Drew Barrymore doesn’t buy Christmas gifts for her kids, takes them on a trip instead

Drew Barrymore is letting us in on the holiday traditions she’s building with daughters Olive, 10, and Frankie, eight. One of which is that Drew does not buy her daughters Christmas presents. Instead, she takes the girls on trips for the holiday. While she admits she doesn’t think her daughters, “love it,” at their current ages, she does think they will hold the memories of their experiences on those adventures more than any toy or trinket they unwrap under the tree.

Drew Barrymore’s daughters won’t be unwrapping presents under the tree come Christmas morning. ET’s Nischelle Turner spoke with the 47-year-old host of The Drew Barrymore Show, and she revealed why she doesn’t buy Christmas gifts for Frankie, 8, and Olive, 10, the girls she shares with her ex, Will Kopelman.

“I always take them on a trip every Christmas. I don’t get them presents, which I think at their ages they don’t love, but I say, ‘I think we’ll remember the place and the photos and the experience and that’s what I want to give you,'” she explained. “They get plenty of things throughout the year, so I’m not like some weird, strict, cold mom who’s like, ‘You don’t get any gifts!’ I just feel like a better gift would be a life memory. I’d rather invest [in that than in] a doll house or something. It all evens out and it’s fine.”

“[I try] to remember that one holiday won’t be probably the same as one 10 years from now, that your life can dramatically change, and new people and new traditions can come into it,” she said. “I like looking at the holidays through a comedic, realistic lens of, we’re gonna have a lot of different holiday stories. What one do you want to keep going and build as a tradition? Rather than, ‘This is my tradition and I’m stuck in it.'”

[From ET via DListed]

The quotes above are from Entertainment Tonight, but Drew also discussed this a little more on her show. Drew’s childhood Christmases were, as she said, confusing, because she was often alone. Her own mother didn’t buy her presents, if she wanted Christmas gifts, she had to use her own money to buy them. I also want to call attention to Drew’s comment, “they get plenty of things throughout the year.” Drew isn’t trying to make some consumerism is evil point here, she’s just trying to create something for her and the girls. They have a whole other family with their dad and his wife, I’m sure they get presents under that tree. For two divorced parents of means, this a nice way to make two unique celebrations. On that note, Drew said on her show that she realized after she mentioned the trip thing that not everyone can afford to take their kids on trips every year and felt bad bringing it up. She also mentioned that sometimes they just “get in the car and drive,” for their Christmas trips. But the part I agree with is everyone is coming at the holidays differently and that’s how it should be. Whatever you celebrate or don’t, it should be completely catered to your family or the people you spend them with.

Also, Drew said she did get Olive and Frankie gifts during lockdown when they couldn’t travel. But Drew has a point about what we remember. I vaguely remember gifts I got as a kid, but what I really remember is that one I kept asking for and never got. For me it was an Easy Bake Oven. My mom said if I wanted to bake, I could use the big oven. That’s not the point, Mom! And this year we are traveling right before Christmas, which is our Big Gift for everyone this year and it better suffice come Christmas Day. I think it will be fine, my kids are teenagers and getting ready to move out, so we really are in the memory making stage.

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25 Responses to “Drew Barrymore doesn’t buy Christmas gifts for her kids, takes them on a trip instead”

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  1. Jessica says:

    We do exactly this. We get our kids a few small gifts and then take a trip. We are leaving Thursday for a tropical locale and will be back in the new year. THURSDAY. I’m depending on all of you to keep me posted on Vol II when it drops between flights!!!

  2. equality says:

    I always thought the point of a gift is that it is something that makes the recipient happy. It doesn’t have to be remembered forever or even something that they keep forever.

    • Moxylady says:

      I bet the kids get to pick where the go, the activities they do etc and I bet they love it. Do they love it Christmas morning when they don’t have presents stacked to the ceiling? Maybe not as much. But I bet once they are on that trip…. Pure happiness.

  3. Sister Carrie says:

    Even as a child I treasured holiday ski trips instead of unwrapping gifts. I love her take on this.

  4. Moxylady says:

    I’ll be honest. I’m sure she gets them something. Even if it’s like little things that are a clue as to where they are going this year.
    I think it’s a wonderful tradition. And kids do get so so much stuff. I don’t even know how it happens. But suddenly you need to have an inventory of their legos in case of a house fire. Due to how much those Lego sets now go for. (Retired Lego sets are $$$$$)

    • escondista says:

      We went to Hawaii last Christmas and got them like swimsuits and snorkeling gear and cool tropical outfits as their gifts to open.

