” policy, where they don’t buy gifts for anyone over Christmas. Others will buy a limited amount of gifts, such as only buying gifts for the children in the family. With today’s hard economic times, it can be a good decision and often, people will fully understand. But still, it can be an awkward conversation to have. So how do you?

First, have the conversation with yourself and reaffirm the reasons why you made this decision. If you go in without a plan, without knowing why you’re doing it, and without being able to communicate the reasons why you’ve made this decision, it will be very easy to be swayed by your family. They may say to only spend a few bucks, or that “Christmas only comes once a year.” This is all true. But you have to live with your budget for the rest of the 11 months.

Next, approach your family. Sit them down (all at once preferably so you don’t have to do it over and over again) and simply tell them why you’re not buying gifts this year. Whether it’s because you want to get back to the true meaning of Christmas, or because you lost your job, the reason doesn’t really matter – your family should respect your decision.

Make sure, when you’re talking with your family, that you don’t tell them who they do or do not have to buy gifts for – and this includes you! Many times, when one family member doesn’t want to buy for everyone, they’ll insist that no one buy for them either, to make it fair. Remember that Christmas isn’t necessarily always about being fair. This is the holiday season and your loved ones may want to show you that they really appreciate you. If they want to buy you a gift to do it, let them. This is your decision, not theirs.

Lastly, don’t just tell them that you’re not giving gifts and then show up empty-handed on the big day. It is the Christmas season after all, and it truly is better to give than to receive. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your family to show them you love them, but you do have to do something nice. Bake some cookies, offer to come in and help with their spring cleaning, or drive your grandmother or elderly parents around on errands – make it every weekend for the first month of the New Year to make it a truly special gift!

You don’t have to spend a ton of money, or even any at all, to show people you love and appreciate them at Christmas time. Explain to them your intentions, and then do something truly thoughtful that doesn’t cost a dime. The chances are that your family will appreciate that even more than any store-bought nicknacks.

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