Monday, November 10, 2014

Keeping Christmas Gifts Meaningful and Simple

Christmas is my very favorite holiday. I love the religious unity it brings, I love the music, I love the cards, and yes--even as a grown adult, I love the gifts. I always have. I love buying gifts, wrapping gifts, giving gifts, and I love receiving gifts.

Early on in our marriage Zach and I discussed keeping Christmas simple. As a teacher, I noticed so many kids caught up in having the latest this/that, writing out long and expensive Christmas lists, and competing with each other over who got the best things. We decided that no matter what our financial situation with children--we always wanted to keep Christmas simple and meaningful. We didn't feel that we needed to "shower" our child(ren) (or each other) in gifts. A few gifts would suffice. And that's how we spent our first Christmas.

Then we met some friends and church and they had/have a tradition in their family. Each person gets three gifts: a gift of love, a gift of want, and a gift of need.

simple Christmas ideas

Zach and I loved this tradition and adopted it as our own. It's perfect for adapting to any budget and it allows you to cover all the bases of gift giving.  Here is a breakdown of how we look at each gift category.

Gift of Love
This is a thoughtful gift that can be handmade. This gift is usually an act of love and is usually a surprise as you try to figure out how to bring a smile to the other person's face with a thoughtful gift.  This is by far my favorite gift to come up with every year.

Some gift ideas for a spouse: homemade jams/jellies/favorite treats, coupons for special outings, meals, or snacks, homemade foot/neck warmers, quilts, customized calendars, mugs, or apparel. The list is endless on that one. I've given Zach things he could take to work to remind him of me/JaiseAnn and he's usually given me dates or a gift card to my favorite book store that he promised to add money to after every use.

Some gift idea for kids: handmade memory games with pictures of family members, handmade books (similar to the one I made Zach for Father's Day), blankets, headbands, quilts, pillow cases, games, etc. The possibilities are endless. For an older child you could give him/her a coupon for their favorite treat every month or coupons for camp outs in the living room, etc.

Gift of Want
This is a gift that the receiver has been wanting. It can be practical or completely impractical--it doesn't matter, it's something that they want.

Gift of Need

This gift is usually of a practical nature. It's usually clothes or socks for us.

***In addition, Zach and I do plan to give our kids pjs on Christmas Eve (as per tradition), a gift (or two) from Santa, and stocking stuffers.

We hope that our children will love the concept of giving and receiving gifts without having a sense of entitlement. Three Christmas gifts will be the expectation in our home.

How do you give gifts at Christmastime?

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