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These days, Christmas has maybe become something distant. Like it’s happening far away, and you’re only there to give and receive gifts. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t think Christmas will ever lose its charms. Over the years, however, people are becoming more and more frustrated about shopping, gifts, and all that holiday drama. It does have the power to ruin the holiday spirit in general.
Most people feel obligated to give gifts for Christmas. With closest friends and family, things are different, but in most cases we find ourselves buying gifts for random people in our lives. It’s like we agreed on meeting norms to please the society and going with the flow every year. But we have to notice that things are changing in the last couple of years. People are talking about alternatives to gifts and organizing no-gift celebrations altogether. The only thing that still bothers most of them is how to conduct the idea without making other participants feel uncomfortable or offended. Luckily, we are here to help with a list of ideas on how to tell someone not to buy Christmas presents.
Preparations for Changing the Tradition
Table of Contents
It’s All About the Timing
First thing first, the timing. You want to make sure that you’re asking a question and starting the conversation about Christmas at the right moment. Introducing the idea about gift-free holiday might be completely unsuitable if you have only 2 days left until Christmas! At that time, most people have already bought all the gifts, so you run at risk of being ungrateful and rude. They would probably think you didn’t know what to buy, and therefore trying to figure out how to make a getaway by suggesting not giving gifts for Christmas.
Therefore, you should make a plan and think this through. Introduce the idea and talk with people at least a month before Christmas. Give them time to think and talk about it with others. After all, you’re about to make a change in a long practiced tradition, and you can’t do that overnight.
Introduce the Benefits of Gift-Free Christmas
So, how to tell someone you don’t want their gift? First of all, we don’t recommend doing it right away, without preparations. A lot of people enjoy exchanging gifts, and you have to give them good reasons to stop with tradition. You want to avoid an instant negative reaction, and you can do that only by introducing the benefits of gift-free Christmas. For example, talk about all the bothersome and time-consuming shopping, the waste of money (and paper), about the negative sides of consumerism, and buying all those meaningless gifts only for the sake of fulfilling social norms.
Gather Some Followers
Another thing you should do is find an accomplice or two. You’ll present an idea easier if you are not alone. For example, you can introduce 8 Unique Ideas on What to Do Instead of Secret Santa. If you get people to like them, you’ll solve the problem of having to talk about not buying Christmas presents altogether. Once you get people to like some of the gift alternatives, everything will become easier.
Allow for Alternatives
Keep in mind that some people do like giving gifts. They mostly don’t expect anything in return but enjoy the fact that they can give something to their loved ones. You should respect their wishes just like they should validate yours.
Therefore, you can make a compromise and think of alternatives for the usual Christmas gifts. You can save some money together, exchange homemade items, or provide experiences. You can check out the following article for more ideas: 5 ways for How to Ask for Experiences Instead of Gifts.
Keep Your Word
If you make a deal, keep your word. Don’t back out at the last moment, and most certainly don’t come with gifts. That’s why we insist so much on giving this a good thought through. You want to be sure about your decision and follow it. Otherwise, you’ll make other people feel uncomfortable and tricked.
Keep in mind, though, that some people might still bring you gifts. All changes take time, so gift-free Christmas might also require more than one time to be fully realized.
2 Ways on How to Tell someone Not to Buy Christmas Presents
If you want to stop exchanging Christmas gifts with your coworkers, friends, and family, you’ll have to say so. You don’t even have a lot of options on how to do it. The most practical and respectful way is to talk with others personally, and politely request no Christmas gifts this year and let them know how you feel and what you think about gifts-free Christmas. Here’s what you can do:
It’s completely normal to feel awkward and uncomfortable with the thing you have to suggest. It’s not that the idea is bad, not at all. It’s about the long tradition that has grown on people over the years. They might misinterpret your intentions and feel it’s about them and not for other reasons. They might even think you’re trying to dodge the event because you don’t like spending time with them or don’t like their gifts. For that reason, most people feel uncomfortable with the entire idea and never propose it to the others. Don’t let this happen to you.
If you don’t like an idea to talk with others directly, you can stick with the subtle approach. There are a few simple ways on how to ask someone to stop buying gifts without actually saying the words. Here’s what we have in mind:
Give a Hint
First thing first, you can take a look at our article on How to Give Hints About a Gift. It should give you some basic ideas about the topic.
Now, giving hints about gifts is not so difficult, but it should be well thought through. You want to make sure that others will understand what you’re saying and dig into the idea. You also want to avoid ungrateful and rude statements.
- I can’t think about Christmas.
- I really need to focus on my finances right now.
