Several years ago my family decided to make a change when it came to gift giving. We used to buy a gift for each family member. This involved lots of shopping and trying to figure out what to get each person.
On Christmas morning, we would all get together at my parents’ house to exchange our gifts. This usually involved an hour of complete chaos that ended with a sea of stuff and wrapping paper scattered all over the living room.
One year we were all facing changes in our financial circumstances: my parents were now retired, my brother’s plant was closing, and I had children getting their post secondary education. We decided to draw names so we just had to buy one gift for one person.
There have been some very positive results of this. It takes the stress out of holiday shopping and we don’t have to buy as much stuff. Now that I only have to buy for one person in my family, I can put more thought into making sure it will be meaningful to that person — ensuring it will be something they really want and will use.
Now on Christmas morning, we take our time opening our gifts. Each person goes one at a time and we savour the experience. I think we actually feel more gratitude for the gift.
For me, one of the greatest results of this new tradition is the reduction of the stuff our family consumes at Christmas and the reduced waste from less packaging. I really don’t miss getting all of that stuff and much prefer just enjoying spending this special time with my family.
What gift giving traditions do you have in your family that help minimize waste?