6 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays With Someone Who Doesn’t Want Gifts
You pride yourself on being an excellent gift-giver. Choosing the perfect present for everyone on your list is always one of the highlights of your holiday season, and you’re a big believer in the old adage “giving is better than receiving.” In the countdown to the holidays, you’re already brainstorming the best accessories to buy your sibling and the coolest trendy decor items for your folks. If this sounds like you, then there’s probably nothing that will knock the wind out of your holiday sails more than the person who insists repeatedly that they don’t want any gifts this year… or ever. If you’re feeling stumped, look no further, because we’ve gathered six expert suggestions on what to do.
1. Share an experience. Just because your friend or family member doesn’t want to open a physical gift this holiday season doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to accept something even better from you: focused quality time. Book a cooking class, make plans to attend a concert together, or buy tickets for a play. “The experience will leave a positive memory in both of your minds,” says therapist Katie Ziskind. “The good feelings you get from an experience last far longer than a physical gift.” Plus, if the experience is planned for a few months after the holiday itself, you can extend the season.
2. Focus on QT during the holiday season. Instead of buying a gift or stressing about scheduling a shared experience down the road, you can simply be a little extra intentional about the time you spend with this person during the holidays. Go the extra mile by adding a one-on-one dinner to the schedule, or invite them to go for a walk or have coffee with you before the rest of the family wakes up one day. “Quality time at the holidays can go a long way, as long as it doesn’t become one more obligation to check off the list,” says Sarah of parenting etiquette site Evie+Sarah.
3. Make a donation. Find a cause that will resonate with the intended gift recipient, and make a contribution to it on their behalf. You’ll still be honoring their “no gifts” rule, but you’ll be making the world a better place in the process. Many organizations, including Feeding America, have specific holiday campaigns to offer extra support during this special season, so be on the lookout for those; you can also consider whether your employer has a donation-matching program.
4. Go DIY. Put your baking skills to good use with an assortment of your loved one’s favorite treats, or try your hand at a homemade blanket or candle. Psychotherapist Toni Coleman recommends DIY gifts that are “both practical and unique that the person really could and would use.”
5. Ask what they really need. It’s not exactly glamorous, but if this particular family member needs a wool sweater to keep them warm, a humidifier to make their bedroom more comfortable, or a replacement for their cheap old chef’s knife, you might as well be the one to make it happen. Life and recovery coach Beth Burgess recommends opening up the conversation about what your loved one really needs, which will allow you to stop dancing around the gift discussion and potentially offer some real help.
6. Think small and luxurious. If you can’t bring yourself to skip a gift altogether and don’t feel up to a DIY adventure, go with quality over quantity. “Your best bet is to give a luxury item with a small footprint that will consume itself over time,” suggests Knack CEO Laura Jennings. Choose a high-quality candle, a fancy chocolate bar, or a body lotion that will facilitate maximum self-care in the new year. Your loved one is less likely to buy any of these items for themself, but the gift won’t feel so extravagant as to make them uncomfortable.
Tweet us what you usually do for the people in your life who don’t want gifts @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)