Can I Politely Decide Not to Exchange Gifts This Year?
Q. I don’t want or need any presents. So can I opt out of exchanging gifts with family and friends?
A. Um, no. There’s no etiquette rule that says you must exchange pricey cookware or gadgets. However, it’s poor form to beg off giving and receiving gifts during the holidays entirely. (And you know that your mother is not going to listen, no matter what you say.)
Instead, find other ways to give: Offer your best friend a nonmonetary present, like a night of babysitting. Give nieces and nephews no-cost “love coupons,” to be redeemed for an afternoon of sledding or a homemade pizza lunch. If you have a special skill, share it—lead a yoga demonstration or give a knitting lesson. Remember: The point of the holidays isn’t to drop a lot of cash—it’s to make a meaningful gesture, and that doesn’t cost a thing.