The Absence of Gift Exchanges   Leave a comment

This year we experienced a Christmas with “no” gift exchanges, and I have to say it has been a nice reset year. I’ve always been a big gift-giver; and of course in the past I enjoyed receiving gifts, too. Recently Christmas gift giving has become a harrowing experience for myself and those around me. It was one of the casualties of my journey that slowly evolved into a major problem. As I have progressed on my journey, it became much harder for people to shop for me. Even my mother and husband had trouble. I’ve always been picky, but when you add my commitment to organic, fair trade, clutter-free, artisan-made, etc. etc., it became difficult for other people to buy me things. And that left me feeling guilty that I was inconveniencing other people, and unhappy when/if I had to accommodate a gift that did not fit within my spiritual calling. From there it was a spiral downhill, and the process of developing christmas lists devolved into a night of crying and feeling torn inside. Plus, while originally I was able to buy “conventional” when buying gifts for other people, I had reached a point where that was breaking my heart and my favorite part of Christmas became miserable and conflicting. I had started dreading Christmas.

When the suggestion to skip the gift exchanges this year was brought forward, it was embraced by all (or mostly all). To be completely honest there have been some exchanges because we do have people in our lives who, like myself, love to give gifts. But by eliminating the expectation of gifts, this holiday season has been filled with a new sense of freedom. I don’t know what will happen next year. I hope that we do go back to gift exchanges, because I do love giving people gifts. But I also know that it will be different. I know that many people are having similar Christmases this year due to economic difficulties, and I hope that the experience is similarly refreshing for them. It is time to hit RESET and rethink the modern culture of Christmas gift exchanges.

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Posted December 26, 2010 by mayakey in frugal living, unshopping

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