Weekend Edition: Happy Mother’s Day

It’s a warm and sunny day here at the Money Mustache Compound, and my little boy and his Mum are outside planting some new plants in an area of the backyard known as the Mother’s Day Garden.

It all started one year when Mrs. M decided to tackle a certain back corner of the yard to make a private oasis. It was Mother’s Day, and as my gift to her I built some raised planter boxes and a curved brick path that winds through the garden. She shaped the land and planted an artistic array of desert-friendly plants which have since grown into a beautiful work of living art.

These are all things that we would have done anyway, since we like gardening, but by making it a Mother’s Day tradition, we bring fun and a feeling of tradition to the event – without necessarily actually buying anything.

This strange purchase-free celebration of holidays comes naturally to me, because I was raised in what I later learned is an odd family that very rarely exchanges gifts on any occasion. It’s a big family with four grown kids and both parents still out there, old and healthy, and we all love each other and get along wonderfully with no politics whatsoever. And yet somehow with all this love and respect, we are hard-pressed to even guess each other’s exact birthdays and we would have no idea what to buy each other if there were some requirement imposed on us to buy “gifts”.

Since nobody told me this was unusual, it became my idea of normal. And it wasn’t until I grew up, went through a few bachelor years, and eventually moved to the United States that I started learning about this interesting consumption/gift pattern that has sprung up around special occasions.

When you’re an alien, you can see the strangeness of a society better than its natives. And what I saw was people driving to a store, purchasing one or more plastic or polished mineral items that each represent destroying a small slice of our shared planet, and handing it to their loved ones at these pre-determined dates. Surprise! I love you! Here’s a part of the planet I wrecked for you, Hooray!!

The giving of these manufactured gifts also represents a sacrifice. The buyer typically puts herself deeper into a hole of debt, ensuring a longer and more precarious lifetime of trying to escape it. And the recipient sacrifices a bit of space in their house to store the usually-unnecessary item until it is eventually discarded.

It all sounds so sad, Mr. Money Mustache! Where has all the love gone? How can we get it back?

The answer lies in your smile and in your hands. From now on, you are officially freed from having to buy people gifts! You can start caring for people you love by making them artistic things from natural materials you find outside (carving, sanding, gathering, arranging). You can DO things for them, like surprising them with a big fancy dinner at home or a day together doing something outside. On your bikes or your feet. You can call them or write a really thoughtful email with lots of pictures, if you’re into writing.

But the bottom line is, you really, really do not have to buy things for people most of the time.

Hosting a birthday party for your little child should not be about having each guest’s parents purchase plastic things wrapped in additional layers of plastic from Target. It should be about giving them some time to run rampant with their friends, sharing some sugary cake, and letting the adults drink plenty of wine and have a good chuckle at their youngsters. Institute a No Gifts policy for your own kids’ birthday parties and encourage your friends to do the same!

At the big gift holidays like Christmas*, make a Gift Ceasefire agreement between all willing adults, and concentrate your efforts only on getting fun (but still thoughtful) presents for the kids, who still benefit a bit from Santa-type magic.

If you’re a wealthy grandparent or a fully grown Mustachian without debts, YOU can afford to buy people gifts, so use your power wisely to get them things that last a lifetime and actually enhance their lives. Like starting a university savings fund for their children or getting them a set of good bikes and a trailer so they can start building a happy bicycle lifestyle.

Don’t be shy. Don’t be afraid to break the consumer tradition. You know it’s the right thing to do, and your family will see the sincerity behind your new traditions and respect you even more for it. You’ll be getting closer to living a true and honest life where time is the greatest gift.

Which brings us back to Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day Mum – we all love you!


* Christmas – I still call it that because I’m old-fashioned, even though I don’t know much about the actual religious figures behind the event and I believe in separation of Church and ‘Stash. But you can substitute your own name for the holiday season.

  • Bakari Kafele June 2, 2011, 9:16 pm

    I tried a no gift policy at my last birthday party.

