6 Easy Ways to Simplify Gift Giving

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Gift-giving is one of those things that challenge me every time it comes up. What to give, how much to spend, do we even need a gift for that? Well, I’m here to tell you that things don’t have to be so tough. Here are 6 ways that I like to keep gift giving simple.

1. Gift Experiences. Everyone likes to open something, but the best gifts (in my opinion) are those that make memories. I like to gift experiences when I can. One of the best experiential gifts I ever gifted (if I do say so myself) was to a pair of twin boys who were turning 4 or 5 years old. The gift was an outing to a pet store to get their first fish tank. Not only did we get to take the train, go to lunch and pick out fish and a tank, but they got to keep the fish as a reminder of the day. Not expensive, but one they still talk about 6 or 7 years later. For adults, some of the best experiences include offering up babysitting (and really following through), taking someone to your favorite place in the city, spending time doing their favorite hobby or if you have a bigger budget, treating them to something they would never do for themselves (cleaning lady, spa day, theatre tickets etc)

2. Set a budget and stick to it. Budgets are meant to be kept. It keeps things simple, guides you to what gifts you can afford and helps you stay on track.

3. What will make your gift recipient smile? When you think about giving gifts, don’t think about you, but rather think about what will make the other person smile. Do they love the outdoors? Maybe get them a flashlight and some camping cookware are perfect. Are they a bookworm? Time to head to the bookstore and get them the hottest new book, some cozy socks and a cool bookmark. Keep this in mind and get creative. Don’t know much about the person you are gifting? Get creative with something that would make anyone smile. Think chia pets, yummy snacks, or something useful to everyone.

4. More sometimes really is more. Sometimes a trip to the local Dollar Tree can solve all of your gifting needs. This is a great place to pick a theme, pick a budget, pick a basket and go crazy. For themes, I like to think about colors, letters, or specific topics for the gift (kitchen gadgets, outdoor fun, movie night). Like if you pick the color RED, you could grab a red plastic tub and fill it up with $15 red things. The recipient will think they hit the jackpot with so many little gifts, you’ll look super creative and everyone will be happy!

5. The internet is your friend. We have all been there, so much to do, so little time. We want to go from store to store picking out just the right thing for everyone on our list. But is that really possible? I think not. I like to keep it simple by making my list of gifts I need for the upcoming month, whether its holiday season, housewarming season, or birthday party season. Write down your gift needs, and then hop online, and buy everything in one fell swoop. You’ll not only feel super accomplished and organized, but you’ll have time to be more thoughtful about the gifts you are purchasing.

6. Buy in bulk. There is no shame in gifting many people the same thing. This year for Hanukkah all the nieces and nephews are getting slippers (shhh, don’t tell them). Yep, that’s right funny slippers for all. Purchased a while back when I saw a great sale. There is nothing wrong with this. It keeps life simple for you and allows you to stick to that budget you set for yourself. Some other times that I use this trick are birthday parties. Everyone turning 4 gets the same thing, a fun play-doh kit. Turning 8, you’ll bet you’ll get a great book, etc.

Remember these tips for a simple holiday season and gifting throughout the year and make sure that life is as simple as your favorite gray t-shirt.


The quick story is that I'm a Detroiter, living in Chicago, married to a guy from Louisville.  We have two hilarious munchkins who are nonstop.  I'm an reformed MSW, former camp director turned full time blogger, I'm all about helping people keep life simple!

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