My family is lucky enough to be in a position to not need anything for christmas. So every year there is this feeling of guilt and disgust over the decadence of the day. Buying stuff people don’t really want or need. Especially for my daughter who has no cousins, so is overwhelmed by gifts from her grandparents and aunts and uncles. And me.

Her room is full. She doesn’t need a thing. I can’t give her old things away fast enough.


Before you picture us as multi-millionaires, let me give you some background. Our house is very modest. All our furniture is Ikea. Old Ikea. We have a 15 year old sofa that is covered in throws and Ikea pillows. We have one 8 year old car. We aren’t rich, but we don’t have an aspirational lifestyle. What we have is enough.

Christmas poses a real dilemma. We all like the ritual of exchanging gifts. It feels really awkward without it. But some family members have said: “Don’t buy me anything”. Others say: “I’m on a budget. Don’t spend much”. We all say: “We don’t need a thing”.


The result is that my challenge every year is to find cheap stuff that won’t end up as more clutter. That’s why I go for chocolates or alcohol (things that are disposable), for massages or sports gear (activities), for books or magazines (there is one exception to every rule) or I ask for a wish list (a bit icky but I prefer that to just wasteful).

Sure it isn’t the most exciting approach but as an adult the day is about being with family not the gifts.

I know how spoilt this sounds. Trust me, I do. There are worse problems in the world. I am lucky to have this problem.