Saturday Spot: Se7en + 1 Stockings to Fill…

Many folk ask how I cope with nine-mile wish-lists, followed by the inevitable scrabbling around trying to find the most memorable gift, sewing till four in the morning and traipsing through endless stores for the perfect gift for their kids and lets not mention the wrapping, which can go on until dawn on Christmas day… The thought of doing this for eight kids tends to send friends into a complete spiral. The answer is a simple one – I don’t!!! My kids don’t actually have wish lists and would be a bit surprised if I asked for one!!! I have also learnt that if I want to make my kids something, then make it… but not for a deadline… not for Christmas or a birthday, it is just too stressful!!!


Christmas day is really about celebrating the birth of Jesus… and that is really big in our house!!! We give our kids gifts because it adds to the fun of the day. With that as our perspective our kids also know that we are going to have a bit of Christmas fun but at the same time it is never fun to break the budget. With eight kids we are definitely looking for stocking stuffers that are not insanely priced… remember whatever it is times eight is often just not an option!!!


Otherwise a year of decluttering and sorting through clutter means that my kids have become acutely aware of what is treasure and what isn’t… they know the mantra: “Love it or Lose it…” After a year of reducing our house to something we are comfortable with… I can tell you that it would just be mean to load my kids up with a whole lot of stuff that they just don’t have space for.

All that being said, we do have a gifting philosophy: Our kids always get a stocking for Christmas. Small is better, if it doesn’t fit into a stocking then we don’t get it!!! Their stockings are quirky affairs… full of bits and pieces of stuff they need and stuff they don’t and certainly stuff they don’t get everyday:

Se7en + 1 Things we pop into stockings:

  1. Something to Read: Everyone always gets something to read – essential for a peaceful Christmas day!!!
  2. Something in Plain Sight: Home is always a good place to start looking for gifts!!! We did a quick declutter of our house this weekend and I added a new bag to the pile… chuck, donate, keep and potential stocking stuffer. A quick clean-out of the art supplies revealed a pile of never used funky erasers, two packets of glitter, a collection of stickers and some unopened watercolors. They were all bought for potential projects and someone would definitely like them in their stocking.
  3. Something to Collect: I try and find them something small to play with finger puppets, or the latest gimmick like elastic bangles, water shooters for the pool, or soccer cards.
  4. Something for School: Office stationary is always a winner!!! They love it and the more “professional” it looks the better… bull-clips and paperclips are very popular!!! Post-it-notes (don’t know where they get that from) and notebooks. Not to mention a book of real live postage stamps for mailing letters to their friends.
  5. Something Useful: My kids love anything from the hardware store. Honestly kids love useful stuff, especially stuff they can make things with. A ball of string, a roll of tape… even a packet of nails will reap gasps of joy!!!
  6. Something just for Fun: We always have a couple of party things left over. Can I just say, in a word: STREAMERS!!! My kids love streamers!!! Totally. Otherwise, stray birthday candles, we always have left overs that aren’t enough for someone else’s birthday, these are great for little cooks to add to their baking efforts.
  7. Something Functional: There is a time and a place for functional gifts and this is it!!! Kids toothbrushes are so cool and trust me they aren’t free… so into the stocking they go! Socks are no longer the boring monotone things we wore as kids. Frankly I think my kids eat socks.
  8. And the Se7en + 1th thing.

  9. Something to Snack On: A Box of juice, something tasty and a chocolate or candy… to fill up that stocking!!!

When it comes to gifting in our house all the focus is really on the one gift that they give to each other. We will pass around the hat tomorrow and see who gifts who!!! And a whole heap of crazy elfing will follow. We started this tradition to prevent the crazy exchange of gifts amongst our kids – it just isn’t necessary for them to provide gifts for each sibling… trust me each of them would love to wrap a special piece of stick or a pile of leaves for their siblings but the thought of an exchange of sixty-four “extra-special” gifts on Christmas morning sent me into a spin!!! Here are the gifts they made for each other last year and the year before.

