An Exceptional Yuletide Suggestion

A wise person over at Kuro5hin has made a superb recommendation: a No-Shopping Christmas. His sentiment is far less wacky and anarchist than Buy Nothing Day. This is a cogently-written, short piece about alternatives to the shopping hell that is the Christmas season:

No Shopping Christmas is a simple, yet heavy concept: buy no gifts for Christmas out of obligation, and inform others of your intent so that they do not feel obligated to buy you gifts in return. Don’t waste money on lame decorations, and thank you kindly for not killing the trees. Spend time with your family and friends instead of spending money on them. Participate in the traditions of your religion of choice. Or not. Accept Christmas as a time for rest, relaxation, and spending time with people outside of shopping malls.

It may have to do with my bizarre, extremely-broad family tree, but I loathe Christmas and most of what it represents. I particularly hate Christmas shopping, and so make it a policy to never enter a store without knowing what I’m buying.

On a more ascetic level, I have so much stuff already. So does everybody else in my family (with the exception, perhaps, of my more ascetic brother, and he doesn’t want anything). I have more difficulty creating a wishlist for myself than I do choosing gifts for other people (with the exception, perhaps, of the aforementioned Spartan brother). This isn’t humility on my part, it’s just a lack of wanting things. Particularly things that I don’t choose for myself. I suppose I should just ask everyone to give me vouchers for travelling. Hmm…that’s not a bad idea.

One of the comments following the Kuro5hin piece is spot-on: ‘On average, all Christmas amounts to is a bunch of people getting in a circle and everyone handing each other $50. What’s the point of that?’

Written by

Darren Barefoot is an author, speaker and digital strategist. He’s the co-founder of Capulet Communications, and co-author of “Friends With Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook”.


  1. I ask family and friends to make a charitable donation in my name instead of buying me gifts. I still get them something, but much smaller than I would otherwise, because the expectation is much lower and the emphasis is taken off gift exchange.

  2. My family has done that during the lean times… Gifts for the kiddies, and the adults just get together and celebrate… stress-free. They were the best Christmas gatherings ever.

  3. this christmas I don’t intend to buy anything for friends and i’m asking them not to buy me anything either, instead I want to spend time with each person. that’s so much more important.

  4. thankfully, I taught myself to sew a few years back, so every year I try to make at least three or four presents. Even something as simple as an apron or pillowcases makes a lovely gift – and it’s so very inexpensive. It’s my labour that makes the gift special.

    this year, i want nothing but spa services.

  5. i’ve been doing the no-shopping christmas thing for quite a while. this year, i plan on throwing a potluck christmas party. that way everyone gets to spend time together and eat lots of good food. 🙂

  6. even though it was a first effort, and we loan were two whiteys who admittedly
    didn’t know italogies as much about rap (the history, methodology, vioxx the deliverance, even) as about a lot of other shoes music – we practiced several flows over the celebrex track before we actually recorded the raps – mortgage the finished product was surprisingly credible

  7. I think there’s really a balance to be had here — I don’t think it has to be all or nothing. In my family, there have been many years where we didn’t have many pennies to rub together, so we’d go on day trips instead of buying gifts. We just don’t buy gifts period if it’s not financially feasible.

    And my parents have never actually bought each other Christmas gifts, according to an agreement they made when they got married.

    But my dad takes genuine pleasure in choosing special things he believes my brother and I would enjoy, and we really love doing that for them, too. It’s nice to get my mom little luxuries she wouldn’t normally get herself, and buying my dad his first set of noise-cancelling earphones was so much fun. He’s a musician and loves the pure sound he gets now.

    I think as long as you don’t spend money when you don’t have it, and you get things that would be meaningful and special to the person you’re buying for, you can make it a good experience.

    But, then again, none of us have all that much “stuff”, not being big materialists or shoppers or packrats.

    Maybe if you’re not prone to own everything, getting one thing is a pleasure.

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