Gifts to give yourself for the holidays - what I'm giving myself

The Christmas Gifts I’m Getting for Myself

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Let’s be real, gifts on holidays and birthdays can be a let down. I get that it’s the thought that counts, and fortunately my family stopped exchanging gifts, but the in laws and some other people still insist on annual gift giving. I always try to have a few items on my wish list around this time of year, but inevitably I end up with something similar (but not equal). (Check out my gift guide, if you are looking for ideas.)

Self care at the holidays

So, like most people I started just buying “gifts” for myself. Yes, yes, it’s really just a trick to fool my frugal self into enjoying the splurge a bit more! Plus, I end up with the gift I’ve always wanted!

“Gifts” don’t always cost money, and I also use the holidays to check in on my health, relationships, and giving.

I have very few wants (as you can see from my monthly spending reports), but there are a couple of things that will add value to my life, so I’ve bought them this year.


I love to read, and typically hunt my local libraries (yes, plural) for the books I want to read. But I still occasionally buy a book, with the intent to re-read or pass it on to a friend. This year, I’ve pre-ordered two books, that I’m particularly excited to read!

Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence through Simple Living by Elizabeth Thames

I’m incredibly excited Liz AKA Mrs. Frugalwoods wrote a book! Their blog helped make the achieving financial independence feel worthwhile and achievable. While our goal is not to retire to a homestead in Vermont, our family shares many similarities, and her writing has helped me on my journey to spend less money while living the good life.

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away my Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders

Cait is another awesome personal finance blogger, who is an incredible writer. She is honest and open about her story and has helped guide my path towards consuming less.

Also, Amazon has an awesome pre-order price guarantee, where after you order you will pay the lowest price!


One of our big drivers for consuming less is to reduce our impact on the environment. We do this day to day by paying attention to the groceries we buy and not wasting food. Self care at the holidays

We also strive to drive less, and hope to become a one car household next year! To reach that goal, we need to bike more, and the best way to encourage that (at least for us) is to buy an ebike. So, in November we bought a mid-drive conversion kit from Luna Cycle for one of our bikes.

In our challenge to grow more of our own food, we are already planning ahead for next year’s garden, and we’ve decided to upgrade our seed starting set up. Instead of buying plant starts from the local nursery we grow most of our plants from seed starting in February. Last year we used fluorescent lights we had lying around the house, this year we are buying LEDs to consume less energy and hopefully have better results.


Building and nurturing relationships enables our family to live the frugal life. Spending time with people doesn’t require spending extravagant amounts of money and is a favorite way to spend my time. Self care at the holidays

I’ve learned so many frugal practices from my observing others and lending a hand. For example, growing up I’ve never had a garden, but two of my friends are working towards growing an income from their organic vegetable plot. We’ve offered to help plant, weed, and harvest their land to learn alongside them. Now, we have a large garden that grows most of our summer produce.

This holiday season we are focusing on strengthening our relationships:

  • Took a road trip and visited friends along the way
  • Spent time with our close friends instead of exchanging gifts
  • Focused on our marriage by taking a vacation (mostly) just the two of us
  • Gathered with family for a baking day
  • Spent time with my mom and cousin’s children to allow the parents to get a weekend to themselves in December

Donations and Giving Back

I don’t share the details of our giving in our spending reports, but we do give our money away towards causes we support. We donate both time and money regularly, and participating in the Act of Kindness group has helped focus our giving in December.

While on vacation we picked up all the non cigarette butt garbage we found on our walks/hikes. (Um, who is drinking all the boxed wine and ditching it in parking lots?)

We upped our typical giving when we decided to slash our income next year. We probably won’t have as much money to give when Mr. Kiwi starts school again in January, we realized that our emergency fund is fully funded, and we should take this opportunity to give a little more.


Finding time to be alone and in stillness is rare during the holiday season, but I crave that time. Through participating in the Adventure Rich #ARStreak, I’ve found time to practice yoga *most* days (I’m not perfect!), which helps me be a better spouse and person.

