Holiday Gift Giving Made Simple! 7 Awesome Tips!

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What to give? What to give? If gift giving has become more stressful than enjoyable during your holiday season it might be time to simplify! The ideas below can help you enjoy gift giving again and help you enjoy your holiday shopping again!

I know that gift giving was one of my LEAST favorite holiday season activities for a while. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to give people gifts – there was just too much pressure to “get it right” and “get the perfect thing” all while keeping it within my budget.   

My perfectionism had really started getting in the way of any “joy of giving.” For some people, the budget-busting gift giving requirement can be super stressful as well. Being generous can be a mood booster but when it’s an obligation and all comes at once it can be a real downer.  

So here are 7 ways to make your holiday gift giving easier! 

A golden gift box

5 for $5 or less

We started doing this a couple of years ago when several family members were having a budget crunch and didn’t have a lot of money for buying gifts. We didn’t want to just say, let’s not bother. So we decided for the small gathering of the 4 of us that year we would each buy each other person 5 gifts and the gifts had to be $5.00 or less each.  

We were each buying for 3 other people and our maximum budget for each person was $25.  That way we still had lots of fun packages under the tree   This could work with a smaller number as well if that’s too much or you have a larger group. You could do 4 gifts for under $5  per person or even 2 or 3 gifts for under $5 per person.  

It sounds silly, but I couldn’t believe how this relieved the pressure of gift giving for that group in our family. Christmas shopping was actually fun again! I zipped around Target using my ingenuity to come up with 5 things my oldest stepson would like that were under $5.  We all got some good, fun and useful stuff, too. I still use the insulated lunch bag I got and the I-Phone camera stand!  


Only buy for the kids 

This is a great standby if there are kids and adults on your list. If everyone agrees to only buy for the kids that can relieve a lot of gift-giving pressure (because as adults most of the time we just go ahead and buy what we want unless it’s super expensive – and then those items aren’t necessarily in anyone else’s gift giving budget). 

Exchange Names 

Don’t want to be left out as an adult, this tried and true method can cut down on the number of gifts you buy. This works great if you are all together for Thanksgiving, for example. But if you aren’t together it can still work.

You just putting all the names of recipients on slips of paper, and list them all on a piece of paper. Then draw a name out of a hat and writing it down next to the first name on the list.  Then you just let everyone know who they got.  Be sure to put a price limit on the gift as well so that there’s less pressure to “get it perfect” or worry over breaking the bank.

Live Like a Queen on your 9-5 Pay! Book cover and description.

2 Christmas presents in teddy bear wrapping paper.

Give a Donation to Charity Instead

For years we made donations to a favorite charity, Heifer International, in the name of many of our adult relatives. This is a great charity if you aren’t familiar with it. It was started by an aid worker during the Spanish Civil war.

He was handing out food (milk so the story goes) and saw it wasn’t going far enough to address the need. Suddenly he thought, what if we didn’t just hand out a cup of milk but instead could donate a cow.

For 70 years this charity has been providing livestock and training people all over the world in sustainable farming practices so that they don’t just get a handout but instead actually begin to be able to feed themselves and their communities. How awesome is that!

You can give a flock of chicks to a family or community (along with the training needed to be sure they flourish) for only $20 or a goat for $120. There are many other different farm animals and price points that are offered as well. Check them out: Heifer International  Just so you know, I’m just a huge advocate. I don’t get anything for promoting this great organization.  

A candy striped cup of coco and plate of cookies on a table in the snow

Give an Experience 

Many of us already have a whole lot of stuff and if we need something, as I mentioned before, we often just go out and buy it for ourselves. So giving an experience instead of a thing might be a good idea. Tickets to a play or a concert or the botanical gardens or something else the receiver might enjoy can be a great way to go.  

Want to foster more togetherness with family members or friends? Spring for an activity for everyone – Treat everyone on your list a game of bowling or a movie ticket to a movie you can go to as a group. 

A dog laying on the couch next to a Christmas tree

Shop Around a Theme  

One year I decided to give everyone some kind of cool socks. Maybe cashmere or hunting or skiing depending on the person. Just because there is a theme doesn’t mean you can’t personalize! Plus I gave them a gift card to Starbucks or Panera, whatever I knew they would like and be able to easily use. 

You could do this with pajamas or books or just about anything. Many people already do this with sweaters but sometimes it can be tough to “get it right” with things that are worn on the outside. Smaller items that are worn to bed or generally hidden under pant legs can be a safer bet.  

A stack of Christmas presents

4 Gift Rule for Kids

Speaking of themes…I’ve been hearing a lot about this 4 gift rule for kids. You might find it useful as well. Each child gets 4 gifts. 

1) something they want 

2) something they need 

3) something they wear 

4) something they read 

So that might work for your family as well. 

A person sitting by a fire with their feet up and a cup of cocoa

4 Bonus Gift Giving Tips

Talk about gift giving and set limits well ahead of the season so that you don’t end up talking to someone to try to set a limit after they’ve already started shopping for you.  

Support your local retailers if you can. The mall in our town is just about empty and I know a lot of towns that are experiencing the same thing.  Use it or lose it. If you have a small business retailer in your town you can support that’s even better.  

For out of town friends and family that you won’t be seeing in person over the holidays, shopping online does make a lot of sense because then you don’t have to package and ship what you buy. (Because wrapping stuff up the right way and getting it to the post office or UPS is just way more time consuming than you think it will be!) 

Last tip – Don’t worry about “Perfection!” Try to relax and remember that the gift you’re really giving is the fact you care about this person enough to want to give them something special for the holidays. The gift is a just token of your affection for them. Little kids might not understand this but the adults on your list certainly should.

So enjoy the process as best you can and remember it’s O.K. to simplify and make it easier. That may be one of the best gifts you can give yourself during this busy time of year!

If you enjoyed this post please share it on Pinterest!

Want more tips to help relieve your holiday stress? Check out this post: 7 Game-Changing Stress Relievers for a Happier Holiday Season

P.S. If you’d like an easy to follow plan to bring more simplicity to your life – The Seven Days of Simplicity Action Plan can help!



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