I’m having a present ban this Christmas. Here’s why you should too.

Having a Christmas present ban

I really enjoy buying gifts for others for Christmas and of course I also love to receive them. Who doesn’t! Like I do every Christmas, I will put time and care into browsing for gorgeous gifts I think my close friends and family will be thrilled to open on Christmas Day.

However, I believe that buying Christmas presents for the whole of your family, all of their partners and their children, all of your friends and their partners and so on, well, it just gets to be too much. Christmas gift-giving can spiral, meaning so too does the amount you spend. In turn, the amount of gifts you receive back also spirals.

It’s all too easy to end up spending hundreds and hundreds of pounds on gifts alone, before you even start thinking of all the other things you want to buy to celebrate the festive season. You also end up receiving a huge amount of items in return that you have no idea what to do with, accompanied by the burning question of where on earth they are all going to fit in your home. If, like me, you have a small home, it can be tricky to know where to store everything.

And where’s the fun in that?

Last year, I suggested that maybe we should implement a present ban for certain members of Dan’s family and just buy for their children. He has a much bigger family than mine, as in, ten times the size. We both agreed that this was a really good idea that would save all of us money, and time too. However, our idea was rejected by his relatives, with them all insisting that they needed to buy gifts for us because otherwise they would feel guilty.

The result? Dan and I in turn felt guilty not getting them gifts when they were going to buy for us and so we forked out more money to buy them presents, and their partners too, as well as buying for their children. The cost spiralled, as did the time spent trying to find ideal presents and get them all wrapped in time.

Christmas should be a time for spreading joy

We had made a well-intended decision but guilt on all sides meant everyone ended up, yet again, buying a huge number of presents.

We have since found out that someone couldn’t really afford to buy Christmas gifts and has ended up in a large amount of debt, with the cost of Christmas greatly contributing to this debt. Buying us Christmas gifts that we didn’t need ended up causing more upset and worry.

Christmas should be a time for spreading joy, not financial difficulties.

This is why I have decided that this year, we will again be implementing a present ban. This time we will make it clear that we really won’t be buying for them, in the hope they will realise we don’t want them to buy us anything. The best gift they could give us is the knowledge that they aren’t spending money completely unnecessarily on us that they can’t afford, without any guilt or worry whatsoever.

A much happier Christmas for them and their children, and what better gift could they give us than that?

I wanted to mention in this post that I was inspired to reduce the gifts we give by this blog post by Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert. This fab poem sent in to him also makes for a great read.

Let me know your thoughts. Have you ever thought about having a present ban?


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  • Reply
    26th November 2016 at 14:49

    I agree that weddings/christmas should not lead to financial troubles. I love getting little things that show my appreciations but everything within a reasonable price. Iga x

    • Reply
      4th December 2016 at 11:15

      Same here – so nice to receive small gifts that show people care 🙂 x

  • Reply
    Marianne Sophia
    5th December 2016 at 21:21

    I love this post. It is so real. I agreed with my sister this year that we wouldn’t do gifts. If you don’t have the money to spare then it makes no sense! As long as you get to spend quality time with people you love that is all that matters!

    Much love,
    Marianne x

    • Reply
      7th December 2016 at 11:48

      Thank you lovely! It’s so much more important to spend quality time with each other – I totally agree 🙂 x

  • Reply
    14th December 2016 at 06:41

    Lovely post. I agree, to be honest i am getting to a stage where i don’t mind not getting presents during christmas. I think other than birthdays other holidays it’s okay to have a present ban.

    • Reply
      15th December 2016 at 13:26

      Thank you! Glad you agree 🙂 It seems silly buying for everybody at Christmas x

  • Reply
    19th January 2017 at 21:29

    It’s so sad when a happy occasion like Christmas is soured by money worries! I think you’re doing a very noble thing by just buying for the kids (after all, the joy on the little kids’ faces when they open gifts is what Christmas is all about!) and not obliging the adults to buy for you! You’re a lovely person, Jenny!

    Abbey ?

    • Reply
      21st January 2017 at 13:05

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s amazing to hear other people say you’re doing the right thing – thank you! 🙂 x

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