Simple Christmas Part 2: Gifts

12 Dec

Gift giving is a complete joy for some people and it is a stress induced headache for others.

This is incredibly true in my immediate family. My Dad is a gifter. He loves to think about people while he’s shopping and find things that are really great. I always love the gifts my dad gives. My husband on the other hand, really has to put his mind to it to get through the gift giving holidays. What to do?

Well we humble ourselves knowing that we can’t out do dad in the gift department. He’s the boss there. It’s good that he is good at giving gifts with a cheerful heart. As long as we are thankful he asks for nothing in return.

I know this isn’t the case with every person, in every family. Which is why it is important to ask ourselves what our priorities are and what we hope to achieve over Christmas. We give, without causing ourselves or anyone else stress. Remember part 1? Be honest. Find out what that means for others in your family as well.

Here is how I try to continue with the tradition of gift giving without getting stressed from all of the chaos of stores and the cash we leave there.

keep it simple and uniform. The last few years have been a bit tight on cash, and time. So instead of gifting to every person I gifted to the couples or families. A dollar store basket some cellophane, and whatever goodies are on sale at shoppers or Walmart was well received. I also have a favorite coffee shop that I was able to buy small bags of artesian coffee for the coffee lovers basket. Each basket came to about a $15 value. That could still add up if you have a big family, but you can certainly keep your baskets small and likely do something closer to $5 per gift.

Hand made. But only if you can start in September and it’s something you truly want to do! This can cut some cost, but only if you shop smart. If hand made makes you more stressed, then don’t do it! It is truly not for everyone. Sometimes you just have to know yourself a little and roll like that. This year I have been willfully unemployed since this summer, so I have the time on my hands to do this. With one income though, it needs to be cash savvy! Michaels has coupons on their web site everyday. As I have needed more yarn, I go in with my coupons and have been able to purchase every ball for under $4. I also have attempted to keep my creations simple so that I only need a ball or less per project. I’m also keeping it uniform by basically making the same thing over and over again but in colours and styles that suite each person. (Eg. a headband for my 16 yr old cousin and a headband for my ma look a little different) One of my friends suggested writing some poetry or a song for a loved one if that’s your talent. How about some homemade art, wood work, diy creation?

second hand. This was a no no in my family, but I’m happy to hear that some of my friends do this for their kids. Vintage toys, perfectly good used clothing and books are a great option, plus it is arguably a good move for the environment and depending on where you shop your supporting a good organization. I’d be so happy receiving consignment lovelies under my tree.

set limits. Why do I so often feel like what I’m giving isn’t enough? I made a list of everything I wanted to make for my family this year and this list was so unrealistic I had to scale back significantly. Why not stick to one simple gift that was given in love and thoughtfulness? Instead of a little of this and a little of that to make the gift look full and “complete”. This one is really hard for me, but I think it’s good one for me to work on. I know many people who regift, and get rid of much of what they bring home, or it becomes clutter. Clutter steals peace in the home too. A hot way of setting limits for gifting to children is: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something the read. Four gifts. Still a lot, but maybe more manageable. Or do the $100 challenge. That’s spend no more then $100 on all of your Christmas gifts. For Heavens sake! Don’t go into dept for Christmas!

skip the stuff. Instead focus on memory making! Go see a play or a movie together (many churches have special Christmas musicals leading up to Christmas). Plan your Christmas occasion around activities instead of the gifts. (Bust out some bored games, minute to win it, sledding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, crafts, making the meal together) Gift coupons! I’ve seen this a lot on Pinterest lately, here is one idea you can use for your spouse to have a gift that gives all year long! Here are some more ideas for how to focus on activities instead of gifts.

One Gift. Something we like to do with our friends is “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant“. These take a little more preparation beforehand, but they make for fun memories and significantly cut the number of gifts you might have prepared for otherwise. Make sure when playing these gift swap games that everyone knows the agreed on budget per gift.

I hope that in all of this hustle and bustle to give good Christmas gifts that you are able to take a moment to appreciate the person you are gifting to and enjoy the experiences that are made during that time.

Do you have any other ideas for simplifying your Christmas gift giving traditions?

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