    In fact, it was capitalized, in bold, and underlined. I said in the invitation, “your gift to me is your presence and participation at my party”

    In addition to the fact that it uses up natural resources, costs my guests money, and is likely to be stuff I don’t really want anyway, I have the additional issue of not literally not having any space for more stuff, because I live in an RV.

    And do you suppose I got anything? Well, at least I’m sure it was a lot less than I would have gotten if I hadn’t said anything.

  • Madison June 23, 2011, 3:50 pm

    Nice post! Hard topic to bring up with some people tho. My bio-dad ignored us growing up, but now try’s to make up for it by buying us huge gifts for birthdays. However, since he didn’t know anything about us, the gifts were laughably strange. I tried to tell him several times to not buy me anything, but he just got mad/offended.

    Now, I thank him for the gifts and promptly donate them or trade them with siblings for things I need. One year I gave my roommate most of my birthday gifts from him LOL

    Been able to convince everyone else to stop the gifts tho, except my mom, but I did finally convince her to give me gift certificates for grocery stores!

  • Katie October 16, 2011, 7:17 pm

    You’d be surprised how difficult it is to stop participating in the culturally-imposed gifting orgy. People think you’re cheap if you don’t want to give gifts at calendar-appointed intervals, and ungrateful or not serious if you ask not to be given gifts.

    Hubby and I have started boycotting Xmas entirely, not just the gifting (I dislike the holiday in general, bah humbug), and people have looked at us like we strangle kittens for fun. My mother is still pissed, and a friend told me that avoiding Xmas is selfish. If selfishness is the price of sanity, then so be it.

    I love giving people gifts, don’t get me wrong. But I want to do it spontaneously, on my own schedule and inspiration. Doing it by the calendar just sucks the joy out of it. And I think it’s more fun to get surprise gifts sprinkled throughout the year than a twice yearly gift binge.

    I do try to give people experiences instead of stuff, or useful things like gift certificates or things that I know they actually need. The odd fun useless thing is ok but we all have too much useless crap in our lives.

    • John January 15, 2016, 6:41 am

      I like to celebrate Dec 21st, the winter equinox, the shortest day of the year. It’s a “festival of light” because the days will then start getting longer again and the sun will “return”. We enjoy filling the house with family and friends, cooking a great buffet dinner, drinking lots of wine and just enjoying each other’s company. I turn on all the lights I can find and light candles too. I suspect this was the real meaning of “Christmas” before it was hijacked for someone else’s purposes.

  • James January 11, 2012, 11:10 am

    We have fought back the gift disease over the last 8 years with the extended family, dropping from individual gift exchange to trading names, and then last year just dropping the gifts entirely. It is such a relief, and we are trying to work that into the rest of the events as well. It’s tough when our kids get a check every birthday from relatives and we send nothing to theirs, but they know our thoughts and we refuse to be bullied into sending checks just to keep “even”. Thanks for pointing out that we aren’t the odd ducks!

  • CG January 24, 2012, 10:33 am

    I too think this way. I give nice little homemade things or secondhand items all year long to people as I think of things to make or find them at thrifts. I often skip a present on the actual birthday because I don’t like the pressure surrounding it and won’t give them something just for the sake of giving something. Often it seems like this happens because people don’t want to social stigma of arriving to an event without an offering. If a person feels like a relationship will be threatened by not bringing a gift, maybe that isn’t a relationship worth having.
    I personally feel that people who share their time to celebrate with me on my birthday, whether a call,a card or a visit, are giving me the best gift. I love to get presents on my birthday, but only if the person giving them truly put thought into something that they knew I’d appreciate, regardless of cost or state of newness. I’ve gotten my share of gifts that were never used and it is a sad thing! The intention was good but the gift actually hurts both the giver and the recipient.
    I don’t keep a list of people who didn’t fork over a gift to me. And I hope they don’t do the same to me. I never feel the need to gift to someone because they gifted to me. Gifts should be about spontaneity, meaning, meeting a need, and love. They should never be because you feel you have to.
    For everyone who wants to do it this way, just start doing it! You can even reference a spontaneous gift as an “early Christmas/birthday present”. When the actual event arrives and if comments are made you can point back to that gift. After a couple of years people will get your new style.