  5. Case says:

    I’m hoping that something she’s not saying here is that she still gets them gifts from Santa, and the gift from her is a trip.

    I love the idea of giving experiences as gifts. Pre-pandemic I did that a lot — tickets to Broadway shows or concerts instead of wrapped gifts for my friends. But we’re in our late 20s. When you’re little, the experience of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, and the anticipation leading up to it, is magical. So I hope she does some of that, too.

  6. Nicegirl says:

    I love Drew 💕 and I love this idea. Experiences are the most fun ‘thing’ to share for sure. Love her dancing in the rain too 💝 🍀 💗 🖖

  7. HeyKay says:

    Sounds good to me. I find all the consumerism far too over the top.
    Celebrate or not as you wish, to each their own.

  8. It’sjustblanche says:

    I work in travel, mostly theme parks, and this is actually really common. I know a lot of people who do this, especially as the kids get older, like 10 and up. It’s a really good point because kids get so much junk that they forget about right away.

  9. Becks1 says:

    We’re starting to lean into this idea more. My boys are the same age as her daughters and they do still get gifts from Santa, but we’re starting to pull back and give them a big trip instead. My plan is for when they’re completely over Santa, we’ll just do the trip, maybe with some stocking stuffers or whatever. My kids don’t need or even want anything, one has a November bday so even getting him gifts for xmas can be a stretch after his bday in terms of finding things that he wants/needs. We don’t go away actually on Christmas but I told my husband in a few years I just want to start saying “okay so on 12/26 we’re going here!”

    I will add that these trips are trips we would likely take anyway, we just decided to present them as part of Christmas going forward and I think its going to work out well? Last year we just did a weekend at an indoor water park, this year we’re going to Universal Studios, but its a trip we’ve been talking about for a while.

    I mean the only thing my 10 year old asked for was the 1985 GI Joe aircraft carrier, soooo…he better appreciate the Universal trip, bc they’re the same price, LOL. (my younger one just wants knitting kits.)

  10. RL says:

    “My mom said if I wanted to bake, I could use the big oven. That’s not the point, Mom! ”

    EXACTLY! (I feel this so hard!)

  11. HeyThere! says:

    I love this! I’m trying to convince my husband of this when the kids are a little older. I’m over all the consumerism. The clutter. The junk toys. Hell, we still have gifts we haven’t opened from last Christmas. I keep all toys in a special closet and sloooowly open them all year. ADHD made me forget about them because they were out of sight. LMAO ops. Trips for the win. Make the memories. Doesn’t have to be a big, expensive trip. An over night or weekend trip to somewhere to do something special is always nice too!

    • Concern Fae says:

      A good medium is to just do “stocking” gifts. Something to open together, but not a lot. Candy, oranges, maybe a nice pen or phone accessory.

  12. Twin Falls says:

    This is my exact plan next year to take a holiday trip instead of giving presents. My youngest is edging out of toy age and is a great traveler so seems like a win for everyone.

  13. AnneL says:

    I think this is a great idea for her kids and family. They have means, so I am sure her girls don’t lack for anything. They get birthday presents and probably other things over the course of the year. They also have another holiday with their father. A trip is a special way to mark the occasion.

    I’m older than a lot of people here, in my 50s. When I was growing up, Xmas gifts were a pretty big deal. The only other time I got new things or toys was at on my birthday, or maybe swimming gear in the summer. Frankly, there just wasn’t as much stuff to be had and bought in the 70s and 80s, whether it be clothes or toys or games. I think the opening up of trade in the early 90s changed a lot of things.

    I do remember a few gifts I got. One was an outfit I specifically requested and my mother found for me. I I remember seeing it on “my chair” Christmas morning and being so excited. I wore it out! The other was a big stuffed bear that could kind of lay flat like a fluffy rug on my bed. I got it when I was about 7 and kept it through high school, until my boarding school roommate told me it smelled so I finally got rid of it, lol.

    But Drew’s kids are having a completely different experience, so for them the trips make sense.

    Also, her older daughter looks so much like her! What a cutie. The younger one is adorable to.

