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O/T How do you handle Gift-Giving at Christmas with a big family?

Started 1348489560.46 in Beauty Banter | Last reply 1348887526.5 by RedConvertibleGirl

Here is my personal situation: My husband & I do not have any children and we do not make a lot of money. Every Christmas we buy for my Grandfather, Mother, Grandmother, Father, Step-Mother, his Mother, Step-Father, and 5 nieces and nephews. (That has decreased a little over the years as we used to also buy for my brother and sister-in-law, and his brother and sister-in-law. Not to mention that sometimes his aunt wants to have a secret Santa which is another gift or two to be bought) I find it difficult to stay afloat with all these presents that must be bought. I don't mean to sound like a Grinch. Maybe I should just budget better or start buying presents in July...

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lakes1348786731.02307 PostsRegistered 2/27/2010

HUGE Family here - and most must be mailed - very expensive! So, the past couple years - we get only the kids - no adults. I was giving gift cards - but - they tend to get lost, so now I give each kid $20 bill in a card and let them buy whatever they may want. Parents love this as they do not have to cash a check, or, take them to a specific store to use gift card. All kids - of any age love to get $$$$. Also saves on shipping, sizes, etc.. everyone is happy! I'm talking extended family - nieces, nephews.

ARMYGIRL68X1348787994.63545 PostsRegistered 6/19/2012TX

Right after Christmas there are usually a ton of post-holidays sales in various stores; we often purchase gifts for people then and save them for the following Christmas. It's a lot cheaper, and there are a lot of items that will not go bad or out of style.

Throughout the year, no matter what time, if you see a good deal on something that you know a family member/friend could use, buy it and save it. You could save a lot of money this way!

Good luck.

Army Strong - Hooah!

21 y/o. Short, black hair. Tan skin. Brown eyes. I love Philosophy!

Grangie1348824758.213631 PostsRegistered 10/20/2006
Shoekitty- I know what you mean about dreading the work of your brunch! I cook a big Christmas dinner by myself every year for my family and the older I get it just gets old and tiresome! I'm going to spread the work around this year with my family! My Mom started using a local restaurant's party room for her get togethers! She doesn't have a mess or have to cook and spends about what you do! Years ago she would cook and then went to finger foods at her house and now the restaurant! I took over the big meal when I had my children! They are grown now and I'm ready to start decreasing my load of work! You could buy platters from the grocery store like cold cuts, fruits, bakery items ect... We have Publix stores here that make wonderful food! I'm sure there is a store in your area that does that! My point is if your going to spend the money anyway just make it easier for yourself! I'm learning it really is about the time spent together and if your family doesn't like it oh well they will get used to it and if you continue it would just become the norm! I to get tired of dreading a holiday that we should all enjoy and look forward to! It just struck me when you said you dread it because I have been there! I will still cook but my kids and spouses are going to help by bringing dishes! One year I made spaghetti instead of my usual Turkey and dressing and all the fixings! And you know what we all enjoyed it! It sure took a load off of me! Maybe you can give it some thought and make it easier on yourself this year! Whatever you decide I hope you enjoy the holidays! :)

Grade1Teach1348825435.4910251 PostsRegistered 12/2/2007Long Island

I haven't read all the responses on here, but I did see some about doing a "Secret Santa".

That's what my family does too.

The children all get their own gifts, but we do a "Grab Bag". We put our name into a bag on Thanksgiving Night and pull out a name before everyone goes home. The name we pull, is the person we get a gift for. We have a $25 cap on all gifts.

If we are not all together on Thanksgiving Night, then we all just buy a $25 gift that would be appropriate for each couple there. It's too long to explain, but we end up choosing a wrapped gift off of the table and then making a swap if we want.

itsMe1348840668.7173705 PostsRegistered 5/1/2008Sunny South Florida
On 9/26/2012 shoekitty said:

I have 3 grown daughters and their husbands, and 8 grandkids and my mother. At just 100 dollars each that is 1500 bucks right there. We are all very close, I do not know how to get around it. Plus I have Christmas Brunch here at a cost of 300-400. I have a couple girlfriends that I exchange with, but it is small. How does anyone get around giving to their kids, I wouldn't even know how to do that one.

