Sat. May 28th, 2022

At the risk of sounding like the Christmas grin, I have a confession: I’m not a big fan of Christmas presents.

I love the part of Christmas that is about getting in touch with family and friends, but I find it hard to focus on consumption, especially with lots of plastic, wrapping paper and packaging ending up in the landfill.

It can also be expensive to buy gifts, which adds stress to a time that is already difficult for many.

That’s why Lacey Filipich, a Perth-based financial educator, says there has never been a better time to start a Christmas gift conversation.

“What I want to encourage people to do is think about the other people in their family,” she says.

“People may have had changed circumstances and it may be scarce with money. Maybe they have lost their jobs or are paying a lot more for the rent.

Change time in the shops for socializing

A self-portrait of Carla, for a story about Christmas presents.
Carla gifts preserves, chutneys and plants to reduce waste.(Delivered)

Carla Donnelly has never been a big fan of Christmas. She is one of six children, so it can quickly get bigger to give gifts.

After a trip abroad, she decided it was time for a change.

“I just said I do not want to give gifts. It was a big learning curve for my family,” said the 41-year-old from Geelong.

After a couple of awkward Christmases and an attempt at Kris Kringle that ultimately failed, Carla’s family decided to drop gifts altogether.

“About five or six years ago, Mom said, ‘We’m not celebrating Christmas [presents] longer for anyone. Let’s just get together, “says Carla.

These days, Carla prefers to share experiences with friends and family or bring gifts she has made at home.

She is also a fan of gifting plants, including those she has propagated herself.

β€œI try to give things that have a life,” Carla explains.

Economics teacher and author Lacey Filipich smiles as she stands next to a brick wall.
Lacey Filipich says it’s time we talked about expectations for Christmas presents.(Delivered)

Kris Kringle is a simple solution

If you have a large family, a simple solution is to switch to a Secret Santa / Kris Kringle gift system.

This is the solution that Mrs Filipich has chosen, but it requires some organization.

β€œIt has been a lot less stressful,” she says.

“It only takes a few minutes. I literally just write to everyone individually with the names and the dollar limit. I make the decisions arbitrarily and everyone is happy to agree with what I say.”

Donate to charity, share a meal or bake something

When I asked people on Twitter what they were doing to keep Christmas affordable, I had some interesting answers.

One person mentioned that their family had a “make it, bake it or grow it” tradition of gifts. It seems like a good idea to me.

Another popular approach was gift experiences such as a meal at a cozy restaurant or a trip to a winery that can be shared between family members or friends.

Others talked about donating to charity.

Many people run Christmas campaigns and want to send out a thank you note that they can give with a card.

The key message is that there is more than one way to celebrate Christmas.

By trying something different, you can even bring your friends and family closer together, and that’s what Christmas is all about, right?

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