Simplifying Gift Giving…

I have always had a difficult time not going over board at Christmas.  I think its more that I love to give not that I love to shop (I love to shop too)!  My goal this year is to feel organized as well as simplify my process and control my budget.


  1. I made a list of each person receiving a gift; friends, teachers, coworkers and family; we have a small extended family so it is quite easy.
  2. I assigned a dollar limit to nieces/nephews/cousins/close friend kids under 18 years old.
  3. Families (adults) will receive one of the handmade choices.
  4. This is the first year I have a couple recently turned 18 year olds on my list, I struggled with this but decided that after the age of 18 you fall into the “adult” portion of Christmas and no longer will receive a gift.  Exception will be my son but he will receive 1 gift.
  5. I now examine the lists I have kept  for my children, mom and hubby; I keep an ongoing list in my phone accumulated from trips to Walmart or window shopping of what is on their want list (especially for the hubby because he never knows what he wants, but always wants something)! This list is also helpful when anyone asks me what those in my family are wanting for Christmas (or birthdays, since it is continuously on going)
  6. When my list is complete this year I will shop on amazon, after moving I decided it is the simplest way to buy and ship to our family far away.  I keep a record of what I bought and spent on the list.
  7. I will plan a day with the hubby to shop for the children.  And we will each take L to buy a gift for mom/dad.
  8. I tally the handmade gifts, make a list of supplies need and intend to make one trip to the craft store to gather supplies for my handmade gifts.  I have forced a deadline on myself for these as I often drag them out to the last minute!

HANDMADE GIFTS for Teachers & Close Friends

Each year I try to have several ideas that may work for Christmas gifts, I gather them up through out the year and pick my top favorite to use.  I have received some fantastic handmade gifts; personalized pillow cases, inexpensive coffee tumblers with personalized coffee cozies, crocheted bible covers, handmade hats and scarfs..etc!  I am excited for the ideas for handmade gift ideas that I intend to use this year for teachers and close friends…some of them are in fact original IDEAS too!!  I am going to share my past success’ with you as not to spoil my gifts for this year for those friends and family reading!!!   In the past made sugar scrubs (you can scent them to fit a feminine or masculine theme).  I made homemade Irish Cream, it was a tremendous hit, and very easy!  I made handmade personalized coasters, they were amazing!  L personalized candles & coffee mugs for teachers while I added the sugar scrub and a Starbucks GF to make fun baskets; you could add some coco or delicious coffee to simplify!  There are links below to some of the gift ideas I have successfully done, we all know Pinterest can be a bit hit and miss when it comes to success!!

Sugar Scrub Recipes –

Hand Decorated Candles –

Personalized Stamped Coasters –

Homemade Irish Cream –



This is last years tree on Christmas Eve, before Santa appeared.  Now this is gifts from my mom and myself combined under one tree for 7 people but it is still A LOT…and mostly it was for L.  This year though I am attempting with L to approach Christmas in a different, simpler way.  I do not have concerns of materialistic behaviors, or lack of gratitude from her (most days!)  I feel like she is very blessed to have the things she needs and most of the things she wants, as well I feel very blessed that we can provide that for her.  BUT she gets gifts from grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and extended cousins and really close friends…etc so I feel it is over whelming.

I have decided that this year I am going to attempt the WANT, NEED, READ, WEAR approach.  I am adding a few more categories:

  1. PLAY (games are Christmas traditions at our house)
  2. WATCH (a good movie)
  3. CREATE (art or science project).

I have not given a second thought on how L will feel about it, she will love it, she loves Christmas and loves the season and the magic…it is less about getting for her.  Christmas morning is going to be great; I am going to have more time to focus playing with 1 or 2 items together instead of spending the day taking tiny Barbie shoes out of the ridiculous packaging just to have half of them lost before Christmas dinner!  I however am struggling to keep myself in check and abide by the categories.  I go out and see something, “oh L would love that”…I keep telling myself that the best thing I can do for her is give her my time and limitations on things.  I mean that horse she HAD to have last Christmas is sitting in the bottom of her stuffed animal basket and the princess castle she HAD to have 2 Christmas’s ago I sold on craigslist…she does not need these THINGS, she needs surrounded with friends and family who have time for her and a desire to spend it with her!!  SO as hard as it is I am going to stick to my guns!

I really enjoyed reading this Blog and loved her ideas for each category, maybe you will enjoy it too!!


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