15 Replies to “Saturday Spot: Se7en + 1 Stockings to Fill…”

  1. I just LOVE this post. We don’t do a wish list either. It just plain works best, no matter what the size of one’s family. Without a wish list the gift is always a surprise, comes from the giver’s heart and is well-loved.

    By the way, your use of what’s on hand is inspiring too. Great ideas, thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi there April, So good to have you hanging out here!!! I have to say I think wish lists may well set everyone up to fail… Seriously, kids ask for the weirdest things that they are unlikely to get… they don’t get what they want and we can’t give what they want… double fail!!! Whereas a surprise is just lovely and thoughtful and that is really what gifting is all about!!!
    I have to say I am the ultimate “Shop from home” gifter!!! About three years ago we received a hideous bill just before Christmas – hideous!!! And I was able to do almost all our “shopping for Christmas” from around our home: A new as yet unread book, a pretty soap that hadn’t been opened, a calendar we wouldn’t be needing… the list went on!!! Since then we have done a lot of decluttering and it has become much more of a challenge to source products, but I know they are there!!!
    Hope you have a great day!!!

  3. We did stockings last year for the first time (lots of fun), and this year there is no money or time for an off-island gift shop (hurray!), so I am grateful for all the good stocking ideas!!! We do the handmade sibling gifts on Christmas Eve, and I just smile to myself when I see their love for each other grow warm with all the plotting and planning! Thanks for the great ideas from your las two years. Lots of love, and enjoy the sun for us!

  4. What a lovely, thoughtful, genuine post! I am with you, dear friend – wish lists are a failure – for the giver as well as the receiver for, kiddos often ask things that are not either – affordable, realistic, or plain – non-existent.
    Gifts should be a pleasant surprise and not a ‘demand’.
    I love your idea of “home shopping” by decluttering. We’ll always find ‘something unused or that can be upcycled and reused.
    I’ll keep these points in mind. I’m really the frugal, mall-hater mom. Upcylcing gives me the pleasure that no retail therapy can..!

  5. Hay Jacki, Good to hear from you!!! Yup, some years we don’t get near the shops… and I secretly chuckle at the: Last minute shopping two weeks before Christmas!!! Our hand made gifts will be in full swing from today… Oh it is going to be such fun!!! Can’t wait!!!

  6. Rashmie!!! You are the sweetest blogger I know, thank you of your kind comments – always!!! I know when my oldest was small people would ask him what he wanted for his birthday – always a dragon, and he didn’t mean in a book or made of fabric… Really A dragon!!! You are talking to the ultimate shop hater, you always spend more than you want to or see things you wish you could have!!! So “shopping at home” is the answer!!! So… I hope you have fun doing any “home-shopping” that needs to be done!!! Lots of love – Hope your week just gets better and better!!!

  7. Hay Auntie Muffin, Thanks for commenting!!! So sorry we missed you yesterday but we will catch up later in the week!!! Lots of love…

  8. Merry Christmas to you Se7en. I just love your blog, mostly because your heart is so evident in your writing and the way you love Jesus and take care of your family is inspiring to me. I am due with our fifth child and when I get overwhelmed I think of you and your 7 + 1. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  9. Reba, What a lovely comment!!! I am so encouraged by the comments on this post, thank you so much for taking to the time!!! Congratulations on your impending baby – how exciting!!! A new little person to join the party!!! Hope you have a wonderful holiday time with your family!!!

  10. I imagine gift giving in your home is just like EVERYTHING else… filled with so much love and joy and creativity. I think it is awesome that your kiddos understand “what a treasure” and the love it or lose it concept. Hope your final days of Christmas prep are SENSATIONAL!!!

  11. Loved this-I am sure your children have a very happy Christmas-far more than if they had had enormous wish lists. We were laughing the other day, saying that our two year old would like nothing better than a box wrapped in bubble wrap.
    I’ve linked to this post on my blog.

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