Staying Sane During the Gift-Giving Season

What’s your holiday budget like? Is your shopping all done, or are you more into homemade gift ideas? Holiday spending can get out of hand if you aren’t careful, especially if you tend to shop at the last minute or continue to buy “just one more thing”.

Holiday spending

I was surprised to learn that according to a survey that Women & Co. recently conducted with Real Simple (my favorite magazine), the majority of women surveyed spend at least $700 on holiday expenses — and 1 out of 3 spend $1,000 or more.

What wasn’t a surprise to me though is that 41 percent of those surveyed started their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, and 22 percent shop all year long for the holidays. (How else are we going to get it all done?)

As for gifts, the majority of respondents say they buy gifts for at least 10 people, with 1 of 4 buying gifts for more than 15 people during the holiday season. How many do you buy for?

Simplifying gift giving

So, how do you simplify your gift giving and stay sane during the holiday season? And how can you teach your kids the importance of giving (and not just getting) this time of year?

For me, the first rule is to recognize that I’m not going to find deeply meaningful gift ideas for everyone at the office, etc. I just don’t know those people well enough to do so. And if I don’t know them that well, they don’t go on my gift-giving list.

So the real keys are to know the person well, and pay attention to how they live their life. Then I ask questions and spend some time thinking about what would (hopefully) make a good gift for them. (See Finding Meaningful Gifts for details.)


  • mary

    My most meaningful gift was a sapling. It was a wedding gift for us to plant and watch it grow over the years.

  • petra

    The most meaningful gift I ever received is a necklace from my dad. Whenever I wear it, I think of him.

  • Catalina

    Greatest gift is a leather backpack that has lasted through the years since High School…. long, long time ago!

  • Well it will sound cheesy to type it into this form, but the greatest gift is my son. Not exactly something that could be wrapped in a box with a neat and tidy bow, but nevertheless it is the greatest gift I’ve ever received.

  • Alicia

    Why were you surprised, women act unwise with their finances for most of part. When we see something that we really like we go and buy that stuff, even if it is super expensive and we cannot afford it, borrowing is not a problem=) And this is really bad, I admit it. We have to be more rational with our expenses and stay away from sales, unless it is a holiday season and we buy presents=) Your post is all about good points, thanx a lot for ideas!