This year, as the holiday season gets into full swing, more people have expressed their desire to spend less time, energy, and money on gifts. Instead, they are opting to give to charity, recycle gifts, or simply spend more time with one another.

However, it seems that not giving gifts entirely is not favoured by the majority, as only 13% of the Americans surveyed approved of it. At the same time, more than half of them would be willing to give presents only to their immediate family or seek out for sales. They feel pressured to spend more than they would like on presents. This shift towards minimising gift giving may grow seeing how sentiments are tending towards desiring a form of change in the value of gifts.

Some of those who have already made the decision to spend the holiday season differently came up with creative ways to spend time with their loved ones. Some go out to volunteer together, others take trips with their families, or organise gift-fairs that promote the spirit of giving in new ways.

To them, they are rediscovering the real joys of the holiday season.  

Read the full article on The Atlantic: The Joy of No-Gift Christmas


This trend is aligned with another trend which is minimalism, where people reduce the amount of physical possessions to what they essentially need and value.

As consumers get inundated with advertisements that compel them to buy more things than they really need, some have taken a step back to rethink this behavior. It has become a case of having too many material possessions which may not add value to one’s life. Additionally, buying more encourages producers to produce more goods which harms the environment as a lot of waste is generated in the process.

It is ironic that the holiday seasons bring more stress and pressure for people because of the need to keep up with societal norms. The process of finding good gifts for others can place undue mental stress and financial strains on people. Moreover, those gifts may not even be what the receiver likes or needs, so the positive returns of a stressful gift-finding effort may be disproportionate.

Questions for further personal evaluation:

  1. What is the meaning of holiday gifting to you?
  2. Why do you think people feel pressured to spend more than they would have liked on presents?

Useful vocabulary:

  1. ‘advocate’: a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy
  2. ‘tepid’: showing little enthusiasm
  3. ‘contingent’: (noun) a group of people sharing a common feature, forming part of a larger group

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