real take

This "Broke Mom" Holiday Gift Guide Cuts Out All The B.S.

So many families are struggling this holiday — this might be the best answer.

A "broke mom" explained that instead of going into debt to keep up with appearances this Christmas, ...
@shawtgal49 / TikTok

Instead of the yearly Christmas present buying extravaganza that I usually go on this time of year, I had to send a subtle text to my siblings.

“Um, hey! Can we do Secret Santa this year?” I wrote, hoping for the best but expecting push back.

After a broken down car, a broken down washer, and a vet bill for a, yes, broken dog toe — my husband and I were in the red. We wanted to celebrate with friends and family, but there’s a little person in our house we’re responsible for that needs that Christmas gift budget money a little more than my grown siblings.

Thankfully, they totally understood and they were all on board.

While I was a little more shy (and yes, embarrassed!) about my money dilemma, one mom on TikTok is embracing her “broke” life and calling for others in similar situations to just own up to the realities so many of us are facing right now with our finances and opt for a less extravagant holiday season.

“Let me share with you my holiday gift guide for the broke mom,” TikTok mom, Sam, says in her video. “The guide is that there is no guide. I have no suggestions because I'm just honest with people.”

She explained that instead of going into debt to keep up with appearances, she’s just being totally honest with her friends and family.

Sam continued, “Last year, we were so broke we couldn't afford gifts for anybody. So I told people that. I said, ‘We can't afford gifts this year for Christmas.’ And you'd be surprised how many people were like, ‘Oh great, because I don't want to buy you a gift either.’”

Sam opts for a more simple approach to holiday gift buying.

“In my opinion, the only people you need to buy gifts for are people that you're responsible for. So, your children. Even then, I've learned that kids don't need a bunch of shit and anything they do want or need, you can probably thrift,” she said.

If you’re feeling a little weird about being outright with your financial situation, Sam recommends some alternative gifts that can work (and probably will be more sentimental) like thrifting a gift or baking something.

“So maybe we should all be a little bit more honest this holiday season because you don't know who you'd be helping. You don't know who was embarrassed to say that they couldn't afford something for you this year, and you saved them by telling them that you're not doing gifts,” she concluded.

Though so many people are struggling to keep the lights on with inflation and never-ending price gouging, according to The Conference Board Holiday Spending Survey, US consumers plan to spend an average of $654 on holiday gifts in 2023. This is a 6.7% increase from the $613 spent last year.

Despite this report several TikTok users who saw Sam’s video agreed with her take on holiday spending.

“I refuse to go broke for holidays anymore,” one user wrote.

The OP replied, “👏👏👏👏👏 Not worth it nobody can afford it anyway.”

Another said, “We don’t do gifts for anyone anymore. We’re all just passing the same $20 around lol”

“EXACTLY NO POINT,” Sam replied.

Another said, “Honestly it would make me feel terrible if I knew someone was struggling and they gave me a gift. I’d rather you not and spend it on what you need. ❤️”

Maybe the most thoughtful gift this year could be total honestly with your friends and loved ones — maybe they’ll benefit from a more chill, money-saving holiday too.