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Holiday gift giving alternatives in a family
Old 09-14-2019, 09:06 AM
  #1

For quite a few years (maybe 20+) my kids and I have drawn names at Thanksgiving. You are responsible for filling a Christmas stocking for the person whose name you drew. Last year we noticed that the stockings have seen better days. In addition, they stretch, so it takes a lot of stuff to fill one...and we are all on rather tight budgets right now. Also, dd now has two children to buy for. So itís more complicated.

I bought yarn and fabric to make new stockings...but Iím wondering if the new circumstances require a different plan.

I am thinking of having a discussion with the ďkidsĒ about other options. Here are some possibilities:

-Continue with stockings...but line with fabric so they donít stretch so much.
-Let ddís family create their own traditions with stockings. Adults draw names and give a gift to that one person.
-Give family gifts rather than personal ones. (Well, I am alone, so my gifts would be personal...but things like a game or something for the home or a fancy food basket or movie nite basket for the kidsí families)
-Give a personal gift to each person.
-Free choice: family gift or individual gifts as seems appropriate, depending on needs and gift ideas you come up with...

Anyone have other good options we should consider? We do usually all get together for a holiday dinner and gift exchange. Older dgs sometimes does not participate (with his mom, or just sits out due to awkwardness with his autism) although we encourage him to join in; baby Jai is too young to care or understand this year...


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Old 09-14-2019, 09:13 AM
  #2

If gift giving is not a high priority with your family, you could do this gift gameI just played. I thought at the time it would make a fun Christmas tradition for adults who don't want to exchange presents.

The basics are that you have an enormous ball of wrapping paper with individual wrapped gifts inside. You have to put on a silly costume item and oven mitts and unwrap as many gifts as you can until the person next to you rolls doubles on dice. Then they get the costume/mitts and the next person starts rolling. What you unwrap, you keep.

For Christmas, you could have all the adults contribute a set number of wrapped gifts of varying value. Or you could have them all contribute a dollar amount and you buy all the gifts to make it a surprise for everyone else.

Then you have to put on a Santa hat or ugly sweater or something and try to open gifts. In our group, people were pretty generous with rolling slowly if someone hadn't gotten anything even after a couple of rounds.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:27 AM
  #3

When my family transitioned to "adult" Christmas, we always all bought gifts for the kids, but just drew names for the adults so everyone bought/received one gift. Eventually we did away with gifts at all, although sometimes someone will make or find something small for everyone (but there's no pressure for all of us to do it).


You could also still do stockings but limit it to a dollar amount.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:48 AM
  #4

I'm sure you've already thought of good old fashioned Yankee Swap and everyone buys for kids.
One year we did a theme like T-shirts with funny sayings for the person we picked. It was good for a lot of laughs and not too expensive.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:55 AM
  #5

You could do something my siblings and I did for a few years. We called it Fruitcake Christmas.
You know how there's only one fruitcake in the world and it just gets regifted each year? Well, we agreed we would regift a gently used items from our own home. It was great!

Some things that popped up:
-a bundle of CDs we no longer listen to but think someone else would like
-a bundle of books- same thing as CDs
-small appliances like a Foreman grill, crock pot, etc.
-hand tools we had doubles (or even triples) of at home
-a pack of stamps, cool pens, note cards, etc.


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Old 09-14-2019, 10:02 AM
  #6

I am very anti holiday gift giving because I feel it often causes a lot of stress. So a few thoughts

-set a dollar amount and everyone uses that money towards a good cause. Anything thatís meaningful to them. On Christmas Day ( or whenever youíd exchange gifts normally) everyone writes down what they did on a piece of paper. The papers all go in a hat and someone pulls them out and reads them then you try to guess what everyone did. ( Iíve always wanted to do this one)

-do nothing

-do something together ( go to a show, out for a special dinner, an overnight trip)

-buy only for the kids ( this is what weíre doing w dhís Family for the first time this year and Iím so thrilled)

-do an experience gift- a zoo membership etc.
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We do not give any gifts
Old 09-14-2019, 10:12 AM
  #7

and haven't for about 10 years (at DD2's urging). We want to spend time with our family. We are currently downsizing and do not want more "stuff". DD1 lives in a 700 foot apartment and does not want more stuff. DD2 is an avid environmentalist and lives out of a backpack. No room for stuff.

What we do is think of the moment. If DD1 is coming for a visit, we look for a show to go to. If DD2 is home and has duct taped boots, we might give her a new pair of boots. When we visit DD1, she takes us out to VERY nice dinners. We like to take vacations together as a family and this generally is quite expensive for everyone involved.

