Simple Christmas Traditions – Simple Gift-Giving

Hey Last Christmas by Wham just came on the radio as I started typing! My very favourite Christmas song ever – Thanks Radio 2!!

It’s Christmas Guys! Cue Sleigh Bells!

We like to lead a simple life over at Chez Wright, but the tradition of Christmas still includes the exchange of gifts for us.

As I said we keep it simple, that includes how we do gifts. I call it my “Christmas Box” system. This is how we do it for the adults in our close family. Our Kids get a visit from Santa πŸ˜‰

(The Hubby and I don’t exchange gifts – Santa drops off one small token for each of us so that the Kids get to see us open a gift on Christmas morning)

This is how my ‘Christmas Box’ system works:

  1. One box per person
  2. In that box there is:
  • Something to eat (normally chocolate)
  • Something to drink (normally alcohol)
  • A pair of socks (well it wouldn’t be Christmas without socks would it?)
  • An experience (gift voucher for those that shop, a theatre/event ticket for those that like to be entertained, a book or DVD for those who prefer a physical specific item)
This year the plan was to make each box by taking a used box and sticking pieces of Christmas paper to it and gluing over. However on one grocery trip to Home BargainsΒ (affectionately known as Bargo’s at Chez Wright) I spotted this:
A bargain (that’s why they are called Home Bargains!) at Β£3.99 for a large great quality box that can be used by the recipient time and time again.
Then it just got better, as I opened it, I discovered 3 other boxes contained for the price.
How could I resist? (I’m partial to browns and creams – have you noticed the decor in the background?)…
These boxes are part of the gift themselves and can be reused. Next year I will be making all the boxes but will allow a little more time (one box can take three days to complete including drying time!).
The Kids and I have made a couple of our own decoupage boxes… First-Born’s teacher is the recipient of one.
Hats off to Home Bargains (Bargos) once again… This gift cost less than Β£5!
This system works for me because we do exchange gifts at Christmas but I hate shopping. It’s simple to get all the consumables in one trip when I get my groceries (even the socks can be purchased from most grocery retailers). The vouchers, tickets, books and DVD’s can be ordered online. Β All items are contained in one box so it looks neat and is very easy to hide away from my Kids prying eyes as I store them before the big day.
When the gifts are exchanged there isn’t hours of opening presents, and when the recipient takes them home they are all contained in one box. Very simple in my opinion!
The added bonus is I’m not cluttering anyone up, 50% of the items can be consumed, the socks are a usable item, and the experience can be taken at their leisure after the holidays. The beauty of gift vouchers is that everythings reduced in the New Year so it’s better value for money for those who like to shop!
_____________________________________________________________
I’ll be doing another post on card-exchanges (we don’t send cards we make a donation to charity instead). There will also be photos of the completed gifts as it is still to be wrapped up (ribbon, twine and home-made gift tags) – pardon the pun!
_____________________________________________________________
Don’t forget I’m updating daily on Facebook! Yesterday I even found time to take this photo (to upload) as I sat waiting for Mom and Big Sis to join me for another of our Christmas traditions – a pre-christmas pub lunch:
Over on my Facebook pageΒ there’s also a video message I received from Santa this morning… see even if you believe in a simple Christmas there’s still room for a little of Santa’s magic πŸ™‚
{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Lauren December 14, 2011, 12:51 pm

    Great system! We don’t exchange gifts with the family (this will be the 7th gift free Christmas, it’s bliss) but I think I’ll borrow the idea for my young teen nephew’s present as I got a really good deal on his main gift (a game) so wanted to pad it out a bit with yummy consumables.

