Christmas in our house is like Christmas in most homes. We have a tree, decorations, and stockings on our mantle. But under our tree there are no piles of Christmas presents. There are no wish lists left for Santa. There are no closets full of wrapping paper and bows, and no presents hidden where my kids won’t find them. That’s right. I don’t give my kids Christmas presents. Other moms have called me a bad parent. Some people even tell me it’s abuse to not give my kids Christmas presents. But in my house Christmas is about family time, celebrating our blessings, and being thankful. It’s not about wanting a pile of new expensive toys.

One Gift For Our Whole Family

My family loves to celebrate Christmas with my special holiday treats.
My special holiday treats are one of my family’s favorite parts of Christmas.

We do get one family gift each year. In the past, our family gift has been things like a vacation, console gaming system, or new, fancy TV. But the family gift is always something for the entire family to enjoy together. No one gets individual gifts. When my kids were younger, they would get candy, small toys, and other things in their Christmas stockings. But instead of giving individual gifts, we focus on spending time as a family. We volunteer at charity drives and we go caroling. We always go to pick out a Christmas tree as a family. And Christmas breakfast is a time-honored tradition where we all enjoy a fancy festive breakfast in our PJs. Since we’re not opening presents in the morning, we watch a holiday movie while feasting on special holiday treats that I only make once a year.

Why I Don’t Buy Individual Gifts

I don’t give my kids Christmas presents because I don’t want them to be greedy. They shouldn’t grow up thinking they’re entitled to lavish and expensive presents once a year. I don’t want my kids to feel like they need to be good all year to get rewarded with gifts for the holidays, either. They should be good all the time because it’s the right thing to do, not because they’re waiting for an expensive reward. I want them to value the holidays for the time they get to spend with their family, not the number of presents under the tree. The real meaning of holiday time is being thankful for all that you have, not trying to see how much more you can get. One way to do that is to create something together, as a family or group. One of my favorite DIY creations is this beautiful holiday star.

I realize this is controversial, especially in this day and age. But my kids want for nothing. They have smartphones and laptops, plus I give them new clothes when they need them. I don’t wait until Christmas rolls around to give them gifts. They get what they need, and usually they get what they want, just because it’s part of life. Not as a reward for being good, and not from “Santa Claus.” In our house, Christmas time is special because of who we spend it with.