I hate Christmas Brunch, and I am getting physically sick just thinking of the work. It is not possible to get help on the brunch.

shoekitty, I'd cut back the amount you spend on each gift, rather than cutting the gifts out completely. $50-$75 should be more than enough. You could buy things you see on sale during the year to make the budget go farther or to save even more money.

As for the brunch, have it catered, and/or have someone come in to help you serve and clean up. The $300-$400 you spend on it now will go a long way towards covering the cost of catering, and the rest, if it goes over, will come from the savings on the gifts. If you want to keep a more personal touch, make a dish or desert when you have time, and stick it in the freezer until the get-together.

vermint1348841196.5771364 PostsRegistered 9/5/2007Southeast USA

Large family here, too, especially on DH's side. We have no children ourselves, and drew names w/siblings & their spouses til their kids came along at which point we started buying only for the children (and our own parents). We had a rule--and they all knew it--at 16 y/o you were considered "adult" enough by us not to get presents anymore. We bought for the great nieces/nephews for a few years, but there just got to be too many of them. So as of Christmas 2009, we stopped buying for them too. We have one niece under 16, so she gets $20 from us and is thrilled with it, believe it or not. She loves to read, so buys books with it!

My dad is the only parent left, and of course he gets something. We all just get together for a good meal (breakfast at Dad's, dinner at in-law's) and have a wonderful time.

It's so nice and stress-free!

tempe rose1348848923.26153 PostsRegistered 11/6/2010

we have been doing gifts just for our own families but my siblings and I buy for mom and step dad.

VaBelle351348849550.5639438 PostsRegistered 11/19/2004VA suburbs of Washington, DC

I have tried for years to get my brother and sister on board with not buying adult gifts for birthdays and holidays and just buy for the kids, but they won't budge. They agreed at first and then changed their minds because they felt bad because the adults were buying for their kids.

I am officially out of gift giving this Christmas and as of January 1 I'm out of birthday's too.

It is very expensive. I prefer giving to my nieces and nephews. Adults can buy what they want. It's not a money issue as much as the adults really don't need anything. It's about passing around the same restaurant gift cards or ordering food for them.

QVC Shopper since 1993

Sylanne1348850443.811849 PostsRegistered 6/13/2006

We have long ago stopped buying gifts at Chrismas for the adults in the family--- we do buy nice gifts for their birthdays.

The only ones who receive gifts at Christmas are our Grandchildren.

Brinklii1348851209.5310278 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Northern WI

AlleyCat ~~ I totally understand. I'm single/no children. I have my mother, 3 siblings, 10 nieces and nephews, and 5 great nieces and nephews to buy for. We have always exchanged with everyone, but where I buy individual gifts for nieces and nephews, I get one gift back from the family. {#emotions_dlg.blink} I hate to sound like a miser, but I'm on a fixed income.

Since I'm retired now, I'm just giving to the great nieces and nephews and my mother this year. I think I'll give the kids I-tune gift cards.

It is nice to give something to the older people in the family too. You could just do something simple and inexpensive like cookies, treats in a jar, etc. I think older people would prefer something like that rather than another knickknack, more handerchiefs, or another tie.

A tongue has no bones, yet it is strong enough to break a heart. Be careful with your words.

wilma1348851358.96713128 PostsRegistered 7/10/2007

My family sat down and decided more than 15 years ago not to give presents anymore. It took my husband's family longer to give up the tradition; it's been maybe 5 years since we have gifted with them. There are just too many people and some can't afford it. I know it sounds corny and cliche, but I really feel all the gift-giving is unnecessary and commercializes the true reason for the season. The company of my family around me during the holidays is enough of a gift for me. The only exception is the children. Since we have no children we give to our nieces and nephews.

