Anyone doing a giftless Christmas this year?


I feel terrible that we're so poor this yr we can't afford Christmas presents for anyone. I know Christams is about Jesus ad not the presents, but I don't feel right having a giftless Christmas.

We're going to my grandparents' tonight but I feel bad if I don't bring a gift. WWYD? i just got paid today so I could buy something, i just don't know what and I'm at work till 5 and don't get home till 6pm today.


Speaking as someone who will spend all of this time alone thanks to a dysfunctional family, could there be any greater gift than a “giftless” family member showing up on my doorstep wishing me a Merry Christmas?

Pick out a nice card, if you must, but never underestimate your presence, dear.

God Bless,



*My dh and I are not exchanging, instead we agreed to buy more cookware …my husband and I enjoy cooking together.

My b-day was just here, so we agreed to buy something for birthdays, and not Christmas…it just gets too out of hand. My dh’s birthday is in a few weeks, so I will buy him something special, then. But, nothing wrong with ‘‘giftless’’ Christmases, if that is what everyone agrees to. The worst is when I have bought for someone or they have for us, and we either didn’t buy something or they didn’t. Extended family, no gifts…that is our policy, and it really takes the stress off of everyone.

Merry Christmas!!! :heart:*


I am sorry you will be spending time alone. Know I’ll be thinking of you. My husband has to work tomorrow afternoon into the evening, so it’ll be just the kids and me. I will light a prayer candle for you, and others who are spending their Christmases alone. :hug1:


If you do wish to buy a gift, maybe a gift card? Or a nice pie with a bow on it? Doesn’t have to be fancy…sometimes, the simpler the gifts, the more heartwarming they can be. Really. I love pies, maybe I’m biased. But, I like people who bring little jars of nuts and berries…or homemade cookies with a bow on top of the platter. Maybe something simple like that…just stop at the bakery. :slight_smile:


We aren’t doing “giftless”, exactly, but we are very careful and pretty frugal. The tree looks pretty sad, there are so few wrapped gifts under there; most of our family is out of town, and I do online ordering for them - again, usually very practical (Wolferman’s English muffin assortments this year.)

Do not underestimate the gift of your presence to your grandparents and family. That would be the case with several members of my family, were we close enough to have them visit, and I would be thrilled to see them, no matter what.

Have a very blessed Christmas.


This has been a rather lean year for dh and I, so we won’t be exchanging gifts. We are giving each other IOUs instead, to be redeemed when things turn around. I did send my son a gift card, but that’s all we could do.

However, last year, dh was recovering from heart surgery and so this year, I think of his still being here as my gift.


I did homemade ornaments for my family, which seemed pretty lame considering the huge packages that keep arriving on our doorstep from them and other extended family … but I know that they know our situation, and won’t resent it. Seriously, when giving a gift is more because you have to than because you want to and can afford to, it’s not worth it anyway.

Doesn’t sound like you have the time to make a homemade gift, except maybe some quick cookies, which would be nice. But there are always non-physical gifts: write a card promising to offer up your next Mass for them (if they are Catholic) or offering an afternoon to help out around the house. I always did those as a kid, because I never had the money to buy anyone anything. They were surprisingly appreciated!

Remember that Christmas isn’t really about the presents, anyway. If you’re celebrating the Incarnation with those you love, you’re doing everything important already.


I know someone who made coupons when they didn't have money to buy gifts. Included a gift of a homecooked meal to be provided at their request, 2 hours of cleaning, laundry for the week, etc. . Things that would be helpful to an elderly person. Just a thought.


I cut back on Christmas years ago, it was all getting to be too much, and I don’t miss it a bit! My husband is a pretty fair baker, and we give homemade goodies, but I don’t do much shopping anymore. We dress up for Christmas Mass and visit with my family, at dinner, and that is about it. It is a lot easier to focus on the reason for season without the usual stress and credit card debt, just when the tax man is sharpening his pencils.


that was the plan but it never seems to work out, we still get little gifts from folks, especially edibles I am not allowed to have. We are supposed to have our family gift exchange during our summer get together, but I do send something little and fun to the grandkids, and a check to the parents. since I no longer do a tree I have a collection of very fine, unique, some expensive, ornaments, which I wrap and give away when I need to return a gift locally.

