Gift giving can get expensive, especially if you have a large extended family. There are ways, however, to cut back on all the spending and still have fun opening gifts. As I was leafing through my photo album last night, looking at all the snapshots taken at Christmas in years past, I was remembering some of the ways we gave gifts over the years and decided it might be nice to share those ideas. Here are a few ways my large family gave gifts without going broke.
This works especially well for large families. Each person draws a family member's name out of a hat. Then they buy one gift for that person. If you want, you can take this a step further and put a dollar amount on gifts. For instance, buy one gift at no more than $25.00. If your family is scattered it might be hard to get them all together in order to draw names. You can remedy this by assigning a family member the duty of drawing all the names. Just be sure to record who has whose name. Every year, right after Thanksgiving, be sure everyone is informed of whose name they have for Christmas. My grandmother did this for years.
Dollar Store Gifts
My brother-in-law and I have been giving each other Dollar Store gifts for years. It started out as a joke but has become a Christmas tradition. If you think Dollar Store gifts are junk, think again. Some of the most useful gifts I have ever gotten were the ones my brother-in-law gave me. I have received dish towels, CD’s, DVD’s, scented candles and, the best one ever, a wooden back scratcher that I still use today. There are many store chains of this sort all over the country: Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree are the ones I shop on a regular basis. One note of caution; be careful about the toys and jewelry you might see at these stores. There have been reports of dangerous levels of heavy metals in some toys and jewelry purchased at these stores. If in doubt, ask the management about these reports.
Stocking Gifts Only
Everyone in my family has a Christmas stocking. I have had mine since I was a year old. It is getting rather shabby but I still hang it up every year. In my family our stockings are stuffed with candy, gum, and other small inexpensive gifts; things like pens, earrings, notepads, pocket packs of hand wipes, toothpaste or tissues. One way to make this a money-saving tradition is to give stocking gifts only. Make it known that only gifts that will fit into the stocking should be given. Again, you can also place a dollars-spent limit on these gifts. In my family whenever someone is born, or marries into the family, they receive a Christmas stocking to use every year.
Giving gifts doesn’t have to be a breaking-the-bank experience. You can use these ideas, or tailor them to fit your own traditions, to save money and still have the fun and thrill of opening gifts on Christmas Day.