Why I Minimized the Amount of Gifts I Give at Christmas


As the holidays approach, one of the things that think about is what is coming next; what the new year will hold. With the new year quickly approaching, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my minimalism journey from this past year.

I used to think Christmas was my favorite time of the year (and to be honest, it still is…at least the part about remembering Jesus’ birthday, the jolly spirit, the Christmas songs, the family get-togethers). Believe it or not, what I don’t like about this season is the gifting part! Don’t get me wrong, gifts used to be my love language but ever since my family came to the United States, I have discovered the need to have fewer things, and that I’d rather spend money on experiences and other things that give me joy (like travel, getting together with friends, and visiting family). 

Looking back at my minimalism journey, it started last year when I decided that I wasn’t going to give out any Christmas presents to my friends or family. Although I did talk to most of my family and friends beforehand, and we agreed upon not giving each other gifts, I did run into a few instances where other people had gifts for me and I didn’t have one for them. But, overall I felt really good about not having to spend time, money, and energy to buy a gift for someone when I wasn’t even sure they’d use it. 

This lead to having fewer new things at the house to arrange after my daughter’s birthday party and the holidays. My oldest daughter’s birthday is in December so she received gifts both for her birthday and Christmas. And, since I wasn’t courageous enough to throw her a fiver-party (a party where you mention that if you want to bring a gift, a $5 USD would be ideal, so the child can save for a particular more expensive item, such a zoo membership or spending money for Disney), we had double the gifts in our house. But, again, since I didn’t receive as many gifts as usual, there was still less “stuff” to deal with. 

Anyhow, despite all of this, I am satisfied with how my decluttering process is going. Throughout the year I have donated many items, such as clothes, toys, books, shoes, and sold some other ones. I’ve also just thrown away papers and things that I no longer need.

I have tried to teach my children to value moments over things, experiences over things, and people over things. I also understand that everything in life is a process and with time I will be able to understand balance and voice a little better my needs/wants.

I’ve been toying with the idea of one year doing a Secret Santa gift exchange with friends and family, as an alternative to everyone getting everyone else something. 

I think the key for me is to find an equilibrium and to be able to enjoy what is really important during this season instead of just worrying about material things.

How do you feel about holiday gifts? 

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Luz Zertuche Mery
Luz has been happily married for seven years and is a proud mom to three girls, four years and under. She is originally from Mexico but has lived in Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina. South Carolina has been her family's home for almost two years (but they have been in Columbia only six months, so she is eager to explore all the city and its surroundings have to offer). So far, she has really enjoyed going to the Riverfront Park, picking strawberries at different farms, eating ice cream at Rosewood Dairy Bar, and going to events at the State Fairgrounds. She is a stay-at-home mom, avid churchgoer, and community helper. Some of her passions include reading, cooking/baking, listening to music, learning new languages, exercising by watching fitness videos, and traveling. She recently started to learn all about gardening and loves it (it has turned into a family activity for the weekends).


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