The Foolproof Answer to “What do I Want for Christmas?”

5 genius (and budget savvy) gifts for the mom who doesn’t want anything for Christmas!

Author: Kari Lorz, Certified Financial Education Instructor

Author: Kari Lorz – Certified Financial Education Instructor

The Christmas holiday is coming up, and you have a hard enough time thinking of what to buy for your family, let alone thinking of, “What do I want for Christmas?” Well, I have got you covered! I have a secret formula that guarantees you will receive something that you actually want!

Yes, amazing ideas for the perfect gift for Mom can be unbelievably hard to come up with, especially for us budget savvy Mamas! We cringe at price tags and say on repeat “I don’t need that!” Yeah, but do you want it? Will it make you happy? That’s the million-dollar question! So let’s dive in and get going on the best gift idea for the mom who doesn’t want anything for Christmas. Your Christmas wishlist is officially covered!

the foolproof answer to what do i want for christmas

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Moms are natural givers

I personally have the hardest time thinking of what I want for my birthday or for Christmas. Sure, I want “things” like a nicely landscaped backyard, a gift card for a smoothie box subscription box, a maybe? I’m having a hard time even coming up with examples, HA! Geeze, that’s kind of comical! So even thinking of what do I want for Christmas, AND actually asking Santa Claus for it is hard!

I want things, but I don’t want to spend the money on just “stuff”, because I value every dollar that comes into our bank account, and I want to be sure I spend it wisely. So yeah, I want new clothes but I won’t buy them, and that’s not part of the formula (well, it might be for you). But I just want to explain why it’s so important to put some thought into your Christmas list.

It’s hard for us to not only “take” things but even harder to “ask” for them as well. We feel a bit bad sometimes (at least I do) when I spend on something that I don’t deem necessary to the family budget. Yet, I am fine with spending money on items for my little one.

If I can tie a purchase back to helping the household run better & smoother then that’s a win!

Finding the money for gifting can be a hurdle for people, especially at Christmas when there is SO MUCH to buy, it gets overwhelming and sticker shock sets in. No one wants to go into debt at Christmas, so be sure that you are planning ahead! Here’s a great resource on making the best debt free Christmas budget!

Feel good about asking for the gifts on your Christmas wish list

With this formula, you know that you really truly want these things. These gift ideas will add value to your life and bring you joy. Not only immediate joy but lasting joy as well, which can be elusive!

But let’s say you’re looking for a gift idea for your own mom, these ideas are great too as they are customized to the person. Gift giving shouldn’t stress you out financially either. I can feel good that for my holiday shopping, I have saved money all year long in order to pay for things. None of the stress of scrambling to come up with the funds to pay for the gifts added on top of “what to give others”. I save $20 each week, starting January 1st. (I did stop for a few months as I went to the Chiropractor for an injury, so the money went to that instead).

It might seem odd, but it totally works (for me), maybe another money-saving challenge would work for you? Check out some great money challenges to help you get started.

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Meaningful gifts for mom

I don’t know about you, but it’s always the small, yet meaningful gifts that I remember most. My husband is the best at figuring out a thoughtful gift which angers me because I am so horribly pragmatic about gifts. I wish I had even half of his gift buying talent.

So, of course, I have to share his best gift, and you may think it silly (and that’s okay), it was amazing to me. He got me a small matchbox car-size replica of Disney’s Magical Express. That’s the bus that picks you up from MCO airport and takes you to Walt Disney World. It’s the MOST exciting moment for any Disney vacation buff! It’s a tiny toy bus, it’s silly, but he knew it was my most favorite experience in the whole world!

So even if your gift is small, or inexpensive, it can absolutely be the most meaningful gift that you find under the Christmas tree!

The foolproof, “What do I want for Christmas” formula:

So here it is, the formula to asking for the perfect items to put on your Christmas wishlist!

Something to make our body feel good
Remind us of the good times
Something we need but don’t want to buy
A guilty pleasure
Something to help her to reach her goals!

That’s it. Yes, you still have to put some thought into the actual “what” but framing it this way makes the process so much easier, more enjoyable, and much less stressful! Don’t worry, I am going to give you some great examples on how to narrow it down to the exact Christmas gift.

