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Holidays do NOT have to be stressful for anyone. Honestly. Keep it about the Reason for the Season.  Your family wants the memories more than the gifts (even if your kids don’t realize it yet).


With four kids, the Christmas list around here can easily get long and lengthy.   We don’t want that to happen because that is a sure way to forget the true Reason for the Season.   If you saw my post about the 4 gift idea, you’ll get more of an idea of what I mean.

These four kids are relying on Mickey and I to teach them what Christmas is about… to show them and guide them about how to give to others.  They depend on us to teach them that you don’t have to spend money to give something.   Giving of your time is more important.  Giving of your love is more important.


We just don’t feel like money = happiness for our kids.   Things don’t equal happiness, either.   I try to get them some things on their list and then we do fun things.   Last year we took a spring trip to Hilton Head and this year we planned a trip to Disney.

I can remember, being a child, and thinking about buying gifts for my family (my parents, my brother, my aunts).  My parents taught us that making gifts was the ‘better’ gift for them. I want our kids to know this is true in our house, too.

It isn’t the gifts.

It is the traditions, the decorations, the smells, the cookies, the gatherings…. that make this our favorite holiday!

As adults, we spend A LOT of time trying to recreate those feelings and memories we had as children.

To create LESS stress this year, our kids are NOT ALLOWED to buy gifts. This is going to eliminate stress on them and on me. Here is our alternative… (I am starting our own tradition with this and I am really excited about it!)

This year, we are changing things just a bit. Instead of going to the store and spending money on each other, we are going to teach our kids the value of a true gift… priceless.

Each of our kids will be in charge of making one gift certificate for each other sibling. These will cover one act of service.

They are writing it on this certificate.  You can print this one (just click on it & then click PRINT on your computer) 
printable certificate

Here are a few examples to get you started:

“I will…”

Clean your room

Clear your dinner plate

Unload the dishwasher for you

Read you a book

Make your bed

Eat your vegetables one night at dinner so that you don’t have to, but you still get a snack (our kids loved this choice!)

Let you pick what movie we watch for movie night or which game is picked for Family Game Night.

Do your chore for you

The overall idea is that we are teaching our kids about serving each other – doing something nice for someone else and without asking for anything in return. I want to do this every year. I want our kids to WANT to do this every year, too.

I also want the kids to do this for us, instead of going to the store to buy a gift (we used to each of our kids a dollar for each family member and we would go to the Dollar Store and let them buy each person a gift.  That is fun and I love to see what the kids buy for us, but this is more fun because they put their heart and time into it.)   This year I am going to ask them to either make a gift certificate (good for a hug, snuggle, walk with Mom, 5-minute talk about school stuff... whatever they can think of… ps- I’m going to offer these suggestions to the kids to get the ball rolling).

I feel like this gift certificate idea teaches them that IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A MATERIAL THING TO MEAN A LOT.




50 stocking stuffers the kids will LOVE!

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Hi! I love the ideas you have here for sibling gifts! My kiddos are still pretty little but when they get older I will definitely be using these. I love the one about cleaning up for the other! I found you at the Thursday Social Media bloghop and I’m a new follower of yours on facebook. I look forward to your posts! Would love it if you stopped by my blog sometime!

    Ashlyn @

    1. I’m so glad that you liked them- I did, too, when she told me about it. 🙂

  2. Super cute idea!! My kids would probably enjoy these certificates more than most toys.

    Your post is so true about how to teach our kids young what the season is all about. Instead of talking about Santa and what he is going to bring us for the next month we need to talk about what we can do for others. It is always a great time of year to give donations to local shelters too in order to show my kids what this time of year is about.

    Awesome post, thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas.