After a lot of consideration my brother and I have decided not to swap Christmas gifts this year. I’ll still buy gifts for my niece and nephew and he’ll do the same for my son, but we will no longer exchange gifts between each other.

It’s always a struggle to decide what to buy and more often than not we end up buying my brother and sister-in-law a gift card to a restaurant, the movies or a clothing store and they ended up doing the same for us.

My brother and I have never gone hog wild on Christmas gifts for each other. For the most part we spend between $25 and $35 on gifts each year. If I buy him a $25 gift card it doesn’t really make a lot of sense for him to turn around and buy me a different one for the same amount.

We’ll still buy presents for the other adults in our family. I’ll buy my parents and grandmother gifts, but my brother and sister-in-law will no longer find a box from us under the tree.

While it make sense from a financial point of view I must admit that it feels a little strange. I’ve been buying gifts for my brother for as long as I can remember. Even when I was little my parents would let me pick something out and put my name on the “from” portion of the gift tag.

As an adult I find it extremely difficult to buy Christmas gifts for loved ones. I think the issue is more about age then anything else. When you are small you are so excited for Christmas. As you age and toys are replaced by practical things like clothes and household tools the excitement diminishes.

I yearn for those days when I woke up early in the morning, still in my footed pajamas and ran to the living room to find all the boxes with my name on them. These days receiving gifts just isn’t as magical. Sigh. At least we can rekindle some of the passion of Christmas by watching my son open presents.

This year in addition to one or two small toys I’m wrapping empty boxes with tissue paper and bubble wrap. Two things he really loves!

So what about you? Do you still exchange gifts with your siblings and other adults in your family?