With Christmas and all the fun that comes with it around the corner, I have been coming up with gift ideas for family and friends. I’ll be totally honest with you, I usually start picking up things here and there for gifts way back in the summer. I don’t go overboard, but I do keep a lookout for things that I know my kids will love or need come wintertime.
And while I start getting gifts early, it never fails that come the end of November, I feel behind and overwhelmed. Most likely I’ve forgotten about teachers, neighbors, God-Parents, coaches and all the other people I love to get a little something for and now I’m scrambling to find something unique, meaningful or homemade. But I’ll be honest, when I’m feeling forced to quick find something to give as a gift, it never does feel meaningful to me.
It’s why in the past few years I’ve gotten super intentional with my gift giving. More often than not we’re giving homemade treats or gifts to use in the kitchen to grandparents and I’m thinking a lot more about what will actually be USED and loved rather than what the cheapest buy is.
I’ve also started steering away from the toy aisle for gifts. Not only do I not REALLY care for junky toys strewn about the house, but to be honest, my kids don’t even play with them for that long. With my oldest now 7 ½, I’m so thankful we are very much beyond the “toy phase” of life with her. This girl eats books for breakfast, so you better believe she ends up with something to read as a gift.
There was once a time when I gifted things like discounted candles, cheap clothing and accessories or other meaningless gifts. And not that those are horrendous gifts to give, but they didn’t always have the most thought behind them. I think a lot of it changed when my kids came along. I realized very quickly how overwhelmed they were just opening presents and seeing so many new things and toys. They didn’t even remember a lot of the items they would get by the time we got home from our Christmas celebrations and I started thinking about how we could change some of that at home.
Each year, my girls get four Christmas presents each. We break them down into four little categories, and it goes like this: Something you want, something you need, something you wear and something you read. With these gifts, the girls are getting some really practical items from us, but still getting something fun too. I don’t want them to lose sight of the reason we give gifts to each other in the first place, which is to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.
This is another reason I love to get them involved in picking out gifts and making gifts to give to our family and friends. It’s a great reminder to them to put some extra thought into something and choose a gift that’s more meaningful or useful to someone they love.
But first! My Favorite Homemade Gifts using Rosemary:
WHY GREEN GIFTS ARE THE WAY TO GO
Green or more eco friendly gifts can mean just about anything, right? In my opinion, giving a “green gift” could be anything like:
- Making your own gifts
- Gifts that cut down on waste
- Things that get you outdoors
- Practical gifts that are more of a “need”
- Gifts that you can read
- Experiences or outings
- Gifts that are handmade and not mass produced
- Gifts to grow
These are great options for those people who just don’t need anything — we all have one of those in our lives, right? I have found that shopping on Etsy is a spectacular place to find gifts that are not only unique, but that can be customized and are often times more meaningful.
I also love shopping at craft shows or very small local boutiques for ideas or gifts. Thinking outside the box instead of just roaming the aisles at a store for gifts can help you come up with so many ideas.
Another tactic I use is to keep a list on my phone of gift ideas. It’s a running list that I started years ago and I updated anytime I get an idea for a gift or I hear someone mention something they’d like or they want. It makes shopping time so much less stressful, because I have a list of ideas that I KNOW will be a hit.
I just use a Google Doc for my list so I can share it with my husband, but you could keep your list anyway you need.
GIFT GIVING WITHOUT ULTERIOR MOTIVES
While I do love the idea of giving a more green or eco friendly gift, let’s be honest, there are people who just may not appreciate those types of gifts. And that’s okay! It’s not my job to convert someone to my way of giving gifts. If I know someone really wants something that I’m not thrilled to give, I just remember the reason for Christmas in the first place.
I love seeing someone receive something they want and something that makes them happy. That being said, if I can give them something that they really would like or want that falls into one of the eight categories above, I will absolutely go that route.
GIFTS FOR HIM
In my opinion, guys can be some of the most difficult to individuals to buy for. I think the key is finding something practical or something that is just for them. So often I feel like I end up getting something that our whole family can use instead of something that is JUST for my husband. I will also say that he appreciates getting really high quality “essentials” like white t-shirts, socks or other items he will wear every day.
GIFTS FOR HER
I love buying for other ladies in my life. I have so much fun shopping for them and watching them open their gifts. I use Etsy more often for jewelry to give as it’s often hand made. I also love making a little something like a treat or something they can use in their kitchen. And when push comes to shove, I get them a coffee gift card, because we all need a good cup of coffee in our lives.
GIFTS FOR OLDER KIDS
Buying for older kiddos can be a bit easier as they will actually use non-toy gifts. We like to give a lot of craft kits or books when it comes to kids’ gifts. Another idea you could use is to find a terrarium kit they could make — this was a HUGE hit with my older daughter.
GIFTS THAT AREN’T THINGS
I love giving gifts that are not things, but experiences or outings. We have also given memberships to places like the zoo, museums or waterparks to our kids, which are always GREATLY appreciated by them. Another idea is to give some sort of lesson to your kids that they’ve been asking for. It could be anything from piano to dance to karate to painting. These are fun things for kids to look forward to and they can be a great way to improve a skill, spend time together or experience new things.
PLACES TO SHOP
Etsy is one of my favorite places to find the most AMAZING things that are completely unique and one of a kind. If nothing else, it gives me ideas that I could make if I really wanted to.