I don't want any gifts this year

Amanda explains why she's telling her relatives "no gifts" this holiday season

The title of this blog post is a bit of a lie. Truth is, I do want to receive some gifts for Christmas/Chanukah this year (I celebrate both).

I usually get the big-ticket items from my immediate family: my mom, my dad and my sister. So there’s no way I’m telling them not to get me gifts. Hey, I’m allowed to be a little selfish, right?

But for the first time in my life, this year I am considering saying “no gifts, please” to my other relatives: my aunts, uncles and cousins. I would like to ask them to give their money to charity instead.

Every year, I lug home bags and bags of gifts that I’ve received at some family holiday gathering, and they are always, always filled with meaningless trinkets, things I don’t need or want, objects that will end up in a bin at my local Value Village. Socks, hair accessories, bath products, candles, clothes and jewelry I’ll never, ever wear. It all seems so wasteful, not just in terms of the money spent but in terms of the giftwrap, ribbon and tissue paper that usually ends up in the trash despite my nagging about recycling.

Last year I remember feeling particularly frustrated as I dragged home all my new “stuff.” I loathe clutter, and I loathe making room in my apartment for things that I wish weren’t there in the first place (although here’s a fun way to de-clutter before the holidays).

So this year, I want to take a stand. I want to email my relatives and tell them, very politely, that this year I will not be accepting gifts, and could they please make a donation to a good cause instead?

But I’m worried. What if their feelings get hurt? What if they’re insulted that I haven’t liked their past presents? It’s tricky.

On the other hand, I can think of several charities that need donations more than I need another scented candle.

How does your family handle holiday gift-giving?

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