No More Presents? Why Some Families Are Doing Away with Gift-Giving on Christmas

Christmas goes way past the presents for many people — and for some, that’s so much the case that they’re advocating for giving up that part of the holiday altogether.

Alexia Tibbs from Somerset, England, told The Independent that her family stopped exchanging gifts last year because her kids “get so much” to the point where her daughter Lyra, 3, “completely lost interest in her presents.”

“Our family gets bigger and bigger each year and I hate to waste money on presents no one wants,” she added in her remarks to the U.K. outlet.

Instead, the mother of two (Tibbs also has a son named Reuben, 8 months) donates chickens to a rural African community — and as she tells The Independent, the absence of gifts doesn’t faze her family in the least when it comes to getting in the spirit of the holiday.

“I love Christmas and it’s still really fun. This year we’re going to do up the shed like Santa’s grotto. He’s not going to be giving out Christmas crap but it’ll be fun, we’ll see friends and I’ll still have my Christmas playlist,” she said.

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Kids decorating a gingerbread house

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“For my extended family I think not giving presents is a bit of a relief. We can just enjoy spending time together,” remarked Tibbs, 35.

Speaking with The Independent, Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) representative Richard Clapham called the no-Christmas-gift movement an “awakening” that is happening among many.

“They’re increasingly looking for experiences rather than ‘stuff,’ ” he said. “I think this is partly driven by their concern for the planet but also because they already have so much stuff.”

One such planet-conscious consumer is David March, who hails from North Yorkshire, England, and told The Indepndent, “When I started working in 1977 I brought presents for all my nephews and nieces and it cost me a whole week’s wages. I used to be the same as anyone else.”

Kids with Christmas stockings

“When I heard people talking about the environment, I thought they were just bloody hippies. But then in 1985 I heard about global warming and knew we were in trouble,” added March, 59.

“It’s so over the top and then two days later it’s gone,” Jane Ruessman of Buckinghamshire, England, told The Independent of the Christmas holiday. “I am quite concerned about climate change and I think it’s all part of the same thinking — we’ve got to take a few steps back and live more simply.”

Clapham pointed out that although “We all like to show our appreciation of friends and relatives by finding them the perfect gift,” it would be good to “remember that presents don’t have to be ‘things.’ “

“With a bit of imagination, you can create a gift that will be valued for the thought that has gone into it as well as the enjoyment it brings — and it won’t end up gathering dust,” he told The Independent.

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