  14. Miranda says:

    My dad did the same, and I’m so grateful for it. He was 50 when I was born, and he saw me as an opportunity to correct the things he wished he could’ve done differently with my half-brothers. They’re 19, 21, and 24 years older than I am, respectively, born when my dad was fresh out of law school and a total workaholic. They grew up with plenty of toys and other material things, but other than brief trips to visit relatives for birthdays or holidays, they rarely took true vacations. In contrast, he was semi-retired for most of my childhood and had the time and financial means to show me the world. Until I was 7 or 8, yeah, I probably would’ve preferred toys, but it was actually one of my brothers who admitted that he was a little jealous and explained to me that the memories I’d make were far more valuable. He was right. Besides the precious time I had with my dad all to myself, it made me more curious about the world and eventually lead me to pursue degrees in linguistics and anthropology.

    (Also, my dad never bothered with the whole Santa myth. He believed a lie was a lie, and that I shouldn’t need to be threatened with the specter of an omnipresent, omniscient gift-bearer to extract good behavior. People are always appalled when I tell them this, as if the lack of “Christmas magic” was somehow traumatizing. Personally, I think he had the right idea. Plus, I made some extra money during the holidays because I’d extort my brothers in exchange for me not telling my nieces and nephews the truth about Santa. So I guess that if my dad’s reasoning was tied to some sort of anti-greed message, it didn’t TOTALLY work…)

  15. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    We like a lot of balance over here. My boys have always loved our gifts because they normally get the thing they want with practical gifts and possibly one or two really silly gifts. We cook, we bake, we watch marathons, take afternoon flea and farmers markets….

    This time of year is very very very hard for me. I have only one son (oldest) who remembers my parents a little. My dad made everything magical. He would whisk us away. I’m tearing up …shit lol. And my mom made everything tedious but wholly complete and memorable. I don’t know how to do it like him. But I’ve been told I’m just like him. I’m not. I have, however, tried to make things as easy, flexible and magical as well. We don’t do formal dinners (I grew up hating certain formalities) and we simply find ourselves being spontaneously cheesy all month. And all year really.

  16. lucy2 says:

    I’d imagine her kids have whatever they could possible want/need, and other people get them holiday gifts too, so I think this is a fun tradition she has with them. They’ll have wonderful memories of those trips and experiences.

  17. QuiteContrary says:

    I love buying gifts, and get a lot of joy out of it, so this would be hard for me. I spend a lot of time on Etsy, choosing special gifts for everyone that they will enjoy.
    My kids have grown up visiting England where my husband’s family is, so traveling is not a big deal to them. It’s not so much a luxury as a necessity that we’ve factored into our budget (fancy new cars, for instance, are not our thing).

  18. liz says:

    I LOVE this!

    Kiddo and I were waiting on line for something the other night and talking about the traveling we had done when they were little and how we had managed it (renting apartments, staying with friends, living in a shoebox sized apartment so we could afford things like travel, etc). They have clear memories of the London Eye and the Tower of London from when they were 5 and the glassblowers in Venice/Murano from when they were 8. They have no recollection of whatever gifts might have appeared under the Christmas tree those years.

  19. Bean says:

    I desperately wanted an Easy Bake Oven too. I got the baking kits and made due with the toaster oven. Not the same thing.

  20. ME says:

    She’s divorced right? I’m guessing the kids get gifts from the dad though? Anyways, I think what she is doing is great. I’d rather have fun vacations/trips too.

  21. tamsin says:

    The shared experiences and memories and bonding are priceless. To do things as a family is the greatest gift. If opening gifts is the key thing, there are other occasions.

  22. Scarlet Vixen says:

    We do a bit of a combo, and I honestly really love it. Each person in our family (2 adults/3 kids) gets 4 things: Something to wear, something to read, something you want, something you need. So, usually some pjs & cute socks, some books, a Lego set, & then fresh school type stuff (markers, a cute journal, etc). I buy gifts throughout the year as I find them on sale, so I wind up spending very little on everything. Every other year we add on a trip, and when we do that many of the gifts relate to the trip: New swimsuits/sandals, books about our destination, neck pillow for the plane ride, etc.

    Oh, and we’ve never done the Santa thing. The kids will often help me pick gifts for their siblings, so all the gifts are from each other. And the kids love seeing their siblings’ (and mine & their dad’s) reactions when we open gifts from them/each other. If feels so much more meaningful, imo.