A gift-free Christmas? Just what kind of parent am I?
As I mentioned in this post, we decided to have a complete Christmas overhaul this year, in order to focus on contentment. We didn’t have any presents under the tree and only a few small items in our stockings.
And can I just take a sec to tell you how amazingly peaceful our gift-free Christmas day was? It was seriously a mama’s dream.
The girls woke up super early and were anxious to dig into their stockings.
They didn’t have anything extravagant but they were ecstatic with what they found.
They each had a package of beef jerky, a candy-filled candy cane, an EOS lip balm, some Bubble Gum Tape and a Webkinz stuffed animal. Miss Bookworm received a personalized pocket knife, Miss Manners received a retro alarm clock and Bear got a new pair of bear pajamas.
The kids were also pleasantly surprised to find “memory-makers” on our dining room table. These were basically “family time activities.”
I simply placed all of the activities into individual brown paper bags. The girls had no idea what was in each one but had fun guessing.
I think they were nervous about how the day would go, not having any presents. They thought we would just sit around the house and stare at each other all day long.
Boy, were they wrong.
I had planned out several activities to keep us busy throughout the day and to encourage more quality time together. With so much to do, the kids barely noticed that we had a gift-free Christmas.
10 Ways to Turn a Gift-Free Christmas into the
BEST DAY EVER
Make Charm Bracelets–
I almost put pre-made charm bracelets in the stockings, but decide it would be more fun to make their own. I purchased loose charms and picked up some jump rings and bracelets at Wal*Mart. The girls loved digging through and choosing their own charms to make their own bracelet.
Paint Your Nails–
What girl doesn’t enjoy this! I simply stuck a couple of our favorite colors in a brown paper bag and called it good. They had a ball playing “nail salon” with the new paint choices. Even Mr. Man joined in on the fun, adding snowmen details to their nails!
Read Your Favorite Books –
My family loves books! New books are a great treasure to my kiddos. I had been meaning to add a few new books to our library, so I decided to buy a couple. Most of them were fun books with world records, funky animals and that sort of thing. If you are trying to save money, head to the local library and find funny books with interesting facts. We spent about an hour flipping through our books on Christmas day and still use them regularly.
Enjoy Popcorn and a Movie–
One key ingredient to creating memories is to ensure that everyone isn’t on their electronics. For Christmas, we put away tablets, laptops and phones. But for this special day, we allow one Christmas movie, that we all enjoy together. We chose Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure since the kids had seen pretty much every other Christmas movie on Amazon Prime and Netflix. This was the only time we used any electronics on Christmas day. No cell phones. No Kindles. No TV!
Play a Family Board Game–
Our family loves board games. It’s a great way to spend time together, where everyone can enjoy the same activity. We opted for Funny or Die, which is basically the photo version of Apples to Apples. It was pretty funny, but a little too mature for Miss Manners, who is 7. Next year, we will try new games since the kids loved them so much!
Bake Jesus a Birthday Cake-
We started this tradion when Miss Bookworm was just a baby. Each year, we make a birthday cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. Gobs of icing and sprinkles were the perfect addition to our Funfetti cake, because even Jesus loves sprinkles. 😉
Build Something Fun-
I had bought a set of K’Nex a few months ago and tucked it away for a day when we needed something to distract us. I was expecting a bad winter and thought it might good idea to have something on hand. K’Nex are a fun way to build fine motor skills, challenge kiddos and spend time together doing something your kids enjoy.
My Insta-Awesome Life–
This book is full of fun ideas, crafts, recipes, decorating tips and more. The girls absolutely loved looking through this little jewel. We spent about an hour just flipping through the girly stuff and dreaming about redesigned bedrooms, crafts and more.
Kids love to play card games, so try playing a few simple games, like go-fish or Rummy. Older kids will enjoy learning to play Poker and younger kids can play Slap Jack. The trick is to make it fun by not taking the game too seriously.
Bean Boozled is a fun game where players try out nasty flavored jelly beans. The best part is, there are 2 flavors for each color. If you choose a white jelly bean, you could either get coconut or wet wipes flavored! There’s no way to know until you bite into it!
Bean Boozled was definitely the hit of the day. We laughed so hard we cried. We’re seriously going to have to buy this again. The kids even called both sets of grandparents and insisted they come over to try it out.
Watching Grandpa eat a “rotten egg” jellybean was hilarious but I personally had to choke down the “Canned Dog Food” flavored jellybean and I’m sure my face was similar.
Mr. Man smoked some ribs and we feasted on them all day. We lounged around and enjoyed an electronic-free day.
We laughed, we talked, we bonded and we made memories. A gift-free Christmas was just what this family needed.
This was hands down the best Christmas of my life.
By replacing gift giving with activities that build memories, we’ve shown our kids what Christmas is really about.
I know some people enjoy giving elaborate gifts, filling their vacation time with festivities, running from house to house and visiting every person in the family.
Personally, I tend to get enough of that during the other 364 days of the year.
I prefer a simple Christmas. Nestled in with the ones I love the most, leaving the chaos of the world at my doorstep and simply enjoying the true gifts of Christmas.
Hoping you and yours had the merriest of Christmas’.