Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Christmas grinch. I LOVE buying Christmas presents, and receiving them, of course! But I remember feeling nothing but annoyance after I received a Christmas card from my aunt one year with £20 in it, while my mother handed a card with £20 to each of her kids. It was pointless.
For me, £20 cash says "I couldn’t be bothered". Frankly, it would have been easier if my mum had just given me the money. I wished at the time we’d cut it out and stop ‘gifting’ each other.
Then there’s the other issue, where you worry you haven’t spent enough and you end up spending loads of money on tat no-one wants.
But panic not – this is not a new problem. A few years ago, to take the stigma out of NOT giving unnecessary gifts for the sake of it, we created a No Unnecessary Present Pact (NUPP) tool.
If you’re wasting time buying presents some people don’t want, or getting carried away with presents you do want to buy, we reckon you should give it a go.
How does the tool work?
There are three nifty little options for you:
- NUPP (no gifts at all). OK, OK. I know this seems harsh, but is it really necessary to buy workmates presents? What about your neighbours? What about just spending on the kids and leaving out the adults? Have a think about the people you could cut out (and they wouldn’t mind). Just ask them what they think about not doing it this year.
- NUPP-Lite – where you set a limit on price. With this option you have to buy presents, but you and whoever you’re buying for have to agree how much to spend. It doesn’t matter if it’s £1 or £1,000, as long as you both agree on something you can afford and you stick to it.
- NUPP-Lite email – where you discuss what to do. This is where you negotiate about different ideas. Maybe you’re not concerned about the money you spend, but don’t want to waste it on unwanted tat. So consider IOUs and buy the same things in the sale the next day. Or, if you live together, instead of buying individual presents, put the money together and buy something bigger that you both really want.
What the MSE office doing?
To inspire you, here’s how some of the MSE team are using the NUPP this year:
- MSE David: "My wife and I are cooking Christmas dinner for our family instead of buying them presents. But they’ll be buying presents for us as a thank-you."
- MSE Debs B: "My brother, sisters and I are doing Secret Santa for the fifth year in a row, with a budget of £10."
- MSE Debs H: "My fiance and I have agreed to not buy each other anything this year, but to instead buy something a bit fancy and unusual for our new house. I want a blingin’ light fitting, which I can’t justify buying normally, and I’m pretty sure by the hints – non-physical, I’d like to point out – that he wants a punch bag."
- MSE Duane: "My partner and I openly discuss what single gift we would like the other to buy for us, usually at a price point of £30-£50. These tend to be things we were intending to buy in the coming month anyway. My friends and I have also all agreed on the NUPP for a second year running, which I actually signed up to before I even started at MSE this year."
- MSE Kelly: "My fiance and I originally set a limit of £50 each for gifts. But instead, we’ve decided to redecorate the living room and have said we won’t buy each other presents after all. My little sister and I always make IOU cards to give to each other on Christmas Day and then we have a girly day shopping in the January sales."
- MSE Leigh: "My dad, sister, brother and I all forgo buying each other presents so we can get extra stuff for my nephew."
- MSE Wendy: "I’ve agreed with my family not to buy presents for each other this year, and we’re also having Christmas in November with the other side of the family as they’ll be in the area anyway, which saves on travel."
We’d love to hear your Christmas pacts, especially if you’re going to use the NUPP tool.
If we get enough, we’ll put the best together and write about them here, which will hopefully inspire others to think before they spend.