Holidays On A Budget: How To Say No to A Gift Exchange

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Holidays On A Budget: How To Say No to A Gift Exchange

I love gift exchanges just as much as the next person but unfortunately, I do not have the funds to support everyone I'm invited to. Secret Santa’s, white elephants, and Christmas parties all add up ON TOP of the gifts you're already buying for loved ones. No one should be excluded from holiday cheer simply due to lack of funding.

It’s okay to say no to holiday festivities, but I know it’s hard. Here are some methods I’ve found that have worked for me in the past when you have to deck the halls on a budget.

Pick Three Unless It’s Free

Some gift exchanges you can plan for and others you cannot. I’ve found its best to attend three gift exchanges overall. Pick two you want to attend and then keep one as a floater.  

If you know your aunt has a white elephant party every year you can most likely count on including that into your decision. You also know that your alumnae group might indulge in a little holiday gift exchange. Plan on one of your social groups wanting to get together, a family gift exchange and then keep one open in case another friend group pops up and you’d like to attend.

Some holiday gatherings don’t include gift exchanges. If that’s the case, attend as many as you want, but be wary, there is usually some cost associated in some way (potluck, food, coffees, or drinks).

Simply Say ‘No’

I know, it’s hard. You don’t want someone to take it personally that you are not participating and you don’t want to feel left out. It sucks but your wallet will thank you. I’ve attended gift exchanges and have watched everyone pass their gift cards around or open presents and had just as much fun if I were participating. And I saved myself $20.

You have to be firm on your decision. Some might encourage you that “It is only $10” but that adds up over four holiday gatherings. Brushing these situations off with a joke tends to help me. “No, I am okay, I have enough Bath & Body Works to get through as it is.” Or insert another typical white elephant gift. Stay and root for your coworkers or friends to get the worst gift of the bunch!

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

Attend one holiday gift exchange and decide if you REALLY need that gift you walked away with. Could you potentially use this at another holiday gift exchange? We all have re-gifted at some point, so just capitalize on it. I attended six holiday parties last year and only used re-gifted gifts. Sorry to the folks that are reading this that got my gift, I really didn’t pick it out but I am not sorry about saving $15 five times over. Who is the real winner here?

What methods do you use to say no? Let's talk about how we turn people down, am I right?

Holidays On A Budget: How To Say No to A Gift Exchange

1 comment

  1. This is super smart! I've been going the handmade/home-baked/re-gift route over the past several years since all my friend groups are scattered all over the country. Less chance of an overlap so it's been working out pretty well! :]


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