All I Want for Christmas is No More Gifts


Growing up, I don’t remember Christmas day being filled with lots of gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I got gifts. But the thing I really appreciate about my parents is that they didn’t over do it. We got what we wanted, needed, wished for, and nothing more. I never felt like I was without, or that my parents’ love for me was associated with how much or how little they gave me. And as I’ve gotten older, I can see where my parents gifted my brother and I experiences and memories in the place of physical gifts, and those are the gifts I have really held on to all these years.

Colorfully wrapped gifts

Now that I’m a parent, I have tried to carry that into my own personal life (Confession: this does not apply to the countless things I have purchased for my daughter from the Dollar Spot in Target…). For our daughter’s birthday every year, we have asked the grandparents to gift us a membership to the Memphis Zoo and Memphis Botanic Garden. We splurge and get the family plans so that when they come to visit, they can experience the joy of visiting these places with us for “free” too.

With two day delivery available practically everywhere, it can be so easy to over-gift and clutter your house with gadgets and gizmos a plenty. If you’re looking for a new way to bring life and joy into your holiday season while keeping it manageable and mostly gift-free, try some of these suggestions:

  1. Subscription boxes! This may seem counterintuitive because we’re trying to keep the gifts to a minimum, but hear me out. What if you invested now so that your family can get a new project/toy once a month next year without having to worry about it later? And what if the project/toys inspire creativity, problem-solving, and exploration? One monthly subscription I’m adding to my list is Little Passports. I grew up overseas and loved being immersed by diversity and culture that was different than my own, and Little Passports brings the world into your home without having to pay for a roundtrip cross country plane ticket!
  2. Memphis memberships. I’ve mentioned this before, but this has been one of our most favorite gifts we receive every year. We visit the Memphis Zoo almost every weekend, and on the weekends that we’re not at the zoo, we’re around the corner from our house at My Big Backyard at the Memphis Botanic Garden. We get our money’s worth within 3-4 visits and the big plus during the holiday season: membership pricing for holiday lights events!
  3. If you have a sports-inclined family, give a Memphis Grizzlies 10-game pack a try! When my husband and I moved to Memphis 6 years ago, we were excited to have an NBA team in town but weren’t ready or able to be season ticket holders. Enter the beautiful 10 (or 22) game packs. You have flexibility in choosing 10 games that happen on weekends or games that are considered “big” (like games against the Golden State Warriors). We love that we have games coming up that our family can plan for, get excited about, and even make a date night out of!
  4. Finally, if gift giving is your ultimate love language but you could benefit from reigning christmasthis love in a little bit, consider the “6 Gift Rule Christmas”! This handy infographic can be easily printed off and brought with you on your next trip to Target to help you set some purchasing boundaries while keeping the holiday season relatively clutter free. Still need help? Search for Memphis Mom Collective’s many gift guides and use it to sort out your want, need, wear, read and do list!

No matter how you choose to celebrate the holidays this year, may it be filled with the gift of your presence and may it invite memories that stay in your family for a long time!


Holiday scene with happy holidays in lettering

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Jocelyn moved to Memphis in 2015 with her husband, not knowing a soul. Now, it’s as if she has always lived here! Jocelyn is a first generation Asian-American who was born in California, grew up overseas (Thailand), and moved back to the States in middle school. After leaving home (Maryland) for college in the south (Georgia), Jocelyn hasn’t left the south and her childhood friends claim she has a southern accent. Currently, Jocelyn is a School Social Worker who spends most of her time helping little + big humans navigate how to be healthy humans in this world (and all the highs and lows that come with it). She is also on her own journey of discovering what it means to be an introvert and a mom. Jocelyn and her husband welcomed Charlotte (2018) to their family and are in awe of how much fun it is and how crazy it can be to raise a little human. When she’s not working, Jocelyn can be found in fuzzy socks doing a puzzle, enjoying alone time at a coffee shop, scouring Target’s Dollar Spot for things she definitely doesn’t need, and cheering on the Memphis Grizzlies.


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