Giving More by Spending Less This Holiday Season

For the past few years, our church has encouraged us to reach more into our imagination and less into our pocketbooks and give Christmas gifts that speak thoughtfulness and intention rather than throwing items into a cart last minute, wrapping them, and calling it a day. The notion of taking ourselves out of the spending machine that is what Christmas has become took a couple years for us to adjust, but I’m thankful to have the perspective shift. Now I really enjoy trying to think of unique and meaningful gifts to give people we love.

If this sounds like something you would like to give a try, here are a few ideas for some specific people in your life.

Spouse–A framed poster of descriptive words


This is a great and easy thoughtful gift. Write down all the adjectives that come to mind when you think of your spouse. You can even have your kids join in if they can contribute. You can actually write it or design it in a program. This is one of those gifts that end up being fun reminders throughout the year of how they are loved and seen by you.

Children–Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Subscription


A couple years ago, my sister-in-law introduced us to an amazing program and gave my son one of the best gifts he has ever gotten–a subscription to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Its quick. Its painless. Its free! Every month without fail, a new book arrives just for Judah.  Over the last two years, he has gotten so many books that have become some of his favorites and most read. Baton Rouge has a branch downtown, so if you want a gift that gives for months to come,  go online and register your favorite little reader(s) today to ensure their first book arrives in plenty of time for Christmas.

Grandparents–Personalized gifts (totes, mugs, calendars, etc.)

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Once we had Judah, thoughtful gift giving took on a whole new meaning. You can order a personalized tote bag from Vistaprint and even fill it with fun stuff. We also made mugs for the grandfather’s one year with Judah’s face plastered on the side of it and filled the mug with hot chocolate fixings.

Aunts and Uncles–Note-filled Journals


Take a cute journal or notebook and every 10 pages have your little one draw a picture or paint a painting. If they are old enough to answer questions, you can have prompts at the top of the pages saying “Aunt Amy makes me laugh when she ______” and allow them to fill it out. It would be a great thing for them to be journaling and then come across one of the personalized pages in day-to-day life.

Great-grandparents–Family Tree

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This gift is great to give a matriarch or patriarch of a growing family. They have lots available on etsy or you can make your own. It is especially meaningful for someone to tangibly see the family they began with their spouse so long ago and how it has grown. We gave this gift about 4 years ago, and Joel’s grandmother would just look down at it and grin from time to time while every one else was opening presents.

Best Friends–Memory Storage

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This gift requires a fun drawer or even just a basket and some index cards or cards you design. This particular friend of mine had just gotten married, and I thought it’d be fun for them to record memories and then be able to look back on the exciting times from each year of their marriage.

You also don’t have to be crafty to give more and spend less this holiday season. There are a lot of businesses out there that donate profits to good causes or gifts of time such as taking your parents out to eat, sending someone flowers every season, signing up a friend for a cake-making class that they’ve been wanting to take, etc. I’ve come to realize after years of trying to “give more” that just a little extra thought goes a long way.

What special gifts do you like to give during Christmas?

Jenny lives with her husband, Joel, and their sons, Judah and Jonas, in Zachary, a suburb north of Baton Rouge. She works part-time as an editor and her favorite part of the week is when she gets to exchange her pencil skirt for yoga pants and pretend to be a SAHM for a few days. When she’s not toting her sons around town or saving her toddler's life one head dive off the couch at a time, she is designing invitations, stationery, and logos for local moms, brides, and professionals. Jenny’s been married since 2007, and she and Joel welcomed Judah into their lives in April 2012 and Jonas in March 2015. She loves to squeeze in as many date nights as possible and spends her free time chronicling her family’s adventures and recent designs on her personal blog, the Gilberts.


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