Buying Christmas gifts can easily turn into a stressful endeavor, especially if you feel out of ideas on how to buy for your whole family. Sometimes you need inspiration and a fresh perspective to take your shopping over the finish line. Keep reading to find a helpful guide to the buying process with a few clarifying questions and inspiring suggestions (so you have plenty of extra time to relax with a glass of wine!)
7 Clarifying Questions To Help You Buy the Best Family Christmas Gifts
1. Have you made a list of everyone you need to buy for?
This may sound rudimentary and unnecessary but ultimately, it’s the very best starting point. Part of the stress can come from thinking you are forgetting something or someone. If you keep a quick list handy you can double check it anytime you need to ensure you have all the important people in your life.
Take it a step further and jot down gift ideas as they pop in your head or when that person mentions something you want to remember to purchase for them. Some do best with an actual pen to paper method so think ahead and put a small notebook in your purse, briefcase, glove compartment, coat pocket, etc. Make sure it is accessible for when you need to reference it.
Other options, for those who are certain to lose a piece of paper the minute the list is started, consider a cloud-based document you can access from both your cell phone and computer. This might include a google doc, a regular document saved in Dropbox or a similar platform, or even just a note on your cell phone.
2. Do you have a minimum and maximum budget?
It’s probably safe to say that the majority of people shopping for gifts have some kind of a budget for which they need to aim. Taking the time to truly come up with a number can feel like a chore. Starting the process with a clear financial picture can set you up to make better decisions as you shop. If you have a total maximum budget and/or a budget per person, this will set the parameters for where to shop and what to look for. For example, if you would like to spend no more than $50 per person, that will help you decide quickly on a gift idea depending on how much it costs. This will also help you narrow down where you choose to shop. So, try not to tempt yourself by taking your Target budget to shop at Louis Vuitton. Both options have amazing gifts, but for specific budgets.
3. Is there a theme or common thread you want all of your gifts to reflect?
Have you considered helping narrow the gift giving focus by picking a theme around which to center your gifts? Doing this will help you choose places to shop and make the process run smoothly along the way.
A few theme ideas might be:
- Clothing - this is broad while allowing for many amazing options.
- Photos - so many companies exist that have the ability to take a photo and turn it into a wood print, a calendar, buttons, magnets, the list is endless. Each gift can still reflect the receiver’s personality and be extra special with a personal touch.
- Store/Location - find a local gem and choose to purchase all of your gifts from that place.
- Adventure - choose small adventures and activities to do with each family or friend and start setting up next year’s social calendar early.
- Gift Cards - choose everyone’s favorite restaurant, clothing store, or outdoor adventure company and allow them to choose how and when to spend their gift.
4. Do you have to travel with your gifts or send them through the mail?
It can be easy and fun to get caught up in the moment when purchasing gifts but forget about the fact that they all have to fit in a suitcase, your car, or paid for again when shipping. Just keep this in mind when choosing a gift so that you don’t add stress when figuring out how to deliver your gifts.
5. Have you asked your family for some ideas?
Part of the fun when giving gifts is picking out the perfect one and enjoying the delight the recipient has when opening it. That can be a lot of pressure when in fact, your Mom, or Dad, or Uncle Frank would be equally delighted to receive a gift you already knew they wanted. So, think about taking a quick poll to see what your family might want and if their idea fits in your budget, theme, and your luggage, then that feels like a win-win-win.
6. Have you considered beautifully crafted, ready-to-ship, thoughtfully sourced baskets as Christmas Gifts?
The internet is an amazing technological gift right at your fingertips with something to always be discovered. For example, companies like Bestowe Gifting do the heavy lifting of working with talented artisans, choosing ethically sourced products, and combining them together in a beautiful gift set. The only part you play is choosing the right one for your family members. You can choose from baskets already created, or customize your own!
7. Have you been overthinking it all a bit too much?
This is just a gentle reminder to not be so hard on yourself. Stressing about the perfect list and the even more perfect gifts can quickly ruin a season filled with so much joy to offer. Try not to let buying gifts take away from the beauty of Christmas trees, decorated houses, and precious time with your family.
3 Types of Christmas Gifts for Dad
Dad’s can be some of the hardest people to buy gifts for because they often say they don’t want anything or what they want seems not very exciting to you, the gift giver. Consider these 3 types of gifts for Dad to help narrow down the direction you want to go.
1. Same Old Gifts He’s Always Loved
When your Dad tells you he’d love some new tools, you should probably choose to believe him and find the latest and greatest at your local hardware store. If your father has consistently been happy with a short list of gifts, don’t try and reinvent the wheel, give him something you already know he will use and love. It doesn’t matter what it is, but if it’s from you, it’s quite probable he will cherish it and appreciate that you thought to buy him something at all.
2. An Experience To Share Together
Try switching it up this year and give your Dad an experience the two of you can share together. This could be anything from a weekend camping trip to an evening out for dinner and a movie and everything in between. It’s less about what it is and more about choosing an activity that allows you to be together and make memories. Even if you are only able to send him this Nightcap gift set, you can schedule a phone call and have a drink together.
3. Something New, But Also Practical and Different
Think something like a new tablet and a subscription to his favorite news outlet or sports magazine. He might be resistant to not holding a paper in his hand, but he also might find that he loves how easy it is to get the news or the latest in every sport known to man. Many Dads tend to not be into fluff or using anything they can do better with their own two hands. Choose wisely when nudging him in a modern direction or at least get a gift receipt.
