~A Guest Post by Emily at The Muchness Mom~


If you are anything like me you have procrastinated quite a bit of your Christmas shopping. Maybe the idea of all that shopping stressed you out, or maybe the budget just didn’t allow for shopping yet. Whatever the reason, don’t let holiday gift giving ruin your mood this season With only a few weeks to go it’s time to get cracking on those remaining gift purchases, so here are a few ideas to simplify your last minute gift giving this Christmas season.


1. Opt Out


It’s perfectly ok to just not participate in every single gift exchange that you are invited to. If you have a large extended family it can get quite expensive to purchase a gift for each person. Why not suggest a one to one gift exchange name draw or simply let people know that your family will be opting out fo the annual gift exchange.


2. Group Gifts


If you don’t want to opt out of an exchange entirely then go for a group gift. Give something the entire family can enjoy together such as a board game, new DVD with some popcorn, or a gift card to their favorite restaurant. You can even do this for the office. Get a big box of snacks or a fruit basket for everyone to dig in to.


3. Shop Online


You still have time to get gifts shipped to you or even directly to the recipient. I do the majority of my shopping on Amazon. Most stores will also do free ship to store. Then you can just walk in and pick up your item instead of having to walk through the store and search for what you want on the shelves.


4. Experiences Instead of Stuff


From movie tickets to museum memberships, theme parks, to travel the best memories come from spending time together. Why not skip the stores entirely and give a gift that keeps on giving. Extra bonus there’s a LOT less clutter on Christmas morning!


5. Skip the wrapping


OK this may seem like a bit of a “huh what?” tip, but seriously, wrapping takes so much time! Use gift bags or find a way to creatively display gifts. One year we gave the children a bunch of Lego pieces and I took all the little people figurines and hung them on the tree. I remember once as a child getting up and there was nothing under the tree except for the pretty decorative boxes that my mom stored the ornaments and holiday decor in. Imagine our surprise when she started handing those out and all our gifts were inside!

I hope this list helps to relieve a bit of the holiday stress for you in the coming weeks so that you can simply sit back and enjoy the time with your family. After all, that time together is far more important than the perfect gift anyway isn’t it?



I’d love to hear your suggestions for simplifying gift giving. Drop them down in the comments below!

Hi, I’m Emily, a former US Marine, blogger, artist, and homeschooling mom of 9. I talk about homeschooling and large family dynamics over at The Smith Squad. I also blog about regaining your muchness as a wife and/or mother over at The Muchness Mama. I really can not resist a cold Vanilla Coke and detest coffee (yes I know this will alienate most of you, but please forgive me). I sincerely believe that ducks are the coolest animal on the planet. I have always loved fashion and art but told myself they weren’t skills I possessed. Part of rediscovering my own muchness has been experimenting with many art forms including zentangle, calligraphy, photography, graphic design and my definite favorite: digital painting. I really like public speaking; my dream job would be to travel the country giving motivational speeches to women. I’ll let you in on one last little secret: I have an alter ego, Super Womb-an, you can read more about her on my blog.


  1. I love it in my family when someone asks for a big present where we all club together. That generally means I hand over money and someone else who enjoys shopping buys it. Thankfully this year has been one of those years.

  2. I love the idea of experienced instead of stuff. I’m trying to move my family more in this direction in life in general.

  3. Very thankful for these ideas – the holidays can get overwhelming. Love the experience one – might me on the list for someone I know 🙂

  4. One thing I have done this year is shopped mostly on the Sale Shelves… You know, those little nooks of the store that are hidden away with 80-90% off items? Yeah, that’s where I’m shopping for gifts. There’s some great items that you wouldn’t normally find or even think of!

  5. Love your tips! It is easy to get overwhelmed this time of year!

  6. We switched things up this year and drew names in the family. Makes things a little less stressful!

  7. Ha! Group gifts are really great and usually cover the experiences as well!

  8. I use the gift bag trick every year! Great post with useful tips.

  9. I like your recommendation of group gifts. The last couple years my family has been doing secret santa for the adult gifts so we just buy for one person and not everyone. It’s just as enjoyable, we save a bit of money and it’s definitely less stressful.

  10. Ordering online is my jam. I started shopping that way in August for Christmas and got some amazing deals!

  11. Culturally (I am from India), not participating in gift exchange is not acceptable. But what adds to the pressure is that gift-giving is not restricted to just the big festivals but also informal get-together several times a year. But yes, I have to agree that online shopping eases the pressure with the flexibility and discounts.

  12. The holidays can be so tough solely due to gift giving! It’s great to be reminded that it’s ok to do things a little differently so that you can enjoy Christmas as much as everyone else!

  13. Oh, experiences over stuff and group gifts are going to be my mantra this year. The holidays always stress me out when we start trying to buy for all of the families, and each of their kids, and we usually end up arguing over budget at some point. These are really helpful ideas and tips!

  14. Great ideas 🙂 I love the idea of giving experiences instead of gifts – you get a wonderful memory along with it too!

  15. Fun ideas! I think group gifts are great and perfectly fine to give a family, especially when the kids in the family are younger! A movie night basket or something similar would probably be on I’d do.


  16. Oh my gosh I love the idea of not wrapping!!! It’s seriously the worst part for me. I usually have all of my gifts purchased in plenty of time but then I’m up until the wee hours wrapping on Christmas Eve.

  17. I love the idea to skip the wrapping! I’m usually good about shopping but the wrapping is always a mad dash so this would be super helpful!

  18. These ideas are so practical. Ever since my family went to a name-draw system, holiday shopping is SO much less stressful (not to mention affordable!). And I’m always in favor of giving and receiving experiences rather than things.


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