    • brenda from ar October 18, 2012, 7:17 am

      CG – like your spontaneity take.

      We used to do the whole gifty Christmas thing, though at a lower $ range than most folks. After discovering that my Stepmom was starting her shopping in July and paying off the credit card the following June, I started working on the family to nix that trend. It took a while. We worked it down to bringing a white elephant and exchanging through some crazy game which was pretty fun for a while. Now, we just show up with potluck food and some small something to send home with everyone – generally consumable: homemade toffee/fudge/nut brittles, pumpkin bread, homemade jam, something from the garden, craft items, copies of old photos, items to stick in the emergency kit, etc. Now the celebration is more about food and family. The shopping stress and financial stress is GONE! Yay!

      I used to date a guy that would take me hiking for Valentine’s Day – way more memorable than any store-bought gift ever.

  • Jack Daniel Ciallella August 20, 2012, 9:52 pm

    Hey MMM,

    Really enjoying the blog – and thought I might throw this idea out there about gift purchases.

    When I was first born and for most of my life up until teen years, friends and family would purchase savings bonds for me and present them to my parents.

    When I got older, 18-ish, I was presented all these bonds to help with my college debt. It amounted to more than the face value of the bonds themselves and my family was able to purchase these all at a significant discount (50%).

    While I like the idea of setting up a college fund for someone in the future, I was in that particular situation and the “creators” of the fund were able to re-neg on the promise; causing a lot of anger. When you’re headed to a party though, having a bond (like giving cash) in hand is pretty great… I’ve always thought :)

    I’m curious to know if you are aware of any better types of “bonds” out there that are appropriate for gifts?

    – Jack

  • LT September 14, 2012, 8:40 am

    Separation of church and ‘stash….love it!

  • Kim September 25, 2012, 2:23 pm

    On the general “avoiding earth-killing gifts” subject, two ideas:
    1. For our son’s 4th birthday we requested guests bring 1 or 2 dollars for his piggy-bank so he could get one big gift. He then also gets the option of getting a used toy from a local consignment store so he gets more bang for his buck. We also did a used-book exchange instead of treat bags so that everyone went home with a book.
    2. For attending other kids parties, one of my favorite gifts is “cookie-in-a-jar”. It’s all the ingredients for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies layered in a mason jar with a nice ribbon on top. It looks nice and includes the bonus of time spent baking with his or her parents.

  • PFgal December 25, 2012, 9:40 am

    While I never spent much money on gifts, several years ago I got frustrated with giving gifts that probably weren’t enjoyed, and that just added the clutter to people’s homes. Instead, I started donating to charities in people’s names. The gifts had extra meaning, because I made them specific to each person. I gave to a disease charity in the name of someone whose daughter suffered from that disease. I donated art supplies to a school in the name of a relative who’s an artist. Things like that. The response was amazing – everyone loved it! This way, my gifts help people, without adding to the clutter or making people feel any sense of obligation. Also, I can give as much or as little as I want – a $10 donation still results in someone getting a card in the mail with info about the donation. As someone who used to work at a nonprofit, I know what a difference it makes when people do this.

  • Asimov4 January 2, 2013, 9:46 pm

    In O. Henry’s classic Christmas story The Gift of the Magi, Della Young sells her most prized possession, her long, beautiful hair, in order to buy her husband, Jim, a Christmas present. The present she chooses is a chain for Jim’s heirloom pocket watch, the only valuable thing he owns. When she presents her gift to Jim, she discovers that he has sold his watch in order to buy a set of ornate combs for her beautiful hair.

