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A Plan For Gifts

By Krisann Blair & Susie Glennan

Krisann: Growing up, my mother always made sure that I had ten gifts to open under the tree. Some gifts were very inexpensive although she was selective about what she gave. There was only one large gift and then the other nine were mixed in price, some of them priceless. Having two young children in more modern times means there is always a new and updated version of something to be purchased. After several years of giving my children more gifts than they really needed, I decided to change the type of gifts they received. I decided to adopt my motherís ten-gift rule, combining it with ideas learned from an attendee at one of my retreats. Now at Christmas my children get gifts based on the following:

Each Sunday leading up to advent, they each receive:

A religious item such as a nativity piece, devotional book, or Bible

A tree ornament

A clothing item to wear on the first Sunday of advent and new pajamas

On Christmas morning, they each receive:

Something to read

Something to cuddle, such as a stuffed animal, doll, pillow, blanket, or quilt

Something to play with such as a toy

Keep Reading

Something to make such as arts and crafts

Something for a keepsake such as jewelry, a heirloom, or collectible item

Something hand-made, either hand-made by me or by someone else

A video, board, card, or electronic game

By using the above list as a guide, my Christmas gift shopping is more organized, and I actually look forward to finding gifts for my children each year. The children suggest ideas for each category and then look forward to finding out how creative mom was in her gift decisions. Many of the gifts have become items they will keep for years, and I am sure this is a tradition they will take into their own families one day. So I pass this tradition on to you in the hopes that your gift shopping can be as rewarding for you and yours as it is for me.


Susan: When I was a little girl, Hanukkah meant making decorations, lighting candles, singing prayers and opening presents. Now that I have children of my own, I do the same; however, with three children in the electronic age, gifts started to get quite costly, so I started a new family tradition.

I saw a product in a catalog with eight boxes filled with goodies, one for each night of Hanukkah. After ordering and trying it out, I found that I would have to purchase one for each of my three children. That would be too costly. And the funny thing was that the Dreidel and gelt (chocolate money) was not to be given until the fifth and seventh night.

That is when I decided to make my own boxes. For a couple of years now I have used the same boxes. The first night a few dreidels and Hanukkah gelt are given. Other trinkets fill the other boxes, such as movie tickets, fun pens and pencils, jelly beans, stickers, gift certificates, hacky sack, squeeze ball, cookies, jewelry, fancy socks, crayons, and markers. It varies according to age. Now the focus is back on the tradition instead of costly gifts.

© Krisann Blair
Krisann Blair is the author of The Christmas Organizing Handbook and oversees the Christmas Organizing online community at that provides various resources for getting organized for a less stressful holiday season year-round. Visit for more tips.

© Susie Glennan
Susie Glennan has been happily married for over 30 years, is a Mom of three, Grandmother, Teacher, Time Management Trainer, Professional Organizer, Author, Speaker, and Toastmaster. She has experience in finance, product development, and has run several successful businesses since she was a child. Susie owns The Busy Woman --, a site with free information on time management, organizing, direct sales, life changes, and more.


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