We had a request from a newly married beautiful worker that we discuss what to do for gifts when you have a huge family. Now that she is married, they have 25 family members to buy for! I thought I would broaden the topic this week to planning for Christmas.
While I haven’t quite become my mother in buying Christmas gifts in January, I have begun shopping quite early. In September, Christmas was VERY much on my radar. I finished our family calendars by the end of the month because Shutterfly had a 50% off sale. They are currently having the same sale through Oct 29 (midnight west coast time :) ). The first calendar is $20 and subsequent calendars are $10. These make very good Christmas gifts for grandparents, especially. And it is likely that grandpa and grandma will want their own. I don’t mind this since Grandpa is always hard to buy for anyway!
With my husband’s side of the family, we have taken to drawing names for Christmas. So each person only buys for one other person. This means that my family of 4 buys 4 presents. Naturally, since moms tend to be in charge of the gift giving department… I take care of all 4 of those presents. Everyone participating sends out a list of gift ideas via email. We put a dollar limit on it, though sometimes people do not adhere to this!! We have liked this system because it allows us to buy less gifts and to focus on fewer people.
Last year, Andrew and I started a new tradition in our family of buying fewer gifts overall. Each member of the family only gets 1 gift for each other family member. (At this point, I will be the one taking care of Byron’s gift for Andrew, and I will help Ruth to choose one). My mentor from church gave me this idea and said that her kids grew up doing this. It helped teach the children to focus on the giving rather than receiving because they would put a lot of thought into the one gift they would give to each person. It also reigned in the “gimme” syndrome that is natural when there is an overabundance of gifts.