Enjoying Christmas: Gift Giving

Enjoying Christmas: Gift Giving

We are one week into December, Christmas is less than three weeks away.

Don’t panic.

Oh, sorry, I was talking to myself there. I hope I’m not the only one who saves some of the Christmas activities for after Thanksgiving? If you don’t have it all done, let’s talk gifts. Shopping for gifts seems to divide us into two groups. Group One, who makes sure every gift is purchased, wrapped, and on the tracking sheet by the end of September.

Group Two hasn’t purchased a single gift yet. They will start shopping when the store signs indicating the number of days til Christmas are in the single digits.

I seem to fall somewhere in between. I love picking up little things throughout the year that are unique and I just know a recipient will love. These gifts are almost always for parents, a best friend or my immediate clan. Once the weather cools and the leaves put on their colorful display, I start thinking about extended family members and finalizing my shopping. Here are some of the ways our family does gift-giving.

  • SkipperClan’s extended family draws names. Each of us sends a gift to someone else in the family. Adults to adults and kids to kids. These may be items the person will truly love, gift cards or silly items like you might bring for friends in a white elephant gift exchange.
  • My extended family is a little more complex so we don’t draw names. In the past, I’ve done individual gifts for each sister, brother, brother in law and their kids. As the family has grown and shipping has become a greater expense, I have switched to sending one gift the family can enjoy together.
  • We try to find something unique our parents will enjoy since they don’t need anything in particular. We have also combined funds with siblings to get one bigger gift for them as a couple.
  • Our immediate clan will be trying something I found on Pinterest this year, one gift each they want, need, will wear, or read:
                                                                             Source: dandee-designs.com via Tammy on Pinterest

I try to get a couple of rolls of gift wrap on clearance each year for the following year’s gifts. I keep them along with scissors, tape, gift tags, and ribbons in a storage box designed for that purpose. I only keep Christmas themed items in this box and it stays in storage with the Christmas boxes the rest of the year.

This year I have looked for creative ways to reduce costs like taking advantage of Groupon and Living Social deals, using points from Swagbucks to get Amazon gift cards, and even asking a blogger if she would be willing to make and sell something I saw on her website. I even went Black Friday shopping despite the midnight openings, but I think this was the last year I’ll do that. Ahem. I also shared the link for Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Catalog with our extended family and asked they purchase something through that organization in lieu of my gift this year. I hope to bake items for local friends.

I do think it is easy to go overboard, to take our focus off of Christ during the holiday intended to celebrate his birth. I also think that we can take that pendulum and swing it too far the other direction. Ashleigh wrote a great post about this yesterday at A Deeper Story. I encourage you to read it if you feel overwhelmed with shopping or if you find yourself judging others for the way they choose to celebrate.

What do you love most (or least) about gift giving during the holidays?