Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Simplifying Gift Giving
Many years ago I read an interview with Kathy Lee Gifford in a women’s magazine where she spoke of giving their small children only three gifts at Christmas since that is all the Three Wise Men brought to Christ. It really resonated with me at the time. I was a newly single mom and money went from abundant to below poverty level after my husband walked out. So, when I read the interview with Kathy Lee it really touched my heart. This interview was at the height of her ‘celebrity’ so if this icon of the talk show realm simplified her Christmas then surely I could do the same.
This gave me such freedom! I can pinpoint when my bargain shopping came into being…out of necessity…those first years as a single mom. The Lord was giving me insight and preparing me for ten years in the future when I would meet my current husband who was raising three young ones alone.
This is what we do. We ask them to tell us something they need, something they want, and something fun. Out of the three presents we try to have one that is the ‘big’ present or the most desired. I pick up items throughout the year for their stockings. I really put a lot of neat things in their stockings and some are need items. I hit CVS when I can get razors, hair care products, and makeup for free. With three young men and a young lady in the house items like these are very welcome. I also pick up CDs when stores have them on sale. I have put in Sonic gift cards, Taco Bell gift cards, and movie theatre gift cards. I think this year gas cards would be welcome too since we will have three drivers in our home!
Gift giving for their high school friends is another area that takes time, effort, and a little bargain shopping to really score some awesome deals. Our daughter is really the only one that likes to give gifts to EVERYONE. We have given mini bottles of Bath and Body Works items in cute little toiletry bags, mani/pedi sets, mini photo/scrapbook albums, journals, and picture frames. We also have given her friends bags of Christmas candy all tied up with a cute bow and ornament. This year we are making the candy instead of buying it. At the end of the Christmas season we will stock up again on bags, bows, tags, and ribbon for next year. Also there will be lots of great gift sets and the like that one can purchase for pennies and will be great gifts for next year!
Probably one of the most appreciated presents I have given my nieces were their Journal Jars five years ago. I purchased a beautiful journal and pen for each of them and made a bookmark. I then bought clear plastic jars and decorated them with scrapbook paper and paint pens. I typed out journal prompts on my computer and ran them off on brightly colored paper. I cut them out and folded them in half then dropped then in the jar. Some strips had favorite Bible verses on them and with a prompt to tell what this verse means to you, or one prompt asked them to write down what they were most thankful for in their parents. All in all I had around 100 prompts for each girl.
This year we are focusing more on giving gifts of time and things homemade for our friends and family. Our teenagers will still get something that they really want and they will have a great Christmas but our prayer is that once the day is over they will not feel let down that they did not have a gazillion presents but that they are thankful for what they were given and the memories created. For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas head on over to Rocks in My Dyer.