  • Pat February 24, 2013, 5:18 pm

    My Dad’s birthday and my step-mom’s birthday were both at the end of May. My birthday present to them each year was to spend the day refurbishing the flower gardens at their town house. My step-Mom and I would visit the local garden center for that year’s annuals, and then it was planting and weeding time. We had a good visit, and once the garden was set up the maintenance was minimal for them the rest of the summer. Much nicer for all of us than just shopping for something they didn’t need.

    • Tyler August 23, 2013, 10:17 am

      Great idea, Pat. I did something very similar on Father’s day this year – I went out with my dad to buy vegatable plants for his garden and helped him get the beds ready and planted. It’s something he was going to have to do on his own anyway, so he appreciated the help and company, as well as not having to buy the plants on his own.

    • John January 15, 2016, 6:44 am

      Hi Pat.

      I just wanted to add that we do this for Mother’s Day. There’s no better gift for Mom, than having her kids all home in any case.

  • Laurie March 2, 2013, 4:58 pm

    My family is all about hard core gift giving, even the pets give gifts. They all write Christmas lists for themselves too, (yes, even the grandparents) so there isn’t even any surprise. Booooring! I’m the black sheep because I never look at the lists, never provide a list (they give me gift cards to walmart because no one actually knows what i like), and i buy or make only ONE inexpensive gift per person. Though they all think I’m a cheap skate, I’m happy to report that my one gift almost always ends up being the favorite.

    Now that I have a new son, I’m determined to abandon this gift giving train entirely. No way in hell am I letting him be that materialistic.

  • Weedy Acres December 19, 2013, 8:35 am

    We rotate Christmas gift-giving with my 9 siblings. My husband and I give them the gift of service. We come and visit them for a long weekend and do whatever they need done. We have installed a new vinyl kitchen floor, executed 32 items on a honey-do list, planted a garden, and installed a basement bathroom, among other things. This year we’ll be cleaning out my brother’s basement and replacing his garage door.

    My siblings (and parents) appreciate it much more than buying meaningless trinkets. And we get to spend time with them, which benefits both parties, as we’re spread out all over the country.

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 19, 2013, 11:17 am

      Very nice! I love the gift of service.. and I would also like to inquire about getting onto your list of siblings so you can make a stop at my place? :-)

      • Allison December 20, 2013, 6:45 pm

        We’ll stop at your place if you stop at ours. :-) Here’s our current project: littlebeau.weebly.com.

  • Oh Yonghao April 1, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Sometimes we use our birthdays or holidays for excuses to spend extra on an item that the other has wanted but hasn’t been able to save up completely, such as the upgrade to a computer, or the sewing machine she’s wanted. Since growing our money mustaches even more we find that there are fewer things which we feel that we need.

    My wife and I have found it harder and harder each year to give each other gifts. The problem is we find no meaning in useless gifts, and generally during the year we get anything that we need when we need it, after a good amount of shopping around, thinking if we need it, and saving up our allowance. This has led us to what we decided for my birthday this year, going out and having sushi. I lived in Taiwan for 6 years and love sushi, you can get $6 all you can eat sushi there. Living in the states I rarely go out for sushi because 1) it’s not as good 2) it’s fucking expensive. As a gift we get to go out on one of these rare occasions and spend time together eating something that reminds us of our future retirement location.

  • Helen September 25, 2014, 4:38 pm

    I love this post! When my daughter was in kindergarten, she asked everyone in her class to her birthday party (about 24). On the invitations I said “No bought presents, either recycled or home made” We had a wonderful day, it was warm so we had sprinklers in the garden, and I made the cake and goodies. At Christmas we had a party for her friends, and made gingerbread houses.

  • MustacheInTraining February 4, 2015, 1:53 pm

    Hi MMM,
    I am slowly making my way through you blog. I started at the beginning, I heard about it through YNAB. I am excited to say after all the holidays this year the grownup family members have decided for next Christmas to buy gifts for Children that would not have “Santa” toys without help. The last two years we were able to help one child each year, by doing this we are hoping to be able to help 5 or more.