    I like those boxes as well. Nearest “Bargos” is too far away though. I feel like I’m missing out!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:33 pm

      Lauren I do feel for you not having a Bargos nearby! The photo doesn’t do the boxes justice. I was planning on making all the Christmas boxes, then about 3 weeks ago when doing my grocery shop I noticed a box on a high shelf priced Β£3.99. What a bargain I thought! Perfect to keep and use again by the recipient. Then when I opened it and realised there were 3 others I had to stop myself doing a little skip! I actually bought 8 in total for Β£7.98. This should cover everyone, and the varying sizes mean they look fab when altogether (Santa πŸ˜‰ drops them off under our tree so when the family arrive for dinner they are already ready to be handed out). It’s great for me as I am a visual person – so I can put all the boxes on a table fill them and quickly see what’s missing and still to get.
      A gift free Christmas sounds one chilled out holiday to me!

      • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:36 pm

        I’ve bought most of the add on items to fill the boxes from Bargos… Pretty easy and straightforward!

  • Lauren December 14, 2011, 12:51 pm

    Great system! We don’t exchange gifts with the family (this will be the 7th gift free Christmas, it’s bliss) but I think I’ll borrow the idea for my young teen nephew’s present as I got a really good deal on his main gift (a game) so wanted to pad it out a bit with yummy consumables.

    I like those boxes as well. Nearest “Bargos” is too far away though. I feel like I’m missing out!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:33 pm

      Lauren I do feel for you not having a Bargos nearby! The photo doesn’t do the boxes justice. I was planning on making all the Christmas boxes, then about 3 weeks ago when doing my grocery shop I noticed a box on a high shelf priced Β£3.99. What a bargain I thought! Perfect to keep and use again by the recipient. Then when I opened it and realised there were 3 others I had to stop myself doing a little skip! I actually bought 8 in total for Β£7.98. This should cover everyone, and the varying sizes mean they look fab when altogether (Santa πŸ˜‰ drops them off under our tree so when the family arrive for dinner they are already ready to be handed out). It’s great for me as I am a visual person – so I can put all the boxes on a table fill them and quickly see what’s missing and still to get.
      A gift free Christmas sounds one chilled out holiday to me!

      • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:36 pm

        I’ve bought most of the add on items to fill the boxes from Bargos… Pretty easy and straightforward!

  • Lauren December 14, 2011, 12:51 pm

    Great system! We don’t exchange gifts with the family (this will be the 7th gift free Christmas, it’s bliss) but I think I’ll borrow the idea for my young teen nephew’s present as I got a really good deal on his main gift (a game) so wanted to pad it out a bit with yummy consumables.

    I like those boxes as well. Nearest “Bargos” is too far away though. I feel like I’m missing out!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:33 pm

      Lauren I do feel for you not having a Bargos nearby! The photo doesn’t do the boxes justice. I was planning on making all the Christmas boxes, then about 3 weeks ago when doing my grocery shop I noticed a box on a high shelf priced Β£3.99. What a bargain I thought! Perfect to keep and use again by the recipient. Then when I opened it and realised there were 3 others I had to stop myself doing a little skip! I actually bought 8 in total for Β£7.98. This should cover everyone, and the varying sizes mean they look fab when altogether (Santa πŸ˜‰ drops them off under our tree so when the family arrive for dinner they are already ready to be handed out). It’s great for me as I am a visual person – so I can put all the boxes on a table fill them and quickly see what’s missing and still to get.
      A gift free Christmas sounds one chilled out holiday to me!

      • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:36 pm

        I’ve bought most of the add on items to fill the boxes from Bargos… Pretty easy and straightforward!

  • Jenny @ exconsumer December 14, 2011, 2:26 pm

    I love this idea Jo! Personally, I prefer to receive consumables or experience gifts. It’s always really stressful when my husband and I have to figure out what to do with new possessions at Christmastime. We’re still trying to get rid of possessions we don’t need or want! πŸ™‚

    I’ve been giving consumable or experience gifts to others for birthdays and such this year. When my oldest goes to birthday parties, we’ve been sending him with a movie theater gift card. Sometimes we wrap it up with some candy.

