Holiday Gift Guide: From Personal To Functional

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Nothing happens if you click on any of them, but if you do decide to make a purchase, I’ll receive a commission from the sales. 

The holiday season is upon us, and shopping for gifts might be the number one source of your stress level increase.

Similar to the English dictionary, needs come before wants. It’s the same when you’re thinking about holiday gifts.

It’s been a tradition in our family that every holiday season my mom visits family and friends to drop off a basket filled with fruits, candies and other items that remind you it’s time to snuggle up with a good book and some hot cocoa.

I’ve followed in her footsteps for a couple of years now, but this time I’m doing something different.

My mom has never tried adding themes to her holiday baskets. They’ve always been the same items year after year. I like surprising family and friends and look forward to making my Coca-Cola themed basket this year for a select few.

I’ll also be working on a simple self-care themed one for two lovely moms who are always caring for others and sometimes forget about themselves.

Meeting Their Needs
Understanding a loved one’s age can really help with figuring out what would be the best gift for them this holiday. For one of Jeff’s nieces, we discussed purchasing a science experiment kit since she enjoys trying different things at home. It was inexpensive and includes four projects for her to try with family and friends.

Gifts that are educational and meet the need of a curious, growing child is always a plus in my book. There are a number of different products online that go beyond toys. Do your research, ask around and see what fits the people on your list.

Fulfilling Their Wants
Most children are obsessed with characters or types of animals. This year, we’ve been skipping the toy aisles with Paw Patrol or Dinotrux because if our three-year-old son sees one thing with their faces on it, he’ll want it all.

When certain characters are popular, retail stores will bring up the prices so you won’t be able to resist paying half of your arm when your child is screaming because they want a $40 toy that only lights up.

One of the best things you can do for yourself and the future of your child’s finances is to go with something from that character that makes the most sense to actually own. For instance, the love my son has for Paw Patrol is the same I felt when I saw a Paw Patrol toy box for less than $20 at the store. It doubled as a bench, so in my mind, I paid $20 for a functional product.
(Amazon has the same Paw Patrol Storage Bench for less than $25)

The Shopping Checklist
If you’re planning to get the most out of your holiday shopping cash, I highly recommend buying products months in advance. Remember, retailers will increase prices for products during the holiday season.

Most companies have been planning holiday strategies since July, so it’s important to think about the things your loved ones could really make use of, and start your search before the prices go up.

So, what can you add to your shopping list that will actually help you this holiday season? 

Below is a list of ideas for you to keep in mind as you plan how you’ll be tackling your holiday shopping list:


If you’re planning to start (or finish) your holiday shopping online, I recommend you see what Amazon has put together for Family Game Night options and bring back some childhood memories with this list of Treasured Toys


  1. Yes, a budget is always important. I love finding deals!

  2. these are great ideas and a good starting point for the holidays

  3. Yeah I’m thinking hard this year and I’m sticking to a budget because I get too excited when I give gifts.

  4. I never tried shopping online! Hahahaha I’ll bookmarked it too! Great post! 🙂

  5. I love the tip of having a budget person. Thank you!

  6. Great tips for holiday gift giving. I’m a big fan of shopping online to avoid crowds and stress!

  7. That’s a great advice! I like the one to have a budget per person.

  8. Giving gift is my thing but I always end up on crashed mind because I caqn’t decide on what to buy! Really helps the 3 tips! 🙂

  9. Christmas is all about giving, but that usually comes with a high price, I think it’s good to set a budget, especially if you don’t have that much to spend during the Holidays but would like to get everyone that’s special to a gift.

  10. The gift definitely all depends on the person! I am loving that there are gifts for everyone here.

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