  • Rosie March 22, 2015, 4:26 pm

    I find that people that jump on the no-gift wagon are people that often want off the hook from giving gifts themselves. The truth is, I love getting gifts. I love getting a gift where I can see that that loved one thought of me particularly and what I would enjoy. Having said that, we are a broke, penny-pinching young family. I also hate spending money just to spend money on a pointless gift. I actually find it a bit insulting. I think people feel loved in different ways (gifts, acts of service, personal touch, encouragement, time, etc) and a gift to the person should reflect how you know they feel loved. I am a do it yourselfer and most of my gifts are homemade items that take much more time and money (if you count hours invested) than a purchased gift. I started keeping bees especially to accommodate my desire to stick to homemade gifts only. I think in our consumable world the home-made gift or acts of service gifts are truly a sign of thoughtfulness and sacrifice…something I WANT my children to appreciate. I want them to value sacrificing time, perhaps money, and effort for others. I think teaching gift-giving is important. It forces many people who live each year only thinking of their own wants and desires to turn around and think what could someone else need/want/use? For us, birthdays and holidays are the only times we might ever get something we could truly want or need. Tools and quality clothes for my husband, kitchen needs, or God-forbid a new pair of earrings I’ve sorely wanted, clothes and toys for my kids (we NEVER buy them toys…the only ones they get are from grandparents and clothes are always second-hand). Gifts in our family bring particular joy since we live our daily lives with so much restraint and conservative spending. For us, each year I usually pick one or two pinterest home-made gift ideas and make the same thing for everyone. I think most people really love an appreciate getting a lovely, practical or tasty home-made treat. Just my thoughts.

  • Jim September 4, 2015, 3:30 pm

    Hey there MMM! I am working my way from the first post to the last. So far it has been a fun and inspiring read. I heard you on the Art of Manliness podcast. Glad I found your blog.

    Anyhoo, the gift giving obligation has been digging at me for years. Both my family and my wife’s family are HUGE holiday and birthday celebrators. Like a commenter wrote above, my wife’s family does the whole list making thing. It drives me insane.

    I have tried numerous times and numerous methods to stop it. Asking nicely gets blown off. Making statements to not include me gets ignored. My explanations and rationalizing of my reasons and feelings toward it gets invalidated. One year I resorted to anger (because I was angry), and everyone thought I was just being selfish. Another year I didn’t participate, but my wife was so embarrassed she did, so then it looked like I did.

    Now we have two boys (2.5 years and 10 months) and that just fuels the gift giving flames. We make requests to not buy junk and to give thoughtful gifts and people still get the junk and tell us our kids “deserve” a childhood.

    I just can’t win with the no gift giving, and I don’t want to quit attending family functions because I do enjoy their company. My gratitude for any suggestions is be much appreciated.

    • Andrew September 14, 2015, 9:52 pm

      I feel for you. I’ve been a MMM reader for a few years now, but like you, just recently decided to read the entire blog first post to last.

      My advice to you is be persistent and follow through. Don’t give gifts and don’t take any back home with you. If your family can’t respect that — fuck ’em. Why subject yourself to such nonsense and anxiety just because you were born or married into a particular “family”?

      Continue reading this blog, but I urge you to poke around another blog I frequent called Living Stingy (http://livingstingy.blogspot.com). Oddly enough I stumbled upon it while googling about familial disagreements and greed.

      Best of luck to you and your immediate family!

      • Jim September 15, 2015, 11:38 am

        Thanks for the reply. Though I recently found MMM, and all his great info I have been reading Living Stingy for years. Lots of great info and well written.

    • NoClaude September 5, 2018, 5:10 am

      My kids are 10, 6 and 3, it took me many years to educate my family about not giving them junk. Especially my first born was literally covered in junk – not only was it totally unnecessary crap, it was also mostly inappropriate for her age. “Barbie laptop” for a 1,5 year old anyone? Fancy watch for a 2yo? I’ve been toying with the idea of returning the favor in form of therapy vouchers, but I figured that would be wasted money, too.

