Keep gifts simple (Day 5 of 31 days to take the Stress out of Christmas)

31 days to take the Stress out of Christmas - large

This post is part of a series – “31 days to take the Stress out of Christmas”. You can read all the posts in the series here.  And to make sure you don’t miss a post you can subscribe to have every post delivered to your inbox, or follow me on facebook.

Day 5 - Keep gifts simple

Yesterday we talked all about why and how you should make a gift list.  Today I want you to encourage you to look back at the list you made.  Whether it is just a list of names or names with gift ideas and see any areas you can SIMPLIFY it.    Either simplify it to decrease your budget or decrease your stress.  Because every gift on your list whether it be homemade or store bought WILL cost you time and money. 

1. Can you eliminate any names from your list?  Is there anyone you can cross off?  It may be nice to give all of your girlfriends a small gift but do you need to/have to?

2. Can you bake or make a homemade gift instead of buying something?  Is there anyone you can make something for instead of buying/wrapping/delivering a store bought gift?   Now sometimes making something CAN take longer than buying something.  So in that instance you need to consider what you have more of – time or money.

3. Can you give a gift card instead of a gift?  Some people may consider cash or a gift card tacky, but I personally love them!  Or at least I love getting them.  I can usually make any money stretch farther than most by shopping sales, clearance racks, and using store coupons/discounts.  So I love to get gift cards.  But for the same reason I like getting them I really don’t enjoy giving them.  Because I can shop sales, clearance racks, or shop throughout the year and usually find something much more valuable than the price I paid or would be able to afford if I just gave a gift card.  My budget per person is about $25 a person which honestly doesn’t buy much – but I can usually get a $50+ gift because I stretch that $25 to the max.  But for teachers, co-workers, even family members that may be hard to buy for a gift card may be the best option.

4. Can you encourage your extended family to draw names instead of buying for every uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, cousin you have?  Or maybe choose to just give gifts to the kids and not to the adults?  If buying for a large number of people is one of things that stress your budget and time then you need to make a change.  Take some time to think about what would work best with your family – number of people, age of kids, budgets involved.  And talk to extended family.  Be FIRM!  It is unreasonable for people to insist that you give gifts to a large group of people or gifts of a certain dollar amount/value if that doesn’t fit in your budget.  If it is your husband’s family then have him talk to the people involved and make sure to express that this what YOUR family WILL be doing.  While this may cause some stress to begin with, laying out the guidelines and expectations now and not a few days before Christmas will help to make things easier on Christmas Day.

5. Keep your spouses gifts simple.  There has been several years that my husband and I didn’t buy anything for each for Christmas and yes we do love each other!  I know several people that would scoff at that idea but once again that is what WE decided to do for OUR family.  And it wasn’t even the fact that we didn’t have money to buy each other something.  We honestly didn’t NEED anything and aren’t the type people that have to get and give gifts.  I am not about elaborate gifts such as jewelry or expensive things.  I would rather splurge and spend our money on a trip or vacation and spend time together instead of buying gifts that cost too much that we don’t really need.  There has also been years that we chose to purchase a large household item together as “our” Christmas gift.  One year we wanted/needed to upgrade our old monstrous TV to a flat screen.  So I watched the sales and stood in line at 5 am on Black Friday to buy a new flatscreen tv and that was our “Christmas gift” to each other that year.  Talk to each other and decide if you can simplify your gifts to each other this year.

6. Keep your kids gifts simple.  There is an increasing number of people that follow a 3 or 4 gift rule for Christmas presents for their kids.

Here’s an example of a 3 gift rule for kids gifts from The Petit Cadeau


And here’s an example of a 4 gift rule for kids Christmas gifts by Heather at Thrifty Stories.  Read her creative tips on how to do this here.


I loved this graphic on how to keep Christmas spending simple but it can also be applied to gift giving as well.


So how are some ways you can keep gifts simple this year?  Can you cross some people off your list or decrease the number of gifts per person?  I would love to know ways you keep things simple in your home with Christmas gifts!


  1. My husband and I usually don’t buy gifts for each other either. Simply because we get what we want or need all through the year. And I agree that I’d rather use that money for a weekend getaway or something 🙂

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