What are some ways you've challenged the hidden rules of gift giving?
One example of a way I've tried to challenge these rules is in scaling back on gifts to my girlfriends, especially since most of them live far away. For one thing, I've shortened the list of recipients. Then I suggested a couple of years ago to a couple close friends that rather than sending gifts for both birthdays and Christmas, that we select just one giving occasion. I think this has been a good compromise, at least for the time being.
Another personal example: as our families continue to grow, I felt it was becoming too much to give a gift to each niece and nephew, but I still wanted to send something. Now we give one gift to all the children in each family (a book, DVD, or activity are some ideas of something they can all enjoy), as well as make a donation in their honor to the Christmas gift program from Samaritan's Purse.
I hope our families can continue modifying and adapting our gift giving in coming years, and I love what the book says in regards to suggesting alternative gift giving arrangements to your loved ones:
"When you talk with your family and friends, keep five points in mind. 1) Choose a relaxed and comfortable time when people are in an accepting mood. 2) Be clear about your reasons for wanting to make changes. 3) Be open to other people's opinions and suggestions. 4) Keep in mind that other people have done less thinking about gifts than you have and want some time to consider before they come to any conclusions. 5) Don't be afraid to experiment. You might want to try out an alternative gift giving arrangement for a year and see how it works, then make some changes the following year."
I think that's wise advice. I know this is a struggle for many people who don't know how to explain to others that they would like to give or receive gifts in a different manner than has been done in the past. I'd love to hear from you:
What are some alternative gift giving arrangements you've tried? How have you approached the topic of a new arrangement with your friends or family?
For more thoughts on simplifying gift giving, I loved this post--be sure to read the comments for some excellent ideas! And if you haven't taken the two minutes to watch this powerful video (Advent Conspiracy), I strongly urge you to do so.
Thanks for joining me in this series. We'll wrap things up Monday with a post (or two, if I get long-winded again!) about values and traditions. As always, I appreciate your comments and ideas, so thanks to all who've taken the time to share!