I Didn’t Get Anything For Christmas! And It’s Okay

With 93 percent of Americans celebrating Christmas, it’s not surprising that many feel stressed over the Christmas gift tradition. Giving, receiving, and buying presents during Christmas can certainly detract from the true meaning of the holiday. So considering all that, what does it mean to say, ‘I didn’t get anything for Christmas and it’s okay’?

It’s okay to not get anything for Christmas. Having no gifts can put your focus on other Christmas traditions and lower your stress. Some opt to forgo gifts as a way to have a more meaningful holiday, while others do it out of necessity; regardless Christmas can be celebrated happily without gifts.

As a Christmas lover, and faith believer in Jesus, Christmas has always been an important holiday for our family. But most Christmases I don’t get any gifts, nor does my husband. And though our kids have always received gifts, it’s usually a low-key part of our celebration.

So read on to learn how we are okay with not getting anything at Christmas, and more about the gift-giving tradition of the holiday! That way, if you don’t give or get anything at Christmas, it can be okay too!


What Do You Do If You Don’t Get Christmas Presents?

The movie Christmas With the Kranks starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen is based off of John Grisham’s book, Skipping Christmas.

One of my favorite Christmas movies in recent years has been Christmas With the Kranks, from John Grisham’s novela, Skipping Christmas (both available at Amazon). It’s certainly not Oscar material, but it’s a funny holiday movie about not participating in the typical (and costly) Christmas traditions…and the fiasco it creates for the protagonist.

In one part, the lead, Luther, sends out an office memo telling his colleagues how he won’t be giving or accepting gifts at Christmas. It’s a comedic example of what happens if you don’t get (or give) Christmas presents.

If you didn’t get Christmas presents, you need to deal with it maturely. You can either talk to those you expected gifts from and address it head on, or simply let it go, realizing there are more important things. Of course, you can also just buy your own gift as an adult.

If you were expecting gifts (because you got them in the past) and didn’t this year, then reflect on what might be the cause. You can either keep your feelings to yourself or talk to someone about them.

If you feel comfortable talking to others about it, try to find out why they gave you nothing. Was it because they were too busy? Did they forget about you? Were they just trying to avoid giving you something or did they skip gift-giving altogether?

There could be many reasons someone did not give you a gift who’d done so in the past. Before jumping to negative conclusions, think about it.

Of course, you may actually know why you didn’t get any gifts. It could be that your friend or family circumstances have changed a lot. It could be that you are living away from others making gift-giving difficult.

If not receiving a gift has you down, their are positive ways to handle it. Here are some things you can do to cope: 

Be Cheerful and Helpful

One way to deal with not getting a Christmas gift is to focus on the giving and not the getting.

You may feel sad and disappointed because you couldn’t give the gift you wanted to someone who really needed it. You might even feel guilty about not getting anything for yourself. But it would help if you didn’t let these feelings take over. 

The best gift you can give anyone is your time and being cheerful about it. Spend time with others, brightening their day. You can play games; read a book to someone; or help out at a shelter or charity you value.

There are many ways you can help out those less fortunate around you at the holidays that don’t have to cost you anything more than your time.

Also, when you think about all the good things in life, you realize how lucky you are. So, rather than focusing on what you didn’t get, spend more time thinking about all the great things you have.

Get Something Special for Yourself and Someone Else

If you don’t get a gift, find something special to gift yourself.  Maybe you want to get a book, change your wardrobe, or go to a museum. Whatever you decide, make sure it will bring you joy.

Again, you can tailor this to your budget. If you have the means and want to do it, then this could be the perfect opportunity to gift yourself a big item you’ve been wanting (often there are excellent sales before and after Christmas too). But if your budget is meager, you can still enjoy a perk. From a bottle of wine to a nice cup of coffee, small gifts are nice, too!

Remember, that you didn’t get a gift doesn’t mean you can’t share them with other people either.

After all the first ‘Christmas gifts’ came from the Magi to Jesus; and Jesus, Mary, and Joseph did not reciprocate gifts to the Wise Men. (Of course, Christians know the true gift was/is Jesus, Himself!)

You can give to your nieces and nephews; bring gifts to the elderly in senior living facilities, or take treats to your local Fire House to make Christmas special for them.

Look forward

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, think about what you can do next year. Maybe you can plan ahead so that you won’t miss giving and receiving gifts.

A new year is a great time for resolutions (that’s why New Year resolutions are so popular) and setting goals!

Christmas isn’t just about gifts. It’s also about spending time together as a family. Make memories by going out to eat, watching old movies, playing games, or having fun activities. You can do all of this beyond Christmas, too!

Let it go and Celebrate

Don’t dwell on the past. Instead, focus on the present. Think about what you can do now to improve your situation. 

If you can’t improve things, you can only accept them. The same goes for not getting gifts. No matter what happens, you can still have a wonderful holiday season.

So perk up and try to enjoy what you do have! Toast to your good health; eat yummy desserts, watch Christmas movies, take a drive or walk to see the lights! Visit with family and friends. There’s a lot to be thankful for and enjoy at Christmas that don’t involve gifts.

It came without ribbons; it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. 

The Grinch

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Is It Okay Not To Give Christmas Gifts?

There are many ways to do no-cost gifts or more meaningful gifts for Christmas that don’t cost much money.

