Families Give Up Shopping for 'Buy Nothing' Christmas

Group helps people exchange presents for little or no money.

— -- Shopping and the holiday season seem to go hand in hand, but one group is trying to show people another option with the "Buy Nothing" Christmas.

The project is part of the grassroots "Buy Nothing" project, which aims to connect people who either can’t afford or don’t want to buy new presents.

Molly Hodges said she joined the group after hearing about it from a friend and thought she could help give away some unneeded baby items.

“There are a lot of people who don’t have a ton of money to spend," she told ABC News. "It takes a big dent out of the wallet.”

Hodges said she originally hoped to give away unneeded items taking up space in her house, such as an extra treadmill and baby clothes. But when she decided to stay home with her 1-year-old daughter, she started to use the group to help people get in the Christmas spirits without breaking the bank.

She estimated she normally spent between $500 to $1,000 on Christmas but spent just $50 this year.

The “Buy Nothing” project started small on Bainbridge Island, Washington, but has now grown to nine countries with 80,000 members, according to the project’s website.

Each “Buy Nothing” group centers around a specific neighborhood and people can join by simply giving the administrators their address. In Hodge’s group centered in Ballard, Washington, there are over 700 members, according to the Facebook page. Members can either post an item they’re willing to give up or a post an item they’re looking for.

Hodges said she was able to get a digital camera for her teenage daughter and plenty of stocking stuffers for her daughter’s friend who was also coming for the holiday.

“I didn’t have any money and I found out I had an extra teenager for Christmas,” she said. “[I posted] I need stocking stuffers, stat.”

She said people immediately responded with items they were willing to give away, including a scarf and earrings.

“We’re all willing to come to each other’s rescue if we can,” Hodges said.