Keep Christmas Simple: Fewer Gifts, More Memories


Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, right? Then why do families constantly struggle with gifts, even going as far as opening new credit card accounts and going into debt to make our families happy at Christmas? Why can’t we keep Christmas simple?

I really dislike this about our culture. I feel like there’s this constant need to have (and show off) everything or have the best of everything. And I feel like it has really made some people mean, ungrateful, and entitled. I brought this up to my husband and we agreed that this was not going to be how our family celebrated Christmas. 

Our son gets so many gifts from out-of-town relatives and we are so thankful for that. These arrive at our door multiple times throughout the year and for Christmas. Most of those Christmas gifts also end up wrapped and under our tree. Plus, he also gets gifts from us and Santa, so that makes for a BIG Christmas morning for him where his mind is overstimulated with everything going on.

Last year, I started to see a theme during some of my online browsing. It turns out quite a few people buy their family members four Christmas gifts apiece: something the recipient wants, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I also saw many variations of this to include other categories. I immediately decided our family would be following this tradition to keep Christmas simple.

I called it Want, Need, Wear, Read, and Do. And we still do stockings.

Keep Christmas Simple list

There are many reasons for families to keep Christmas simple:

1. Quality over quantity

As a parent, there are few things more frustrating than purchasing a toy for your child that you know they will love and it breaks later that day. Something that stands the test of time might cost a little more, but it’s worth it to us.

2. Shop small

I have some favorite Etsy stores that I regularly purchase from all year long. Did you know you can find Vermont crafters on Etsy too? Enter the item you’re looking for in the Etsy search bar, then filter by location. Keep in mind that many shops on Etsy have a deadline to purchase Christmas orders, so it’s best to shop early. You can also check your local Facebook pages or craft events to find locally-made items.

3. Reduce your footprint

Fewer presents mean fewer trips to the store or deliveries. There’s a lot of waste in a big, carnival Christmas!

4. Save money

You won’t be buying as much, so use that money for something else. You can donate to charity, pay off a bill, or save it for a rainy day!

5. Give the delivery person a break

As it gets closer and closer to Christmas, the delivery drivers are out and about later. These people have families they want to be home with too! Purchasing less will give them one less stop to make.

I’m not going to lie. When we started this tradition last year, I bought more than expected. But, I did also stop myself from buying a lot more than I wanted to, so I’m going to call it a success.

This year, I plan on really sticking to it and we will be doing a mini KonMari session with our son’s toys before the holidays. I feel like this has taught him a valuable lesson about sharing and giving. Now he will even bring me toys without me asking and tell me he wants to donate them.

Additionally, we don’t want to teach our son the concept that the more gifts you have under your tree, or the bigger they are, the more you are loved. Love isn’t all about gifts, even if that happens to be your love language. Christmas isn’t about gifts either. I grew up thinking this and while I’m not here to blame anyone, this really messed with my head when I was younger. I’d like to prevent that from happening with our son.

We may have fewer gifts under our Christmas tree, but I know our son will be just as excited and appreciative of each one as we keep Christmas simple.

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Keep Christmas Simple: Fewer Gifts, More Memories

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