WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Share your thoughts on "less is more" gift giving idea

Posted December 2, 2015

Gift box tower

I just read about an interesting gift giving tradition that significantly cuts down on the sheer volume of stuff kids get for the holidays. It allows everyone to focus more on the meaning of the holiday and less on buying, wrapping, cleaning up and tripping over massive amounts of gifts.

Here's how it works: Each of the kids gets 4 gifts including something they want, something they need, something to wear & something to read. Some parents also do Christmas stockings, Hanukkah gelt or grandparent gifts as well, but the sheer volume of stuff is significantly reduced.

I'd love to know if any of you do this for your kids or other family members and what your thoughts are about the idea.


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  • Pepper2 Dec 3, 2015

    Faye - You are welcome! A photo copy won't be the original ..but it will still be your Mom's handwriting. (If you have any favorite things of your Mom's you could also make a sort of shadow maybe an apron,a recipe card or a utensil ,even her favorite pot holder and then add some pictures as well)
    A lot of the recipes I am using were just written on pcs of paper, complete with the stains from years of use....that makes them even more special ;-)

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Dec 3, 2015

    *Pepper2 - I love your recipe book idea! Thank you. :-)

    ascherer - That is such a special gift from your dad. I am really impressed he put that together for everyone. And your story about the oranges is so neat.

  • Pepper2 Dec 2, 2015

    Jdouglas - Maybe a little elf could send a hint your sister's way letting her know you would love a copy ;-)

  • jdouglas13 Dec 2, 2015

    Pepper, I love your recipe card idea. My sister has possession of my Mom's stuff, but I'd love to have her cookbook one day, or at least a copy of it.

    Ascherer, my grandmother always put an orange in our Christmas stocking too. I think there is an additional significance to it. I read something about it a while back, but my flea-sized memory can't pull it up at the moment. ;)

  • Pepper2 Dec 2, 2015

    Great stories and ideas! If anyone is doing stocking stuffers for someone who likes Wendy's frosty...the $1 key chains are available again now and you get a free jr frosty all year!!!!

    I love the cookbook stories...I have done this before and now I am working on collecting favorite's and adding short stories and comments about each recipe and the person who makes it. Kind of an 'I remember when'

    Faye - You really should think about taking those recipe cards and scanning them in to make a book....that way you could share them. Also you could copy your favorite and put in a frame along with a picture of your Mom (maybe in the kitchen cooking - if you have one)
    I love doing things like this...another family member may enjoy receiving one as well ;-)
    Sentimental gifts are 'always' the best!

  • ascherer Dec 2, 2015

    One of the best Christmas presents me and my extended family received was the year my Daddy compiled "Our Family Recipes". It has recipes going back to my Grandmothers biscuits & cakes. There is one recipe from each of my Grandmothers Mother. Currently three generations are cooking from this book.

    As an adult, when I get to go to Momma's for Christmas, some of the presents are the same year after year. DH & I always get underwear and socks. We each get something we want. DH and my stockings always includes shampoo, conditioner, DO, and an orange. Even if DH and I only do stockings for Christmas, they have to have the orange. Momma was raised in the sticks of SC on a farm. Citrus was one of the few things that they couldn't grow and was expensive back then. Every year Granddaddy would buy an orange or two for each of the girls stockings. For some odd reason that is the best tasting orange I have all year because I understand the love and meaning behind it.

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Dec 2, 2015

    Amomoftwo - that's such a cute story about buying your new son in law PJ's for Christmas!

    aneal426 - what an incredibly wonderful gift from your mom! I have my mom's old index card box with all her hand written recipes and I'll treasure it always.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing so many great ideas and memories. I'm borrowing a few this year like the Redbox code on theater box of candy. :-)

  • aneal426 Dec 1, 2015

    Watchhillgirl- that reminds me of one of my best gifts from my mom as an adult. She used one of those photo websites to create a cookbook of family recipes that included pictures and hints on how to "doctor up" the recipe if it wasn't quite right. I frequently pull it out to cook.

    One idea that my coworker did that I just love was a redbox code on a bag of popcorn or theater box of candy. This is only cost a couple dollars and shows you are thinking about someone during this time of year.

    I went to the dollar store and got a couple of frames that said things like "friends are the family you choose" and plan to put a picture in them as gifts

    I also bought a few $7 calendars from chickfila (really cute this year with inspirational sayings) with a calendar card with free stuff each month for year. It is a gift that keeps giving.

  • Amomoftwo Dec 1, 2015

    When my girls were young, we limited them to 3 gifts because that's how many we learned that baby Jesus received.....we always added a book to the Santa stash...and they both received pj's on Christmas eve...wrapped as a "surprise"...we still do this now that they are adults....although surprising my new son in law with pj's was a bit odd! LOL...they received other gifts from gmom and gdad and aunts and uncles...I do wish we had always contributed something to a savings account and then presented it to them when they graduated...but didn't think of that while they were growing up~a little each year would be been a great help when they started out on their own.

  • lindabates Dec 1, 2015

    We have four kids-twins ( my step kids) that are 13, an 8 year old and the baby is almost 2 .. I've always gone overboard but this year I really scaled back the older kids will get a few gift cards, the younger 2 books, pjs, a few outfits, the 8 year old is big into girlie stuff so I'm making her a basket w nail polish bubble bath etc, the baby is getting clothes, 2 books, a DVD, and 2 toys-1 big Disney Minnie Mouse pony stable and not sure what else yet. Hubby and I don't buy for each other we wait and do it at tax time- even then we don't go overboard! I plan to do the 4 gifts next year, seems like it'll be much simplier- plus the kids get year round.