gift exchanges

arcy_gwDecember 12, 2012

What do you do at large multi-generational family gatherings for gift exchanges? We are looking for a NEW way to handle this. Exchanging gift cards, or shopping for people you just do not know on a day to day basis is getting too difficult. We also have vastly different incomes..I hear of games people play, generic gifts that are brought. Could you explain how yours works?

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We buy a gender specific gift - kids for kids, men for men etc. Our max is $10 but some years it was $20. But this year we added the kids. In years past, we bought gifts for the kids. Anyway, we draw numbers or go from youngest to oldest to pick the gift. The first person will pick a gift, open it and wait. Every person after that will either steal an opened gift from someone or will pick an unopened gift from the pile. If they steal an opened gift, they pick an unopened gift from the pile to give to the person that they took an opened gift from. It's fun. Not sure how the kids will like it this year. They could get their gift stolen.

Another game we sometimes do is the Wright family Christmas. This is a story (from the internet) of the Wright family where you all sit in a circle. Everytime they say the word right (or Wright) you hand the gift to the right and everytime they say left you hand it to the left. Again this is a fun game.

This year we decided to play Christmas bingo and the dice game. There's a few of us that is bringing extra gifts for this game.

We have also done the dice game where we wrap a $10 bill or a gift card in a box and another box and another box, etc. We play the dice game. When someone gets doubles they have to put on a pair of oven mitts and try to open the gift. In the meantime, everyone else continues on with the dice until they get doubles and can continue trying to open the gift with the oven mitts. The kids loved that game last year. But I will say, I wrapped the gift too well and we ended up having to use just a pair of regular gloves.

I'll be curious to see what others come up with.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 7:26AM
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We do the Dirty Santa with a $20 limit. No age or gender difference, but it all works out with our ages being 11 years up.

We play the Wright family game, too. Must be very popular.

We play Christmas Bingo. I started out printing the cards from the internet, using dried beans (BEANGO ;) for markers but this year I ordered the game from Amazon. We have Hershey Miniatures for prizes. **Anybody remember last year when I "lost" one bag of them?

Haven't heard of the Dice game; may consider that.

Google Christmas games and you will find more.

I make hot punch, and we have a light meal with each family bringing something.

This is always at my house, either Christmas eve or Christmas day, depending on the other's schedules.



    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:00PM
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This is what my DD#2's in-laws did they drew names (they did this at Thanksgiving dinner) and had a $$ limit~~~for several years they did stupid gag gifts for the adults, my DD got mad and went to her FIL and said she wanted to change it to a nice gift, gag gifts are useless and get thrown away. He agreed and they changed it, a few were grumpy but DAD said so it was done;)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 12:08PM
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For a while it was the bloated "buy for everyone" and that finally got to everyone so they decided to draw names which wasn't bad and occasionally we'd trade names but still I thought it was unfair to put a burden on a couple of the older aunts on limited income to have to buy something. They felt compelled to buy rather than make something. I finally said just take my name out of the pool and 2 or 3 others followed suit. I'd still give something to my aunts because I wanted to, not because I had to and often I'd find something early in the year so my shopping would be done. This gift obligation really annoys me. It's just out of hand these days. The family has whittled down a lot now so some of the issues are gone but now we give gifts when we want to give a gift and it's usually during the year. Concentrate on enjoying the season rather than pay inflated prices for junk stuff to "have something to give".

I know that few if any would do this and give up the crowd-fighting, stress building and the like, but it sure works nice for us.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 4:24PM
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How about NO gifts? That's what the adults in the family decided after years of gluttony. People say how sorry they are that we give no gifts. I say, think of us at home relaxing while you're fighting crowds at the mall. I buy just for grandkids.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 4:31PM
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My immediate family is small - my brother and Mom. My husband's family on the other hand is huge! Last year between our niece and nephew, my Mom and brother, hubby's sister and brothers, hubby's Dad and hubby's aunt, uncle and their 5 kids, we spent close to $900.00. This year I said no way. We had all decided to only buy for my hubby's Dad, my Mom, the 2 kids (niece and nephew) and then draw names out of a hat for everybody else. Then my hubby's sister decided to just buy gifts for everybody so now everybody else is too - but they're getting cheap gifts. We're not buying anything for aunt and uncle or their kids though. They spend 15k every year on a one month vacation - they don't need our cheap gifts. HA!

