Simplifying Christmas | Simple Gift Giving Ideas by Cara Putman

Simplifying Christmas
Do you break out in hives just thinking about the craziness and chaos that comes with Christmas? It doesn’t have to be that way. Inspirational authors Cara Putman, Sarah Sundin, and Tricia Goyer share about Christmas’ past in their new novella collection Where Treetops Glisten. Their three stories “White Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” will take you back to war-time 1942, 1943, and 1944. The authors have also teamed up to give tips on simplifying Christmas this year! Join us  December 1-6 on Not Quite Amish Living for the Simplifying Christmas series.

Simple Gift Giving Ideas

by Cara Putman


“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings

Have you ever felt that way about the last six weeks of the year? You wake up one morning and it’s November 20th. Blink and it’s January 2. Weeks have passed and you’d had such high hopes for a wonderful season – hopes gone in a fog of busyness.

Let’s face it – most of us dread the thought that the holidays are here. Christmas has become a time of immense busyness. Instead of being a season of peace and enjoyment, many of us see December approach on the calendar with a sense of dread. Do you hate that as much as I do? Do you long for an approach to the season that doesn’t make you cringe?

Simplify means to make (something) simpler or easier to do or understand. If you enter simplify Christmas in Google, in less than a second, the search engine will give you more than 3,500,000 hits. Yes, that more than three million hits. We long to make the holidays simpler. How can we do that?

I’ve asked some people for advice on how they do it. Today, I wanted to share some of those ideas as they relate to gifts.


I’d also love to hear your suggestions. Together maybe we can bring some sanity back to the holidays.

  1. Our family loves participating in secret Santa! Instead of having to buy for everyone, you only have to buy for one person. Of course, the real fun is trying to guess who have you your present. —Catilin Smart
  2. We do handmade gifts and focus ore on the actual meaning of Christmas than the commercialism. —Darlene Clark.
  3. Less gifts & more together time. Money is tight for some so we usually draw names & then my husband & I pick up fun gifts for winners of games. —Deanna S.
  4. I’ve toned down the gifts I buy. I may make some of them and/or only buy one or two for each person on my list. —Gail Hollingsworth.
  5. We make photo ornaments for each member of our family every year; there is not a purchased ornament on our tree. All our kids are grown up and have their own homes, but they all try to show up to decorate the tree at our house because they love to look at each ornament and reminisce. —Sue
  6. We simplify Christmas by exchanging names. We put the kid’s names together and have them draw names. We also put the adult names together and draw from them. All of the adults try to buy for the kid’s and the person whose name they drew. —Donna B.
  7. My siblings and I simplified Christmas several years ago by drawing names instead of giving everyone a gift. This is the siblings, spouses, and adult children (over 18). We also have a limit of what to spend. Since there are six of us siblings, this helps a lot. We still have the joy of giving without as much expense or time devoted to gifts. This leaves more time for the people in our family. —Pam K.
  8. I have attempted to simplify gift giving by buying gifts for family through Compassion International that benefit those in third world countries that need simple things like something to eat, clean water, preventive medicines, and education. —Teresa

Stop by to get the other gift giving ideas and download the printable!


Where Treetops Glisten Gift Basket Giveaway!


My publisher has created three wonderful gift baskets. To enter to win this basket, please use the Rafflecopter form below (U.S. only). Also find the additional giveaways (and read more great tips to simplify Christmas!) on Sarah Sundin’s blog and Cara Putman’s blog!

WTG apron book

Each basket contains:

Copy of Where Treetops Glisten
Christmas DVD – Holiday Inn Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire
Christmas CD (includes all the book title songs) – “A Jolly Christmas” Frank Sinatra
Apron made from vintage pattern
Recipe cards from each character

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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