What is the purpose of a Christmas gift?

I think of this when I pick out a gift for a loved one: this represents the gifts that the Three Wise Men gave to Mary and Joseph after the birth of Jesus. And, yes, when I pass out gifts I say this to everyone and make them uncomfortable because I’m not religious, and also not positive that’s what Christmas gifts represent. Though for sure at Christmastime, I channel Mary, and I’m like “GTFO of here with your gifts that are too heavy for me to carry home. I just had a baby. Bring me some pasta and a cup of crushed ice and then leave immediately.”

Was Christmas meant to be a celebration of a super irritated mom, tired of being bothered by everyone who just wants to protect and love her child? Because that makes a lot of sense based on how Christmas feels.

Presents to my kids from us are the biggest opportunity for waste and therefore my best bet for staying in budget. My kids are seven and 2 1/2. My daughter just had a birthday, and she has a stack of gifts she hasn’t even played with yet; my son is currently busy picking up everything with a pair of kitchen tongs that we had to hand over to him and buy a new set for kitchen use because he loves playing with tongs that much. This means that my kids don’t need anything right now thanks.

I feel like a jerk talking about gifts for my kids. What a privilege it is to even have to remind myself not to splurge on them. I’ve written before about gift ideas for kids, and I stand by most of these tips (except magazines usually go unread – try Kiwi Crates and museum memberships!). I understand the impulse to buy gifts for kids even though you know it’s a waste.

My big test to keep myself from going over budget on little things is to ask myself of the purchase in question is, “if I find this on the floor one more time, will I throw it away?” If the answer is yes, then I won’t buy it.

I’m proud to announce, that although I have $10 left to spend on junk for their stockings, I only spent $129 combined on my children (my original budget was $180). I could buy them more, but I know they’re getting plenty from grandparents. Plus, when I was checking on an Amazon order, I saw the list of presents we ordered for my daughter’s birthday, and realized that she lost one item, and hadn’t used the rest of them, so clearly presents are just props used only for the day they get them.

In conclusion, although it’s sometimes only fun to shop for kids, they get enough so it’s okay to keep it simple, and it sets a standard that Christmas isn’t just about presents. It’s also about bothering a teenager who, immediately after giving birth next to farm animals, has to figure out where to store gold. Holidays are weird.