We generally get a family puzzle to work on, play cards and eat yummy food.

Of course, our situation is different. We do not live near any family and usually do not spend the actual Christmas day with our kids.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:13 AM
  #8

One year we did a 5$ Yankee swap with stuff you had to buy either on Xmas eve or Xmas day at gas station convenience stores. It was a hoot!
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:28 AM
  #9

We now just give gifts to the younger nieces and nephews and no adult gift giving...we donate to a charity they pick instead. So much easier and less stressful and we don't need more stuff. Of course, my parents still give to all 7 grandchildren, even though 4 out of 7 are 24-28 years old ( the other 3 are still teens)

We did try the pick one name and Yankee swap ideas for a while, but decided just to stop buying gifts and do charitable giving instead.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:31 AM
  #10

Loving these ideas! Hope more ideas follow!


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Old 09-14-2019, 10:47 AM
  #11

Contribute to a charity in your family's name...no stress!
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:15 AM
  #12

We always did children drew for each other and adults drew for each other so everyone got one gift. It was plenty. We did a $ limit.

Now we do nothing.

Truthfully, most people have more than they need already, so it is really just for the "feel good." Why not turn it into a game type thing so it is more for the fun than for the present. I like the Yankee swap thing for adults. I don't know if that would work for children.
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:40 AM
  #13

Sorry if this is a repeat, I didn't read the responses. Draw a name at Thanksgiving and buy that person one nice gift. As for the kids, they get gifts from everyone.
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Gifts
Old 09-14-2019, 11:50 AM
  #14

Our family is all adult age now and we all bring a 20$ generic (for either gender) gift. We don't draw names. Whoever comes to Christmas Eve brings a gift. We then number them and draw a number. If we get our own gift we draw again. Works our really well.
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:55 AM
  #15

Several years ago our families started having a card draw at Christmas. It works like this. Each person that chooses to participate buys a gift for a set amount of money. We used to do $5, but now we do $15. The wrapped gift is brought to the Christmas celebration and put into a big bag. When itís time for the gifts, all the gifts are taken out of the bag and put in a pile. Then we draw a card from a limited number of cards in a deck (the number is limited by the number of participants. You use all of one suit first, followed by another until you have as many cards as you need.) we start with the lowest value card choosing a gift and opening it. The next lowest card goes next and can steal that gift or choose a new one. And so on until everyone has had a turn. A gift can only be stolen two times. The person who goes first, can also swap gifts with someone at the end. It keeps everyone involved with which gift is where and who has it. Itís a lot of fun, especially with our very large group.
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Old 09-14-2019, 12:05 PM
  #16

My dad's family started doing a yankee swap with gift cards many years ago. You just had to bring a wrapped card for $25. It gave us an activity to do and everyone got something useful, although typically many people did bring the same type of card.

A couple of years ago, my aunt threw a fit about it and somehow this turned into us bringing actual gifts for the yankee swap. Except it was really difficult to find things that appealed to both genders and all ages/personalities- it's not like doing the swap with a group of friends where you may have some shared interests. People ended up buying generic things that no one really wanted (one year there were FOUR pannini makers out of 12 gifts ). Last year I just didn't bring a gift and didn't participate in the swap, and a couple of others did the same thing.

For actual Christmas day it's just me and my parents. We've still done gifts and I appreciate them, but it is a little weird being just the three of us. I was actually just considering suggesting that we each pay for some sort of experience to do together instead. For a bigger family I like the drawing names idea.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:31 PM
  #17

The past two years weíve all contributed toward a family experience. One year we did an escape room the day after Christmas, and another year we went to a museum. This year we ended up planning a Disneyland trip, which is obviously more expensive, but it will be fun.

Usually we all do some stocking stuffers/small gifts. But there are no rules, and people just buy little things they know someone will like.
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Old 09-14-2019, 05:28 PM
  #18

You have a lot of ideas and I didnít read them all closely, so these may have been mentioned.

These are all things my family has done at some point.

1) Adults all bring a gift (limit varies has been $15-30), Play the stealing gifts game (Dirty Santa, Yankee Swap, etc). Kids draw names before and get a gift.

2) When money was tight for lots of families, we made freezer meals and as a family exchanged freezer meals. Grandkids each received a gift from grandparents.

3) Gifts for kids and parents pooled money that would be spent on charity project.
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