    Seeing your Christmas traditions and ideas has been awesome!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:40 pm

      Cheers Jenny. I’ve started buying consumables, experiences or flowers for most birthday’s unless something specific has been requested or I have an inkling something specific is required. The aim is to not have anything to show for the gift – even the flowers will get composted in the end!
      The plan next year is to make some good quality gifts for birthdays – I recently discovered how to book-bind, it looks amazing, although I’ve not yet tried it.
      Here’s to a clutter-free Christmas eh?

  • Jenny @ exconsumer December 14, 2011, 2:26 pm

    I love this idea Jo! Personally, I prefer to receive consumables or experience gifts. It’s always really stressful when my husband and I have to figure out what to do with new possessions at Christmastime. We’re still trying to get rid of possessions we don’t need or want! πŸ™‚

    I’ve been giving consumable or experience gifts to others for birthdays and such this year. When my oldest goes to birthday parties, we’ve been sending him with a movie theater gift card. Sometimes we wrap it up with some candy.

    Seeing your Christmas traditions and ideas has been awesome!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:40 pm

      Cheers Jenny. I’ve started buying consumables, experiences or flowers for most birthday’s unless something specific has been requested or I have an inkling something specific is required. The aim is to not have anything to show for the gift – even the flowers will get composted in the end!
      The plan next year is to make some good quality gifts for birthdays – I recently discovered how to book-bind, it looks amazing, although I’ve not yet tried it.
      Here’s to a clutter-free Christmas eh?

  • Jenny @ exconsumer December 14, 2011, 2:26 pm

    I love this idea Jo! Personally, I prefer to receive consumables or experience gifts. It’s always really stressful when my husband and I have to figure out what to do with new possessions at Christmastime. We’re still trying to get rid of possessions we don’t need or want! πŸ™‚

    I’ve been giving consumable or experience gifts to others for birthdays and such this year. When my oldest goes to birthday parties, we’ve been sending him with a movie theater gift card. Sometimes we wrap it up with some candy.

    Seeing your Christmas traditions and ideas has been awesome!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 5:40 pm

      Cheers Jenny. I’ve started buying consumables, experiences or flowers for most birthday’s unless something specific has been requested or I have an inkling something specific is required. The aim is to not have anything to show for the gift – even the flowers will get composted in the end!
      The plan next year is to make some good quality gifts for birthdays – I recently discovered how to book-bind, it looks amazing, although I’ve not yet tried it.
      Here’s to a clutter-free Christmas eh?

  • Megyn @Minimalist Mommi December 14, 2011, 5:22 pm

    I just love the idea, Jo! I may have to let my family in on it. Thanks for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

  • Megyn @Minimalist Mommi December 14, 2011, 5:22 pm

    I just love the idea, Jo! I may have to let my family in on it. Thanks for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

  • Megyn @Minimalist Mommi December 14, 2011, 5:22 pm

    I just love the idea, Jo! I may have to let my family in on it. Thanks for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

  • Carla December 14, 2011, 8:30 pm

    I love this! We’ve been switching around gift giving for the adults lately but can’t seem to find anything thats works just right… I’ll have to bring up this idea!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 9:20 pm

      This definitely works for adults as it’s a little mystery – ‘what’s in my box?’. It’s also great because you can get miniature bottles of alcohol and it looks quite cute (IMO). One thing you could do (and I have) is not spend the cash on vouchers/tickets/DVD’s etc… you could make your own gift vouchers. So a babysitting voucher, or a ‘I’ll cook you a meal and drop it off’ voucher, or you could do a voucher for one fresh loaf of bread a month that kind of thing. It depends who the recipient is and what your skills are!

