Christmas Gift Planning

We know that Christmas is not supposed to be about the gifts.  Yet, as we come together as a family, we want to give to one another while celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We don't really give birthday gifts to family members, so I wonder if I would be the one disappointed if we chose to not give during the Christmas season.   I also do not want to take away the experience of giving or receiving a gift to someone, but we certainly don't need more "stuff."  That is why I already shared with you some alternative gift ideas.
As part of our Less-Stressed Christmas, I am trying to think of gifts prior to December.

Make an inventory of gifts you have and keep the gift stash together.
By inventory, I mean a written inventory.  I boxed up all of our gift stash and placed the boxes in a little nook beside my dresser.  (Actually, I first placed them by my husband's dresser, but my two-year-old went exploring...)  It's out of the way there so little hands should not be curious.  We are to the point now where we need to store large items in the trunk of a car, when able.

Make a wish list for your own family.
I keep an ongoing wish list for our family right on the computer.  It makes it easy to delete items and share with others.  After completing the master list, I break it into ideas for each side of the family.  Some people like to shop from lists while others have ideas in mind and prefer to be spontaneous.  Include non-traditional gift ideas like zoo memberships, a special day trip, or educational funds, too! Don't forget to include yourself!

Make a list of baked gifts or food items you plan to give and make time in your schedule.
Whether you have caramel popcorn or cinnamon roll that you make to give, you need to make time to do it!  (I recently saw the idea of giving cookie dough as a gift.  I like that!)  Often, if I share something large like my chocolate chip cookie pie, I let the recipient know that it freezes very well!  (This is especially important for teachers who may receive many edible gifts...right before they head out of town!)  This year I am considering making extra large (about 4-5 inches) chocolate chip cookies, with red and green M&M's.  If you have extra of your edible gift, consider making some time to share them at a local nursing or retirement home and visit with the residents.  We were recently given this Food Gifts magazine which is more like a book!  It is a great resource for easy ideas that will help me to step outside my own recipe box.

Make a list of homemade gifts you plan to give and  make time in your schedule.
Do you create homemade gifts?  A photo calendar made on the computer still takes time to create!  (Remember you can create a photo gift now and order it when there is a sale later by saving it in your cart!)  It may not take as much time as the Star Wars peg dolls I need to make this Christmas, but it is still time consuming.  This year, I may attempt to make some homemade ornaments for the children again.  My oldest is also interested in making some.

Make a master gift list.
Create a master gift list for all of the people you intend to give a gift or experience.  Be sure to use your gift stash and gift inventory to help you!  If you like ideas, it's time to ask for them.  Once you have your ideas listed, you can consider your budget and the various ways to shop for Christmas gifts.  (This link is for a post I wrote last year on Black Friday.  No, I was not out shopping!)  This past week I took my list with me when I went to a used book store and to a local shop.  So helpful!

Wrap as you buy.
This is actually something I have never done, but many recommend it.  I tend to wait until most of my shopping is completed before I wrap.  Do you?

This is part of our Less-Stressed Christmas series.  My hope is to plan enough in advance to be relaxed to enjoy the whole Christmas season!
Photo Christmas Card Alternatives: What to do when you cannot get a nice picture of your family.
Preparing Christmas Cards: Several ideas to prepare now for Christmas cards without actually putting them together yet.
Alternative Gift Giving: Give more time of yourself and experiences instead of more "stuff."
Christmas Gift Planning: Plan now for giving later.
Children's Christmas Letter Printable: Use a simple form letter to find out what the children really want for Christmas this year.

Would you join this Christmas journey with me? See all of the Less-Stressed Christmas posts.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through a link, I will earn a small percentage. Thank you!


  1. Wrap as you go. Now THERE'S an idea I had never considered. I hate the wrapping part. (I buy year round, looking at sales and deals and picking up stuff that I think certain people may like.) Last week I pulled out a pile of gifts and wrapped them. My goal is to have everything wrapped BEFORE December 1st so that I can stop thinking about it. :)

  2. What a good idea to wrap as you buy..... Of course I did that with a few gifts and then wasn't able to give it at the time, and so now it's sat there for a very long time.....

  3. I think wrapping as you go would be a whole lot easier without young children in the house about to "catch" you at any time...


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