Category Archives: Christmas

4 Ways We Paid For Christmas

4 Ways We Paid For Christmas From Our Couch |

Affiliate Link Disclosure4 Ways We Paid For Christmas From Our Couch | EverydaySmallThings.comChristmas always has a way of sneaking up on us financially.  We try to budget using Financial Peace University principles which includes putting aside Christmas money each month. But in all honesty, it typically gets used for something else.  Usually, this leaves us scrambling come December trying to figure out how to afford Christmas gifts.

But not this year! Here are four ways we paid for Christmas from our couch.
This is an app I discovered in June and is our biggest Christmas contributor. rounds up every purchase to the nearest dollar (or however much you decide) of any purchase you make using a linked bank account. So, let’s say I spent $13.65 at the store using my debit card. Acorns will set aside 35 cents into a savings account. This has been the easiest way to set aside money! The only downside is it’s not an instant transfer.  Transfers occur when you hit a minimum of $5.

If you sign up using my referral link, you and I will each get $5!

If you haven’t signed up for Swagbucks, you are missing out on easy earnings! This is a search engine where you get swagbucks earnings just for browsing the internet and then you can trade in your swagbucks for cash or gift cards.  I use this as my main search engine and even type in websites that I know I’m going to, just to get a better chance of earning swagbucks which are awarded at random, not per search. Online purchases through websites like Priceline and Vision Direct will earn you swagbucks per dollar spent. Easy peasy!

They also offer surveys, videos and other ways of earning swagbucks. I rarely utilize these avenues but more power to you!

Did you know that you could be paid to test out websites? pays testers an average of $10 per website tested. I’ve earned $85 on UserTesting since February 2015. Typically, I log on after the kids get into bed and see if I qualify for any website tests. If you have the time and a quiet space, then this is a great way to earn some Christmas cash.

I haven’t used Ebates as often as Swagbucks, but this has still contributed to Christmas. If you shop online, this is the website for you! They actually pay you back a percentage of your purchase. Make sure you install their Ebates Button so you instantly know if the website you are purchasing through qualifies for cash back. What an easy way to earn some extra cash!

So there you have it.  Four ways to start earning extra money for things like Christmas!

39 “Something To Read” Gift Ideas

39 Reading Gifts That Aren't Books |

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This post was updated in November 2021.

39 Reading Gifts That Aren't Books |“We have enough books!” my husband said to me when I asked him for ideas on what to get the kids for the “Something to read” category of Four Gifts of Christmas. This sparked a search for some “outside of a book” ideas. Ssshh…don’t tell them these are educational, you don’t want to spoil the fun. 😉

Regardless of reading ability: If, like us, you don’t live within city limits of a library a Library Membership would be a great gift idea! Or a membership to one of the following apps:

Get Epic! is a FAVORITE in our household – seriously it got one of my kids who doesn’t enjoy reading to start reading!

Audible has been fantastic for road trips and down time in their rooms with an alexa.

The whole goal is to think outside the box. Last year, our daughter was learning how to play piano and read music. So her “something to read” was actually this Note Quest music reading activity book.

But if you’re looking for more “traditional” reading activities, I’ve got you covered!

Want to jump ahead?


Early Readers

Young Readers

Avid Readers


Violet or Scout can read to your child with LeapFrog Story Time Buddy

Wipe Clean: Early Learning Activity Book offers endless learning opportunities as you can wipe it off and do it again

Kids loves mail! How about a monthly Highlights High Five subscription?

Begin letter recognition with Osmo Little Genius Starter Pack for Ipad

Hot Dots Beginners Phonics Card Set can be used as flash cards or with any Hot Dots pen.

Help your child learn new words with these Wooden Reading blocks

How fun and colorful is this Read to Me Tot Tower?! And bonus in my book…non-toxic inks!

Thinkfun Roll and Play Board Game comes with pictures but can grow with your child as they learn how to read the instructions

Early Readers

They won’t even realize they’re practicing reading skills while playing this fun Super Why ABC Letter Game

What a fun way to practice reading with the uKloo Early Reader Treasure Hunt Game

My First Bananagrams is great for children just learning to spell

The BYJU’S Magic Workbooks: Disney powered by OSMO takes your child on a guided adventure combining the magic of Disney storytelling with interactive learning activities.

Zingo Sight Words is a twist on bingo

Building words is fun with Lunchbox Letters

Let your child create their own book that is professionally bound with Lulu Jr. IlluStory Junior

Highlights For Children will be a monthly “highlight” (I’m here all week) in the mail.

A twist on an old favorite Boggle Junior Game

Hot Dots give your early reader autonomy and fun while playing Let’s Master Kindergarten Reading

Learning phonics is fun while playing Sequence Letters

Silly Sentences keep your child engaged in the fun of reading

Your auditory or visual learner will love Alphabet Bingo Game

Scrabble Junior is a great way to learn and recognize letters

Help little ones make the connection with an object and its name in MengTing Alphabet Game

Young Readers

Even short words like at, of, and zoo, can lead to a win in Quiddler

If you have a kid that loves to know what’s going on in the world, The Week Junior could be a great gift for them!

Dabble is a fast paced word game for the whole family!

