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This year has been tough for me financially. My family tends to go a little overboard with holiday gifts, but I really can't swing much this time around. How can I bow out without seeming like a Scrooge?
Frosty Wallet (male, 31)
Dear Frosty Wallet,
Lots of people are in the same sleigh this holiday season, and I'm sure your family will understand. Let them know (the sooner, the better) that you're taking a break from buying presents this year, and tell them not to get you anything. They may ignore your request, but that's their call.
Is there a chance your crew would be willing to switch up its gift-giving traditions this year? You could suggest doing a Yankee Swap or drawing names so that everybody brings only one present to the party. Who knows? Your family members might appreciate the chance to lighten their holiday shopping load.
There are also plenty of gifts that don't cost much, if anything. You just might need to get a little crafty. Bust out some glitter and glue and make everybody a handmade ornament. Bake a bunch of cookies and put them in festive tins that you can get for next to nothing. Take a tour of the thrift stores in your town; you may find all sorts of little treasures for cheap.
Or don't do any of those things, and just relax. Giving and receiving presents can be fun, but spending time with people you love is the best gift of all.
Good luck and God bless,