      Things started getting better when I got more specific, i.e. when I stopped generally begging them to not give the kids “junk”. Instead I started giving clear directions: nothing with batteries; nothing made of plastic unless it’s from brand X or Y (those I know will last forever, my kids still play with my own old sets).

      I also started boasting about how good I am at throwing junk toys away. It was hard in the beginning, because it was A LOT. But the knowledge that they were literally throwing money away is probably what eventually stopped my family from buying gifts that didn’t match my “guidelines”.

      At the moment we’ve found the perfect balance: when my parents visits, they ask me to get the gifts that they’ll give the kids when they arrive. I usually ask about what kind of budget they have in mind, and sure as hell they come up with ridiculously_overblown_budget. I buy or make the gifts for 1/10 of that and still cash ridiculously_overblown_budget, which then ends up in house mortgage payments or ETFs. Since I came up with this scheme, everybody’s happy, my parents don’t feel “cheap” because in their mind they’ve spent a lot, I have better control and less stuff, the kids have all they need and then some. I do wish we were celebrating birthdays and holidays more often now…

  • Michal September 29, 2015, 3:23 pm


    I love reading MMM, because it so much resonates with my view of how the life should be.

    By getting older and accumulating some money I am able to buy things I need. I am actually happier whenever I can have LESS stuff to care about. Last year I asked my family to fund sending a goat to Africa as a birthday gift for me. It was difficult for them, so I explained that presents should make me happy and there is no material thing I was craving. Making life better for some poor folks there makes me happier and after all, there is that karma thingy.

    I actually like the idea of gift of service – its more and more difficult to find a meaningfull material present for my 70+ years old father every year. But there several things I can do for him in service.
    And I have 3 kids so I am always short of time myself and there are some home improvements way too long on my todo list. So no bought gifts for me this year, brother!

  • RasmusJ April 3, 2016, 7:40 am

    While I can see the point of skipping gifts at birthdays and christmas, and I might try to implement that more in my family, I am not sure I see it as the right idea to not give presents at weddings (and maybe other special occasions).
    I would love to here any alternative suggestions, when you are invited to a wedding?

  • TxPaladin May 30, 2016, 7:33 am

    There is a fairly easy middle road as well. For Christmas we get family pictures and then include a picture with a handwritten card. We ask in advance what size (s) the recipient wants, then provide it. For the thrifty, we do pics at the house on digital camera then print out at Walmart or CVS or wherever has a coupon.
    Easy, inexpensive, personal, not terribly wasteful for those more concerned about the Earth and such.

  • Kevin October 6, 2016, 4:34 pm

    Oh Boy,

    This topic really gets my goat.

    My wife and I were just recently married, and clearly indicated this would be a ZERO gift wedding.

    We clearly expressed that their presence was a wonderful gift. And to please not bring a gift. Especially because people were traveling.

    We knew that some people would Not accept this, because 40-50 years of cultured learning. Is hard to break, :9 we we set up a pay pal link for people to help us with our honey moon.

    Well, after the wedding….. You guessed it: At least 10 gifts and the rest cards.

    The same thing happened at my wife’s grad school graduation celebration at our home. We specifically requested no gifts, staring reasons such as no space in our small apartment, and not needing anything!

    One of our really good friends walked in with a.gift bag and said “I know you said no gifts, but Yoi can’t tell me what to do.”

    Everyone laughter including me, but then after the party i became pretty annoyed and was thinking about why people are so obsessed with buying gifts. I suppose it’s just learned over decades and hard to break these customs.

    Awesome post.


  • Marcelino November 8, 2016, 6:46 pm

    I know I am late posting a comment, but really enjoyed this post. My wife and I started the idea of being frugal 5 years ago and actually started being active 2 years ago. One thing we started 3 years ago was spending very little on Christmas and asking our family to do the same. We thought we were the only weird ones doing this. I am so glad I found a group of weird people! I feel at home. Thank you for the useful information you and your wife post MMM.

