Like millions of others, I’ve been out and about Christmas shopping over the past couple of weekends.

We’re going to have a houseful over the festive season so we’ve been stocking up, buying the sort of food and drink we wouldn’t normally get.

I’ve been hunting beer bargains and currently have quite a nice little stash in my garage.

(I say ‘little stash’ but it’s probably big enough for me to open a pop-up off licence.)

But this year is going to be a little different from previous years.

My wife and I have struck a Christmas gifts deal for the first time in our married life – we are not buying presents for each other. Nothing at all, not even a token gift.

It was a difficult subject to broach. Basically it sounds like you are saying: “I don’t like you enough to be bothered to buy you a present.”

I was inspired by’s Martin Lewis who has a launched a manifesto aiming to stop the giving of unnecessary Christmas presents.

And what he says makes a lot of sense.

In the first instance, he says, it creates an unfair obligation on others.

My Lewis concedes that many people enjoy giving gifts and take joy from the simple act of giving.

But he argues it is important to think about the people getting the goodies.

He said: “Generosity could actually be hurting the recipients, not helping. By giving a gift to someone, or their children, you create an obligation on them to do the same, whether they can afford to do so or not.

“If that obligation is something they will struggle to fulfil, then you’re actually letting them down.”

Mr Lewis also argues Christmas present giving mis-prioritises our finances, a ‘zero-sum’ game, where often people just give gifts of similar values to each other.

He quotes the following example:

Sharon gives a £20 necklace to Violet.

Violet gives £20 earrings to Sharon.

If we examine the net result then, in fact…Sharon has spent £20 to get earrings. Violet has spent £20 to get a necklace.

He says: “The problem here is Sharon’s loaded and Violet’s skint. Without the gift-giving obligation, would Violet have really chosen to spend her hard-earned £20 for a necklace?

Instead, perhaps she’d have bought food for her children, paid some bills, or put the money towards replacing worn out shoes.”

In other words, Violet’s financial priorities have been skewed because of gift-swapping. She would’ve been better off if they had agreed not to give in the first place.

And to make matters worse, we give gifts that aren’t ever used. He contends that unused gifts are sent all the time to fulfil seasonal obligations.

He added: “We’re spending money on unneeded, unwanted and unused goods; that’s not good for our finances, and doesn’t help the environment, as it just clogs up landfills.”

And he says we are setting a terrible example for our children, teaching them that rampant commercialism is not just a good thing but a social imperative at this time of year.

If you could, you would be hearing a massive round of applause from me.

I couldn’t agree with him more and I had all the evidence I needed when I was fighting my way through Manchester crowds a couple of weekends ago.

I’m not going to go all religious on you and say we have lost the true meaning of Christmas, but surely the true meaning of Christmas isn’t unnecessary spending and debt which some people will still be paying off well into the New Year.

I don’t want to come across as mean, anti-social or Scrooge-like, but surely for the sake of our sanity and our household finances – especially in these times of austerity and uncertainty – it’s time to step away from needless spending.