? It’s the most wonderful time of the… ? “UGH! It’s called a stop sign buddy!!”

Christmas is a weird time. We have visions of peace and gratitude. Family time and relaxation. But more often Christmas is full of stress, last-minute shopping, and a whole. lot. of traffic.

What if we could have a simpler, more meaningful, less stressful Christmas? If you’re like, “Yes. Please, sign me up for that!” Then here are, what we consider, six really great ideas you can start implementing this year.


1. Set a budget

I know. I know. Budgets ? But for real. Do our kids actually need 40 toys or would they be content with two? Let’s be honest… they’re only going to play with two anyway. The other 38 are going to end up in a bin or closet before January. Never to be seen again. If we set a budget then it’ll force us to make a couple really great choices instead of a ton of mediocre ones.

2. Set a gift limit

There are a ton of ideas out there on how to do this, but the one we’ve used for the last decade is to buy each of our kids something they Want, Need, Wear, and Read. With those guard rails it helps us look past most of the things at the store, and it makes shopping go a LOT faster.

3. Just say, “No.”

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your laundry list of commitments, then we’re giving you permission to just say, “No.” You can’t go to 4 different houses on Christmas day AND go to work parties, friend parties, church, and whatever else is on your list. Sit down with your family and decide what’s going to make the cut this year.

meaningful christmas


1. Buy gifts that foster connection

For a few years we set aside money for a family gift. It was always something the entire family could use and would encourage us to spend time together. The one I really remember was a picnic basket ❤️ Another thing to consider is a membership or subscription. And my personal favorite is… well I’ll tell you at the end of the blog.

2. Donate to Families in Need

Check with your church, contact toys for tots, or just do a google search for “adopt a family this Christmas.” Find a way to make Christmas more about others. Tip: If you simplify things it’ll help create room for these more meaningful opportunities.

3. Go to Church

I know this can feel like just another thing on the to-do list, but think about it. When you’re feeling overwhelmed sometimes what you need is to just sit and take a break. Plus, it’s so easy to be overcome with the commercialism of Christmas, and a great way to combat that is to gather with others and remember what Christmas is really about.

Christmas doesn’t have to be chaotic, but sometimes we just need permission to do things differently. If you’re planning on implementing something we shared this year we’d love to know! And if you have a way of creating a simpler, more meaningful Christmas that wasn’t mentioned please share that in a comment!

Because there’s a better way,
Sarah (and Trent)

P.S. A meaningful gift that just kind of happened upon me is a family calendar. A few years ago I wanted to do something special for my parents so I made them a calendar that included every family member’s birthday and anniversary. I also wrote in a little note for each of my parents on their birthday month and for their anniversary. It was like a Christmas gift, birthday card, and anniversary card all rolled into one. They LOVED it! And what I wasn’t expecting was that everybody else loved it too… Now I make one for each nuclear family represented at Christmas. It’s become a thing, and I honestly think I would be hog-tied if I broke the tradition. Bonus: They only cost me about $10-15 each plus a few hours of time.

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