More Value, Less Hassle Contest

November 6, 2012

in the generous life

About a week ago I wrote about taking time to discuss the upcoming holidays with your sweetie. I think we all want to have meaningful celebrations that make for fond memories. We want to pass on good values to our kids and not lose our sanity to the rush-rush and spend-spend that our culture pushes at us.

Well, I thought this conundrum of holiday hopes and holiday stresses might make for a good contest theme.

So, leave as a comment to this post, your ideas about:

~ how to give your holidays
more value and less hassle ~

What do you do about gift giving? holiday traditions? controlling spending? dealing with relatives? etc. What makes your holidays special and how to do you deal with the down side?

On November 26th I’ll pick a random number and the person who posts in that spot will win a:

Collectible Teapot & Tea 2013 Wall Calendar
(or calendar of winner’s choice that is of similar value from

Links may be monetized.
Image credit (c) / calendar photography by Martin Brigdale


Mystery 32: Join The November Challenge: One Month of Praying for Your Spouse! Nice weekly challenges for the month of November.


Intimacy in Marriage: 5 Dangers of Regularly Saying “No” to Sex Yikes! 



{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather Ratliff November 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

At the beginning of each year, we decide how much to spend on each person at Christmas. Then, we set aside money each month so that when we actually start buying gifts, we already have the money. No worrying about how to pay for it!


Kathy Scheel November 6, 2012 at 6:48 am

On Thanksgiving, we like to go around the table and everyone can share either their favorite Thanksgiving memory or tell what they are most thankful for. It’s a chance for everyone to be heard and valued, from oldest to youngest. It makes me happy to have everyone all together and I love that the focus is on us being a family and also appreciating each individual.


C November 6, 2012 at 6:51 am

Now that we have a little one, I look forward to instituting the ‘something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read’ concept (someone shared it on Pinterest). We may even scale back from that and see what family members get for our kiddo and then fill in (if family buys a ‘want’ then maybe we do the ‘read’ gift, etc). I also hope to continue my mom’s tradition of having each kid pack a box for Operation Christmas Child.


Tammany November 6, 2012 at 7:07 am

This will only be our second Christmas as husband and wife, but last year we created a tradition to sing songs together alone in our apartment. I’m not sure how Christmas will be this year considering our finances.


Jenny November 6, 2012 at 8:08 am

We don’t focus on gifts at all but togetherness and service. Gifts are usually homemade and we make it a point each year to bake cookies and share them with neighbors and friends. We all look forward to a meal shared with family on Christmas. To me Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without good music and the smell of gingerbread cookies coming out of the oven.


Kristie November 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

For Thanksgiving, we have been switching sides each year–we go to my side one year, to his side of the family the next. That way, we aren’t trying to get to both on the same day. It’s much less stressful, and we actually have time to enjoy our meal.


Erin (Mystery32) November 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

I think one of the best things you can do is put your spouse and children first. It’s hard to do but worth it over the years. One way we did this was by proclaiming our first year of marriage that Christmas Eve was just for us, no other family allowed. This was questioned a lot at first, but now our parents and families know the tradition and are fine with it. Leave and cleave to your mate and don’t let others get in the way of that, even for holidays!


Jennifer D. November 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

We have decided this year to give the kiddos “experiences” as gifts. For example, a trip to the zoo, science museum, a hike, etc. That way we don’t accumulate more junk we don’t need, and we make me,prices as a family in the process!


Cindy November 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm

We do give gifts, and splurge at Christmas, but we buy one or two bigger items per person rather than a ton of little stuff, so while there aren’t many gifts under the tree, they’re things that will last for a long time and be appreciated. I buy early, shop sales, etc. so that there’s not last minute rush on gifts. My family is nearby, and my husband’s family is far away, so we spend holidays with my family, except for a couple times when my parents bought us plane tickets to go see his family for the holidays! I do a lot of decorating, but we don’t do baking or lots of parties or things like that. Otherwise the whole holiday season gets too busy!


