1. Love this! Last year we saved money by DIYing presents. I really enjoyed it since I love DIYing, but our family felt otherwise. 😉

    This year we’re buying presents and trying to do so in a frugal, mindful way. We put all of our expenses onto a cashback rewards credit card all year. When it’s time to pay for presents, they’re covered with our cash rewards.

  2. Great post! I love that you said – spawns an offspring – lol! We did the same thing with our families. We said there was no need to get us anything once we had our kids! We also encourage our families not to bury our kids in toys at Christmas – we are a minimalist family. We encouraged consumables – such as art supplies. My in-laws found that gifting our girls age related workbooks are awesome. Our girls LOVE them and will spend hours tracing letters and numbers, circling the triangles in the pictures, and matching the momma horse to the baby horse, etc! My parents this year are gifting the girls with a brand new winter set – jacket, snow pants, hat, gloves. I love this as well!

    And this year, Chris and I are gifting our kids a single toy each they really want. Then we are focusing on experiences, but a little differently. We are going to get the girls ice skates so we can go skating as a family. We are getting them sleds so we can go sledding. And we are surprising them at Christmas with our trip to Hawaii (though this is not to be expected every year, haha).

    I love your idea of gift cards not needing to cover the entire experience! I’m no Oprah either!

  3. Gift giving has really turned out to be an area fraught with difficulties through the years. Mrs. Oldster and I have really tried to concentrate on the little ones in our orbit and with adults we’ve tried to either a) mutually agree not to exchange gifts, or b) give charitably in the name of the other person. We like local Humane Society Shelters, Heifer International and also Samaritan’s Purse. Most folks will agree (sometimes grudgingly) to the charitable route,

  4. I tend to spend a fair amount each year, though I’ve tried to cut back by limiting some of the presents (especially for the adults in the family, other than Jon) and cutting out some of the extras that mean less.

    But I started early this year, and that’s meant I’ve picked up a bit more than anticipated.

    I did save money, though, on some of it. I took advantage of some awesome October toy discounts at Target to take care of my nephews and some of my daughter’s stuff. I also used the Amazon Black Friday sales for some deep discounts, bought some discounted gift cards I knew I could use on presents, and stockpiled some Swagbucks and reward points. So at least my out of pocket expenses are well within my budget, even if I have spent a bit more.

  5. This year I’m opting out of most present-giving, but that is just because my girlfriend and I are on a pause. I love giving her presents. Other than her, I have opted out of everyone but young children and food to her family. I buy presents whenever I see a good deal on what I intend to give. Keeping things around is easy when you don’t have too many folks you are obliged to shop for. I’ll spend probably $150-200 this year. It would be more than double that if I was spending for her too.

    I love receiving gifts & consumables and gift cards that are for something I intend to buy anyway. My friends making big batches of jam and sharing them is delightful for them to do and for me to receive and it does not demand a permanent space in my home.

  6. Our gift list is extremely limited. Mostly through luck, we’ve managed to not exchange with almost everyone. Even with each other, we tend to not buy gifts but rather go out and enjoy an experience together. I know many families, friends, and workplaces are filled with eager gift exchangers, and for that, I offer my sympathy. Gift giving can be fun, but the absence of gift giving can allow you to focus on the simpler joys of the season.

  7. These are all really great tips and ideas. We have pretty small families so Christmas spending is minimal even if we buy nice presents.

    I still have some shopping to do but can say we’re definitely spending less than $500 this year. I also try to use rewards or earned gift cards whenever possible.

    I’m still trying to come up with a good “experience” gift for my mom and step dad.

  8. Hey, Penny. About 10 years ago or so, I suggested to the family that we forego gift-giving for Christmas. I thought I was going to get some fierce blow-back. But to my surprise, everyone loved the idea. So now every year we do a grab bag and everyone contributes one gift that costs less than $25. And we always have a blast. I think this year Mrs. Groovy and I will get the reward for coming up with the most-fought-over gift. I’ll let you know what it is because I don’t think anyone in my family reads your blog (sorry about that). Wait for it… wait for it… Okay, enough with the suspense. One our two gift contributions to the grab bag is the Corey Feldman “Go 4 It” CD. The grab bag this year is going to be epic. Merry Christmas to you, Mr. P, and Half P.

  9. Very helpful article. I actually spent only $700 this Christmas. My plan next year is to save a little every month as you stated in the article. Also, I’ve started watching every dollar I spend in the last few months and started to make a dent into my debt. Thanks for sharing and I appreciate the advise.

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