  • Carla December 14, 2011, 8:30 pm

    I love this! We’ve been switching around gift giving for the adults lately but can’t seem to find anything thats works just right… I’ll have to bring up this idea!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 9:20 pm

      This definitely works for adults as it’s a little mystery – ‘what’s in my box?’. It’s also great because you can get miniature bottles of alcohol and it looks quite cute (IMO). One thing you could do (and I have) is not spend the cash on vouchers/tickets/DVD’s etc… you could make your own gift vouchers. So a babysitting voucher, or a ‘I’ll cook you a meal and drop it off’ voucher, or you could do a voucher for one fresh loaf of bread a month that kind of thing. It depends who the recipient is and what your skills are!

  • Carla December 14, 2011, 8:30 pm

    I love this! We’ve been switching around gift giving for the adults lately but can’t seem to find anything thats works just right… I’ll have to bring up this idea!

    • simplybeingmum December 14, 2011, 9:20 pm

      This definitely works for adults as it’s a little mystery – ‘what’s in my box?’. It’s also great because you can get miniature bottles of alcohol and it looks quite cute (IMO). One thing you could do (and I have) is not spend the cash on vouchers/tickets/DVD’s etc… you could make your own gift vouchers. So a babysitting voucher, or a ‘I’ll cook you a meal and drop it off’ voucher, or you could do a voucher for one fresh loaf of bread a month that kind of thing. It depends who the recipient is and what your skills are!

  • sharron December 14, 2011, 9:46 pm

    Well Jo, that is one idea i know i will be stealing for next year( wishes dear jo would have done this in october πŸ™‚ ) i have really strugggled with my older two boys (16 &15) and declared the other day that next year they are adults, so a jumper and a bottle of aftershave it is!! This box idea will now be our new tradition. Both of my older boys have part time jobs so anything they want they buy themselves, no hanging round for santa πŸ™ Oh to be young and have your own money…..

    Fab, fab, fab post Jo!!!
    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum December 16, 2011, 1:41 pm

      Cheers Sharron! It does get harder in some ways, and easier in others as they get older. I have to do 2 boxes that are for older teens. This is when the beauty of gift vouchers kicks in… There’s always something they have in mind to buy!

  • sharron December 14, 2011, 9:46 pm

    Well Jo, that is one idea i know i will be stealing for next year( wishes dear jo would have done this in october πŸ™‚ ) i have really strugggled with my older two boys (16 &15) and declared the other day that next year they are adults, so a jumper and a bottle of aftershave it is!! This box idea will now be our new tradition. Both of my older boys have part time jobs so anything they want they buy themselves, no hanging round for santa πŸ™ Oh to be young and have your own money…..

    Fab, fab, fab post Jo!!!
    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum December 16, 2011, 1:41 pm

      Cheers Sharron! It does get harder in some ways, and easier in others as they get older. I have to do 2 boxes that are for older teens. This is when the beauty of gift vouchers kicks in… There’s always something they have in mind to buy!

  • sharron December 14, 2011, 9:46 pm

    Well Jo, that is one idea i know i will be stealing for next year( wishes dear jo would have done this in october πŸ™‚ ) i have really strugggled with my older two boys (16 &15) and declared the other day that next year they are adults, so a jumper and a bottle of aftershave it is!! This box idea will now be our new tradition. Both of my older boys have part time jobs so anything they want they buy themselves, no hanging round for santa πŸ™ Oh to be young and have your own money…..

    Fab, fab, fab post Jo!!!
    Sharron x

    • simplybeingmum December 16, 2011, 1:41 pm

      Cheers Sharron! It does get harder in some ways, and easier in others as they get older. I have to do 2 boxes that are for older teens. This is when the beauty of gift vouchers kicks in… There’s always something they have in mind to buy!

  • Rayna (the Suburban Minimalist blog) December 14, 2011, 10:53 pm

    I love this post! The Christmas box idea is so easy, so meaningful, and don’t you know I love a formula? It takes a lot of the guess work out and puts all the fun in! Bravo!

    And thank you for the Wham! video. Look how adorable George Michael was – and that hair! Fab-u-lous!

