Holiday Gift Giving and Receiving


The season is upon us where we are starting to or working to complete our holiday lists. I know last year, we walked away from Christmas with a full car of amazing gifts. We were overjoyed and over stuffed from great meals, so all of the gifts made it as far as our living room. The living room is where everything sat for a week or two. I was far to overwhelmed to know where to put everything and I knew I needed to de-clutter to make room for all of the wonderful gifts.

This is also the time where people have begun asking what to buy my kids for the holidays. As a mom that cannot quite call herself a minimalist; but firmly believes in building a life of less so you can enjoy more of what really matters, this is an important topic. I do not want to be a stuff manager!

With much thought, I have decided to make a list of possible solution to prevent the overwhelm of the holidays/post-holidays and gift giving.

Set a limit

When you are planning your holiday shopping list, set a clear limit of items/materials you will allow into your home. For example, I have two children and a small house. We will likely land on a set amount of “stuff” we will gift our children. Maybe it is only 5 presents. I say only, but 5 is a really reasonable amount.

Set a limit as well with those that will be purchasing gifts for your children. Ask grandparents and aunts/uncles to only purchase your child one gift, for example.

Experience gifts for the win

Giving is wonderful. I love giving! I truly do. BUT I am starting to become very mindful of the gifts that I give someone on another level. There are beautiful things that I may find for my sisters kitchen. Things that she would surely love. BUT do these gifts serve her? Does she need another mermaid salt and pepper shaker? Maybe not?

I am trying to avoid purchasing things that may add to the clutter in someone’s home, unless they specifically ask for it or need it.

This year, I am shifting more toward experience gifts. These are things like tickets to a show, a gift card to the movies, a membership to a museum, etc. Things that the individual will still LOVE, but does not add to any overwhelm in their home.


Now, we are heading into a busy season. There is much to do for preparation in terms of gift giving, decorations, etc. BUT I feel that there is some preparation you can do for your home a head of time. This may include getting rid of some toys that your child no longer plays with or that they have outgrown.

Pairing down the bookshelf. Maybe there are books that they have outgrown, no longer read, or that you do not really care for the message.

Be specific

For my children, I want the toys we have to foster imagination, creativity, and education. With this message, I try to be specific on their interests and consider toys that have a “longer self life.” When I use the term shelf life, I mean that the toys can grow with them. A friend of mine suggested cars because my 1 year old son can play with them today and 5 years from now. He does not need 1000 trucks, but a handful is a perfect amount to allow him to play and be creative without the overwhelm. They get overwhelmed too with stuff and their environment! Other options may include art supplies, dress up clothes, etc.

No matter where you are in your season of life, the holidays can be overwhelming and can lead to more clutter in your home. Hopefully, these simple tricks can help you prepare, communicate, and foster a holiday season with minimal stress.

Intentional Living Tip: Gifts are wonderful and I know you will be blessed to receive them. Your only “requirement” when receiving a gift is to be thankful! If it does not serve you or for family, do not feel obligated to keep it. This is a hard lesson. I know I struggle with this as well. BUT your house is a place where you should be able to flourish and everything in your environment should serve you! Be mindful of what you are allowing into your mind, your heart, and your home this holiday season!

If you would like additional support or help this holiday season or as you look to the new year, please go to OR join the community on Facebook to be around other like-minded people on a similar journey toward a simpler life! Search Home Intentionally today!

Thank you,




Published by Ashley Strong

I am a hardworking, full-time mother of two beautiful children under the age of two. When I became a mother for the first time almost 2 years ago, I changed greatly. Being a mother is one of the most amazing roles and I am grateful for the blessing. It is also one of the most challenging jobs, whether you are a working mother or a stay at home mom. Working through postpartum depression, I determined that the challenges of motherhood and life seemed to be overshadowing the many joys of motherhood. With much research, I found that the same words continued to pop up: intentional, purposeful, and mindful. This led me to start thinking about how I can be more intentional, purposeful, and mindful in all aspects in my life. The thought is really profound and overwhelming because it could be a major change for my family. I believe in this change and I am jumping into this journey with the great support of my husband. Here I am blogging about my journey. Please join me!

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