- I would like to do something different this year.
- What do you think about gift-free Christmas?
- I heard it has a lot of benefits.
- I can’t do the entire Christmas thing this year. I don’t have the money for all the presents.
- I like your gift but I’m not giving you anything this year.
- Let’s stop with gift-giving and all the waste of time and effort.
These examples should tell you what to avoid and what to include when giving people hints about not buying Christmas presents.
Spread a Word
Another thing you can do if you want to play safe is to talk to several people inside the group about having no Christmas gifts this year. Spread a word about how you are willing to try something different this year. Tell different people how you heard about all the benefits of gift-free Christmas, and how you liked the idea so much. Make sure to involve them in the conversation and ask them for opinion. This way, other group members will start talking about the topic, and you might all come to the same conclusion without having a group discussion.
Express Your Wishes
Now, another great way to introduce no gift Christmas is to talk about your wishes in general. Tell people around you what you always wanted to do or have, and how you never managed to achieve it. Give a subtle hint by stating how you would be able to fulfill your long-awaited desire if all Christmas gifts you get could merge into one. This way, you’ll allow for alternative gifts for Christmas and avoid regular ones while still not asking directly for anything.
If you feel like you can honestly talk about gift-free themed Christmas with the people in your life, we say go for it. It’s the healthy and most recommended approach. We listed some ideas to help you get through the Big Talk if you do decide on it in the end.
We got a lot of questions about how to politely ask for no gifts event, regardless of the occasion. The thing is pretty simple, although it might not seem that way at first. You should only be honest with a particular person and tell him or her your reasons for wanting gift-free Christmas. Mention finances and all the other reasons that make you uncomfortable with gifts. Make sure to stress that this has nothing to do with you not liking that person’s choice of gifts. You want to avoid making a person feel uncomfortable with the idea. Stress out that this is your personal feeling and ask for his or her opinion. It should be all about talking it through, and not you stressing out how unsatisfied you are with the upcoming Christmas.
You can also ask other people for their opinions before you express your wishes for this year’s Christmas celebration. Ask them how they feel about not giving gifts at all this year and what they think about some alternatives such as giving that money away, or saving it for other purposes. If you start an open and relaxed conversation where you all share personal opinions, there’s no chance that you’ll get misunderstood.
Revise the Benefits of Gift-Free Christmas
Are you wondering how to stop buying gifts for the extended family? We get that large families mean a pile of Christmas gifts that you won’t even use. A gift-free event or other alternatives would be perfect to avoid this situation. However, it might be tricky to introduce the idea to your family. Here’s what you can do to avoid misunderstandings and negative reactions:
- Financial Issues
First thing first, talk about finances. If people around you are not wealthy, you’ll catch their attention as soon as you start talking about saving some money for Christmas. According to some analyses, people spend most of the year savings on Christmas presents and even have to borrow money. If you come up with the idea that would save them some money, they’ll most certainly be glad to hear it.
- Fighting Against Consumerism
You’ll hear a lot of people say they are tired of shopping for Christmas gifts and all that consumerism drama. Not to mention the necessity to wrap up every single gift, deliver it in fancy boxes and bags. It’s just time-consuming and tiresome sometimes. Making a break for a year (or longer) would be a great alternative.
Extra Tip: For more details, you can follow our 17 Amazing Ideas of What to Do for Christmas Instead of Gifts.
- Remembering Important Things
Christmas shouldn’t be all about money and gifts but about love. It should be about spending time with your closest friends and family, enjoying the holiday together, and making memories. Make sure to remind other people about these long-forgotten values.
Take a look at this article: 6 Alternative Christmas Ideas for Families. It might give you some ideas on how to spend Christmas without focusing on shopping and exchanging Christmas gifts the entire time.
- Giving Help to Those Who Need it the Most
Instead of exchanging gifts, you can make things different this year and give something to the people who need help the most. Introduce an idea of charity-themed Christmas to your friends and family. They’ll love the idea of helping others on this special day.
If you need more guidance on how to help other people for Christmas, you can take a look at our ideas on Creative Ways to Give Money for Christmas Present.
Frequently asked Questions
Can I write a no Christmas gift letter and send it out to everyone who is participating instead of having the conversation face to face?
Yes if you are too busy to have the conversation or there is just way too many people to talk to, you can write a message and send it to everyone and let them come talk to you if they have any questions.
In the end, we have to repeat how important it is to think this through and stand behind your decision. Only that way, people will take you seriously and consider your ideas. Hopefully, our ideas on how to tell someone not to buy Christmas presents will help you plan the entire thing.
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