Christmas giving.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On our first Christmas as a married couple, Shawn and I were - like many newlyweds - so strapped for money and time that we decided not to get each other any gifts. None. It seemed like a great idea at the time, and you'd never have known it with the abundance of wrapped gifts under our tree for family and friends. We had probably gone overboard for everyone else, and by the time we finished shopping for them, we were out of money, time, and creative energy.

But when we woke up on Christmas morning and had nothing to give to each other, it was kind of a sad moment. We got over it quickly, but I thought to myself, "We're not doing that again."

Since that year, we've adopted this idea: give each other 3 gifts.
Something to read.
Something to wear.
Something to play with.

It works well for any age and keeps things simple enough and organized. It also keeps expectations in check. And we figure if Jesus just received 3 gifts, why should we be getting tons more on his birthday?

For Liam this year, here's what I'm thinking... something to read, something to wear, something to play with. It's not like he'll even know he's receiving gifts, but hey. We'll make a memory anyway. :)

So I'd love to know... do you do something similar for Christmas? How do you keep gift giving simple but meaningful? 


  1. Hello from Canada where I follow your blog. This will be my first blog comment!
    First off congratulations on the birth of your baby. Liam is obviously so loved.

    Your three categories reminded me of the ones we used when our kids were younger...I had read them somewhere :

    something to read
    something to play
    something musical (CD or instrument)
    something to cuddle (plush toy etc.)
    something to wear

    We tend to skip the something to wear because we all get new pyjamas to wear to bed on Christmas eve...This year I am making us all matching pyjama pants!

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas season. For us Advent starts on Sunday as we will prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus.

    Michelle in Canada

  2. The representation of three gifts is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing this lovely idea.

  3. We do the 3 gifts as well for our 2 little girls. Only our categories are something they want, something they need, and something to read!

  4. My husband and I were just toying with the idea of no gifts this year, but he squashed it quickly and I'm so glad he did. I love this idea. We may have to follow suit!

  5. My husband and I aren't giving gifts to each other. We choose to donate to Living Water as a family. But when we have kids in a few years, we will be adopting the Something to wear, something to read, something you want, and something you need idea.

    This year, I am also making all of my gifts... because I can, and it's cheaper and more fun :) Thanks for the post

  6. I've heard something similar from Design Mom ( - she gives each of her six children something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I like the idea of limiting the number of gifts! The meaning of Christmas is so much easier to find when we're not buried under layers of gift wrap and disappointment.

  7. We do something you wear, something you read, something you want, something you need. :)

  8. We do a very similar thing. Three gifts, just like Jesus got. Something you want, something you need and something you can read.

  9. Very good idea!! I may just share this with the Family I Nanny for.

    We tend to open one stocking stuffer every night for 7 days before Christmas. :)

    Love From,
    Eat Cake

  10. I've seen this idea floating around Pinterest lately and it really speaks to me. I think I'm going to try to do this for my husband + new baby girl this year :)

  11. My parents always bought us four gifts. The saying went
    Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.
    We are continuing this tradition with our three year old and nine month old.

  12. My husband and I were actually talking about not getting each other gifts this year. But you are so right — it may be a sad moment when Christmas morning comes. I really love the three gift idea — so much that we may have to change what we're doing this year!

    Thanks for this wonderful idea to celebrate Christmas without going completely overboard.

  13. I wrote a post a few years ago on this!
    Here you go - very relative to the religious tradition:

    -Robin Cohagen

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