What are Present Pacts?
They're a way of people getting together and, up front, deciding what gift giving there will be between them. That way people know what to expect so they can plan accordingly.
And they're not about 'not giving'. A 'No Unnecessary Present Pact' (or a Christmas Pre-NUPP) can be what you want it to be!
Some ideas for Present Pacts:
- A No Gifts Present Pact - The 'big one'! This won't be right for everyone; but it will be for some people - taking financial pressure off planning for Christmas by not giving unnecessary presents. Just ask - you might find that lots of people feel the same way!
- A Spending Limit Present Pact - It could be a limit of $/€/£1 or $/€/£1000. Setting a limit can really help. You can even make it fun like 'the most useless present for $/€/£1'! (If you're going to give something that no one will use again, it might as well be cheap!)
- A Time Based Present Pact - Rather than giving money, why not give your time? Cook a meal, go for a walk or watch a special film together. Make the gift a memorable one!
- A Charity Present Pact - You could agree to give a set amount to charity - joint together or separately. There are also charity gift where you can buy a chicken or cow somewhere or you can even twin your toilet!
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Why do we need Present Pacts?
Giving gifts is a great thing. Seeing kids (of all ages) open them is wonderful!
The problem can be giving presents when it's just for the sake of giving presents.
Do you really need to give a present to your cousin's friend's sister? (That's an extreme example, but you get the idea...)
UNNECESSARY gift giving (and spending) can create pressure (social and financial) and unfair obligations on others (to give when they might not be able to afford to). It can even lead to issues like debt.
Spending money on presents for acquaintances, friends and even family, when it could be better spent on things like bills or food, can be a big problem.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from Martin Lewis (the Money Saving Expert), a consumer financial expert in the UK. He came up with the idea of a "No Unnecessary Present Pact" (or Christmas Pre-NUPP) in 2009. It was a brilliant idea then and I think it's even more important now.
Please go and read these two blog posts on Martin's Money Saving Expert site which explain more about why and how Present Giving can sometimes become an issue:
- Is it time to ban Christmas presents?
- Will you be signing a No Unnecessary Present Pact this Christmas?
And you can watch this video on Martin explaining about the issues...
Aren't you being a Scrooge or Grinch?
No! I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I'm even known as 'The Christmas Expert'!
I run the biggest Christmas information site on the web - www.whychristmas.com (there's even a page on it all about the history of Christmas Presents!) I also run that site just for the love of Christmas. I make no money from it and there's a 'no ads' policy on the site.
Christmas should be a time of joy and love. It's also just one day a year. Christmas shouldn't be a time when you have to choose whether to put food on the table or buy someone a pair of socks with snowmen on...