As I was looking over my Christmas list the other day, it occurred to me that there are two types of people we tend to spend too much money on; people who we would spend any amount on, but are happy with any gift . . . and people who will not be happy with any gift no matter how much money we spend.
I would spend any amount of money to get my husband, kids, mom and dad, or sisters, something they would truly love or make their life easier. I used to spend lots of money on gifts for these loved ones. However, I’ve come to realize that they are happy with whatever I give them, be it big or small, extravagant or simple, just so it’s given with love.
For the last few years my sisters and parents and I decided that we would keep gift giving to a minimum. My sister now donates money to a charity on our behalf. My other sister and I have started a tradition of baking biscotti and making truffles for everyone. This year we took the treats to them when we visited at Thanksgiving, further saving money by not having to mail anything.
I took a bunch of pictures at Thanksgiving, and will be making collages (via computer) and sending these to family members to enjoy all year.
I get as much joy out of giving these less expensive gifts, as I did giving more expensive ones—and have the bonus of saving time and money and not stressing out over finding the “perfect” gift.
I think we all have people in the second category on our list—people who will not be happy no matter how much time, effort, and money is put into their gift.
For many, many years I spent way too much time and energy trying to “please” one person in my family this way. I wanted him to like me, to appreciate what I did . . . but the most he did was to grunt and then throw my carefully chosen, expensive gifts, on the floor.
Several years ago I realized that I was never going to please him, and decided NOT to spend the time or energy or money on gifts for him anymore. In the spirit of Christmas we still give him gifts, just not extravagant ones, and not with the expectation of receiving thanks or appreciation for them.
We give gifts that are inexpensive and simple—homemade candy or soup mixes, gloves, a coffee mug, or office supplies—things that will be used and appreciated by another family member if the original recipient doesn’t. I’ve given him books that I think he’ll enjoy—books that I know I or other family members will enjoy if he isn’t interested in reading them! We also give framed photos that can be easily displayed, and perhaps will bring him some happiness.
Take the next step: Look at YOUR Christmas list. Who will appreciate any gift given with love? Who will NOT appreciate any gift? Take the pressure off yourself and your wallet—simplify!