Alternate gifting ideas

I want to propose an alternate gifting practice to both our families this year after the holidays. I think “no gifts” would go over OK with my family, but would be a hard sell for the in laws. Also, I love parcels under the tree and surprises and treating people, so I personally have a hard time with abandoning this completely. Also the ritual.

So here are some I have thought of, but maybe someone has another great tradition I can steal! :grin:

  • No gifts
  • Price limit
  • Secret santa (only gift to 1 person)
  • White Elephant (kind of promotes junky gag gifts?)
  • Used/regift/homemade only (may be hard sell?)
  • Consumables only (edible treats, tea, drinks, lotion/bath, craft, etc)

What do you do, especially if you are a gift give at heart? Have you changed your family’s traditions?

  • Donations
  • Homemade
  • Plants?

My community does an Alternate Gifts Market that is nonprofit donation based, where the nonprofits have some kind of small token (ornament, etc) that can be physically given. My wife and I use it to shop for our hardest to buy for folks, like her relatives who don’t need any more physical stuff but are very into advocacy & causes dear to them.


I’ve said this before, but my extended family has a combo:

  • secret santa (gift to one person outside your household) with a price limit of $25. this started out being the aunts giving something to one kid not theirs, but now the kids are givers as well.
  • consumables between households (my siblings and I each make a thing - eg granola, banana bread, chex mix, curried cashews, chocolate bark - for the other siblings’ households and our parents)
  • grandparents give one thing to each grandchild

We still give stuff, sometimes.

What we gave to the “family” Christmas celebration until the company pissed us off was a “tower” from Hickory Farm. We’d give gifts to the kids, but the adults mostly got gift cards.

We asked for consumables. Last year I wanted something at Etsy, so I asked for an Etsy card. DH is doing something we never thought we’d do, buying me a tool for Christmas, it’s what I asked for, mostly. I’m getting a tortilla press. Or, rather we’re buying a tortilla press and I’m not getting a “gift” for Christmas.

Years ago, my sister got a slicer, which she asked for and roses from her hubby for her anniversary. I told my hubby he’d have gotten sliced roses on his plate for dinner! :crazy_face:

The other thing we’ve decided we’re getting is new robes. We have 2 and share them – only one sorta fits, but neither really do. Again, it’s not really a Christmas present.

I got DH a box of fancy screwdriver tips, in a funny little case. Told him if he wanted a more “gifty” item, he could tell me what he wanted instead? He needed a tip, so I had him open the gift early.

We spend more time/energy on anniversary and birthday presents. Haven’t had a tree for about 5 years. The wreath around the hat I had used year round died last summer, so right now our front door has a stuffed cloth patchwork star on it, and that’s the extent of our Christmas decorations!


We do the last two, plus donations plus ask for things we REALLY want or need. So clothes and curtains and napkins and dishcloths might be new. And discretionary extras will be consumables or donations. Maybe experiences. Used items and handmade are appreciated. I don’t think this is alternative


We try to do books, donations, or consumables only for people, and ask for the same. :woman_shrugging: Although that all went out the window for the grandmas once Latte came on scene, lol.


We do “certificates” - like I’ll buy my parents a year’s subscription to the New York Times, and for the actual gift make a ~charmingly homemade~ gift certificate that says what the gift is haha


I love homemade certificates! We’ve done these a few times. I need to make one for Ponder for a craft store trip.

I just buy a heap of fancy delicious local consumables at our farmers market or grocery store and make gift baskets for our parents, just about to put those together today.