Gifts and Christmas tend to go hand-in-hand. They’re like toast and butter, cardigans and fall, and me and coffee. It’s hard to have one without the other!
Or is it?
Ever feel like Christmas gift-giving can become a source of stress or concern? Maybe it’s financial concerns, or comparing what your family can do to that of another, or feeling like someone is always being left out.
Giving is supposed to be a joy and an expression of love.
Though it can be a challenge to keep it that way during the busy Christmas season, I really think there are ways to simplify Christmas gift-giving and keep it in its proper place.
I want to give with a heart of love, joy, and thankfulness. Keeping Christmas gift-giving simple helps me do that.
How We Used to Handle Christmas Gifts
When it was just my husband and me, we didn’t make a big deal about Christmas. We actually stopped giving one another Christmas gifts after we got married. Part of that may have had to do with getting married in college.
After our family began to grow, we started thinking about Christmas gifts and what kind of traditions we wanted for our family. We knew that big Christmas gift budgets weren’t going to be on the radar for us.
We began very small with just one small gift each to our young children and homemade Christmas cards to our parents and siblings.
While that approach definitely kept Christmas very simple, as our financial constraints loosened a little bit, we wanted to be able to be a little more generous, while still sticking to simplicity.
How We Keep Christmas Gift-Giving Simple
We have decided to give Christmas gifts to our children, parents, grandparents, and siblings. Though there are many other important people in our life, this approach helps us not feel like we are excluding anyone. It’s easy to stick with our immediate family!
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Gifts to Our Children
Taking a cue from the wise men’s three gifts to the young child Jesus, we give our children three gifts.
- Something to wear, and yep, these gifts have come from thrift stores some years!
- Something to read, which is typically a character-building Lamplighter book.
- Something for play or pleasure, depending on their interests that year.
Sometimes we also get an additional family gift for us to all share.
Gifts to Our Family
Our siblings, parents, and grandparents get handmade gifts from us. In the past, I’ve made jams and breads or similar treats, but I’ve now started giving herbal goodies.
Tea is always a hit, and usually included. I mix a blend and then bag it in press and seal bags (you can find those here, here, or here). Last year I also added some of my Skin Soother Salve, and this year I have a couple other goodies in store.
We’ve done various types of homemade cards in the past. Now that our children are older, and we have more of them, we put them to work for the cards.
Typically someone draws, someone does lettering, a few littles color, and we all sign our names. I made double-sided color copies, and voila! Homemade cards for everyone.
Other Simple Gift-Giving Options
Of course, our approach to simplified Christmas gift-giving isn’t the only option or answer! Other families have developed their own takes, too.
- Some might forgo gifts to their children altogether for a year and give to a worthy charity.
- You might consider a focus on fun family traditions instead of gifts.
- Experiences offer a unique gift, minus the trouble with clutter and stuff come January and February.
- The want, need, wear, read take is another great approach to simple gift-giving.
- And when all else fails, and you don’t have a plan, hit the Dollar Store for some seriously frugal fun.
It really is okay to scale back the Christmas giving to a simpler approach. Gifts are a great way to show love, and at Christmas, to remind our children about the greatest gift ever given: Jesus Christ.
But if they take away from that or start to cause stress, there’s nothing wrong with simplifying.