Less is More - gifts

This is a tough one.  But it's less about being tough on the recipients and more about the giver.  Most of us love to give gifts to those we love!  That's a good thing, to be sure.  But maybe we place too much emphasis on it.  Maybe we are expecting gifts to bring happiness - to others and to ourselves.  Maybe we can find some ways to unplug the "gift machine"without turning into a 21st century Scrooge.

Here are ideas to consider for extended family Christmas gift-giving.  When you propose the idea, time it for July....not December.  Just sayin....

1.  draw names
2.  limit giving to children under 21
3. "goofy gift" - the one with the biggest markdown wins!
4.  yankee swap or white elephant
5.  family gift
6.  service project together  - which is a gift to others instead of one another
7.  the gift of time and labor - one year I gave my Dad "homemade cookies of the month" for a year!

Here are some ideas for your own family-
1.  Limit of 3 gifts (like the Wise Men brought to Jesus).  I really wish I had started this when mine were little.  If it's a tradition, it's a lot of fun.  I am the one that has a hard time limiting the amount of gifts  - the problem is NOT that my kids clamor for more!  So my suggestion is to restrain yourself from the beginning and then you won't have gift-giving withdrawal tremors.
2.  Celebrate like they do in Ethiopia. My friend Amy says that no gifts are given to celebrate Christmas here.  Just food and fellowship.  Oh, YES!
3.  My friend Kimberly tells her kids they get "Something to wear, something to read, something you want and something you need"  Again, I wish I had started early with this one.  For me.

Ideas for bday gifts for friends -
1.  Have a "gift box" where you stockpile gift options that you find on sale.  When it's time for the party, let your child "shop" from your "store".  Prevents overspending at the last minute!
2.  Give gift cards to bookstores or for ice cream
3.  Learn how to make things such as decorative Tshirts or pillowcases or personalized towels
4.  Set the trend of "no gift" bday parties!!