It is perfectly acceptable not to give Christmas presents. While most people like to exchange gifts during the holiday season, plenty of people don’t. Some people prefer to save their money for other purposes like payment of bills, buying groceries, saving, or having experiences.

That being said, not giving gifts can sometimes be considered an insult to others, especially if it’s a new tradition you’re trying to do. Let’s look briefly at whether or not you should give your parents Christmas gifts, as well as some other reasons you might want to stick with gift giving.

Should You Buy Your Parents A Christmas Gift?

Some also wonder if they should buy their parents gifts for Christmas, too.

Whether or not to buy parents Christmas gifts is personal. Family situation and circumstances should really be your guide. However, gifts should not be expected, by very definition. If you do gifts, try to focus on making it meaningful more than anything. And gifts of time are often more desired.

As a parent myself, I don’t expect any presents at Christmas from my kids. In fact, I prefer they don’t spend their money on their father and me. My natural inclination is to worry how much it cost and if it was a hardship for them.

However, when my kids do give us gifts, we always are appreciative and let them know it’s treasured. It doesn’t matter what the gift is; the true gift was their intentions…the time they spent thinking about us is what it’s really about!

As parents, our most cherished gifts are the gifts of time with our kids! Now that our adult kids live away (one’s currently 1000 miles in one direction, while the other is 5000 miles in another!), a phone is all we want for Christmas! That, or dare we say, a visit in person!

However, there are great reasons why you should consider giving gifts this year, whether to your parents or someone else.

First, it’s a tangible way to show that you care about the recipient, and it makes you appear generous. Also, it gives you a chance to teach children important lessons such as sharing and helping others. And giving gifts with the right heart is also connected to the true meaning of Christmas!

Here are some key reasons why you may want to give Christmas gifts:

Showing love

The first reason why you should consider giving presents is that it shows that you care. When you give gifts, you demonstrate affection towards your family members. This means they know that you value them and appreciate them.

Giving gifts is also a great way to be generous. You can choose from various options, including buying expensive gifts, giving homemade gifts, or donating to charity. However, all these methods require more effort than simply purchasing a gift card or donating online.


You can use your skills to create some amazing gifts. For example, you could bake cookies, craft a beautiful scarf, draw a picture, or write a poem. These gifts would make excellent Christmas presents because they are unique and thoughtful.

Also, children learn a lot when you give them gifts. They learn how to share, help others, and be grateful. Giving gifts helps you teach them these things. When you give gifts, you also look good in front of others

Helping others

If you need to buy someone something, then do so. However, if you can find another way to express your gratitude, do so instead.

Giving gifts is an act of selflessness. By doing so, you show that you put others before yourself. In return, you will receive appreciation, which makes you happy.

As a teacher, I’d often give gifts to my students who had difficult backgrounds. Sometimes it was a gift of socks or gloves (items I noticed they needed) or other times it was a treat (because I also knew they didn’t get treats much).

For instance, I had a student who really liked coloring, so I gave him some coloring books and crayons to take home. He was so happy! It was a little thing I could do to brighten his dim circumstances.

Sharing and Thankfulness

Gifts allow you to share what you have with others. This means that you can share your time, talent, knowledge, and anything else that you own with those around you.

Finally, giving gifts is a great way of being thankful. You can thank God for blessing you with life, friends, and family. You can also thank your parents, siblings, grandparents, and anyone else who has helped you throughout your life.

Are Gifts Important for Christmas?

Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas gives a memorable speech from Luke Chapter 2 to explain ‘what Christmas is all about.’

The true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with today’s overabundance. It’s summed up nicely by Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas (available on Amazon). Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ and how despite humble beginnings, He saves the world through sacrifice as the son of God.

The idea of gifts at Christmas is linked to the three Wise Men who brought gifts to Jesus after his birth. They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh, gifts typical for a King or someone very important of the day. Today we give gifts at Christmas as a sign of friendship and love toward others. But gifts should not be the only way to show this.

We should not rely upon gifts at Christmas in order to celebrate Christmas, nor to show our love and appreciation of others. Christmas can and should be celebrated by keeping our focus on Jesus and in the same vein, sharing love.

Love is an action; not a thing.

Tips for No Gift or Low-Cost Christmas:

  • Don’t spring it on your friends and family. If possible, have a discussion and get input, particularly with immediate family. For friends you’ve typically exchanged gifts with, bring it up early in the the season so they know ahead of time what to expect.

  • It’s best not to do this if you have young children, especially if they’re used to ‘Santa’ and gifts tradition. Instead do a low-cost Christmas and make gifts more meaningful.

  • Perhaps instead of ‘no-gifts’ you can do a homemade or no store-bought gifts idea.

  • If money is the reason for not doing gifts, try to take a low-cost approach or plan ahead to have a gift fund, that is, if you actually enjoy gift buying/exchanging.

Wrapping Up I Didn’t Get Anything For Christmas

Not getting a present for Christmas can be painful or depressing, but you shouldn’t let it weigh you down. There are many reasons for not getting anything that may not really have anything to do with you or be a slight on your character.

Instead, focus on the positives in your life. And if you didn’t get any presents for Christmas, you should try not to let that affect your Christmas celebrations. There is a lot more to Christmas than gifts, just ask Linus!

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