I totally struggle with always planning the next activity or step, and building downtime into my calendar helps me to care for my health.

What are you getting yourself this year?

19 comments on “The Christmas Gifts I’m Getting for Myself”

  1. Beautiful list! I’m doing many of these same things and also giving myself permission to let go of some things as we continue to simplify life a bit more.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Amy! It’s been hard (but worthwhile) work crushing my inner perfectionist!

  2. I love it! I’m with you on the books… I cannot wait to read both the Frugalwoods and Cait’s book! And I’m so happy that the yoga has been going well with the ARStreak! I’ll have to get your recap in January πŸ™‚

    1. Reply

      Definitely! I just updated you on your halfway update! The biggest thing: I’m forgiving myself for not being perfect πŸ™‚

    • Anonymous
    • 2017-12-18

    I’m loving it, too!

    I almost gave myself the gift of purchasing a new book on how to build a home. It looks very comprehensive. But THEN, I looked in the library catalog and to my shock, our system has it! I’ll still buy it, if it’s good, but you can’t beat a free preview.

    1. Reply

      Oops, that’s me. I totally missed the log in!

      1. Reply

        I love reading the library book first, then buying if I’ll reference it frequently! Most books don’t pass that test. Thanks for stopping by Mrs. Groovy!

  3. I gave myself the gift of a massive hard drive and the peace of mind therein when I backed up all our important files but I did want a couple of books, too! I’ll wait for another sale, though, or renew my library card if they can be convinced to give us decent e-books.

    Meanwhile, I’m working on being more patient with myself to reduce stress. I’m not sure if it’s working yet but it’s a process!

    1. Reply

      It’s always a process! I’m constantly working on managing my stress. And woo hard drive! We bought a 2 tb one three years ago, it was a great choice!

  4. Reply

    Nice! If you’re going to buy books you might as well buy ones from awesome folks in this personal finance blogosphere, and that will also help you learn more about frugality.

    ‘Space’ is important to me as well and I try to get that by being out in nature. Nothing like a nice long hike or bike ride in the woods!

    1. Reply

      Time in nature is so powerful. Although the woods behind my house are “nature-light” it helps me get out more often. When I have the time I drive the 20-30 minutes to get out in better nature with longer trails!

  5. Reply

    I’m a big fan of the public library and know that whatever I want to read, I can go there and borrow it at no charge. If I really love the book then I’ll consider buying it. And with Mrs. Frugalwoods along with Cait coming out with books early next year I may throw out that rule and buy it once both of them are out since they are awesome PF bloggers that really helped me learn about FI and being frugal.

    1. Reply

      I think they are the first two books I have bought myself in over two years πŸ™‚

  6. Reply

    I just got my Frugalwoods book plate in the mail yesterday! I was quite excited. πŸ™‚

    1. Reply

      Yay! Now let me run and check my mailbox!

  7. Great list! This year my husband and I gave each other the gift of minimizing. We both read The Joy of Less and decluttered our house. We still have the basement left, but having the extra space and calm in our house is already an amazing gift!

    1. Reply

      I just reserved that book! I definitely want to embrace minimalism more! My hubby took all of December off and has been cleaning out our basement! It is wonderful.

  8. This is a wonderful list. Both books are on my to read list for next year, though I’m waffling about a purchase vs the library because I’m VERY picky these days about what physical books I keep in the house. Though these might make the cut πŸ™‚

    I go back and forth about seed starting inside, but I honestly don’t have a good spot to do so. One of the few downsides to a small home, I guess.

    1. Reply

      Yeah, I plan on re-gifting both books once I’m done. But I wanted to support Cait and Liz. I’m thinking I’ll either give them to a friend or donate them to my local library book sale (I can convert an unsuspecting library patron πŸ™‚ ). But probably even a year ago I would have made a different decision and not bought the books. We are trying to loosen the purse strings slightly.

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