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21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 3

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 3 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge! Now that you’ve got your Christmas budget in place, it’s time to figure out your Christmas gift list.

Some of you probably had this done ages ago — and that’s fantastic. The rest of us admire you. 🙂

If you haven’t had time to write down a gift list, today’s the day to do it!


Think of everyone you need/want to buy gifts for and then make a master list. You can use one of these free printable gift list spreadsheets, if you’d like.

Once you have your list written, step back and evaluate it. Do you need to be buying for everyone on that list? Can you afford to buy something for everyone on the list? If not, do you have time to make something for them?

Pare down your list, if need be, based upon the answers to these questions. This is not because you are not generous or cold-hearted, but because sometimes you just have to face the reality that you can’t do it all.

Streamlining and simplifying your gift list so that you have breathing room and aren’t exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed all December could be one of the best gifts you could give those closest to you — the gift of your presence!

Day 2 Project

1. Read chapter 2 from Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas. (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.)

2. Make a list of everyone you’ll be buying gifts for this Christmas. Evaluate each recipient to make sure they are someone that should be on your list.

3. Come back at around 9 p.m. EST tonight and I’ll have a follow-up post sharing about our Christmas gift list and encouraging you to share about yours, too!

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  • Jessica says:

    We’ve cut back on gift giving for economic as well as simplicity reasons. We don’t like traveling out of state with our little kids, watching relatives imbibe too much, listening to longstanding family feuds, and staying at a crummy hotel and spending oodles of money on gas for the “privilege”, so we don’t go to the extended family gatherings. That cuts out a lot of hoopla and expense right there!

    We have a pretty short gift list:
    Niece #1: age 7 – art supplies bought on clearance
    Niece #2: age 3 – art supplies bought on clearance
    Teacher – extra supplies from the classroom wishlist, bought during back to school clearance sales
    Grandma & Grandpa – 5×7 prints of the kids and a handprint ornament
    Grandma & Grandpa – wall calendar with photos of the kids and a handprint ornament

    And then just our own three kids, ages 7, 3, and the baby will be 1 on Christmas Eve. I fill a stocking with treats for me and my DH- stuff I don’t usually buy at the grocery store except for Christmas. We don’t otherwise exchange gifts.

    Other people we care about, we send a photo card but no annoying Christmas brag letter. We’re spending Christmas Day with local friends, and I’ll take some edible treats for all of us to share.

  • Mairee says:

    How do you handle the response of people that they’d really rather have something from the store more than something homemade? (Even if the homemade gift is really fantastic quality!)

  • Jan says:

    I have tried several times to sign up for the Christmas book, but haven’t been successful. What else can I do?

  • Tina Kaye says:

    We’ve kept it simple for years now. We do gifts like crocheted hats or scarves, ornaments, or peppermint hand soap for teachers/leaders. At family gatherings, we all bring $10 gift cards and play Dirty Santa (we used to draw names). We have a couple items for gift swaps ($5-10) that my kids choose since they’re the ones taking it. Family members outside our home get updated photos, and that narrows it down to the ones inside our home. Our teens give us wish lists (with links, even), and our toddler is simple enough to make a wish list for. We aim to get 3 items from Santa for each of them (symbolic on purpose) and some snacks they love in their stocking, but 1 or 2 of the gifts may be really inexpensive if they asked for something that uses most of the budget. Even if it’s not much or something they need, each child gets a gift from each sibling and one from us (three again!). My husband and I are the hardest part… It varies from year to year, but the budget and what we want or need factors in. We’re still working on that part this year, as house repairs have eaten part of what we budgeted. The new part of our roof may be our gift this year, but it’s making us happy to have it repaired, so it really is a gift to us. 🙂

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