I Don’t Want to Keep Up With the Christmas Joneses!

I am going to come right out and say it, I am not a fan of Christmas.  I’m that person that shares the “stop buying my kids toys” articles, why you should gift experiences instead of stuff, or the video of the girl that unwraps an avocado and LOVES it. While it may be awfully Grinch-esque to some of you, let me drop my disclaimer: I do love the togetherness, stockings hanging from real wood fireplaces, family traditions, the smell of a real Christmas tree, and all the parties that bring people together. I do not, however, enjoy the immense pressure from all angles to keep up with Joneses.

I want to wake up Christmas morning and enjoy time with our little ones and family without thinking in the back of my head, “how are we going to pay for this?!”

Which leads me to ask: why is that a bad thing? And the answer is because everyone wants stuff, to prove they give and get the best stuff. When is the last time you told someone you didn’t want anything for Christmas….and they listened? Or when is the last time you actually told someone what you needed? You don’t, no one does. I’ll admit it, I don’t. I’ll list off another pair of slippers, another throw blanket, anything to just give the person asking something to buy. I know darn well if I don’t, I’m gonna get something anyway. 

That’s how Christmas works these days. You give someone a list, they give you theirs, and you literally just spend money to buy something…..anything. And why? To have a gift to give. I can’t picture families 40-60 years ago running through the local market grabbing anything and everything off the shelves just so they have gifts to wrap, or to “even up the count” between kids.  I know this sounds ungrateful, but I honestly think it’s anything but.

I do not want someone to spend money on something I may never use, something that does not bring me joy, or something that will make my kid happy for 5 minutes, when they could very well be using those funds for something of sincere value. You do not have to buy me a gift for me to appreciate you this holiday season, and you do not have buy my kids a gift for them to know they are loved this holiday season.

Keeping up with the Christmas Joneses

On a recent drive Up North, my husband and I began the discussion of the upcoming holiday season, and the topic of gifts came up. What did we each want? After a long silence we both looked at each other, and what honestly came to mind was this: let’s gift each other nothing and save that money for a mortgage payment, a week of babysitting costs, diapers and wipes, an HSA deposit, a furnace checkup – you know all that fun stuff a new parent and homeowner tries to keep under wraps. And while we are OK with this decision, I envision the faces of others when they ask what we got each other for the holiday. “A smart financial choice….. Ohh, that’s nice”. There is NOTHING wrong with that, but then again we as a society don’t see ads saying “This Christmas invest in a 529 savings plan so 20 years from now your kids aren’t paying a mountain of interest for student loans”. Instead, we are pounded with the “give them alllll the toys” mentality. Toys that will likely end up in a bin in a room full of junk.

Keeping up with the Christmas Joneses

And that, my friends, is why I am not a fan of this new age Christmas holiday. There is so much pressure on gifts that it honestly seems like it’s never enough. People want certain items and you feel obligated to get it.  I love these people, they’re my family and close friends, and yet I’m not comfortable enough to not show up without something and hope that our presence is present enough. I mean I get seriously nervous thinking, “oh great they’re gonna spend this much on me and I am only showing up with just a shirt”. Just a shirt, how screwed up is that?!  It’s not normal nor is it fair, but again, it doesn’t matter. 

I get it – it sounds selfish that I would rather not have someone buy me gifts, so I in-turn do not have to buy them gifts. But you know what? If I want to save money to send my kids to college, so be it! It may not seem like it on December 25th, sitting around the tree, but looking at the big picture that is one of the best gifts someone could possibly give me: that regardless of what we hand over this holiday season, it is enough.

We’re giving our kids a few books {some we already had}, a small toy, and a deposit into a savings account for when they’re older. And if anyone thinks we really stink at this Christmas thing, to them I say… Bah Humbug! I refuse to keep up with the Christmas Joneses.

Do you feel the pressure to keep up with the Christmas Joneses? 


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