I have to share my joy today. I announced to my family and many of my friends last year that this year I wanted no material gifts. If they felt they had to give me something, it should be a charitable contibution of some sort. I also told them that except for a few of the younger folk (niece, nephew, pseudo granddaughter) I'd be doing the same.
The idea came to me last year when I realized that we, the givers and receivers, have made this holiday season the craziness that it is - packed parking lots at malls, credit card debt that is out of sight, etc. I wanted to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. By staying away from stores during this busiest time of year would make things simpler and hopefully bring back the feeling of how it used to be.
After making numerous donations to worthy causes appropriate for each person, I have to tell you it is a fantastic feeling. I have still honored each person by thinking of them (it's the thought that counts, isn't it?), but have been able to share financially with those more in need. I personally have more "stuff" than I will ever use. I am desperately trying to divest myself of things. I suspect it is the same for most everyone. So a side benefit is that no one has to either re-gift or figure out what to do with some hoo-hah they were given.
Don't think for a moment that I don't believe in giving gifts to those to whom we are close. I've already done that this year when I saw something that was "just right" for someone.
I wish you all a very happy holiday season - Spiritual Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and Nifty New Year.