Christmas Gift Challenge: Give more, Spend less

Yes, I know it’s not Christmas time yet, and I’m all for waiting until after Thanksgiving…but, I know many of you will be doing some big shopping the day after Thanksgiving, so I wanted to get this posted before then.

Last year I wrote about my Top 10 list of low-tech, low-cost gifts that kids will love!  A couple  years ago as a family we made the decision to cut way back on the gifts we gave each other so that we could focus more on giving to charities and families in need instead.  Our daughter was our inspiration as she has one of the most generous spirits I’ve seen in a child.  Christmas is about celebrating Jesus’ birthday, not our own, so we want to celebrate in a way that honors Him.

This year, I extended the cut-back to the grandparents by way of a “Christmas Challenge”.  Here is the challenge that I sent to them:

Christmas Challenge & “Wish List”

Ok, grandparents! We have a challenge for you that we hope you will accept.   In keeping with our family’s “motto” around Christmas – we like to focus on “Giving more, Spending less” and this year we are focusing on spending less money, but getting things that are meaningful to people. 

Our challenge to you (and it’s one that we are doing as well), is to give Lovebug a gift that costs $10 or less (not counting shipping).   Yep, just $10!!! You can do it!  It can be one item, or a few items, but just $10 TOTAL.  I PROMISE you that there are a ton of things she absolutely LOVES that cost less than that.  In fact, most of the things she enjoys the most are inexpensive (like cardboard boxes and sticks!).  We have so many toys, many of which never get touched, so we really don’t need any more unless they are the few small toys listed below.

I hope you will consider this a FUN challenge and enjoy it rather than be upset with it.  We are really working with Lovebug this year to pick out a few things for $1-2 for some of her friends too, so we’re talking a lot about how you can get really fun, meaningful things for very little money!   And she’s already expecting this from family too since we’ve been talking about it.  I PROMISE you that she doesn’t care about opening a huge box, or unwrapping lots of things.  She really doesn’t.  She gets so excited over a couple little things, that actually if there is too much some of it just gets ignored. 

So, here is a list of ideas or things to choose from. Feel free to add your own.

· Small (beanie baby size) stuffed animal – especially if of an unusual animal. 

· Shovel, or any digging tool that can be used in the backyard

· Stickers

· Ornament

· Books – the Dollar Tree, or Dollar Spot at Target have lots of cute little board books she still loves

· Foam craft kits – Joann’s or Walmart usually have them, sometimes holiday themed

· Punch balloons – in the party section at Walmart, the ones you blow up and they have a rubber band on the end so they can “punch” them – she loves these! Great for sensory input, and playing outside

· Balls – any balls! Bouncy ones, ones with glitter inside them – Target always has a lot in the kids area

· TOOB sets – These are the little sets of hard animals/people sold in plastic tubes.  They sell these at Michaels for under $10.  She loves these and collects them.  ANY of them are good, even if we end up with a duplicate, she’ll use it.  We only have a few sets, so you’d be good with any of them.

· We do NOT need candy! We have so much already we are getting rid of.  Good ideas, that she loves for treats are: boxes of raisins, individual packs of unsweetened applesauce, or Gluten Free granola bars

· Sensory toys – those squishy balls with “hair” – not real hair, but little plastic things sticking out all over them.   Or bendable/posable toys (think like gumby/pokey – we have those, but things like that), pipe cleaners

· Can of playdough, or package of Model Magic (Michael’s sells individual packages)

· Cute straws

· Fun shaped or holiday theme post it notes

· Silly putty

· Packages of glow sticks, bracelets, etc from the Dollar Store

· Sidewalk chalk – we use up a TON of this and you can get it at the dollar store, we don’t need the fancy kind

· Hot Wheels cars – just the regular, little ones that are sold at Walmart for .99 – she loves those!

· Recycleables! You could send her toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, and blue painters tape and she’d have a blast


(As I read this list to Lovebug to make sure it was all things she would enjoy she added, “They could even send me a GIANT cardboard box with nothing in it, and I would love it because I could make things with it!”) – What a great kid!

There’s a good list to get you going!


You all do not need to get anything for the grownups, but if you really want to, here is our “Under $10” list.  We’ll save the more expensive list for our birthdays! Ha Ha! (I included this one because my mom’s love language is gifts and she loves to give something!)

  • Coffee Mug, either for at home or a travel one (Not sure you can get those cheap anymore though)
  • Chocolate covered espresso beans (Hubby loves these!)
  • Puzzle
  • Candle – we love any of the food scents
  • Ornament
  • Soft, fuzzy socks for me


If you are looking for a great way to give to a good charity, then please choose something from this online World Vision Gift Catalog and buy something for people that need basic food and clean water.  This is a great organization that we have been supporting for a long time with our “adopted” child in a village there.  We will be choosing something from this catalog to purchase as a family.  Will we get a goat? A couple rabbits? A duck? Hmmmm.

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