Curious on how to simplify Christmas gift giving? Try these not-so-trendy but effective methods.
It’s almost Black Friday (in the US anyway), and the holiday shopping frenzy is about to begin. Before it gets here, take a moment to consider how you want gift giving to look this year.
Do you want gift giving to be simpler? Less clutter? Less financial burden? Less stress?
Over the years, I’ve experimented with all sorts of gift giving trends. Some stuck. Some were dumb. Well, they weren’t dumb, but they didn’t work for our family, and that’s OK.
Whether your love language is gift giving, you absolutely despise the idea of more things entering your home, or you can’t fathom how you can financially afford to give any gifts this year, read on. Maybe there’s a solution here that works for you.
Here’s how I have simplified gift giving in our family over the past few years around Christmas:
I don’t buy Christmas gifts for some family members
Want to simplify gift giving? Find out who really even cares about receiving a gift.
I don’t play favorites. There are some family members that LOVE exchanging gifts, and to not buy gifts for them would be an offense. I love these people, and so I buy them gifts that I hope they will love and use.
However, I have other family members who could care less if I buy them a gift or if they receive one. For these family members, we have a mutual agreement, no gift exchanges.
We still get together. We share meals. We just don’t buy things the other person needs or wants. Simple enough.
This need for change became extremely evident the year we bought my sister-in-law an Instapot Air Fryer attachment. She bought us the same thing.
We laughed, and then we decided maybe we were in a position in life where we could just spoil each other’s kids and not stress about buying each other something.
I stopped buying gifts for co-workers at Christmas time
I used to think I was obligated to buy gifts for my co-workers. I mean, some of them got gifts for all of us. (HOW?!! Holy cow expensive.)
I would stress and stress, and then I would buy stuff that they probably didn’t like or care about.
Finally, I decided I was done buying gifts for my co-workers. I cared about these people (well, at least some of them), and I did appreciate them, but it felt silly to spend money on useless things for them.
Instead of giving gifts, I found it more fun when we all got together for a special lunch out or when we had a festive little potluck to get together and celebrate the season. Gifts weren’t needed.
If you can’t stand the idea of not giving anything, consider giving the gift of a kind note.
Grab a stack of cheap cards, and write a nice, genuine compliment about that person, leaving it on their desk to discover around the holiday time.
Kind words are far more valuable than useless gifts.
We started to request experience gifts for our family
Some grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren. It’s the sweetest, kindest thing until it’s clutter. (Kidding. Kind of.)
Years ago, when the clutter had me drowning in my home and frantic for a change, I got desperate and started changing the conversations around Christmas.
It wasn’t always a welcomed conversation, asking people who LOVED giving gifts to simplify gift giving (depending on the friends/family members), but it was a conversation that was necessary.
We needed less crap. I was getting rid of it as fast as I could, and the idea of more toys entering our home was sending me into a panic.
One year, to ease the burden on the grandparents for shopping for all four people in our family, we asked for a family gift. We asked for a membership to our local children’s museum. (It was my kids’ favorite place to go, but it was a large expense for our family each year.)
When we moved to a new city, we asked for a membership to the zoo.
Every year, we get a family membership to a favorite local attraction, and it is the most used gift ever!
Now, every time we use our passes, I remind our kids who gifted them to us and remind them to thank those people when we see them again.
I’ll sometimes even send pictures when we are there, thanking the person again for the gift that keeps blessing us.
If you want to spoil your grandkids and kids, consider a family experience gift. It could be the perfect solution!
We give experience gifts
Want to simplify gift giving? Try gifting an experience gift. They give the recipient a chance to experience something new, without adding more clutter to their homes.
OK, when gifting children, you have to be careful with experience gifts. There’s no instant gratification, so you better have something small to go along with it. Their little brains can’t always get excited about something they can’t enjoy RIGHT NOW.
However, experience gifts truly are magical! They can be big or small.
You can give a gift certificate to the zoo, but you can also throw in a zoo puzzle or something else cool and related. Get creative!
As kids get older, they are better with delayed gratification, and experience gifts can be the coolest present ever!
Check out these experience gift ideas.
I make a few homemade gifts
I’m not super crafty. Well, I can be, but it doesn’t bring me joy. Usually, if I make something, it’s for myself and then I get bored and move on to something else.
However, each year I usually try to make something to give to those people I love but who don’t expect much in the way of gifts.
You don’t have to be a master crafter to give something homemade.
One year, we grew WAY too many watermelons. I learned to pickle watermelon rinds (quite the sweet treat), and I gave everyone a jar of that with a bit of mistletoe we shot down from our local trees.
Another year, my girls learned some basic sewing stitches. Everyone got a rice hot pack that year in varying colors. Super handy and cute.
One year, I simply split my sourdough off into multiple jars, photocopied my favorite recipe, and gave everyone a starter for Christmas. Some people may have instantly “killed” their starter, and that’s OK. It was the thought that counted.
I even made quilts one year! (That won’t ever happen again. Quilts are hard. LOL)
If you have a gift, whether is baking bread or making quilts, share that gift with others. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive either. Simply give with love.
Need simple but homemade gift ideas? Check out these ideas for kids.
Give the gift of your time
The gift of your time can be one of the greatest gifts ever. Plus, it’s pretty much free.
Some years, I simply remind my friends I’m a great babysitter and will take their kids anytime they would like for a fun date night with their spouse. No strings attached. I even encourage them to go ahead and put a date on their calendar!
I love to invite someone over for tea around the holidays and share all my Christmas cookies with them. We’ve been known to eat so many we feel sick and then laugh about it afterward.
Friendship and good company are the best gifts you can give someone. Not everyone wants a fancy gift, they are happy with your time.
Give the gift of time this year. It’s unique and needed.
Change your gift-giving habits
These are just a few of the changes I’ve made over the years to simplify gift giving and gift receiving. Nothing fancy. Nothing trendy or revolutionary. Just simplicity at its best around the holiday season.
Have you wanted to simplify gift giving for the Christmas or holiday season? What’s worked for you? Share in the comments section below.
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