You don’t have to come up with ideas for each part of the formula, nor give a gift for each part either. But 1-2 gifts total in any of these categories should have you covered!

Marie Kondo quote on sparking joy

What do I want for Christmas – wishlist gift #1

Something to make our body feel good

Yes, this one is exactly as easy as it sounds, but don’t let that fool you as a cliche gift. Trust me, gifts like these are so desperately needed!

  • a massage/facial
  • a day spa package (hint: this is the best gift for moms!)
  • a massage membership (chiropractic massage)
  • a pedicure
  • a new haircut
  • an afternoon enjoying the outdoors – a scenic hike
  • a night at a hotel
  • yoga class package at a new studio

The price range for this varies greatly, it can be as inexpensive as you buying a local hiking guidebook and trail snacks and set her free on a sunny afternoon ($30). Or it can be more luxurious, like a day spa package ($400). Look at your fancy hotels for this service, some even include a gourmet lunch!

If you want to take better care of yourself (or you know your mom has mentioned it) you need a fitness tracker to help show you your progress! (PSA: If the mom in your life has never before expressed an interest in upping her fitness game, then do not, I repeat DO NOT get this for her. Your welcome.)

Fitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness Smartwatch with GPS, 24/7 Heart Rate, Alexa Built-in, 6+ Days Battery, Midnight Blue/Gold, One Size (S & L Bands Included)
  • Receive a Daily Readiness Score that reveals if you’re ready to exercise or should focus on recovery (requires Fitbit Premium membership. Premium content recommendations are not available in all locales and may be in English only).Water resistance depth:50 meters

The very best thing I have ever done for my health was to invest in a GREAT water bottle! I have had so many crapy (but cheaper) water bottles that I can’t even count! These things are worth every single penny! They don’t sweat, keep your water cold FOREVER, and are easy to clean!

Hydro Flask Wide Flex Straw Cap Lupine 32 Oz
  • TempShield️ double-wall vacuum insulation keeps contents cold up to 24 hours

What do I want for Christmas – wish list gift #2

A gift to remind us of the good times

This is my favorite kind of present, as the emotions that it can bring out are so meaningful and impactful. So if you’ve been asking yourself over and over again, “What do I want for Christmas?” then this is quintessentially you!

A picturebook from Shutterfly of a recent vacation, or all the times you spent together cooking, or your kiddos yearly BTS pictures. These books start around $25 + shipping and go up from there, but there are ALWAYS coupons from Shutterfly, just google it and a zillion will pop up.

Did you know that your sense of smell can help you recall memories better than any other sense? I won’t bore you with all the science of glands and such but it’s very true. Smelling something can create an instant recall of an event or place. (source) (source)

Think of how much money the perfume industry rakes in! It’s $48 Billion dollars globally. I Googled it. 🙂

No, don’t ask for basic perfume, ask for a scent that you loooove. For example, whenever I am in an outdoor space and there are boxwood shrubs I am instantly transported back to my Grandmothers place.

They were all over the front walkway, I can close my eyes and picture all the bushes in a neat little row. Now that she’s gone I get a bit teary thinking of how excited I was going up to the front door, with the scent heavy in the air. You can get a boxwood shrub for maybe $20 at Home Depot. Yes, this might be hard to wrap for Christmas morning, but you can put it outside and just put a picture of it in an envelope.

Or maybe you have a cherished family recipe. Maybe you ask for your husband or daughter to bake your Aunty’s famous apple pie a few times in the coming year. I bet you can almost smell the cinnamon now. Ingredients would be about $15, depending on how robust your pantry is. A homemade treat is always a great gift!

Sparking a heartfelt memory is absolutely the perfect Christmas gift that you can give to Mom!

My official bid for the best gift for Mom who doesn’t want anything!

What Every Disney Mom wants for Christmas

Here’s what I am going to ask for… (Yes, I am going to send my husband a link to this post.)

The Disney theme parks have some of the most memorable scents, and this company makes scents from all over the resorts and parks.