Shannon November 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm

This will be our first holiday season as husband and wife and our plan is to equally share the holidays among both of our families. My husband’s family has a lot of special traditions surrounding Easter so we will be spending that holiday with his side of the family. We will be spending Thanksgiving with my family and we will split Christmas. Christmas Eve with his family and Christmas day with mine.


alisha November 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

My family loves potlucks. If everyone shares the work we get memories of “aunt mary’s sweet potatoes” and grandma’s fruitcake, less stress planning everything, heritage and memories to pass on for a lifetime!


Irene Fisher November 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

At the Christmas Season, I encourage Advent devotions during the period of waiting to focus on Christ rather than all the business of the season. Yes, I’m still busy, but it all focuses on the purpose. We also engage in activities like bell ringing for the Salvation Army, serving in the community dinners, and giving to Angel tree. I love also the Christmas concerts that are available in various churches, and attend the Christmas Eve services at our church. These activities make the Advent season meaningful.


Nick and Mendi November 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

As a blended family, we have so many “outside” dynamics that can hijack our celebration season. Knowing that the future will cause our kids to be pulled in many directions when they take a wife themselves, we decided to take the weekend before or after Christmas Day to go away for the weekend. Renting a cabin, baking cookies, watching movies, playing games, just being together away is our tradition. This way we get our time together, they get their time with the other parent and when they find that special someone, we won’t be fighting who gets Christmas Eve or Day.


LaLoni November 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm

The way I give the holidays more value and less hassle is living it all year round! I buy little things for those I love and know and even those I don’t know. I also shop all year round. Every time I see something (and the price is within reason), I buy then and save them for x-mas. :)


Celia November 7, 2012 at 12:29 am

In New Zealand there are always huge sales on Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas. Some families give a small $5-10 gift on Christmas Day itself, plus a larger sum of cash. Basically the amount you would have given the person anyway. Then they go to the Boxing Day sales as a family & spend the cash.
That way, each person gets exactly what they wanted, there is no pre Christmas shopping rush, and you get to spend the day together as a family.


Leonor November 7, 2012 at 5:32 am

The economy will make this year very easy for me. If I find time after work to make some gifts, then that is what my children will get. I am teaching myself how to crochet so this could get interesting. I also like to bake, so that will be an option as well. The heart of the holidays is when we open our hearts and tell our loved ones what they mean to us. I will try to do that at every opportunity. This simplicity is exactly what my sweetie needs me to do and he will be glad that there are no big plans or decisions. I hope I win the teapot and calendar:~)


Karen November 12, 2012 at 5:01 am

We have set a Christmas budget. We like to give homemade gifts when possible, this makes the present special and unique. I have just recently switched from coffee to tea, I would love to win the teapot.


Karen November 12, 2012 at 6:51 am

I just started an advent devotional today, A Feast for Advent by Delia Smith. Everybody else is starting the holidays early, why not reflections too? Then I won’t be so worried if I have to skip a day during advent because of the craziness of the holidays, and my heart will already be getting prepared while we’re choosing what to buy and which things to do.

The first day has already given me much needed perspective. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Oh yeah, that’s what this is about! He came once and my LORD is coming again!!


danyelle November 12, 2012 at 11:23 am

I already have a list like this for my hubbie! it’s a great idea for when we need ideas for gifts! lol


Melody Talley November 12, 2012 at 11:39 am

My husband and I try to keep Christmas…and every day of the year…simple! Thoughtful, useable gifts is what we give!


Robin November 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Like some other do, we decide on the amount we want to spend and start saving a little each month. The gifts we give are always something that each person not only wants but also needs. I personally make most of the gifts using my Cricut, my sewing machine, rubber stamps, or my laminator. I love having a cup of tea while working on crafts!


Tammy November 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

These are great ideas, some I have done some not. Thank you for sharing. We really try hard to not focus on the materialism of Christmas. I am a GIVER though and I love to give people be it service, making something special, or a nice wrapped gift. I think its important to pass this character quality down to our children. We make a point as a family to support another family in need by providing food, gifts, and clothing needed. Each person is responsible for shopping for their assigned family member. We decide as a family what other needs we may provide too. I also make sure that each of my children thoughtfully consider giving to one another. They don’t have to be gifts that are purchased either. Everyone is always creative. Be Blessed!


Patty November 23, 2012 at 7:40 am

Like LaLoni, I buy gifts all year. However, that doesn’t mean that when Dec. rolls around I’m finished, but at least I’ve gotten a good start.


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