Gift Overload – Finding the Balance

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Recently the Man of Steel and I were arguing over holiday buying for Baby A and our future children.  We both come from opposite ends of the holiday spectrum. Santa really outdid himself in our house with grand gestures and big ticket items but was scarcer in his home.  As a minimalist my husband is overwhelmed at the thought of piles of anything including presents under the tree but I tend to go all out for Christmas so the struggle is real.

This year we have been on a budget so it has helped but I think we’ve been doing a great job with gifting for Baby A because we recognize he receives gifts from multiple sources (grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, friends, etc).  We don’t want to end up with too many gifts or to start setting the expectation that Christmas is time for you to cash in.  
We want to focus on the positive aspects of the holiday: spirituality, faith, compassion, love and family.  We try to focus on quality of gifts (not quantity), buying needs not just wants, and keeping gift exchange opportunities to a minimum.  Here are some rules of thumb that have helped us manage gift giving and holiday shopping:
1)      Santa brings 1-2 gifts you will love - your other presents are things you need (socks, pjs, clothes, sippy cups, etc) in moderation.

2)      Grandparent gifts stay at their house – my parents are local and this has been a life saver because it forces them to think before they buy. Gone are the days of noise making machines from Hades coming into our house!

3)      We have one annual gift exchange with a few friends – we invite 2-3 of our best mates over for brunch and give gifts, share toys, and have holiday fun.

4)      For those asking what to gift Baby A we request a book (pick your favorite) – or we ask for a charitable donation to be made on his behalf.  If persistent we default to gift cards that way we can exercise a bit of control and get him needed items.

5)      We chose toys to donate or give to our younger friends- we can’t enjoy our new gifts until we have let go of some of our old one. This has been great as he transitions out of toys because of age plus it is a pay- it-forward moment.  

6)      We make gifts to give friends and family – aside from crafting being fun I hope in the future this will teach him that monetary value isn’t everything and gifts from the heart (made by hand) are special.

7)      We attend Christmas Mass – its tradition!!!

I’m sure we will add more “rules” to our list but we are on year 2 so gives us some time. I know he is too young to fully grasp it yet but we hope this will help build good character and instill good qualities in his toddler brain that will carry him into adulthood.

How do you manage holiday gift-giving in your house???

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