Tips to Make Gift-Giving Meaningful this Christmas

We’ve all heard complaints about the commercialism that has largely overtaken the Christmas season. With people getting maced at Black Friday sales, who can argue? On the other hand, it is so fun to give gifts to the people closest to us (and sometimes well beyond). How can we strike a balance? How can we make gift-giving a part of our holiday celebrations without going overboard or losing sight of the meaning of Christmas?

Well, first of all, I must say that the appropriate level of gift-giving is something we all need to decide for ourselves. We all have different traditions, different budgets, and so on. These are some ideas to make gift-giving meaningful based on my own experiences. If you find an idea that will help you, hurray! That’s why I am sharing! If you have other ideas to share, please do so in the comments. I would love to hear them! Now let’s get started.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

We give our children each three gifts for Christmas, in remembrance of the gifts that the Wise Men brought to baby Jesus. The gifts themselves have nothing to do with gold, frankincense and myrrh, but it’s just the idea that, “We get three presents just like baby Jesus!” For us, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, and we try to reflect that even in our gift-giving.

Want, Need, Wear, Read

Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. This is an idea I’ve heard from other moms that is intended to keep the gift-giving to a reasonable level. Parents out there, isn’t it oh-so-easy to buy things for our children? I know I am more likely to splurge on something for my kids than myself. This gift-giving plan is another way to curb the temptation to buy every cute outfit, every enriching toy, and every fantastic book we see. I really like this idea. It encourages a bit of practicality and a bit of splurge. Sounds like a good balance to me! 🙂

Drawing Names

Drawing names among family members or friends is a great way to include everyone while reducing the shopping frenzy and expense involved with buying something for everyone. If you have fewer people to shop for, you might also be able to put more thought into your purchase to make it a more special gift for the recipient. In an ideal world, we could find personally meaningful gifts for everyone on our list, but the reality is that takes a lot of time and thought, and it can be hard to accomplish that level of meaning many times over. It is also a way to include children, whose funds are usually pretty limited, giving them the opportunity to choose one thoughtful gift for someone they love.

Hand-Made Gifts

This is another way to include everyone in gift-giving without breaking the bank.


Here are some ideas of things to do instead of or in addition to gifts within your family:

Heifer International

Donate in a loved one’s name for the purchase of a sheep, goat, chickens, or a variety of other items in an effort to end world hunger.

Samaritan’s Purse

Similar to Heifer International, Samaritan’s Purse allows you to donate in a loved one’s name to feed a hungry baby for a week, support an orphanage, contribute to building a school and so many more possibilities.

Operation Christmas Child

Pack up a shoebox of gifts that will be sent to a needy child overseas.  This is one that we like to do, and my children enjoy choosing items to give to a girl or boy their own age.

World Vision

Again, similar to Heifer International and Samaritan’s Purse, this is another opportunity to donate in a loved one’s name to contribute to a community in need.  Some examples are a share in a well, goats, chickens, and business loans for women.

Toys for Tots

Help the Marines provide toys to children in need.

There are many more possibilities, from adopting a local family to volunteering at a soup kitchen to sending care packages to troops overseas.  There are so many ways to brighten someone’s holiday season, and it really makes the season more special when we look beyond our own four walls.

Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season!


2 thoughts on “Tips to Make Gift-Giving Meaningful this Christmas

  1. Pingback: Christmas 2011 « Be not simply good…

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