Thursday, October 9, 2014

31 Days to a Peaceful Holiday Season: Gift Giving/Planning

Welcome back to Almond Place!  This month, I'm participating in Write 31 Days where each writer focuses on one topic for the month.  I'm writing about my intentional ways of planning for our holiday season to make them as stress free and enjoyable as possible.  You can read all of the previous posts HERE.

Today, I'm going to fill you in on how my little family handles our Gift Giving.  Over the course of the next few days, I'll be giving you some gift ideas and places to purchase so you can get a jump start on your shopping.

Before the Hubs and I ever had kids, I remember reading this catchy little saying in Real Simple magazine.  It's stuck with me for years and the minute I read it, I knew that we needed to adopt that philosophy.

I love presents!  I mean, who doesn't, really?! I love giving them, I love getting them, I love buying them for myself! But what I've realized is the more I buy, the more I spend, the more I clean up crap, the less I have to buy the stuff I really want or need.  Our kids lives are abundantly blessed with toys, clothes, gadgets, experiences.
I knew we needed a way to reign in the holidays without being a party pooper but also without indulging in the gross excess that our culture encourages this time of year.

Here is that saying:

Something you want.
Something you need.
Something to wear.
Something to read.

I think it's brilliant and we've used this as our holiday shopping philosophy for over 6 years.

I carry a little card in my wallet with each of our names on it and simply keep track of things throughout this month. I have a general idea of what the kids need, wear and read.  They are now at the age of being able to articulate their want.

From us, Mom and Dad, they each receive 4 gifts. That's it. I spend about $100 on each kid....usually less because I'm methodical in my sale watching and planning ahead. I rarely buy their gifts impulsively unless it's something that literally jumps into my lap.  This keeps my budget in check while still allowing for a beautiful holiday together.

They of course receive many other gifts from grandparents, aunt & uncles, some family friends, their godparents.  They have NEVER been disappointed in their loot come Christmas morning.  In fact, they still have so much that we don't rush them to open them all and we are often left opening their gifts for them a few days after Christmas because they love to play with the new stuff they've received.

We have a slightly different tradition when it comes to asking Santa for gifts....First of all, we have some guidelines that Santa must live animals in his sack, no ipads (too breakable...), etc...We help guide them through a list of what might be reasonable for the elves to make and for Santa to deliver.  They are allowed to ask Santa for 2 things. We're not super rigid in this, but they know that Santa will bring them one item from their list. He may also be responsible for their stockings, and he may also bring a couple of family gifts ;-)...just depends on how organized Santa is that year.

I feel that for us, the idea of 4 gifts helps teach them that Christmas isn't about getting everything you want. We want to instill in them that service to others, and gifting others is more important. We want to focus on it being Jesus' birthday. We want them to be appreciative of their gifts and many blessings.

Do you have any special formulas for handling gift giving with your family?  Do you set a budget? Are you able to stick to it easily or do you blow through it every year? I'd love to hear your gift giving tips!

I'll address our larger outreach to extended family, teachers, and others over the next few days.  Come on back tomorrow when I'll have a Mom/Dad gift giving guide!


I'm linking up:Garay TreasuresMama Moments MondayWeek's EndLiving in this Season


  1. That is a very helpful saying! This is our 3rd Christmas as parents and the two previous we didn't buy any gifts for our children. We get so many gifts from family I can't imagine needing or finding room for more toys! I am thinking that will change as they get older.

    1. Absolutely, Charity! As they get older, we've purchased more for them....when they were little, they really had no "wants" per the boys have definite things they are desiring. Since they are generally modest, we try to honor those requests :-)

  2. Great philosophy Mandy, and very practical too. Thank you for linking up the other day to the "Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me" series, it means a lot. God bless, Rachel xo

  3. This is great! We started it last year and I loved it- thank you for linking up!!