Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Your Special Traditions

To gift or not to gift? When to choose presence over presents.

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


This year there has been a large focus on gifting experiences on social media. This movement really resonates with me, as I'm sure it does with many parents today. The idea is quite simple: instead of spending money on toys, spend money by getting children an experience instead.

Unfortunately gifting experiences can be quite expensive. For those looking to give gifts to family and friends, this can add up quickly and cause undue financial stress. So people fall back to the traditional concept of buying something as a gift.

Perhaps it is society, or how we were raised, but the obligation to give during the holidays can be overwhelming. For me, it seems like the thought of not giving causes more stress and anxiety than the financial aspect. This is saying a lot as we have had many Christmases where we barely had the money to pay our bills.

Please note here: I am a gift giver at heart. I always have been. I show my love and affection through gifts. It may come as a surprise (unless you aren't particularly fond of my writing style) that I cannot express my gratitude in words. Perhaps I didn't read enough romance novels in my formative years. So instead, I express my gratitude for people through gifting. And naturally, I want to get everyone gifts during the holidays.

But, what if we have this whole thing wrong? I am definitely not the first to say we do.

Perhaps we would never have to perseverate on the idea of gifting experiences, or stress over buying presents, if we just got back to the heart of the holiday season. The holidays are about spending time with those we love. To show our affection through presence, not presents.

I think it's time to let go of the financial aspect of giving. Let's start new traditions. Let's make presents for one another. Let's write out experiences to be used throughout the year, that don't cost money. And most importantly, let's get back to sharing our time. Because honestly, giving time is so much more meaningful in this ever busy world.

P.S. - To all of my friends and family who I won't see this holiday season, I am thinking of you. I love you; and I miss you.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.