A Little Sanity, Please!

September 12, 2012

in the generous life

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m trying to cut back on the stuff in my house and the approaching gift giving season is creeping up on my radar. I need less stuff, not more. That and I need some sane guidelines in giving. I want to give meaningful gifts that are a blessing to the receiver, not something that they hand off at the next white elephant party.

I was wandering around Pinterest and came across this holiday gift giving idea (originally from Given to Love). 

This one is for gift giving to kids, but you could create similar guidelines for others. Perhaps this is gift certificate year or coupon year (this one can be great fun and relatively inexpensive). You might give edible gifts or gifts of beauty. 

The idea is that you plan ahead for simple gift giving so that your holiday season is sane and affordable. If you plan now, you’ll also have the time to prepare and you can share your holidays with hubby and family in a spirit of joy (instead of exhaustion).

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.  Burton Hillis


Will your question lead you both to feel encouraged, confident and capable? ~ The “I CAN” Perspective (from Encourage Your Spouse)


Take the six week challenge ~ Why Your Husband Won’t Meet Your Needs (from To Love, Honor and Vacuum) 



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate S. September 12, 2012 at 3:06 am

We decided on 3 gifts each for our children (plus stocking stuffers). The last few years we went crazy, spent a ton of $$ and the gifts went missing, broken and unappreciated. Our house is overrun. As for others, I make soap, cheese, preserves and baked goods. People, especially older adults who don’t need or want any more clutter, appreciate a gift they can enjoy but not have hanging around. My in-laws loved the custom calender of our children’s pictures so much, they requested it be their Christmas gift every year. Other family members are requesting it, too. I also suggested that for our spoiled children, nieces and nephews included, tickets to museums, parks, zoos, the movies make great gifts that leave an impression, but don’t clutter the house.


Debi - The Romantic Vineyard September 12, 2012 at 7:31 am

What a great idea, Lori. I’m so glad you posted this. Thanks!


Gaye September 12, 2012 at 8:47 am

Hi Lori – Thanks for sharing this – it is a great idea. In some ways gift giving gets harder as children get older (teens and young adults). They tend to want things that are quite expensive, so they have to decide on the one they really want. But then I feel bad that we are “only getting them one thing” and tend to “fill in” with other stuff. It ends up being quite stressful, so I need to not do it this year.

For people outside the family (co-workers, teachers, etc.) I like to give food gifts. I am always looking for something that tastes delicious and is something that most people wouldn’t make for themselve. It also needs to be easily transported and stored. For the last couple of years I have made cherry-almond or cranberry-pecan granola. People seem to really like homemade granola! The only downside is, if you are giving it to quite a few people, you have to make many batches. I started around Thanksgiving last year and nade two batches at a time and froze it.



Evie September 12, 2012 at 10:39 am

Great idea for gift giving, Lori! Another idea I heard about a couple of years ago for Christmas giving for children (or others) is to give three gifts (like the Wisemen): gold would represent something they’ve really been wanting, frankincense would be a gift of scent like perfume, soap-on-a-rope, lotion, etc, and myhrr would be something to encourage them in their spiritual walk like a book, CD, DVD, favorite sermon on CD, etc. I’ve used this the past two Christmases and it has helped me stay more focused and intentional.



Pearl September 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I love this, Lori. The comments all have great ideas, too! As mentioned about the problem of older children (young adults), we now do a Christmas trip somewhere. No presents at all. It was a little weird that first Christmas morning, but now everyone is on board. We have such a great time of family bonding. Even though we haven’t done it yet, I would like to incorporate a way to give back to the community that we visit (volunteer one day somewhere or take clothes for the needy). That’s on the radar for the next time.


Aja September 12, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I love this idea! I have been trying to think of ways to cut down on the number of Christmas and Bday gifts my daughter gets from relatives. Because her dad has remarried, as have I, and her stepfamilies on both sides are very involved, the number of gifts from parents, and stepparents, and grandparents, and stepgrandparents, (and uncles, aunts, step-aunts, it goes on and on) is beyond excessive. I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable about suggesting to people what they should and shouldn’t give, but having some guidelines this year may make things easier. I’ve even debated setting up a fund that would go toward her tuition in lieu of gifts. A part of me thinks it might be tacky, but she needs school a lot more than she does 20 pairs of jeans!


Michelle September 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Thanks for posting this. We give our son and daughter in law a costco membership, with a costco cash card. They love it and its easy for us. My son asks for a specific cookie I make, and I usually give something a bit extra special for my daughter in law, as she is busy with 4 kiddos.
My folks, we have them over for a nice homemade dinner and dessert. Ski passes, bookstore gift cards, go to our youngest son, now in college. My husband and I usually give each other a little something, because we are saving for vacations.
Thanks again for the list, I will be passing this onto family members.


kathy September 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I love the ideas listed above and my step in laws do the three wise men thing. We have three girls born in different seasons so what we have done for the past couple of years is rent the community pool and have an unbirthday party for all three. No gifts tons of friends and family from out of town. Then each get a cake with just immediate family on their actual birthday. They all really enjoy it and their friends start asking about it as soon as summer starts. This year each child will get one reasonable gift and we are going to get them a joint present a trampoline!!


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