  • Natascha July 31, 2017, 5:19 pm

    We give each other an experience pass rather than an actual gift. Last year my mum was bought a high tea lunch, my nephew and niece got theme park passes, my brother in law was given a ticket to a band he wanted to see. At Christmas we do give gifts, but they are really thoughtful. My sister loves music, so I buy her a music store voucher, my mother likes going to the cinema, so I buy her a 10 movie pass booklet, I really enjoy cooking so I get a couple of cookbooks. My dad is the easiest to buy for. We save and buy him a special whisky to drink over the year. He gives us all money in an extremely rude card. We all enjoy each other’s company and spend time together whenever we can

  • DD September 18, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Some of my best, low-budget homemade gift ideas, in order from least to greatest effort required:
    – a massage for mom
    – a date to go for a hike together
    – homemade bread with homemade butter
    – watercolor of native plant, copied into greeting cards
    – journal
    – embroidered ornament
    – basket woven from harvested materials (more difficult)

  • BC Kowalski February 20, 2018, 11:29 am

    So late to the party but I’m reading all MMM posts starting from the beginning. I’m pleased that I found a woman to date who hates gifts. No gifts, just quality time. What a relief! I sent her a message on Valentine’s that said: Happy Valentines – I didn’t get you a damned thing. She reponded: you know EXACTLY what I want!

  • KT February 24, 2020, 11:39 am

    My husband is a carpenter and I do all kinds of crafts. When invited to a birthday party for a 3 year old niece, my husband crafted a cradle for a doll, I crocheted a colorful doll blanket, and we bought a cute, inexpensive baby doll. That niece will have that to hand down to her own child someday. When my sister was expecting her first child, I asked her what I could make for her, as she was as crafty as I. She asked for, and received a crocheted Christening gown that I had worked on for months, with love. That gift will be a family heirloom for generations, I am sure.

    Having been raised frugally, both my husband and I have lived that way from the beginning. We have saved so much money through the years by crafting gifts, giving gifts of service, doing our own home repairs, and filling it with our own crafted furniture and decor. We are retired now and live very comfortably……and continue to give special gifts to our granddaughter. A year’s pass to a zoo was one of her few Christmas presents.

    I have only recently found this website (actually recommended by my son) and thoroughly enjoy the company of like-minded people. It is very comforting and affirming to read MMM’s posts and the readers’ comments.

  • Anton September 17, 2020, 5:12 pm

    Started to read the blog recently and so far has been enjoying it, but this particular article is something I can’t relate with, and I’d say with most of the comments here. The reason why people hate giving (and buying gifts) is just that they are bad at it. And I’m sorry for all of you. You can use their “frugality” as an excuse, but really this is pathetic. I was raised in a frugal and poor family and Christmases and Birthdays were the only opportunities to have something that you can’t afford. And we never ever had a problem of gifts being useless crap, they have always been and will always be thoughtful and useful. I can understand when people buy each other things they don’t need and hate doing that (because they don’t care about each other enough to know what others want or need), and when they hate making Christmas gift lists (it’s so stupid, I agree). But just because people suck the magic out of Christmas gifts under the tree – doesn’t make the tradition less magical. Be frugal in gifts to yourself, be thoughtful (and reasonable) in gifts to others. Spend time with these people you give gifts to – it will eliminate the problem of buying useless crap, because you will know what to get. Service gifts are fine, too, I guess. It just never occurred to me that helping someone can be “gifted”.

    • Mr. Money Mustache September 19, 2020, 8:29 am

      Anton, Congratulations on being good at gift-giving! That is a skill that I wish I had.

      I can never think of anything to *buy* for most people, and to be honest almost anything people buy for me is wasted. Because if I wanted something enough to own it, I would already have bought it.

      But I still love helping people and working together on projects. Although it doesn’t always align with birthdays or holidays, it’s the best I can do with my current level of gifting abilities. And it still feels good.


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For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time or download the mobile app. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.

Love, Mr. Money Mustache

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