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In recent years, I’ve seen a lot of ideas for cutting back on holiday gift-giving—some families even go so far as to have a no-gift Christmas. The topic of simplifying has even been a conversation with both sides of my own extended family. We know there will be gifts, but we’re starting to think more creatively about what and how much we might exchange with one another.

There are many reasons we might want to limit the number of things entering our home: maybe we just finished decluttering. Maybe we’ve read the articles about how kids are happier with fewer toys. Maybe tight finances are keeping us from doing as much giving as usual, and we feel bad about not being able to reciprocate on the same scale as others.

But in our attempts to simplify our own lives by putting limits on what others give, we may unintentionally complicate things by putting strain on our relationships at what should be a joyous occasion.

As we approach the season of gift-giving—as well as conversations about gift exchange logistics—it’s important to remember that it’s not up to us to decide what other people choose to do with their money. All we can control is what we do with our money, and how we respond to the gifts that are given to us.

Here are some things to consider as you approach gift exchanges with your family and friends. 


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