Some Dads might also enjoy burning candles or getting pampered, as they should! Consider a monthly candle subscription or a date to get a pedicure. Buy your parents a couples massage or a day at the spa together.
Christmas Gifts for Mom At Every Age and Stage of Motherhood
New Mom with Young Kids
Being a Mom in and of itself is it’s own full-time job. There is something especially unique about the years with young children. Oftentimes Mom’s are always giving of themselves fully and completely. This ready-to-ship gift basket is a perfect way to show the new Mom in your life some love to help her take time to Relax and Restore. When thinking of other gift options, try to remember to focus on the Mom and give her the chance to feel fully appreciated apart from her role as a caregiver.
A Mother in this stage may not appear as frazzled as a new Mom might but it is likely they have not taken much time to focus on themselves over the years. A wine club subscription or tickets to a show coming through town are two options she might love. Gift cards for a meal or two at her favorite restaurant with her favorite child (which is obviously you 😉) is never a bad idea. Try and give her the chance to have fun and get a moment away from the everyday mom-ing.
Mom with an Empty Nest
This is the time a Mom looks forward to in many ways! Yes, it can be a bit sad at times with no kids at home, but that Mom has put in her time! Maybe consider gifting options that allow her to upgrade her wardrobe, home decor, or even technology. Help her celebrate the freedom ahead with something fun and outside the box and the house like salsa dancing lessons or a painting class. If she’s already a little spicy, maybe this Mini Cocktail Kit is the perfect gift basket to kick up the fun a notch.
A Few Christmas Gifts for Kids That Don’t Involve a Screen
Children are inundated with technology from all sides, every day. It would be easy to purchase the latest and greatest gaming system, cell phone, or even valuable educational tools. Many of those things are great and necessary but what if you could find gifts that foster creativity and imagination in a way technology will never be able to? Think about some of the following categories to steer you in the right direction.
Arts & Crafts
This can be as simple as a paint by number for beginners, as intricate as origami, or as complex as a giant cross-stitch. Put together a box or basket with fancy watercolor pencils and a handful of canvases. Younger kids might love a jewelry making or sewing kit. Find something you and your kids can do together using your hands and creating. Don’t go overboard and buy one of everything to choose from - pick an option that your kid can complete in a reasonable amount of time and then celebrate their accomplishment and creativity.
Time is hard to come by with school, work, extracurricular activities, family time, sports, you name it. Choosing an experience or activity in place of another toy or trinket to line your children’s closets and toy boxes is a wonderful way to make memories and cherish each stage in their lives. Sometimes the word “experience” can seem like it comes with high expectations and a costly price tag. That doesn’t have to be the case. Pick a day to be a “Yes Day” and say yes to your kids requests all day (within reason, obviously) for extra time at the park, ice cream before dinner, seeing a movie, and going to bed late. This kind of an experience most likely won’t break the bank and it will be a day they never forget.
Clothing (NOT Socks or Underwear)
Pay attention to what’s trending in your kid’s wardrobe and buy them something they’d never expect you to “approve of.” That wild animal print dress or those high wanted bell bottoms that are coming back in style. Whatever it is, if you are going to buy your child clothes, take an extra minute to really consider their taste and style and surprise them with something they'll never want to take off.
Hand-On STEM Projects
Think arts and crafts but bumped up a couple of notches to include science kits, coding classes (leaning towards screen time but still a lucrative skill to learn early), bridge designing kits, or even a math-light board game like Cahoots where everyone works together and must think fast.
Books and Journals
The book topic options for kids of every single age is absolutely endless. You can find chapter books, picture books, informative and fictional, interactive books, biographies, and anything else you can think of. If your child needs a bit more motivation, start with an interesting book that has a movie you can watch as a family together. Start a family book club and buy everyone a copy of the same book. Encourage each family member to lead a night of book club however they see fit to keep the gift giving for months after Christmas.
It’s never too early to encourage your kids to start writing and journaling for themselves. This is something they can look back on for years to come and they will always be grateful. You could find a pattern or theme-based journal with something of interest to them. If they are not yet ready for full-on journaling, look for a book that prompts them to reflect on their day or asks one silly question a week. This will encourage your child to write but not require them to write so much.
Enroll Them in an Extracurricular Class They Will Love
Getting out of the house and attending a class has a number of tricky aspects to nail down and solidify. But if there is any way you can make it work, consider this option for your kids for Christmas this year. Community colleges, churches, after-school programs, city community centers, and numerous private companies often have classes for myriad interests. You might have to do some searching but it will be worth the experience your child will get to do something they love with other kids their age.
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Make Shopping for Family Christmas Gifts Faster So You Can Make Family Memories Longer
Between travel time, actual shopping, and attending holiday functions, the average person spends 42 hours they can’t get back just on these activities. By reflecting on the questions above and making intentional choices ahead of time, you just might be able to get some of that time back and fill it up with family memories. Each year when reflecting on favorite holiday memories, you rarely hear anyone in your family share about how they cherished long lines and decision fatigue while scrambling for gifts two days before Christmas. The opposite is almost always true. People cherish being together, laughing, cooking, eating, listening to holiday music, and special gifts that were bought with much love.