Christmas Gifts from the Heart: Thriving in the Holidays Mini Series

Gift giving is SO much fun, but can bring SO much stress. I’ve spent the last few years trying to find the balance. Still wanting to give, not break the bank, and do it all on a small budget.

Reading “Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving” by Lorilee Craker was an affirmation of things I already knew. And all around me in the wonderful community I live in I find my church and my Buy Nothing Community affirming my thoughts on this matter too.

I want our gifts to reflect our values. generosity, thoughtfulness, intentional relationships, and LOVE.

I have found these tips helpful:

1. Choose family traditions that have heart.

2. Give homemade and heartfelt.

3. It’s okay to regift and buy second hand – especially when there is thought and intention behind it.

4. Take note of people’s needs – this requires we PAY attention.

I have no shame in giving gifts that are acquired in inventive ways. No problem giving second hand. In fact it makes the challenge even more fun and I’ve found it makes me a more creative and thoughtful gift giver.

I will write a followup post after the holidays sharing some of the gifts I gave that utilized these tips – but for now they will remain a surprise. 🙂 My favorite gifts given this year, with these tips in mind, are for my nephew Cooper and my grandmother-in-law Nanny, and some fun things I put together for my Dad.

The one tip I want to expand on is number 1 – choose family traditions that have heart. I have found that when we create traditions that have heart the gifts themselves become more meaningful and monetary value less important. For example our 5-things list with Cashel. He (and our other kids) will get to write down a want, a need, something to wear, something to read, and something to give (away) each year. This helps guide the family in our gift giving and also helps focuses their attention on others “something to give.” It also teaches values and helps them understand “need” versus “want.”

Another tradition we have is filling our stockings with slips of paper, and nothing else.  Through the month of December we write notes that are filled with favorite memories from the past year, things we are grateful for, and things we love about each other. We started this a few years ago and each year it evolves some. I’m hoping that as the kids get older they can each take responsibility for filling one other person’s stocking. My favorite part about it is on Christmas morning. The stockings don’t look “full” as there are just slips of paper in them, but WOW are they FULL! We take out the slips of paper as we “open our stockings” and create a paper chain that then decorates our tree. I’ve shared more about this tradition here if you want to read more.
Can you spot the last couple years’ paper chains decorating our sweet Charlie Brown tree?
These heart-felt traditions help us give from the heart. And keep the “reason for the season” in the forefront of our minds.
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