For some of us, the Christmas season is a time of holiday cheer. For others it's a time of draining bank accounts and awkwardly deciding who doesn't actually NEED a gift from you. The Yuletide cheer trickles away as we try to spend the least amount of money on gifts while hurting the least amount of feelings. Need an escape? Here are the seven best ways to get out of giving Christmas gifts this year.
There's nothing wrong with a little lying during the holidays, especially when your skinny cousin asks you what serving you're on during Christmas dinner (it's my second but my first one was small!), or when your aunt asks you how your love life has been (I'm totally enjoying the single life). So what's wrong with a little truth-bending when it comes to religion? Use this one when you're trying to get out of an office gift exchange or any other "Secret Santa" situation in which the people involved don't know your personal life that well. If they suggest doing a "Mystery Menorah" or a "Kryptic Kwanzaa" exchange, you may be out of luck. Caution: Make sure there are no Jewish people around when you use this one. Someone asking you what your bar mitzvah theme was can stop you in your tracks.
This one is pretty simple, as long as you have some good talking points to back it up. Just inform everyone that you're boycotting Christmas because of what it has come to mean in today's society. Definitely be prepared for a lot of eye rolls. But also be prepared to answer questions from people who share your feelings and want to discuss things like how 6-year-olds wanting cell phones is the cause of global warming and that five minutes of uninterrupted eye contact is the only Christmas present we need. While this might be the most boring option on the list, it certainly will have an impact on people. Even if it makes them think you're a little strange.
Anyone with a heavy supply of eggnog and enough space to host guests can pull this off. What works with this option is that by hosting the party, many people will overlook the fact that they weren't given a tangible present. They'll feel you have given them something else this year: a place to indulge in both the Christmas spirit around them and the alcoholic spirits you're serving. So even though buying drinks may increase the budget, it will also increase your status not only with your friends, but in the social scene as well. And judging by your mom's unpredictable gift giving habits, a good time with friends might be the best gift you'll get this year.
If you feel uncomfortable lying about your religion, this one is sure to show people that you're a serious Catholic. What shows your religious devotion better than sticking to that Lenten promise you made nine months ago? Use this one when dealing with true Catholics -- they will respect the commitment and hopefully let it slide this time. Just make sure they don't see you at Christmas Eve mass.
Who says diving back into the old high school arsenal of tricks isn't allowed? Run those thermometers under hot water and curl up in bed because you're not going out this Christmas. Although it might seem sad to miss out on the holiday festivities, it's a small price to pay compared to the hundreds you might spend on gifts that will inevitably be returned anyway. And you won't have to get dressed up, which is always a plus.
While this one favors hermits, it's very possible for anyone to pull off. Just stay away from any place you'd potentially see someone whom you'd feel guilty not giving a present. Disguises also work. And as much as you don't want to buy presents for certain people, they might feel the exact same way about you. Who knows, maybe they're reading this article too. So if you think you see someone you know and you're both wearing a fake mustache, know that the feeling is mutual. And maybe reevaluate your friendship.
There really isn't anything that a good cookie, pie, or cake can't fix. While this one does cost money, giving a plate of peppermint crinkles to your boss's family isn't going to break the bank. Also, this one is good for your self-image. People won't see you as a Scrooge because you're actually giving gifts, and they taste great. Do not try this one if you have ever heard the words "This cookie is so... interesting" or, "Is this a dog hair in my cake?" If you are a decent baker and own an oven, this is the best option for holiday gift-giving on a budget. An added bonus? You get to eat the leftovers.