How To Simplify Gift Giving During Holidays

Recently, I got an two email asking similar type of questions;

Hi Zengirl,

I like to simplify gift giving during Christmas, we have large family between both me and my husband, total of 9 siblings and 17 kids total, not counting cousins, friends and office workers. How do we do it all, without breaking our banks and without hurting anyone’s feelings?

Second email was similar.

Now that thanksgiving is coming up, we told our family members, that we are not going to pool money for Christmas as we are saving up for down payments on our first condo. My mom and sisters seems to be already visibly hurt and upset, as it has been our tradition to pool money each year. How do you do it without hurting anyone’s emotions?

Well, I can see and feel for both of them. It sure is not easy, as in western world, we have associated Christmas as gift giving to friends and family and our media advertisements shows images of happy families opening presents on Christmas morning.

Zenguy and I almost do not give traditional gifts to each other during anniversary and Holidays and prefer more of experience gifts route, but that does not work with kids, our kids like normal other kids loves toys, super heroes, books and puzzles. We as a family do Christmas gift giving to kids and some close family and friends without going totally crazy and tired over holidays parties and gift giving. Believe me there is a middle way, that is not too excessive with 55 gifts each or zero gifts.  Meaningful Holiday Gifts From Heart are always appreciated more compared to expensive gifts that have no values or thoughts behind it.

While, we can not undo years of traditions and mental thinking, we can try to keep bit of sanity, save money and keep ourselves and family happy as we can be; I understand, all of us are different, so pick and choose what works for you.

Simplifying Gift Giving During Holidays;

1. Divide and Choose:

If you have a large family and friend circle, sit down with family and divide and choose 1 or 2 family for gift giving, instead of 9 or more family. I am sure, everyone will be feeling the pinch and cost of gift giving so when you make a decision together as family, hopefully there will be less hurt and disappointment.

Everyone will still get a gift, save money and hopefully, there will be little less stress for everyone as they would have to buy for less people. If you do decide to go through this route, make sure, you divide, adult and kids in equal numbers and rotate people each year just to keep things fresh.

2. Set Buget Limit

If you have a large or small family, set a budget limits for gifts, so everyone is same boat. Someone I know always feels at short end during Xmas, as she buys $50-$75 gifts for kids, while her sister gives $15 gifts to her kids, she feels cheated and resentful. While everyone give according to their budget, if you set the budget limit  to reasonable amount, lets say $25 per gift, than everyone feels equal and satisfied. If you have extra monies, and want to give more, you can do that later or during holidays but no one should feel that they have to match the gift.

3. Give gift for kids only:

Everyone in family can agree that giving gifts to kids and teens only. That may work for some family. Adults can celebrate by other creative ways, such as going out for dinner, watching movies and so on.

4. Give gift of experience.

Experience gifts are going to museum, teaching someone how to ride a bike, cooking class, boat ride, spa massage to local spa, sewing classes, time to relax, adventure outing such as scuba, parachute jumping and so on. There are inexpensive and expensive options for giving experience gifts based on your own budget. The good thing about this option is this experience is remembered long after the holidays are gone and if you match it with person’s interest, it is more meaningful.

5. Give gift of time.

This is my favorite as mother of 2 young boys, I am short on time, so if I get some free, alone time it is like a million dollar gift to me. I am sure, there are plenty people who could use more time in their life. This is most underused gift can do wonders for tired parents, or someone who is care taking of an older parent or sick child. It could be simple enough to buy groceries, drive them, cook food for them, hire cleaning person or do bit of housecleaning for them. You get the idea. The recipient will remember this gift help long after these plastic gadgets gift most people give.

6. Have options:

If you can not do other options above or feel you must have gifts you can choose homemade inexpensive gifts, or inexpensive store bought but useful gifts to people around you.

a. Frugal Gift giving:

You can choose Gifts under $25 for every age, for all taste: Gift Ideas under $25

I am too lazy to do black Friday shopping early in morning, but my younger brother get most of his shopping done on black Friday, where there seemed to be lot of deals happening, so you can buy it on Friday after thanksgiving.  There seems to be lot of Black Friday online shopping deals, for those who wants to avoid shopping.

Best idea that I personally use, that I shop for gifts throughout the year, whenever I find good deals, not only for Christmas, but also for birthdays and anniversaries. It makes my life bit easier.

b. Homemade gifts and other ideas:

There are so many ways we can celebrate and give giving. Check out: Gifts from heart during Holidays

c. Give to gift cards

If you truly do not know what person would like, or they have everything, give gift cards to amazon, or their favorite book store or movie store. That way, they can buy what they like, when they like. They do not have to worry about returning unwanted gifts and you do not have to worry about going through mad rush in to over crowded stores during holidays.

d. Give gift to Charity

You can give gift to local shelter or charity on behalf your family member, and give tax receipt to them in a envelope. It is win win situation in many cases. People may feel good about helping and keep clutter away from home.

e. Give with gift receipt.

If you buy anything give with gift receipt, so the recipient can go return or exchange it if they need. Do not feel personal, if people decide to return, exchange or re-gift your thoughtful gifts. It is surely not you, but it is personal thing. When in doubt, always ask person what they like before spending time to find perfect gift for them as people taste in things can change as with many of us.

7. Focus on “Giving”, not taking

True meaning of any celebration is giving and togetherness of family and friendship. Make sure you focus on togetherness, by spending quality time when eating meals together, opening gifts, or singing songs. Create memories of watching movie together, or joking, decorating a tree, or whatever you want your holidays tradition to be.

You can download my ebook for FREE here: Meaningful Celebrations

Create memories, Be together with family without smothering them and you will have one joyous celebration and tradition! It is all about people.

How To Simplify Gift Giving During Holidays is a post from: Heart and Mind

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