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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Review: The Gifts

After our Christmas Eve celebrations, all were asleep as we filled the tree with surprises...The stockings were filled...
And ready for the morning chaos to begin...Typical stocking stuffers in our home include necessary items like: underware, socks, gum, razors, toothbrushes, Ferrero Rocher (something we consider necessary), DVD's, make-up, hair products and small toys for the little ones. With cinnamon rolls baking in the oven, we move on to the gifts. Years ago each child would receive 20-25 gifts each- I thought that was how everyone celebrated Christmas- until one year when a group of my students helped load all of my wrapped gifts from my storage closet into my truck (before I retired from teaching I would store all of the girls gifts at school) The students were shocked at the number of gifts there were and asked how many children I had (it was 5 at the time) "Well how many gifts do they each get," one asked "some where between 20-25?" Now mind you some of these gifts were small items that I would pick up at yard sales. I asked my students how many gifts they received and the answers varied from 3 to 10 (and I taught at a very affluent school) That year I noticed how overwhelmed my kids were- presents were every where and by the end of the year more than half of those gifts were in our next garage sale. I decided our next Christmas we would scale down to 15 gifts per child. Each year I've noticed that it's still too much- the real meaning of Christmas was being lost- so we tried 10, then 8, then, 7, then, 5- each year still feeling like there was too much stuff. Last year, while discussing this dilemma with a group of friends- each sharing how many gifts they purchase for their kids- one said- "We buy 3 per person, because that's how many gifts the Savior received, and who should get more gifts than the Savior?" This made so much sense to me, so this year we gave it a try. 3 gifts. 3 quality gifts- items that wouldn't be found in our next garage sale- items our children would take care of and use. I have to say this was the perfect number for our family. It made me really think about what would be the best gifts- quality not quantity. Here's a little peek at some of the favorites...A beach cruiser bike for the 8 year old
A ukelele for the 13 year old.A cell phone for the 14 (this is the minimum age for a cell phone in our home- and they have to be able to afford to pay the monthly bill)A keyboard for the 19 (she has missed playing piano while away at college- this she can play in her dorm room- with headphones of course) And for our first married couple?Twelve dates for 2012: A separate envelope for each month. Each with a gift card or cash and the idea for the date. Some include: Gift card to Gymboree for a shopping trip for our first grandchild due in April, outback steakhouse, walmart (to buy their favorite treats and have a pig out night) Joe's bar-b-que (amanda's favorite restaurant), frozen yogurt, jamba juice, bahama bucks, etc. They absolutely loved their gift- a tradition has been born. So, how did craigslist save the day? Our little 2 year old wanted a "Horsey" for Christmas- "Not a real horsey, " she would explain, "a one that goes high" We were relieved it wasn't a real "horsey" but shocked to find out those little spring loaded ones sell for $200. I turned to craigslist and found several for $125- some faded and worn - still around $100. When I found one I thought was Okay I would call and find it had already sold. For 6 weeks I became a craigslist rocking horse stalker. Finally- just a week before Christmas at 9:00pm on a Saturday night- a new posting. A NEW in box liberty rocking horse with sound-$100- the only problem- it was 45 minutes away, it was late Saturday night and we don't shop on Sunday and it was raining. I quickly sent an email (no phone number was listed) asking if the owner would take $90 (the 10 was to pay for the gas) and if I could come right NOW! Surprisingly, the owner immediately called, accepted my offer and gave the address. The only problem? They had opened the box and put the horse together in case anyone was worried parts were missing- not a problem for me. We arrived back home after 11:00pm with the perfect gift...

I think she likes it.So worth the trouble! The last gift to be unwrapped on Christmas morning was our family gift. Each year we try to find something everyone will like- last year a Wi- previous years included: a trampoline, swing set, etc. This year it was a little black suitcase set hidden at the back of the tree... When the first suitcase was opened it revealed...
an envelop with "Pack your Bags" written on a paper inside.

After a bit of a struggle over who would open the next suitcase (see girls do wrestle) They discovered another envelope

"We're going to..." and finally after the last suitcase was opened...
The itinerary for our 5 day cruise to Cabo San Lucas. This spring our entire family (minus our eldest who is expecting) will travel to Cabo! So excited. And this my friends was a complete Christmas paid for with trash. Between estate sales, ebay, craigslist and our space at Qcumberz- we raised the money for Christmas. I'd love to hear about your christmas- leave us a comment or link up to a post. I'll be sharing what Mr. Right did for me tomorrow. Love, Kelly.


  1. What a beautiful family and a brilliant gift idea for a new couple.

  2. Love the idea for the married couple! So cute, and keeps on giving all year. Glad you were able to find the right balance of gifts, it's such a trick, isn't it? You are so incredible, I miss being able witness your talents first hand. Merry Christmas-or I guess I should say Happy New Year!

  3. Great gifts, but you didn't post yours. Did you get what you wanted?

  4. Love the gift idea of a year of dates for your oldest and her hubby. I also LOVE that you paid for all of it with your trash cash...awesome!

    I also am going to do the 3 gifts next year. What a wonderful way to explain it and maintain the real reason for CHRISTmas.

    Thank you for always sharing your successes and making them seem so manageable.

  5. THAT is inspiring! I have you to thank for the idea for my 13 year old boy to earn some spending cash. He wants a job, but at 13 no one will really hire him, he does however have a flair for art and design (he wants to be an architect) so I thought about your dear trash. He has found a few little thrift store finds that he has started fixing up and hopes to sell either on craigslist or at yard sales when the weather turns back...Thanks so much! And Merry Christmas...

  6. HOLY COW! 20-25 presents? That IS a lot. Glad for you and your wallet that you've figured out a smaller number works. I grew up generally getting between 7 - 10 presents. But, I'm WAY to practical for Christmas, oh and poor, so I decided that my children will only ever get 3 presents from Santa, and maybe a couple of small gifts from Mom and Dad or Gramma and Grandpa. That's what we did this year, and it was just dandy. How have your kids taken to the vast change in amounts? I would think they might be upset to go from so many to so few, just because they were used to the large amount. Anyway...looks like you had a fantastic Christmas for sure. Have fun on the cruise.

  7. WOW!! That is a lot of presents! I'm glad you found your youngest her horsey.

    You need a babysitter for your trip?

    ha!! :)

  8. That pack your bags gift made me cry. I don't know why but I found it very beautiful.

    Loved your post.

    Please Keep Trashing and Inspiring Us is 2012!

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