10 Questions About Giving This Christmas

Brent Pittman —  12/18/2013
Christmas Gifts Storm Trooper

What does a  Stormtrooper give his little troopers? Credit Kalexanderson.

Christmas is a season of giving. It is about blessing others because we ourselves have been blessed. It is a time to remember the gift of Jesus. We want to express our love and appreciation. Plus there are other reasons to give that I wrote about if you need more motivation to give.

You may be convinced that you should give gifts for Christmas, but there are other thorny questions lingering about giving that we should address.

Should I give if I’m in debt?

Yes, I suggest to my clients that you should continue to be in the practice of giving. Be cautious about your heart that it doesn’t become greedy, even though you’re in debt. Decide to give a certain percentage of your income each month as a practice. If there is no way you can give money this year, then give your time volunteering at a local non-profit.

I don’t want to give ‘Stuff’. What should I do?

Give relationally! Give gifts that will have you spend time together. Puzzles, games, outings, events…etc. Relationships are more important than boxes. Have you heard of the Advent Conspiracy?

How much should I spend on Christmas gifts?

You’ll have to decide for yourself of course. I do suggest you make a budget and stick to it. There is no reason to go into debt to buy stuff for others, especially if it involved co-signing or loans.

Can I give too much at Christmas?

As long as you don’t go into debt, go crazy giving. Just be wise in how you go about it. You don’t want to make a relationship awkward by giving too much. If you’ve got the dough, go and bless others!

I’m not a Christian, can I still give gifts for Christmas?

While Christmas is largely a religious holiday, it is also part of Western culture. If you want to give, then give. There are no restrictions. I’m sure both you and your receiver will be blessed no matter your spiritual views.

Whom should I give to?

Again, a personal decision. If you feel obligated to give to someone out of guilt or shame, then perhaps either your motivation needs checking or that relationship mending. If you’re in business don’t forget your boss, co-workers, clients, and vendors.

Should I give my boss a Christmas gift?

Why are you giving to them? To show thanks? To get a promotion? Giving to your boss or co-workers can be tricky. Whew! I’m glad I’m self-employed. Here is a good guide for shopping for your boss and coworkers.

I got a gift last year that I didn’t use. Is re-gifting ok?

Yes, but don’t get caught or give something cheesy unless it’s funny and the recipient will get your humor. Remember Seinfeld’s “The Label Maker”?

Is it ok to give cash for a Christmas present?

Of couse! Especially in hard economic times or if you don’t know what to get someone, then cash or a gift card is acceptable.

I want to give to charity. How do I know if my charity is legitimate?

First off, I’d ask them. This is a common question and they should have a ready answer including reports, recommendations, and facts. You can also check out Charity Navigator or Guidestar to see if your nonprofit is listed.

Action: What are thoughts about giving? Please share in the comments below. Merry Christmas! 

Related posts:

Brent Pittman

Posts Twitter Google+

Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • 2-copper-coins.com

    Thank you for honoring and supporting the time tested tradition of re-gifting. We have done that on numerous occasions and advise others to do the same. If you are not going to use a gift and think someone else would enjoy it, pass it on to them. Of if you can’t think of someone who would want it, try to sell it. More than a few of our old Christmas gifts have found their way onto Ebay.

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      Yes, re-gifting doesn’t have to be awkward. You’re just connecting a person with an item they (hopefully) need or want. It’s like the Love Connection!

  • AvgJoeMoney

    When I still worked in my practice after I sold it, I saw the value of gifting time firsthand. Rather than gift money to a charity, our entire office worked at a charity for several hours one weekend (and most of us brought our families). That might have been the best gift giving I’ve ever done. I enjoyed the heck out of it and the charity couldn’t have been more thankful.

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      What a great idea! You are not only giving, but teaching the next generation about giving. What ages were your kids when you started?

      • AvgJoeMoney

        They were in 8th grade. Unfortunately, I haven’t done it since (we moved the next year and had our own chaos….then I didn’t evaluate it until I just read your post and realized just how rewarding that was.)