It is easy to get caught up in the commercialized version of Christmas. The Halloween dust (or candy wrappers as the case may be) has barely settled and stores and radio stations alike have already coerced into the Christmas spirit.
Though this is our daughter Quinn’s second Christmas, it feels almost like her first all over again. She is a walking (or shall we say running) talking machine now. Last year Quinn was 7 months old at Christmas, so my husband and I had made an executive decision that there was no need to spend a great deal of money on gifts for her. We bought things that she needed and we would have purchased anyways (i.e. clothing, a few books, etc).
Despite our own self-imposed minimalism when it came to gift-giving, Quinn was spoiled by our immediate and extended families who love the heck out of this girl (who can blame them?!). Amidst all of the hustle and bustle, the paper and ribbons, Quinn’s favorite toys ended up being tissue paper and a colorful plastic ladle that was in my stocking. Quinn quickly commandeered the ladle and to this day, it remains an active participant in her toy bin.
We want to make our loved ones happy and we live to see their faces light up with excitement. However, whether you’re shopping for you spouse, children or friends, I think it is possible to accomplish this while keeping it simple. Focus on a few, quality, meaningful gifts, rather than a ton of gifts that will likely be forgotten before New Years.
Five Strategies to Simplify Holiday Gift Giving
Simplify your shopping by limiting your gift-giving to one gift that fits each of the following 5 categories:
1. Something to Wear
Whether it be traditional Christmas PJs or a new outfit, this gift is both practical and fun. We love shopping local and supporting local companies whenever possible.
2. Something to Read
Adults and children alike can enjoy the gift of a good book. This year we are even starting a new tradition. We are going to give Quinn one book to unwrap every day in December. To avoid breaking the bank on this, I made sure to take advantage of Amazon sales (there will be blowout Black Friday and Cyber Monday prices) and Half Price Books warehouse sales in order to stock up on books at remarkable deals. It can be a mix of Christmas and non Christmas books with the idea being the kids see books as exciting as they begin to look forward to seeing what book they get to read next.
3. Something They Want
This is where the Christmas wish list comes into play. I keep an amazon list all year for Ryan and Quinn in order to help me remember things that they want or need. Then, when it comes time for gift giving occasions such as Christmas, I have a whole list of options to chose from. This also allows me to periodically check on the cost of the item and to keep an eye on when it goes on sale.
4. Something They Need
Practical isn’t always bad.It is a good reminder that even our essentials and our “must-have” items are not to be taken for granted. It’s a chance to recognize what a gift even the smallest luxuries are, yes even underwear, socks or whatever else your loved one may need.
5. Something To Do
This is a great opportunity to give tickets to an upcoming event (concert, play, sporting event, etc). I also love the idea of purchasing a membership or some sort that will allow your family to reap the benefits and joy throughout the year. Membership ideas for families include: The Columbus Zoo, COSI, sports leagues or lessons such as swim lessons.
The idea behind these 5 gift giving guidelines is that you are intentionally seeking out 5 items, rather than potentially going rogue and in some cases perhaps going off budget and worse yet stressing unnecessarily. This is a stark contrast from the ads that we see with dozens upon dozens of Christmas presents waiting beneath the tree for each child.
If you’re like me, self-control can be hard. I love giving gifts and more importantly making loved ones feel special. However, what a gift to remind our loved ones (and ourselves) that Christmas is so much more than gifts under the tree.
After the Hustle and Bustle
After the Holidays were over last year, despite our best efforts to simplify, Quinn still ended up with so many clothes and toys from family and friends alike. In an effort to ride the toy train for as long as possible, we put some of the toys away and each month would introduce a new toy to her collection. We found that this helped her to truly appreciate and play with each of the toys. I also know some people will put some toys aside for other holidays such as birthdays.
Whatever your holiday shopping looks like this year, I hope that you find yourself focusing on the things that truly matter this Christmas. This Christmas it is not about the presents but about BEING present and being intentional.