I wish we could've just drawn names out of a hat and bought a really nice gift for somebody versus a cheap gift for everybody. Hubby's sister likes to take over everything :(

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 5:16PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

The family was just getting too big to afford so I said I was going to buy for my two sisters and my mom, my immediate family. No one else was to buy for us, and each family buy just for their immediate family. We stick to that and it allows me to spend more on each gift. We send one nice check to my husbands sons family, they can split it between them or use it for a nice family gift.

We have played the Dirty Santa swap at several group gatherings. Some people just don't understand the rules and want to get grumpy if their gift is stolen, I love the game and enjoy participating,but the grumps really can be a partypooper.

Theres another one I have played on occasion. When you arrive some one greets you and puts a random number sticker on your back, some one else gathers the gifts and puts random numbers on the gifts. Then when time to play each person steps up has the number pulled from their back and finds the corresponding numbered gift. Does not take near as much time as Dirty Santa. Then anyone is free to ask if some one would like to trade.Totally voluntary.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 5:45PM
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Shed~~~my DH's SIL was like that, one year we said we did not want to gift give anymore~~and she got all weird and shamed my DH into just doing it for the kids~~and it would just be books. She went that way because she knew, I love to get and give books. Of course she started making it big again, which forced us do it also;( Then one year we gave their kids each $50 Best Buy GCards AND they gave our kids nothing!! That was it for me, we have never done a b-day or Christmas with them again~~my DH went balistic when they did that. We announced when we wanted to quit~~they just did it. Sometimes family is poo poo;(

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 6:11PM
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YogaLady - My SIL complains about being broke year round - it was her idea to suggest pulling names out of a hat. Her hubby's family handles Christmas that way because they are a huge family as well. She tells my hubby a month ago that she decided to just buy a little something for everybody - so now everybody feels obligated to buy as well. We're not that close to my hubby's aunt and uncle or their 5 kids so to be guilted by the SIL into buying them anything because they invite themselves over to the holiday celebration and exchanging of gifts frustrates me. I feel bummed because I'd rather not get anything for Christmas and just spend time with family - that's what the holiday is about to me. Oh well. Sorry for my rant - I'm just not looking forward to how things will play out this year. :(

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 7:02PM
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I don't buy Christmas gifts! NONE. My daughters know, and the grand kids are to young to realize it. The kiddos get so much stuff from my son in laws family... I just won't join in. PERIOD.

And for birthdays the kiddos get some dough for their college fund, and a card. When they get older, they might get a book too, but I don't know yet.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Don't even go there! I have expressed my thoughts about this gift exchange for YEARS. My kids have one request when going to g-ma's for the holiday, NO GIFT EXCHANGE. We do not have a vote that counts--not by a long shot. This idea is to alleviate some of the pressure my kids feel. I am trying to find a compromise. It isn't going well. The adults pool their "gift" money and give it to charity. The "kids" (ages 25-14)still exchange. The saddest part in all this is we are the family who cannot keep up with my siblings. We have the least, no designer clothes, no iphones, no fancy vacations---but they all INSIST this is what Christmas is all about--presents. I will say my MIL died a few years ago. I cherish the gifts from her, now especially. They help me think of her and pray for her. My mom has given money for all my adult life. I have nothing I can say "mom gave me this". I am beginning to realize how empty and sad the exchange of gift cards/money is.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 6:05AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

When we four children grew up and married, we began a name for adults (and kids over 16) and one for the kids. We had a price lmit, but I don't remember what it was. Very conservative.

This worked out very well! The kids got very involved in choosing something and the wrapping efforts were priceless. Of course, the parents footed the bill for the kid's presents, but sometimes they little ones got very involved in saving for that present.

The name drawing 'ceremony ' was always done at the family gathering and gift exchange. Great fun, as I recall.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:29AM
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Well, my son was texting me the other night about what I would like...specifically jewelery. I told him I don't wear jewelery and it would probably just sit in the box it came in. He said "you don't want a $300 silver and diamond necklace"? He works at Burger King and is struggling to make good grades in college right now. I wondered why he was working so much, he's only supposed to be working 2 or 3 days a week. I told him not to spend that much money on me and again said I wouldn't wear the necklace. They gave me a saphire (sp?) necklace and earring set for my birthday a couple years ago and I've worn it twice, maybe? So, then I gave him suggestions on what I would prefer so he wouldn't go and buy something totally useless and expensive.

I was going to pay for his car insurance for a couple months as one of his gifts, but apparently that's not necessary as he is rolling in the dough-lol.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 10:05AM
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