December 10, 2009

Simplified Gift Giving . . .

Although it is fun to shower others with gifts this time of year, for me it can often become an overwhelming frenzy of buying, wrapping and mailing with much of the joy missing due to chaos and lack of preparation on my part.

There are a few friends I exchange a small gift with each year. In years past I have felt pressure to out do my previous year's gift causing myself undue stress. These friends and I have all agreed to simplify our gifting to one another by choosing a set gift.

For my friend Scharman and I it is a book. I look forward to this tradition each year, knowing that come Christmastime, I will have a good read awaiting me under the tree. It is also comforting to look on the bookshelf in my bedroom and see the gifts she has given me over the years - words of wisdom and understanding that have blessed my life.

As a family we send a new {and difficult!} puzzle to close friends back in Utah each Christmas. This tradition started with my parents and our close family friends the Peters. I cannot remember a Christmas at home that did not involve the mass of us hunched over a puzzle at the dining room table. Now I have my children helping me with our own puzzle - and I still go help my parents with their puzzle too.

And with a few of my friends here in Virginia, I exchange an ornament each year. I like to keep my eye out year round for something special that reminds me of them or relates to what's happening in their life at the time. It doesn't have to be expensive - just meaningful.

These little set gifts make my Christmas shopping easier and more focused. What do you do to simplify your gift giving?

Ps. Speaking of gifts . . . you'll want to check back tomorrow for my December Giveaway! I heart brown paper packages tied up with strings!
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Apis Melliflora said...

I simplify by limiting my shopping window, by re-gifting lost/ forgotten items in the house, by ordering online, by gifting experiences (classes and theater performances) and by having my children only ask Santa for three gifts reflecting the three gifts of the Wisemen. But I'm always looking for more ways to simplify!

Tobi said...

I do a gift exchange with both sides of the family. Friends don't get gifts from me at all. Sorry friends. I send out Christmas cards with pictures instead.

Last year I adopted the three gifts for each of my children plan. I got the idea from Sharlene Anderson. They get three gifts from us and one from Santa. Of course generous grandparents usually succeed in upping the ante every Christmas. =)

The Carlsons said...

I love gift giving and I start thinking and planning as I see things starting in the fall. I hide them away in the guest room dresser. Since I have a couple of birthdays that happen pretty close to Christmas I also start looking for things for that too so I'm know if you see it why make the second trip?

LJB said...

As many do, my family implemented the three gifts representing the gifts of the wisemen. In correspondence to the meanings of the three wisemens gifts we do a needful gift, a meaningful gift and a joyful gift. On Christmas morning we talk about each gift and the meaning behind it. It helps to slow Christmas morning down and to focus us more on Christ. It also helps me to have to really think about what I am getting my family and it helps me from buying too much like I used to! The three gifts come from mom and dad so the kids still get a gift from Santa. They also earn money to buy the other a gift. I also buy early, I have found October has just as good sales as December. So usually I am done with most of my shopping by October. With less to do in December, the more time I have to focus on Christ and not the hustle and bustle that sometimes is associated with Christmas!