Spark creativity with 642 Things to Write About: Young Writer’s Edition

Cricket is more monthly happy mail

Your reader can write and publish their own book with Lulu Jr – My Awesome Book

Ok, so yes Brain Games for Kids is a book, but it is packed with crossword puzzles, word searches, math puzzles, mazes, picture puzzles, and more

National Geographic Kids Subscription provides educational fun in the mailbox each month

Christmas Fun Mad Libs would make a great stocking stuffer!

The higher you stack, the higher you score in Upwords

Sports Illustrated KIDS for your sports fan

Avid Readers

Bananagrams is fast, portable and fun (this would be great to keep in the purse to play while waiting at restaurants…speaking from experience)

Finish This Book gets the creative juices flowing in story telling

Play On Words is an extra clever mind-expanding card game

A favorite Magazine Subscription

Mad Libs can be fun at any age (be aware that some can be racy)

Wreck This Journal: Now In Color has become a favorite in our household! Really, all of the journals by Keri Smith provide lots of fun and creativity!

399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young…enough said

Crossword Book provides hours of brain games

The Imaginary World Of… Yet another creative Keri Smith journal

Get the creative juices flowing with 642 Things to Write About

How fun is this Magnetic Scrabble Set?!

Daily fun with Word Search Desk Calendar

Scrabble Slam Cards is a high-speed game promising loads of fun

Learn a new word each day with 365 New Words-A-Year Page-A-Day Calendar


39 Something To Read Gifts | EverydaySmallThings.comComment below with any other suggestions for “Something To Read” gifts that aren’t books.

18 Gifts that Give Back

Gifts that Give Back | EverydaySmallThings.comThe gift giving season is upon us.  Honestly, it is one I dread because the love language of gifts is so incredibly foreign to me. I have to really work and think hard about it, it doesn’t come naturally.

Several years ago, Matt and I reconsidered traditional gifts we would give our loved ones for Christmas. While physical gifts can be wonderful, we also believe that there are eternal ways we can give as well. For example, Matt’s dad referees every sport possible.  Sports are a big deal to them both.  One year, we decided to donate towards a Compassion International Sports Camp in his honor.

Here are some ideas of gifts that can be given in honor of a loved one. Some even have printable cards that explain what this gift will do for someone in need, but you could always make your own.

Gifts of Compassion (My Personal Favorite)
World Vision Gift Catalog
A Gift from the Heart – Habitat for Humanity
Operation Smile Giving Catalog
Partner’s International Harvest of Hope
Changing the Present
Heifer International
Donors Choose
Operation Christmas Child
Bible League
Any Soldier

Shop With Meaning

Maybe you’d still like to give a physical gift, but also like the idea of helping. Check out these organizations that give back when you purchase through them!

Amazon Smile – 0.5% of your purchase price goes to an organization of your choice — like Hearts At Home!
Toms Shoes
 – For every pair of shoes you buy, one is donated to a child in need
Fashionable – Beautiful products made by women who have overcome
Ten Thousand Villages – Your fair trade purchase of handmade jewelry, home decor and gifts helps improve the lives of thousands of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East
Better World Books – Book for a book
CommonThreadz – For every tshirt you buy, a school uniform is donated in Africa

Any other ideas for Gifts that Give Back? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

Please note, aside from Compassion International, I have no personal experience with any of these companies and cannot vouch for their integrity. If you are concerned about where your money is going, please do your research! 

How Four Gifts Could Save Your Christmas Spirit

Four Gifts of Christmas | EverydaySmallThings.comIt’s just about that time for Christmas trees to be put up, lights to be strung and budget conversations on how much will be spent on gifts. *cringe*

Matt’s love language is gifts…mine is quality time. An ideal Christmas morning for Matt looks like a ton of gifts under the tree waiting to be unwrapped; while I could really care less how much is under the tree and more enjoy the sentiments behind the gifts given and time shared (for this reason I also do not enjoy making Christmas lists).

Three years ago, it was our first Christmas with two children who had plenty of toys, more than enough clothes and limited space to add more. I was dreading the idea of spending money on things that we truly didn’t need and I would just have to find a home for when I am already clutter challenged.

We began having a conversation about what we wanted our children to experience on Christmas morning. We agreed that we wanted to be purposeful in the gifts given, rather than buy a ton of stuff to fill the bottom of the tree. It was important to both of us that we instill in our children that Christmas isn’t about the gifts given but about remembering Christ’s birth and his ultimate gift of his life.

Four Gifts of ChristmasWe finally came across an idea (thank you Pinterest!) called the Four Gifts of Christmas. Within our family, each person unwraps:

·      Something they want

·      Something they need

·      Something to wear

·      Something to read

There are a lot of ideas out there for labeling each gift if that is your thing…personally, it takes the fun out of it for me to know which category I’m opening.

We still do a stocking for each family member that includes an ornament representing something that happened in their life that year and other goodies like crayons, markers, chapstick, a small toy, Play-Doh…you get the drift. Side note, the ornament is one of my all-time favorite Christmas traditions because decorating the tree becomes a walk down memory lane!

The Four Gifts of Christmas have saved our sanity during the holiday season! It has simplified the gift-buying process, helped us stay within our budget, encouraged us to be purposeful in our gift choices and allowed us to truly enjoy Christmas morning with one another.

How do you do Christmas gifts? Ever tried doing the Four Gifts of Christmas?

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