My Bestest Tip for Simplyfying Christmas {for real this time}

You knew I was kidding yesterday, right? It is truly my aim each year to simplify our Christmas as much as possible, otherwise I wouldn’t have time for the tradtions that are most meaningful to us.

I mean, if I’m wrapping presents till 2 am on Christmas, then I wouldn’t be able to join in on the big, family, sleep-over under the Christmas tree, now would I?

And if I’m spending too much time on everyone else on my list, I won’t have creative juices left for my husband’s all time favorite tradition (which you can read more about over in my post at Passionate Homemaking this week). That would be a crying shame. 

But I DO love gift giving, and my list is as long as yours of people I love whom I want to bless in this season. So what do I do?

Well, at the risk of revealing all my secrets for friends and family this year, I’m gonna share my #1 tip for simplifying Christmas.

Are you ready?

I call it “One Size Fits Most” gifting.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Find a great little something that fits multiple people on my list.
  2. Then I just buy or make in Bulk. 

Amazingly simple, and stunningly efficient.

Here’s some of my favorite One Size Fits Most gifts for each person on your list…

For Kids: Homemade Playdough. Packaged in Jam jars with a shiny new cookie cutter tied around it. So fun and yet simple – you could make a dozen jars in less than an hour, and have gifts for every child under 10 on your list. Check out this cute idea for Candy Cane Playdough from The Artful Parent!

For Guys: There is nothing wrong with gift cards, people. (I have to keep reminding myself) Especially for guys. Especially if it involves food. How about a “Five Guys Burgers” card? Mmmmm. I’d like one of those myself. Another great idea? Gloves. This is not corny. I don’t know a single guy who wouldn’t appreciate a nice pair of work or winter gloves. Find them at Lowes or Home Depot in packs and individually wrap a pair for each of your brothers or uncles.

For the Whole Family: OK, this one isn’t cheap, but it really does cover everyone in one fell swoop! I’m talking about a World Magazine Subscription. Both of our extended families love getting news from a Christian world news for an entire year. And, as the giftee, I got access to World Magazine Online for the entire duration of the gift subscription. (Although I much prefered reading the hard copy at my MIL’s after Sunday dinner!)

For Girls: Have you seen these yet? Oh. My. Word. I received one of The June Bride’s handcrafted felt flowers from the Tiny Twig at Relevant last month, and I’ve been wearing it ever since. I even want to sleep with it. (I know that may be taking things too far, but it’s Cashmere, people – purple cashmere!) Her flowers are exquisite, reasonably priced ($12-$15 each, compared to some I saw in a boutique last month for $22!) and would work for young women and mature ladies both! Oh, and free shipping. Yes. Perfect. Pin to your winter coat, snag it on a scarf, or accessorize your favorite purse! OK, I’ll stop raving now.

Are we done yet? Have you got something for everyone now? Still a few gaps? I know just what to fill it with. I’ve got one more “One Size Fits Most” gift to share with you, but I’m gonna hold off till tomorrow. Can you stand it? It’s gonna be worth it, ’cause I’m gonna share my biggest secret yet. ‘Cause I love you. And I want you to enjoy Christmas, ya know?

Merry Christmas!!!

Do you do any ‘one size fits most’ gifting? What are some of your favorite gifts to give? Do you ever give the same gift year after year?

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  1. says

    My younger brother has been perfectly content for almost the past ten years with a heaping tin of Sugar Crusted Pecans. They can get pricey (esp. when pecans are almost $10/lb.), but it is a surefire hit. Actually, I'm sure he wouldn't scoff if I handed him a jar every time I saw him. :-) All that to say… Food gifts (if it's something special and delicious) are a great way to simplify.

    Now let me share one of my little secrets… RE-GIFTING! I have a basket where I stash all kinds of gifts year round – - little items I found on sale, at garage sales, got free with a coupon, etc. But the thing that really fills my gift-giving basket are RE-GIFTS. These are those often brand new (maybe even expensive) items that well meaning family or friends give you that just don't suit you or your family (for whatever reason). You're avoiding caffeine for health reasons and they send you a box of chocolates? It goes in the gift basket! A not-quite-your-style knickknack or homedecor item? It goes in the gift basket! A book you've already read or have a copy of? Right into the gift basket! A somewhat tacky white elephant gift from one of your husband's coworkers? One way ticket to the gift basket!!! A perfectly useful (still beautiful) item that you put in the bag that's headed to Goodwill? Maybe rethink that, and instead, transfer it to the gift basket. You'd be astonished at how quickly you can fill up this little stash with fun, yummy, and sometimes even functional gifts. My family has even done a Re-Gift Christmas for the past couple years. It must be an item you already have around the house, or something you made with items around the house. There were some neat gifts exchanged last year!

    Ok. Have I rambled on enough? Can you tell I feel very strongly about this whole concept of re-gifting? :-) Give it a try! You'll be hooked.

  2. says

    Gift giving is usually pretty low on my list of things to simplify at Christmas – mostly because I do it year round! Here's how my Christmas shopping usually works:

    Sometime around January I open a new google doc/word file labeled “Christmas List” in which I start filing ideas or actually gifts (post Christmas sales are your friend) that I've bought. I'll update this as I periodically check on-line sales or pick up gifts throughout the year. By November most of my Christmas shopping is done and by starting early I'm able to get so really good bargains (like super soft, durable wool blankets for $50 instead of $150+). Our family also does “Dirty Santa” for extended family instead of worrying about drawing names or doing individual gifts. It's worked really well so far.

    Best present idea hands down? My Granny used to give all the grandkids an ornament with our names and the date engraved on it (from Walmart I believe). Eventually they stopped doing it, but for at least 10 years we all waited eagerly to see what ornament Granny would give us this year :)

  3. says

    I love this! And something that I've been doing this year… I've been doing a lot of knitting (a stress-reliever from schoolwork)… and have made a couple easy patterns that are quick to whip up, and are fun gifts for any ladies.

  4. says

    I try to do the same thing each year. All my girl nieces are easy (I made little rag dolls one year, flower headbands another…) but the boys. Ugh. They are difficult. (The best was the year I made little candy tractors. They were so cute!)

    This year I am still baffled.

    But this is a good reminder to just keep it simple. Maybe I'll just do play dough for everyone and then challenge the older kids to a “play dough nativity” contest… hm…