JMFINLEY0011348851623.3338753 PostsRegistered 12/23/2004Wisconsin

We have a large family on both sides and on my side my husband and I buy for my Mom and our grandson and our two daughters and then we draw a name for a Secret Santa for adults.On my husbands side we buy for his parents and then have a secret santa drawing as well!!!!!There are waaay too many kids on my hsubands side to even begin to buy for each child!!!!!!!!We are trying to keep our Christmas more about getting together eating good food and playing fun games and just enjoy being with family instead of about the gifts!It just got to be too much and many are retired now and do not have the money to buy a ton of gifts anymore!!!!!!!! I find that our Christmas is so much more enjoyable without worrying so much about gift giving!!!!!

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LaurenNico­le1348852785.483251 PostsRegistered 6/7/2007

I stopped the whole gift giving thing to anyone other than my own children years ago and it's been wonderful to be able to just enjoy good food and company.

I honestly don't understand the practice of picking names, setting dollar limits and giving lists of what you want. Isn't this just doing doing each others shopping? There is no surprise or thought, just an even exchange. Wouldn't it save time and stress to just buy for yourself what is being put on lists for others to run around getting for you? Not trying to be sarcastic or mean, just don't understand the purpose of this.

markswife1348854253.6171927 PostsRegistered 12/4/2007

Each person over the age of 14, that would like to receive a gift,must give a gift. We write our names and a few of our Hobbies or things we like to do on apiece of paper.Then we draw names from the pile. Usually we keep it secret ,who has who. One person keeps alist ,in case someone "forgets" who they drew. the children that are under 14 , all get gifts still.If there are a bunch of kids in one family,( at one time my sister had 6,under aged).then I will try to buy a family gift.I have a holiday club account , and it must cover alot of people

.the drawing of names makes it so much easier to stretch my money.

Last edited on 9/28/2012

Last edited on 9/28/2012

deeva1348854760.062087 PostsRegistered 1/8/2005stuck in the middle

I nipped this in the bud years ago. One year I simply told my sister and brother-in law that we would no longer buy gifts for the adults, only the kids.

I think everyone was relieved. For me, Christmas gift buying has gotten way out of control.

Sylanne1348856432.921849 PostsRegistered 6/13/2006

I think that those who are overwhelmed by the gift giving for Christmas should speak up now. You will be pleasantly surprised how many people you exchange gifts w/feel the same way.

JMO, the Christmas gift giving to everyone is a "retailers dream" & a "consumer's nightmare".

Last edited on 9/28/2012

Last edited on 9/28/2012

ive been f­ramed1348871584.7872472 PostsRegistered 6/8/2012

I sure agree with how the meaning of the season gets lost in the commercialization of it all!

My extended family is pretty large (I know my 5th cousins!) so during our annual party everyone brings a gift with their name inside and wraps it up. On the outside they write a little 'hint' as to what it may be, or if it's for a little boy or girl, etc. The gift can be handmade or store-bought, or even something you own and don't want anymore! That's what makes it fun! We then auction the gifts amongst ourselves, starting at 25 cents or so. The money is given to a charity- one year we raised $250 for Ronald McDonald House, another year $350 that my aunts used to by clothes, toys, food and gas cards for a family that had lost their jobs and were struggling, and last year's went to a program in Cleveland that helps grant wishes for disabled or very ill children. We end up bidding as high as we can for charity, but frankly there's always somebody who wants to get into a bidding war!

Mary Bailey1348872402.5077281 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004sw of Chicago

It's sad when gift giving takes the joy out of the season.

We still buy for the 5 younger nieces and nephews. We buy for DH's stepdad.

On my side we buy a $30 gift each. Then we draw numbers to take turns chosing a gift. The next person can take a new gift or take one from someone. It's a lot of fun!

We buy for our immediate family.

I need to start buying gift cards, etc now!

Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
.
Just Remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn't the way they actually are. - John Green

BLUEEYES1348873061.2910 PostsRegistered 10/2/2010

When things went bad with the ecomomy, my parents, sisters and our families all decided to take the money we would spend on each other and adopt a family in need. We have a $10.00 limit on each other so that we can still exchange. It's fun to see what neat thing you can get for each other for that little. None of us need anything and we all have jobs so it is our way of passing it on. One year we adopted a mother and her three children in The House of Ruth shelter and another year we adopted a soldier's family. These people wouldn't have had anything otherwise. We also give them a gift card so they can have a nice dinner. So just try the $10.00 idea (or less), that way you don't miss the exchanging.

busygirl1348874442.472142 PostsRegistered 5/24/2007

First I think Christmas is for everyone but not necessary to buy everyone a gift. My family comes over Christmas Eve and I find little gifts for everyone and never spend a fortune but just something fun to do. My sisters like to do it too. My food and opening up my home is my true Christmas gift to them. Just sharing and being together is enough for me. We all have our own families that we buy. My daughter and her husband and granddaughter come over Christmas Eve but we have our own Christmas prior to Christmas Eve where we exchange gifts. That is where I spend my money for the holidays.

I enjoy buying for everyone but I am about saving money too. I have a Christmas Club account and I buy gifts after Christmas to give to workers, brothers, sisters, friends and get things cheap. I buy all year so when Christmas comes I am covered and no credit card debt. I

In-x-s1348877155.5072556 PostsRegistered 3/24/2007Location, location, location

We quit with the name drawing and gift giving to adults years ago when we figured out we'd rather buy our own ugly sweater (or whatever) than have someone else spend their hard earned money just to buy an exchange gift. Spend your money on the kids or yourself and let the other adults buy for their kids or themselves, whichever the case may be.

In-x-s1348877383.882556 PostsRegistered 3/24/2007Location, location, location
On 9/28/2012 LaurenNicole said:

I stopped the whole gift giving thing to anyone other than my own children years ago and it's been wonderful to be able to just enjoy good food and company.

I honestly don't understand the practice of picking names, setting dollar limits and giving lists of what you want. Isn't this just doing doing each others shopping? There is no surprise or thought, just an even exchange. Wouldn't it save time and stress to just buy for yourself what is being put on lists for others to run around getting for you? Not trying to be sarcastic or mean, just don't understand the purpose of this.


just saw this and it said my thoughts so much better than I did!! {#emotions_dlg.thumbup}

busygirl1348877447.7632142 PostsRegistered 5/24/2007
On 9/28/2012 BLUEEYES said:

When things went bad with the ecomomy, my parents, sisters and our families all decided to take the money we would spend on each other and adopt a family in need. We have a $10.00 limit on each other so that we can still exchange. It's fun to see what neat thing you can get for each other for that little. None of us need anything and we all have jobs so it is our way of passing it on. One year we adopted a mother and her three children in The House of Ruth shelter and another year we adopted a soldier's family. These people wouldn't have had anything otherwise. We also give them a gift card so they can have a nice dinner. So just try the $10.00 idea (or less), that way you don't miss the exchanging.

We do that at work and it is a very good feeling to help someone else have a nice Christmas.

lynnsy1348877573.2831019 PostsRegistered 8/29/2010

One year we drew names and all decided "ornaments" were to be the gits. Now everytime I put up that ornament, a lot of memories come out about that year. Added a memory to our trees.

mideria1348881759.5971162 PostsRegistered 12/14/2006

Tell your family now that you want to forego the gift exchange this year. They might be as relieved as you are. I don't have a large family any more but at one point I just bought gifts for my Mom and Dad (and of course, my 2 children). Not my sisters, brother, niece or nephews. I simply could not afford it. Now that Mom and Dad are gone, my 4 grand children get one present each. My grown children and sisters and brother understand completely. None of us have $$ to buy each other gifts for Christmas. It works for us but every family is different. Good luck in whatever you decide.

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