Park Scents Main Street Candle – Sweet Bakery Smell – Inspired by Main Street Disnyland – Handmade in The USA – Vegan & Cruelty-Free | 8 oz. Tin
  • Delicious Sweet Bakery Smell – captures the smell of Main Street in Disney Theme Parks with notes of; Caramelized Sugar, Coconut, Custard, Rum, Vanilla, and Maple

A surprise Disney parks vacation is always on my Christmas wishlist but it’s not exactly budget-conscious. Maybe I should start a bucket list wishlist?

Free Christmas Mini Budget Planner

What do I want for Christmas -wishlist gift #3

Something we need but don’t want to buy

I don’t like spending money on boring/basic things. Like buying new tires for my car kills me. I hate it, but I buy them just the same. Because I’m an adult, a responsible adult. Ugh. Do you understand the feeling?

Purchases like this, that are on my to-do list, and some have been on there the longest time. It irks me to know that I am not moving forward on these things. Yet, I put it off day after day.

One of the best and most hated purchases was some new kitchen pans. As a new mom, I wanted to get rid of all the unnecessary chemicals that were in my house. I used Environmental Working Group’s app to buy new cleaners. (I could go on a full rant about the toxicity of Dreft baby detergent, but I won’t.) The point is that I wanted to be as clean as possible, without jumping off the deep end. (Oh, I bought BioKleen if you’re looking for safer laundry detergent.)

The Teflon on the pans made for easy nonstick cooking, but the dangers of cooking with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) were becoming more and more well known. It had the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in it, which has been proven to cause liver & kidney damage. (side note: all branded “Teflon” brand is now PTFE free since changes in 2013 but other pans still use it.)

Considering how much cooking we do as a family on these pans I definitely wanted a safer option. Yet most of the pans in stores didn’t specify their materials. So as a new mom, I Googled it, a lot. Like A LOT, I cringe at how long I spent researching safe pans that worked really well. Hours and hours, and yes, more hours went into this. Because every time I pulled out my old pans to make my daughter scrambled eggs I felt horrible about myself, why haven’t I bought new pans?! MOM GUILT!

I did find a brand that had a great reputation for using safe materials and that worked very well. I bought the pans in 2016, and to this day they work amazingly well! We use them 1-2 times a day, and the nonstickiness of them (is that a word?) is still amazing!

10″ Stone Frying Pan by Ozeri, with 100% APEO & PFOA-Free Stone-Derived Non-Stick Coating from Germany
  • Utilizes a stone-derived coating from Germany that is 100% free of APEO, GenX, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, and the lesser known chemicals NMP and NEP.
10″ Frying Pan Lid in Tempered Glass, by Ozeri
  • Exclusively designed for the Ozeri Collection of Green, Stone, Stainless Steel, and Professional Series Pans (may not be compatible with other brands).

The best part is that when I bought them and started using them, I didn’t have this ugly and dread-filled feeling around me anymore. I was happy to cook her scrambled eggs with a bit of cheese melted on top. I was free of the mom guilt. That’s the best feeling ever!

Probably not the best example of “sparking joy” in the traditional sense, but not having to see something that has been on my to-do list forever is absolutely the best gift for this mom that I could have received!

So if there’s something on your to-do list (or to buy list) and you hate seeing it on there, ask for someone else to do that thing for you as their gift to you! Like staining your back deck, going and getting your car tuned-up, researching new/better “xyz” item you need.  

stone earth frying pan
My pan in July 2023, after 4 years of daily (sometimes 2x daily) use. It’s stained, with some knife marks, but still works great! Maybe in a year, I’ll get a new one!

Another great gift example is that one year I asked my brother to build shelves in our garage for Xmas as a present to the family instead of gifts. My garage looks amazing, and I know it would have taken me FOREVER to get around to doing something about it if it wasn’t for him. Thanks, big brother! 

What do I want for Christmas – wishlist gift #4

A guilty pleasure (of course)

If You love Hallmark Christmas Movies then put #4 on your wish list!

So this can be something small and silly. Something that you squeal on the inside when you see it Christmas morning.

For me, being a budget-conscious Mom we cut cable a long time ago. A good move and I’m happy about it, but I kick myself every year when it gets to be this fall/winter season because that’s when the Hallmark channel busts out their 24/7 ridiculously sappy & stupid holiday movies! ARGGG! The regret! But shhh, don’t tell anyone that I watch them, because I might be a bit embarrassed because the movies really are horrible. Horribly amazing!

