How to Have a Frugally Green Christmas – Giving Gifts


Photo by Jeff Weese

Can you believe that Christmas is just a little over 5 weeks away?  The beginning of November seems a little bit early to me to start thinking about Christmas, but if I wait until after Thanksgiving the time just seems to fly by and I don’t have as much time to plan or prepare as I would like.

So, the How to Have a Frugally Green Christmas series is back and for the next 5 weeks I’ll be sharing my tips and ideas for saving money and saving the planet this Christmas season.

Gift Giving

At the forefront of everyone’s minds this time of year is their gift list.  We talked last year about buying used, setting limits to both the number of gifts and your budget, and simplifying your gift list.

Those are still great things to remember as you tackle your gift shopping, and this year I want to share our family’s philosophy of gift giving.

3 Gifts

For our daughter’s birthday this year, we decided to simplify her gifts to four presents following the rhyme, “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.”  That is a great list to follow for Christmas gifts too, but our family is going to simplify it even a little more for our Christmas presents this year.

We are going to give three gifts for each child, based on the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that baby Jesus received from the magi.

  • The gift of gold will be something the they really want – maybe a bigger item or just something they’ve really been wanting for a while.  As they get older they’ll be able to give us a gift list, for now, we’ll just decide on an item that we think each of them would really like and enjoy.
  • The gift of frankincense is something that will encourage their spiritual growth. At this point in their lives, that will probably be a book or music that teaches them more about God.  I’m thinking we’ll probably get another CD from Seeds Family Worship because we love the one we have so much.  (Be on the lookout for a great giveaway for your own Seeds Family Worship CD coming soon!)
  • The gift of myrrh is something for their body, and this can include clothing or shoes, which is what we’ll be giving.

I’m really excited about this, because I think it’s a great way to begin to teach children, from a very young age, that Christmas is not about consumption.  And it’s not all about the gifts either.

It will help us to keep our focus on our celebration of Christmas as Jesus’ birthday, and will also make shopping much easier and less stressful for me!

For our extended family, we will again be purchasing gift cards for Living Water International through Advent Conspiracy. We came across this idea last year, and because it’s sometimes hard to come up with ideas of gifts for our parents and siblings that they would actually want and use, along with the reality that they are not truly in need of anything, we decided to give a gift that will help to bring life to others.

I encourage you to take a different approach to gift giving than the one that our culture sells us – that more gifts will make us happy. Simplify your gift giving and give gifts that are truly meaningful and will make a difference in someone’s life somewhere.

Celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas this year, that God came down to dwell among us, that He is the best gift of all.

How does your family fight the consumerist pull of the holidays and give meaningful Christmas gifts?


Be sure to check back next week as I’ll be sharing my frugally green gift guide (is that kind of an oxy moron?) :)  Anyway, I’ll compile some of my favorite ideas for meaningful gifts and great places to buy them.

Congrats to Jana, raeiaroberts@, the winner of the Herbal Nurturing: A Family Healing and Learning Guide ebook!

If you weren’t the lucky winner, pick up a copy of this great resource for yourself using the code RENEWED25 through Saturday for 25% off! Thanks again to Michele of Frugal Granola for offering this giveaway and discount code!

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  1. Carla says

    I love the idea of gold, frankensense and myrrh!! That is such a great way to gift. Once my kids are a bit older I will definitely do that. They will be 4 and 1 at Christmas this year so we still keep it really small on our part and have asked the Grandparents to only give one gift and then money for their savings. Our home is full of toys already and it breaks my heart to see them just sit there and not get played with.

    Thanks for a great post!

  2. says

    Yes, it is a challenge to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. I like your little rhyme – that’s perfect! We do minimize the number of gifts the children receive, but we also make a point of GIVING as a family. Whether through Wycliffe Bible Translators (disclaimer: we are members of Wycliffe!) or Voice of the Martyrs or Samaritan’s Purse, we have the children save up and choose what they want to give towards. Many great ministries put out catalogs this time of year giving ideas – give X number of dollars and that will help buy a Bible for someone in Papua New Guinea, etc. It’s great for the children to see tangible ways of giving and to learn that it’s not about us!


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