Ideas for a No-Gift Christmas

By Mali Anderson in Helping Hands

When you think of Christmas, wrapped presents and stuffed stockings likely dance through your head. But what about trying a no-gift Christmas?


With a holiday free of the pressures of shopping, you and those you love can spend festive, fun, and impactful time together. Everyone will save themselves stress and money while reducing packaging and waste.


According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most gift wrap isn't recyclable because of the shiny, laminated coating on the paper. When you do use gift wrap, the EPA suggests choosing reusable gift bags and tissue paper. But if you host a no-gift Christmas, you can sidestep the waste of gift wrap altogether.


There are so many ways to celebrate the season that don't require buying gifts, from volunteering to taking long walks under sparkly lights.


Share Your Stories


We all have seasonal stories we remember from our childhood to share with the next generation. Spend the holiday enjoying each other's company and exchanging stories by the fireplace, or bond by reading books together as a family.


Consider writing down memories you've shared together. Remembering and recording family stories can be a pleasing way to spend an afternoon. Plus, it creates a living document your family can add to each year and leave for the next generation.


Mother and Daughter Draw


Give the Gift of Time


When you volunteer your time as a group, you strengthen personal relationships while helping others. Whether you are volunteering as a couple or are looking for family-friendly volunteer opportunities, there are plenty of organizations that would welcome a helping hand this holiday season.


That said, you don't have to work with a local nonprofit to make an impact. You can have a big impact on your community outside of established organizations. The gift of your time is ultimately about helping others, and there are many ways to contribute to the community this holiday season:


  • Bake cookies for local librarian, fireman, or teacher.
  • Offer to babysit for a friend.
  • Help a family member paint their guest room.
  • Let someone skip you in line at the market.
  • Shovel a neighbor's driveway or help them with yard work.


Get Creative with What You Have


Even if you have decided to forgo trips to the mall and expensive packages, you can still express your appreciation for someone with a homemade treat. Consider whipping up a tray of cookies to deliver to family and neighbors. Or, add spiced nuts, tea blends, or granola to a mason jar. Then, decorate it with a handmade tag or label. The fact that the gift came out of your own time and effort makes it all the more meaningful!


Making homemade Christmas cookies for friends


Visit People Who Could Use a Friend


There are many older nursing home residents who don't have friends or family visiting them regularly, either due to physical distances or having lost a spouse. Reach out to find ways you can help. Maybe there is an established group singing holiday carols or making seasonal crafts with the residents. Or, if you prefer to visit on your own, bring a newspaper and read about what is happening in your city or town to a resident.


Experience More Together


When exploring no-gift Christmas ideas, remember the holiday season is about sharing joy with friends and family members, not about material possessions. An evening walk through a neighborhood full of decorative lights or attending a local event with carolers can fill our hearts with the spirit of the season more than a pricey gift ever could.


Sometimes, the best way to share time with friends or family is to save money you would've spent buying an item and spend those funds on an experience. Attend a holiday play at a local theater with your family, which will give you memories for years to come. Or, register for a pottery or glassblowing class with friends. A weekly class will book regular get-togethers on the calendar before the new year even starts.


Start Slowly


Remember, you can start slow with your no-gift Christmas, too. Start by focusing more on family and community events. If there are a few gifts exchanged, that is fine, and you can begin trying to shift your overall lens toward activities and interests that help you grow throughout the year.

There are oodles of ways to enjoy the season with non-consumer-based traditions. Get started this holiday season by showing your appreciation for your family and friends, giving back to your community, and sharing your own joy in the process.


Do you have any no-gift Christmas ideas? Show us how you and your loved ones celebrate on Instagram and tag @toms_of_maine!


Image Sources: Pixabay | Pexels | Pixabay


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Why It's Good

The holidays are a time to make merry with our friends and relatives. This year, celebrate with quality time, positive energy, and gratitude while skipping the stress and waste of packaging and wrapping paper.