Has Gift-Giving Gotten Out of Control?

Ever since we opted out of the majority of gift-exchanges that happen during the Christmas season, I’ve felt a whole lot better. Which is saying something, because I actually really enjoy both giving and receiving gifts — especially the carefully selected and prettily wrapped ones.

But sometimes, too much is too much.

How do you know when that is? I think a good rule of thumb is when someone asks you what you got, and you can’t remember everything you received. (Probably excluding little stocking stuffers like a chocolate Santa or a tube of chapstick.)

So in my book, a few thoughtful/coveted gifts = goodness.
A whole pile = too much.

What do you think?

And, what do you do on Christmas to differentiate it from other holidays if gift giving is not a major event? Of course, going to church is probably in there if you’re Christian (or if you just like the songs) but are there special traditions your family participates in?

Maybe you make candy cane peppermint ice cream, or play games with your family after stuffing yourself with Christmas dinner. Or maybe you do a little impromptu gift card swap.

We usually have Christmas with just the three of us on Christmas Eve, and then eat a nice supper, which is often lasagna because that’s what I like to make. Except sometimes it’s ham. Either way, I put it on reindeer plates, so that’s Christmas-y, right?

Then we spend Christmas day visiting family and hanging out. I’d like to start some sort of new tradition though, so I’m curious to hear what others do.


  • Having a young family, we are still starting our own traditions apart from our larger family. I would like to start making a nice breakfast on Christmas morning so this year we’re going with French toast (lack of time to be creative on my part, maybe next year I’ll branch out).

    Every Christmas eve my mom makes chili and cheese crisp and the whole family gathers there.

  • The holidays for me is about family. One tradition we enjoy is going to the movies on Christmas Day. Obviously, we are not Christian! We have been doing it since the kids were small. Over time, I noticed our idea has caught on.

  • I absolutely believe that gift giving has gotten out of control and can lead to a dissatisfaction with what you already have. I think the insurance for this is to try and appreciate what you already have and try and help others.

  • Thanks to the link to my peppermint candy ice cream. This year we broke tradition and went to Grandmother’s house. In the past we have always stayed home. It was nice not having to fix a meal, but I still did dishes. ;-) My sister in law and I washed the dinner dishes for fourteen people.

  • I think gift giving has totally gotten out of control. It is all about commercialism and giving in to people’s wants. Kids don’t have appreciation for things anymore…they just expect . I think the holidays are about spending time together as a family. It is not about what someone got you as a gift. In our house, we don’t do gifts. We get together for some tasty eats, play games, and enjoy being around one another.