winter wonderland

Our 2014 (simple) holiday gift guide

“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.” -Donald E. Westlake

Gift-giving doesn’t come naturally to me. Perhaps it’s because it’s not high on my “love languages” (I’m the type that’ll just go get it myself if I need it), I often feel a bit deer-in-the-headlights when it’s time to make those purchases. (Gift wrapping, however, is another story. Give me a roll of paper, some tape and a movie marathon, and I’m good to go.)

I’ve mentioned before that we’re a three-gift family, at least for the kids—no specific reason, really (if we’re in a spiritual mood we’ll say it’s to remember the three gifts given to Jesus), but this tradition has paid us in dividends. The kids know every year how many gifts to expect, and it gives us grownups a finish line to our buying. Three gifts, three kids. Done.

Consider starting a tradition like this, if you haven’t yet (I know quite a few families who follow the “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” practice as well). It tempers the “I wants,” and it gives you peace of mind.

It puts gift-giving and receiving in its rightful spot: just one thing of many that makes the Christmas season special.

I’ve spent the past few weeks putting together a gift guide for you—a collection of simple gift ideas that help you purchase thoughtfully. In my opinion, these things aren’t too cluttery, they support solid businesses, and they’re neither overpriced nor so-cheap-they-break.

These are gifts I’d be happy with, in other words. And they’re gifts I’ll actually be giving this year.

A Simple Holiday Gift Guide—lots of clutter-free gift ideas for kids, tweens & teens, grandparents, and more.

Head here to check out the blog’s Simple Holiday Gift Guide.

And? We’d really appreciate you doing your online shopping through the links we provide in the guide. When you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, you help keep this blog running. We love doing what we do here, encouraging and championing the simpler life. Thank you for your faithfulness as a reader! I’m grateful to call you friends. Y’all are the best.

Join the Conversation

How to simplify the holidays without feeling like a Scrooge

If I’m honest, I think it all goes back to the fact I never knew my mom. Don’t worry, this isn’t a sob story, just a fact. I never saw her leave a sink full of dishes or forget the snack she was supposed to bring to my school party. I never saw her stressing (read more…)

Join the Conversation

Why I chose the tiny house lifestyle (giveaway!)

It was about three weeks and 800 miles into the bicycle tour when I realized that I wanted to build a tiny house. My cousin Dan and I had arrived in the sleepy beach town of Yachats, Oregon, on his birthday without much by way of a plan. We ended up chatting with Steven at (read more…)

Join the Conversation

On Whataboutery

Recently, I’ve noticed many tsk-tsking posts on social media claiming that it’s shameful to talk about trivial things when there are terrible things happening in the world. This attitude is related to the belief that matters of lesser urgency are not worth considering. For instance: you shouldn’t bother worrying about, say, art in schools, because (read more…)

Join the Conversation

3 items I won’t cut from my budget

Have you ever made a decision you knew would change your life? Maybe you’re not sure how you know, but you know. This is big. Life will never be the same. A few years ago, my husband and I made one of those decisions. It was a simple one, yes, but the decision led us (read more…)

Join the Conversation