Woman Says She's 'Overwhelmed' With The Christmas Gifting Season In America And Proposes New Way To Celebrate In Her Family

Holiday shopping shouldn't be an excuse to participate in overconsumption.

spouse giving Christmas gift to his girlfriend sitting beside a Christmas tree at home. Inside Creative House / Shutterstock

Gift-giving during the holiday season is a great way to show your loved ones how much you love, care and appreciate them. But one woman admitted in the r/minimalism subreddit that she is over buying presents for her family, only for them to end up being thrown away or donated in the near future.

In her post, she revealed what she's chosen to do instead this holiday season.

She admitted to being 'overwhelmed' with gifting in America and won't be exchanging gifts with her family this year.

The woman explained that every year, she travels home to visit her family where they have this tradition of "fakes-giving and early Christmas." It's always a few weeks before the holidays, and she'll visit her sisters and three nieces.


"We have a large family that gifts kids during the holidays — the kids have everything they can need or want toys and clothing wise — and it’s all so overwhelming," she wrote. "The kids don’t even play with most of it — it’s just piled up everywhere."

Woman Admits She's Overwhelmed With The Christmas Gifting Season And Proposes New Way To Celebrate In Her FamilyPhoto: Cheryl E. Davis / Shutterstock


Not only does she feel this way, but her sister does as well. At one point, she even asked their family to stop bringing her "family heirlooms" as presents because she doesn't need any more material items that add to the clutter, especially at Christmastime.

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"My extended family throws nothing away and 'collects' everything — beanie babies, DVDs, lighters, cards, spoons… everything. I can only imagine how different their retirements would be if they put that money into investing," she continued. Because of this, she's decided to change up the usual Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts with her family, instead opting for a better and more sustainable way to give presents.

She explained that instead of gifts, she would be making a college fund for all of her nieces, and they would be getting a monthly amount put in, especially for birthdays and Christmas. For her sister, she took her on a trip to the store and told her that she could fill up the shopping cart with household items and groceries that she needed, and that would be the gift.


She also got her family to agree to a Christmas trip so that they could all spend time together, as memories are much more valuable than material items. "I really hope this catches on to other family members!" she admitted.

Other Redditors shared their Christmas traditions that don't just involve spending an unnecessary amount of money or creating excess waste.

"I also make gift baskets for my family. For my kids, they include both self-care items and household items," one Reddit user wrote. "I catch awesome sales during the year, so I'm able to make baskets worth hundreds, but they only cost me a tiny fraction of the price."

Another user added, "I like to do experience gifts for my family. Museums, zoos, tours, exhibits, dinner and a movie etc. Hoping they eventually take the hint and start returning the sentiment because everyone just buys us random things that we don’t need or want and I feel kind of bad donating it immediately after the holidays."

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"Similar reason to why I stopped giving gifts unless something randomly catches my attention and reminds me of someone. I'd rather spend the money on sharing experiences with people than giving them material items," a third user agreed.



In America, gift-giving during the holiday season is something that has been ingrained in our culture. For the most part, it can be a time of gratitude between loved ones, but there are also serious economic drawbacks to overconsumption, which is drastically heightened during Christmastime.

According to a survey conducted by Pureprofile, the average person receives at least one unwanted gift during the holiday season — with each gift costing approximately $49.95. While half of returns are re-shelved to be resold, some 5 billion pounds of returned goods end up in landfills, equivalent to the trash produced by 5 million Americans. 


"The climate crisis is a systemic problem, but I do really think individuals have a role to play and are part of the system," Jamie Alexander, director of Drawdown Labs at Project Drawdown, told CNN. It's vital to consider “how [we can] use this season of giving to help the world move toward our climate goals and move toward our kind of shared North Star, which is a habitable life on this planet."

There's nothing wrong with wanting to show appreciation for your family and friends, but those DIY photo albums or a shared trip can be so much more meaningful — and way less wasteful — than a pair of socks or the latest expensive sneakers. 

RELATED: Girl Delivers Hilarious 'Christmas List Presentation' So That Her Family Knows Exactly What To Get Her


Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.