The Atlantic

The Joy of No-Gift Christmas

Many families who opt out of buying stuff are coming up with creative alternatives and new traditions.
Source: Sean Gallup / Getty

This year, Heather Hund and her family will gather in West Texas on December 25 and solidify a new Christmas tradition, in which each relative is randomly assigned to give a gift to another family member and to a house pet. “The rules are basically a regift for the human and then $10 for the pet,” Hund told me. “And my 18-month-old son got put in [the latter] category too, so it’s small humans and small animals.”

Hund and her family downscaled their gift-giving six years ago after considering how much work Christmas shopping was. “I just remember coming home and being super stressed and last-minute trying to run out to the mall or looking online and seeing what I could get shipped in like three days,” said Hund, who’s 35 and works in tech in San Francisco.

Now, with the extra time she and her family

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Self-Limiting Revolution
Knock Down the House set out to show an inspiring political movement—but instead revealed its boundaries.
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
To China, All's Fair in Love and Trade Wars
Just how bad are things between the United States and China? Over an evening beer in Beijing this week, a friend and I debated which prominent American company China would whack first. It’s a serious question—and the answer could be the next ugly ste
The Atlantic5 min read
Busy Tonight Ended Just as Its Host Was Finding Her Voice
As soon as E! canceled her late-night talk show Busy Tonight, the host and actor Busy Philipps addressed the news—where else?—on Instagram. It’s where she thrives, as one of the first and most prominent celebrities to have capitalized on social-media