As a result of cutting cable, last year I tried turned to YouTube for it and I found a few that I liked but it took solid skills to find real movies and the correct movies at that, then sometimes the quality was bad, or they cut off the top 8 inches of the entire movie. WTH?

In my home, we do a “1st Present of Christmas” type thing (blame the Polar Express), at the end of Thanksgiving evening we gather in the living room and each person opens their first gift of the season. Yup, this is definitely on my list for the mom that doesn’t want anything (a guilty pleasure)!

There are so many of these Hallmark Movie Christmas DVD 4 pack collections! What’s great is that they are super inexpensive! Maybe around the price of two regular coffees so you could get a couple of them!

Speaking of hot beverages, her Christmas movie binge wouldn’t be the same without some props! The blanket below is officially on my Christmas wishlist this year!

QICI 6 Pairs Watching Christmas Movie Socks Letters Printed Women Warm Sock
  • Package: 6 pairs Christmas socks, they are in 3 different colors, red, black, and white, each color for 2pairs,you can choose the color you like, match with your various clothes.

What do I want for Christmas -Christmas present #5

Gifts to help us with our goals! (my bid for the most meaningful gifts for mom)

perfect gold desk accessories for her

Since I’m a finance blogger, and so many moms come to me as being brand new to budgeting, I want to throw you some love! Budgeting sounds boring, I get it. Reconciling your monthly bills sounds about as fun as stubbing your toe.

So let’s make it a bit more “fun”, shall we?

Set up your space to be just what you want it to be! When I got a new desk space at home I definitely wanted it to be pretty and functional, AND not cost too much. Because let’s face it when you like your space and the tools you use, you don’t have to drag yourself to do it.

Gold Desk Accessories for Women Office 6 Piece Gold Desk Set Gold Office Organizer – Office Supplies Gold – Office Organization Set – Desk Organizer for Women Gold Desk Sets and Accessories for Women
  • FUN AND STYLISH: Whether you seek desk accessories for women office or desk decorations for women office, this desk accessories set delivers. Cubical accessories are fun again with this gold desk organizer that also works as cubicle decorations.
Decorative Gold Foil File Folders – 12-Count Colored File Folders Letter Size, 1/3-Cut Tabs, Includes Cute Designs and Gold foil Font, Office Supplies File Filing Organizers, 9 x 11.5 Inches
  • FILE IN STYLE: This 12 pack of pretty designer top tab file folders offer a modern spin to a simple organization necessity. Elevate your desk décor by storing documents, receipts, and notes in style and keep yourself organized at work or school.
Gold Pens with Black Ink | Luxury Ballpoint Gold Pen Set of 6 in Glossy White Gift Box | Gold Office Supplies for Women Men – Slim Nice Pens for Writing (Gold/Black Ink)
  • 6-PIECE SET OF LUXYE BLACK INK GOLD PENS – a luxury ballpoint pen set presented in a beautiful, glossy white gift box. With a smooth, rollerball glide, these pens write brilliantly, are comfortable to hold and look stylish too
Graphique Classic Charm Hard Cover Journal w/ Elegant Black and White Stripes & “Happy Thoughts” in Embellished Gold Foil Across the Cover, 160 Ruled Pages, 6.25″ x 8.25″ x 1″
  • Graphique’s hard bound journal features a black and white striped cover titled “Happy Thoughts. ” Embellished with gold foil, this beautiful, inspirational journal is perfect for taking notes, making lists, and jotting down important thoughts.
Eccolo Inspirational Cards Set with Wooden Display Stand – 12 Boxed Daily Words Encouragement Cards, Daily Love Cards for Self-Love and Mindfulness, Home or Office Desk Decor (5 x 6.75 inches)
  • Eccolo’s motivational cards come with a wooden desk stand, featuring vibrant colors, inspirational quotes, and affirmations to brighten your office decor

Now please don’t mistake me and think that I’m suggesting you need all (or any) of these items. I just know a peaceful and beautiful environment makes doing things a lot easier! And after you do your monthly bill paying, it’s time to…

treat yo’self!

No Christmas wishlist is complete with a few pampering items!

