21 Things Every Mum Knows About Holiday Gift Giving

In our house, tchotchkes = love.


Every December I hand my kids a checklist of everyone who will be staying over for Christmas, plus a shopping bag with a pen and a set budget of no more than $3 a person. We hit the school’s holiday fair for a bounty of goods that no one over 12 would ever in their right mind want, and my kids pick something for everyone on their checklist of grandparents, aunts, cousins, and more, then put it in their shopping bag so no one else knows what’s in there (except for the cashier, of course). Some people think this is nuts, or a waste of money. But when I stand back and let my kids peruse the selection, thinking of one recipient at a time, really trying to figure out what each of their loved ones would want, I am just beyond tickled. Sure, my 50-year-old brother may not need glittery bubblegum lip balm in a heart-shaped tub, and my mum isn’t all that into ear buds with chickens on them, but that’s not the point.

When I shop, I, too, keep my list tight and really think about what would make the person happy. I, too, feel the pressure to wrangle my budget a little when I find the just-right gift costs more than expected. And, most of all, I, too, can only hope that when the gift I picked out is opened, the look of pure joy on their faces matches that of each person who has opened one of these cheapo, random treasures my kids have carefully selected, wrapped, and put under the tree. That, along with these things, is what I know for sure about holiday gift giving:

1. It is the thought that counts.

2. LOL, just kidding: It’s making sure you get the person exactly what they want even when THEY WON’T TELL YOU WHAT THEY WANT.

3. Funky wrapping paper and fancy bows can upgrade any present from “meh” to “WHOA.”

4. At age 8 the coolest gifts are about $12.

5. At age 9 the coolest gifts are about $200.

6. Everyone has taken credit for a gift being impressively DIY, when they got it from a store.

7. It is oddly enjoyable to make someone cry when they open a gift from you because they love it so much.

8. Wrapping up the gifts from Santa in a separate paper is no big deal for you to do, but it rocks your kids’ worlds like nothing else.

9. Some people really do only want glittery bubblegum lip balm in a heart-shaped tub for Christmas.

10. Other people only want a $400 gaming console.

11. Not everyone is going to get what they want.

12. You can never go wrong with giving the gift of warm hands and heads (hello cosy mittens and hats!), especially if you can do so for less than $10 at Old Navy

13. Even people who say they don’t like gift cards LOVE getting gift cards.

14. It takes about 30 minutes to sort, wrap, and stuff everything into each kid’s stocking on Christmas Eve.

15. It takes 30 seconds for them to empty it and check everything out.

16. It takes 30 more seconds for most of that stuff to get lost in the piles of discarded wrapping paper you keep asking everyone to put in the garbage bag you have right next to them.

17. There’s always one person who is impossible to shop for, and you wrangle internally with both wanting to show them how much they mean to you and throttling them for being a pain in the patoot.

18. On a completely and totally unrelated note, your husband will buy himself everything you planned on getting him for Christmas between the dates of December 1 and 24..

19. For every year of your adult life you will receive two scented candles, which you will put in the cabinet with all the other scented candles you didn’t ask for.

20. And one “shabby chic” picture frame, which you will re-gift.

21. And three bottles of wine, which you will appreciate most of all.

Need some gift ideas?  Check out these great picks from Old Navy:


From left to right:  Sweater dress, $54.94; Cardigan, $59.94; Fur vest (girls), $14.99 and up; Handbag, $24

More Holiday Fun:

*Content is sponsored by Old Navy. Thoughts and opinions are my own.