Why I Don’t Buy My Kid Christmas Presents

Hurry…hurry!” I remember jumping out of my bed with pure excitements and shouting to get my brother to follow me to the living room.

To the Christmas tree we went and there they were, two presents and our shoes.

Yes, shoes. I don’t know exactly how the tradition came about but I remember on December 24th, just before dusk you can find us two kids in the backyard. “Don’t forget your grass!” My mother would tell us from the kitchen in between her baking sessions. The smell of her famous pumpkin cake filled the whole house.

Ya, Mama.” We would make it into a little race of who can pluck as many grasses as we could and stuffed it inside our shoe. Just one shoe for one kid.

Put them nicely under the tree.” Said our mother.

Dutifully we put our shoe under the tree. Our tree has always been plastic, in Indonesia, that’s what we do. It was a small tree placed on top of a small table.

On Christmas day, all the grass would disappear replaced by presents. We would be so very excited and happy with whatever presents Santa gave us. The day would be so busy with neighbors coming by to wished us Merry Christmas and for lunch/dinner after we returned home from church.

The Christmas that I remembered when I was little was so different than the one I see today. We were excited about the presents yes, but it was never our focus. Back then we would be spending so much time in church. Sunday school had tons of Christmas activities for us kids to join. Our parents were busy in church with their own groups. It was a month long of one Christmas celebrations after another.

We had beautiful memories of Christmas.

We don’t do gifts on Christmas anymore.

Our Christmas tree is all set up in the living room. The tree is tall and big.

Our Christmas Tree

The lights are different this year as my mother has gotten some new ones. They look pretty.

The only thing that separates our tree from the many Christmas trees photos being shared by my friends is: ours doesn’t have gifts or presents neatly stacked around the bottom of the tree.

I can’t remember exactly when we stopped putting presents there but I still remember vividly when we still practiced that traditions. I can still remember the smell of freshly cut grass my brothers and I left for Santa’s reindeer.

When my boy was a baby and I was still married, my ex and I did the common American things. Last minutes runs to Target on Christmas Eve to get a few little things for stocking stuffers.

That stopped when I moved back in with my parents. The new traditions my son and I created was more centered around decorating the tree and of families gathering on Christmas day.


I don’t scour the malls to find the perfect Christmas present for my boy. He already got a lot of presents for his birthday in early December and I honestly don’t even feel bad about not getting him anything.

My family now have this rather new tradition that includes my uncle and aunt plus their own families. We would do gift exchange instead. The rules are the gift must not exceed $5 and be wrapped in newspaper without any name/tag. On Christmas day, my aunt will write numbers on the gifts and on small rolled up papers. We then will get one number each and that’s how we have been doing this for the past few years now. It is fun! I do involve my boy on this and he enjoyed them too. My wish is for my son to remember how fun Christmas is for him even if he is not showered with lots of presents.

Maybe one day we will have new traditions when Dan and I are married but for now, I am content with how things are.

What is your most memorable family Christmas traditions when you were little? Do you still do them today?

Wishing you all a lovely Christmas with your family, dear friends. Joy to the world!

Merry Christmas

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6 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Buy My Kid Christmas Presents

  1. Carla Reply

    Too much emphasis is put on presents. That’s not what Christmas is about. My mom is in a panic because my grandkids didn’t get presents today (may be tomorrow for you…haha!) and instead my daughter has planned a “special day” for the kids. I see nothing wrong with this but when I grew up we didn’t go to church so I think my mom sees Christmas differently. I like your way (and my daughters way) better.

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      So true Carla. Christmas seems to be more and more commercialized by the year and people feel like they even have to shop for Christmas presents as early as January. I like your way and your daughters way too 😀 Merry Christmas, sweet lady!

  2. Alexandria Reply

    I love this post and have said this so many times! I may have to start a new tradition because we are all missing what really matters about Christmas. Thank you of sharing.

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Thank you so very much Alexandria 🙂 I hope you can find a new tradition that will works for you and your loved ones.

  3. Rhonda Reply

    I also believe that we’ve lost the true meaning of Christmas, to me that is church, family, and family gatherings. I’ve gotten away from spending huge amounts of money on gifts. I purchase for the children; however, my true gifts are making homemade gifts and preparing food for gatherings. I had never heard of grass in the shoes for the reindeer. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Mia Reply

    This is an interesting view, Mba Maureen. I know kids got presents on christmas from movies and books but never seen it from this point of view.
    It’s good for kids to understand what christmas really means 🙂

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