C & M Personal Gifts Buddha Engraved Stemless Wine Glass (Pack of 1) –Yoga Wine Glass, Let that Sh** Go Funny Glass, 17 Oz Glass Gift for Him or Her, Made in USA
  • CUTE MEDITATION THEMED WINE GLASS: C&M’s Buddha engraved stemless wine glass with funny saying ‘let the sht go’ is the perfect combination of meditation, yoga and spirituality. Its laser engraved buddha design gives you another option other than just having wine. You can place this item in your living room and use it as a decorative piece too.

Yes, sometimes the best gift for Mom is a fat glass of wine! Stereotypical, yes. Do we care? No! Cheers!

Bath Salts, Spa Luxetique 8pcs Bath Salts Gift Set with Argan Oil, Bath Bombs, Wooden Scoop, Epsom Salt for Soaking in Lavender, Rose, Chamomile Scent Spa Gifts for Women Bath Set Christmas Gifts
  • 🛁Bath Salts Gift Set: The luxurious bath gift set includes 3x sea salts with lavender, rose and chamomile scent and 3x bath bombs, morocco argan oil and wooden scoop. This spa gift for women with three different scents is used to moisturize, and relax completely.

At the end of the day 

You want the Christmas season to be as stress-free as possible, and that’s a big ask for this time of year I know. So, to answer the, “What do I want for Christmas?” question just think of how you’d like to be supported to be the happiest, calmest, and most confident YOU!

Overall, know that the most thoughtful gift for mom is one that leaves lasting joy, reminds us of good times, and brings us closer to our goals and to our families. So even though if you’re normally the mom who doesn’t want anything for Christmas, I am sure you now have a few ideas!

So what will you be asking for on your Christmas wish list? Let us know in the comments below to help inspire us all to think outside the traditional “present” box.

Oh Santa Claus, get ready because this year we’re ready with the perfect Christmas gift ideas! Merry Christmas!

Free Christmas Mini Budget Planner

Now ask yourself:
“What do I want for Christmas?”

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  1. Wonderfull christmas gift ideas for moms! I really like the night at a hotel, that is awesome. I would enjoy that so much. Big bed, no midnight wake-ups, breakfast alone…hmm, great!

  2. This is amazing! I have the most difficult time deciding what I would like when people ask me. I love your formula , it’s spot on. I am pinning for later!

  3. These are great ideas for mom! I always say that my favorite gifts are those that I would never buy for myself.

  4. This is such a good guide! I know my Mom would absolutely love movie time and things that remind her of the beach (like those soaps you mentioned above). Great suggestions!

  5. What a great list! I never know what to ask for other than things I want but don’t like to spend the money on. Self care items are great. I think I’ll ask for a massage this year!

  6. Thank you for sharing. I’m the mom that never buys anything for myself, so just something thoughtful that can help me remember I’m cared about too is always wonderful!

    1. I love small thoughtful gifts the best too! My husband once got me a hot wheels car toy of the Magical Express bus (my favorite part of Disney World trips), that’s my favorite ever!

    1. Ohh remember in The Christmas Story, where Ralphie put the toy gun advertisement right in the middle of his Mom’s magazine? Stealth by 8 yr old! Maybe you should follow his lead πŸ™‚

  7. I love all things gold πŸ™‚ so the gift ideas at number 5 are my favorite. Sending the link to my husband too. I am the one who likes to shop early so this list is going to be very helpful.

  8. I love this post! You’re so right about all of the things moms do to avoid buying things for themselves. I would love any one of these gifts!

    1. So glad you liked it! I just when fall clothes shopping for my daughter, I felt bad buying my self a new white t-shirt to replace an old one with holes! Silly Moms! πŸ™‚

  9. This is a wonderful list that I need to share with my family! There are many must haves for my gift list! I always love anything that is personalized. My other favorites are the bath salts and body butter!

  10. This is such a great list! As a busy mom I have trouble even coming up with the list, but a lot of things on this post sounded amazing, especially that hot chocolate pack. πŸ˜‰

  11. You are so right with your formula! I’m a “Something we need but don’t want to buy” or “Something to make our body feel good” kind of Mama πŸ˜‰ Great post!