Do you have picky people on your gift-giving list? If not, consider yourself lucky! I have quite a few people on my Christmas list that are challenging for me to shop for. They have everything they could possibly want or need, and what I can give them feels so paltry. In order to make it truly more blessed to give than to receive, I’ve stopped focusing on gift-giving for the sake of ceremony and honestly give from my heart. I’ve had to rethink gift-giving over the last few years, and I am finally satisfied with my less-is-more approach. Read on to learn some of my streamlined strategies for making the holidays less stressful and making everyone on my gift-giving list smile.
No, I didn’t come up with this idea! I ran across it, probably on Pinterest or Facebook. We adopted this with our kids last year. It made a huge difference with their expectations on Christmas morning. To be fair, my kids have never asked for big, expensive gifts. We’ve had some pretty lean Christmases in the past. One year, Audrey remembers me telling her that Santa was on a budget so she had to really think hard about the thing she wanted most. I still always felt like I had to spend more than I had to spend. Even worse, I felt compelled have a TON of things for them to open.
Last year, I put a stop to that with the want-need-wear-read list. It’s pretty simple. I ask each of them to complete a list with something they want, need, will wear, or will read. I ask for three suggestions for each category so that I can pick and it will still be somewhat of a surprise. This year, I was thrilled when they all admitted they didn’t NEED anything! Way to go, teenagers. They each know to expect four gifts under the tree on Christmas morning, and that’s all. It always works out for me that I’m able to keep the costs fairly equal, too. I love this because they get to really enjoy a few things rather than be overwhelmed by so much!
2. Themed Gift Baskets
This one takes a little bit of thought and planning, but can be a whole lot of fun to put together. Sure, you can order a basket from Harry and David or another similar company, but I really enjoy assembling a basket on a theme. If someone you love enjoys cooking, put together a basket that includes an unusual cookbook, personalized (see #3) apron, special plate or baking dish, and even the ingredients to make a meal. For a family, create a movie or game night basket, complete with snacks and prizes. Do you have a reader on your list? Fill up a basket with hot beverages, a warm blanket, a literary-themed mug (Out of Print has all the bookish things your bookworm would want!), bookmarks, a reading journal, and a gift card to your local bookstore. For the sports fan, fill up a basket with a bunch of goodies with their team’s logo and snacks for watching the game! These show your recipient how much you really care by giving your time and energy to select things just for them.
3. Monogrammed/Personalized Anything
Okay. I’m talking about me here. I like anything that has my name or monogram on it! Literally, anything. It’s the Southern girl in me. But for real, I think when you give a personalized gift, it shows that you slowed down and took time to think about your recipient. Marley Lilly is my favorite website for monogrammed gifts for my daughter (and it is where my wish list came from, too). Trust me when I say that any tween, teen, or grown-up girl is going to LOVE a pair of sparkly monogrammed duck boots. (Size 6, little e, big G, little c on the monogram, please and thank you!) There are lots of personalized options for guys, too, but I can speak with certainty that the ladies on your list will adore these kinds of gifts.
4. Stocking Stuffers
A few years ago, we stopped buying gifts for my parents, at their insistence. They join us on Christmas morning for brunch at our house, and I hated the idea of not giving them gifts at all. That year, I decided to fill up stockings for them. They loved them!!! I picked out snacks they love, personal care products, and fun knick-knacks. Some things have become a tradition. For instance, I always get my dad a Farmer’s Almanac in his stocking. My kids enjoy their stockings, too. That was always the one gift I told them that didn’t come from Santa, so they especially liked to see what Mom and Dad put together for them. Stockings are a fun way to keep the costs down but still create a very personalized and meaningful gift.
Several years ago, we decided our kids didn’t need any more toys that would just go in next year’s yard sale. Experiences are so much better. Back in those days, Santa would write them a letter full of clues and they would have to try to figure out where they were going. We would plan 3-day trips to a town within easy driving distance, get a hotel room (with a pool, of course!), and have some adventures, like visiting museums, shopping at a special store, or seeing a movie. And of course, in true Gilbert family style, we would eat some good meals. Now that our kids are bigger, they get a say in where we go. This year, they’ve chosen Cincinnati, and we’re going to a hockey game, visiting a museum or two, and seeing the lights at the zoo.
Certainly, all experience type gifts don’t have to be so elaborate. A simple afternoon at a special place, tickets to a play or concert, or a “coupon” book of pre-planned date nights would be just as appreciated. These experiences mean so much to the recipient. You are able to create a memory that will outlive any old sweater or household item.
What about you? How do you make gift-giving more meaningful? How do you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list? Leave me a comment!