    • simplybeingmum December 16, 2011, 1:47 pm

      On my ‘bucket list’ I want to do the Wham Last Christmas ‘Christmas’. I’m a snow-bunny anyway, so the idea of being huddled up in a chalet (with a spot of skiing) over the holidays is my idea of heaven. Alternatively being huddled up in that gorgeous country cottage you posted about today…
      The boxes can be adapted, and I have a couple of Birthday’s just after Christmas. I’ll be posting about my ‘Me Time’ Box that I do. See not only a formula but a label for it also!

  • Rayna (the Suburban Minimalist blog) December 14, 2011, 10:53 pm

    I love this post! The Christmas box idea is so easy, so meaningful, and don’t you know I love a formula? It takes a lot of the guess work out and puts all the fun in! Bravo!

    And thank you for the Wham! video. Look how adorable George Michael was – and that hair! Fab-u-lous!

    • simplybeingmum December 16, 2011, 1:47 pm

      On my ‘bucket list’ I want to do the Wham Last Christmas ‘Christmas’. I’m a snow-bunny anyway, so the idea of being huddled up in a chalet (with a spot of skiing) over the holidays is my idea of heaven. Alternatively being huddled up in that gorgeous country cottage you posted about today…
      The boxes can be adapted, and I have a couple of Birthday’s just after Christmas. I’ll be posting about my ‘Me Time’ Box that I do. See not only a formula but a label for it also!

  • Rayna (the Suburban Minimalist blog) December 14, 2011, 10:53 pm

    I love this post! The Christmas box idea is so easy, so meaningful, and don’t you know I love a formula? It takes a lot of the guess work out and puts all the fun in! Bravo!

    And thank you for the Wham! video. Look how adorable George Michael was – and that hair! Fab-u-lous!

    • simplybeingmum December 16, 2011, 1:47 pm

      On my ‘bucket list’ I want to do the Wham Last Christmas ‘Christmas’. I’m a snow-bunny anyway, so the idea of being huddled up in a chalet (with a spot of skiing) over the holidays is my idea of heaven. Alternatively being huddled up in that gorgeous country cottage you posted about today…
      The boxes can be adapted, and I have a couple of Birthday’s just after Christmas. I’ll be posting about my ‘Me Time’ Box that I do. See not only a formula but a label for it also!

  • Jo H. December 19, 2011, 3:50 am

    I like your approach very much – like you said, it’s simple, neat, clutter-free – and I also like that it can still be tailored to each person’s taste, as can be seen by the pictures you included. I love the idea of getting the box, too. I have a thing about boxes πŸ™‚ Great buy! Thanks for sharing this idea.

    • simplybeingmum December 19, 2011, 8:32 am

      I have a thing about boxes too, and baskets… I’m still decluttering my way through quite a few baskets I keep finding unusual reasons to keep them! πŸ™‚

  • Jo H. December 19, 2011, 3:50 am

    I like your approach very much – like you said, it’s simple, neat, clutter-free – and I also like that it can still be tailored to each person’s taste, as can be seen by the pictures you included. I love the idea of getting the box, too. I have a thing about boxes πŸ™‚ Great buy! Thanks for sharing this idea.

    • simplybeingmum December 19, 2011, 8:32 am

      I have a thing about boxes too, and baskets… I’m still decluttering my way through quite a few baskets I keep finding unusual reasons to keep them! πŸ™‚

  • Jo H. December 19, 2011, 3:50 am

    I like your approach very much – like you said, it’s simple, neat, clutter-free – and I also like that it can still be tailored to each person’s taste, as can be seen by the pictures you included. I love the idea of getting the box, too. I have a thing about boxes πŸ™‚ Great buy! Thanks for sharing this idea.

    • simplybeingmum December 19, 2011, 8:32 am

      I have a thing about boxes too, and baskets… I’m still decluttering my way through quite a few baskets I keep finding unusual reasons to keep them! πŸ™‚

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.