When MIL sold her house and moved into an apartment, she selected items grandkids might like and had them delivered over a couple of years–a doll collection, other collectibles FIL had amassed, china, souvenirs from travels, family stuff. Each of her kids got a box of photos, mementos, baby books etc. last year. She can’t be spending money on gifts, but these things are part of our kids memories and they enjoy them. Great grandkids have been given most of a huge collection of games, cards etc. BIL did the wrapping and shipping as their part of the gifting.


My husband and I have had a gift-less Christmas for the 3 years we have been married. Not out of financial worries, but just because neither of us really care about getting gifts from each other. I know some women who see every holiday as a test if their husband will get it right. Forget that - my husband is sweet to me all year and he doesn't need to run around like a crazy person finding me a gift. Last year he did break the trend and get me a beautiful Alpaca wrap that he saw at an International marketplace set up in his office park. It was such a treat.. and totally random. Not expecting anything made it sweeter too. I actually took it out of the closet just a few minutes ago so I can wear it to midnight mass tonight :)
We only buy presents for the children in our family (nieces and nephews) much joy for children at Christmas, but sometimes gifts for adult just leads to awkwardness. My family is totally on board with is really stress free. This year I am so in love with the infant child Jesus...I just want to overload him with prayerful presents. The commercialism has not infiltrated that warm Christmas feeling I have.


Wow. How sweet is that. But I only ask that you remember ouioui too.

And if you have six minutes, this is an unforgettable video of Fr. Robert Barron speaking to Christmas. You may think you’ve heard this story a zillion times but this was a telling that so deeply impressed me that even today when I was hearing the Priest read Luke at Mass I was filling in all the stuff Robert Barron has in his telling of Luke.

Merry Christmas



This year, I am spending very very very little, but I am giving everyone a gift. I am kicking myself, however, that last year I sent gifts to a wealthy relative who was so disorganized, they kept promising a gift was coming, and it never did. I hate feeling it should be reciprocal, but I can barely afford essentials (food, heat), so to have them be so careless hurts. Obviously they don’t know my needs are so great, but they have so much in the way of material goods, I hate giving them anything, they can buy anything they want!


Hi Everybody! I am a grand-parent and I have the money to buy me presents. This year I felt I didn’t need any gifts so I didn’t ask my one adult son to buy me a present. I should have told him to bring me a pecan pie or some flowers. That is something I truly enjoy.
I was disappointed that he didn’t bring me nothing. But at least he visited me and I should be greatful for that.

To the OP… the best present for your grand-parents is just to show up to visit them.
You can call them and ask if they need anything from the grocery store. They may want a pie, goodies, egg nog, or some desert that they like. Or… some flowers or fruit would be nice.

I have a super poor nephew in another state… so I sent him goodies… like candy, cookies, fruit, etc,
and dog food and snacks for his large dog. He said his dog ate all the dog food and snacks in one I also sent him two mangos and some cucumbers for his Iquna lizard pet. I also sent him an electric blanket to keep him warm during the winter months bcause he can only use electricity and doesn’t have a heater in his trailer.
I told my sister that he can sleep under his electric blanket with all of his pets. He has a mastiff large dog, a cat, and an Iquna/lizard.
Since he doesn’t have a stove to cook I sent him an electric skillet so he can cook his foods. It gave me joy in my heart to know that I helped a poor relative.

I plan to keep sending him food for him and his pets. His mother is sending him money to buy grocery foods. He lives in another state so I have to mail his gifts.

Thanks to God that all of my other relatives in California are prosperous. I don’t buy them gifts because they just re-cycle the gifts. Go to E-Bay after Christmas and see all of the unwanted gifts there that are for


Add me to the list of going "giftless" this year as well.

No job, no money and I refuse to put this on a credit card and have to face the charges in 4 weeks.

Merry Christmas to you and all!


Many years ago when times were tough in America… people would just give eachother gifts of fruits and nuts. People were so happy to get that.

Today I packed several things that I had acculated in my gift box where I store things that are nice to give. I showed up to the family party with my unwrapped gifts. I would take out a gift and ask who wanted it. It was a lot of fun.

My Mom’s neighbor who is Jewish showed up with a delicious kosher cake that he made himself with nuts and cranberries. It was still hot and very tasty.

I took a box of donuts and the cheapy gifts to share with whomever wanted them. I didn’t buy the gifts I had them in my house already.

I am a grand-mother who has so many things in my condo that I don’t need any thing.
But it is always nice to get some cooked food, baked goods, fruits, pies, candies.
Those are the gifts that my Mother received from us. She loves to get goodies.

I don’t think it is necessary to buy gifts when we have so many things in our homes that we can wrap up and give as gifts if we want to do that.

I only buy gifts for my poor relatives. The rest of my family is prosperous… they don’t need any gifts.


Been mostly giftless for several years here…

We buy 1 small thing for 1 niece and 1 small thing for nephew (20.00 or less).

My wife and I buy nothing for each other.

Our daughter is approaching 2 and we still haven’t gotten her anything for b-days or Christmas. Though we may begin to get her one small thing starting next year.

It’s actually very liberating once you get passed the fact you don’t need to get stuff for a list of people and you’ll not get stuff in return.

The season takes on whole new meaning without all that stress.

It’s actually very comical to sit on the sidelines watching retailers try to club each other over who can get inside your wallet first.


the thing that needs liberation is the attitude behind gift giving, namely regarding them as tit for tat, as an obligation that requires some return, as one-upmanship (grandparents excel at this game with the other set of grandparents), as manipulation--you send somebody a gift that dictates their behavior in some way, ie a bible to an atheist, a football to a boy who is into art. We do this in very subtle ways--and CS Lewis does the best job of illustrating this in his books like Screwtape and Great Divorce--letting people know even non-verbally we demand gratitude for every gift we give, and we demand some return for our generosity, some appreciation, some little material token of esteem from those we claim to love.

Gift giving can be a real joy when it springs from a genuine desire to do a thoughtful act of kindness for another. I still remember the fun we had shopping for our first Christmas as newlyweds (well engaged, we married the day after). We did it all at Pier 1 which was then a new store, and much less expensive, and more unique, than it is today. Except for the pet turtle for BIL. We were totally broke and still managed to find something for everyone, selected with that individual in mind, and probably spent $20 total.

Other lean Christmases we have "good deed-doers day"--wash someone's car, shovel their walk, clean windows, done household repairs, repaired bicycles, all kinds of things. For DS we restock his apartment with staples, paper products, things to bulky and heavy to carry on the bus, and also do this for an elderly relative. We have passed that task on to a grandchild who is also in a tight financial situation. He goes in and totally cleans the homes of the elderly relatives who live in his town. A neighbor in our trailer park cuts grass for those who can't do it themselves.


**I certainly would like the idea of a gift-less Christmas. I just think the commercialism of Christmas gets far too out of hand. I get gifts from all my family members at Christmas. it’s not in any manner that I don’t appreciate the symbolic token of love. Yet I feel some embarrassment that I am unable to return a material gift because I am on social assistance and make less than $400.00 dollars a month and have to rely on my mothers most generous assistance to which I am grateful. **

My beloved mother is terminally ill with congestive heart failure. I myself am terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. I would not see my mother without help of any sort and thus live at home to take care of her, because otherwise she would live in a nursing home. I feel humbly privileged that my health still allows me to take care of her even though nurses come in twice a week to look after some of her personal health needs.

Is it pride that I feel embarrassment not being able to return gifts under the tree?
I don’t know, it’s just a strange feeling not having any dignity to be able to physically provide for myself. One most happy part though is that it does not take away my spiritual love for the great beauty of a Blessed Christmas with our Savior being the Reason for the Season.

That part of Faith I beg God I will never lose at this time of year.

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