The Case Against Giving Holiday Gifts

Cutting down on gifting — or eliminating it altogether — can relieve stress, reduce clutter, and make time with family feel more meaningful

Erica Sweeney
Forge

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Credit: Kai Wiechmann/DigitalVision/Getty

On Black Friday, as thousands of shoppers lined up outside big-box retailers, preparing to get a jump-start on their holiday shopping, I sat in my pajamas and browsed my favorite shopping sites, taking advantage of the holiday sales only to buy a few things for myself.

I wasn’t being selfish; I just don’t have any holiday gifts to buy. I won’t be receiving any gifts, either — several years ago, my family adopted a no-gift policy. We realized that we were lucky enough to not need anything, didn’t want to accumulate any more stuff, and, frankly, just didn’t want to deal with holiday shopping or exchanging presents anymore.

And we haven’t looked back. Going gift-free has been a money saver, clutter reducer, and stress reliever. We still get together in some form to enjoy the season, but without the ritual of presents. (Last Christmas Eve, for instance, my dad and I went to the movies.) We usually donate some of the money that would have gone toward gifts to charity and put aside some of it for things like travel.

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Erica Sweeney
Forge
Writer for

Writer + Editor | Bylines: HuffPost, Teen Vogue, Men’s Health, MEL Magazine, CityLab, Realtor.com and more.