BLOG – Is Christmas ‘Gift Swapping’ creating financial anxiety? (2 minute read)

A friend gives you a Christmas gift. Do you feel morally required, or shamed, into giving them a gift in return? 

It’s Christmas Eve. Christmas gifts arrive from a friend. You haven’t bought for them and the shops are shut. 

The gifts are nice enough. The ‘We-don’t-know-what-to-get-them-but-we-want-to-get-them-something’ type; coffee mugs, bath salts and chocolates. 

You’re in a Christmas moral dilemma. They bought for you. You hadn’t bought for them. 

Do you work out roughly how much they spent on you and vow to buy them gifts at the earliest opportunity? Or. Do you just say “Thank you very much”? 

In reality – and typically – what happens is this:

  • They spent $30 on you. 
  • You spend $30 on them. 
  • They’ve given you $30 of ‘stuff’ you don’t want or need.
  • You feel morally required, or shamed, into giving them $30 of ‘stuff’ they probably don’t need or want. 

Is ‘Christmas Gift Swapping” creating financial anxiety? 

  • Sarah gives Mary a $30 Body Shop bubble bath gift set 
  • Mary feels obliged to give Sarah a $30 Lush bubble bath gift set

‘Gift Swapping’, whilst intended to be kind, considerate and generous can, in some cases, be more of a hinderance than a help. And, in some circumstances is entirely unnecessary. 

  • Mary might not have budgeted to give a gift to Sarah. 
  • Chances are Sarah and Mary don’t want or need $30 of bubble bath. 
  • Chances are Mary wouldn’t have spent $30 of her own hard-earned cash on bubble bath for herself. 
  • Would Mary have rather have spent $30 on food?
  • Mary might be struggling financially. 
  • Mary might have other financial priorities, such as travel costs to visit family.

It’s just over a week until Christmas Day, when everyone unwraps their presents and complains about what they did and didn’t get. 

Is Christmas gift ‘Swapping’ creating financial stress and anxiety for you and others? 

Are there better ways to show you care? 

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Until next week…