How To Give Better Gifts And Save Money For The Holidays

It's the season of giving and my family LOVES to give gifts to each other.

But we have an awesome problem...we have a huge family.

On my side, I have 4 siblings (and 3 nieces) and on my wife's side she has 2 siblings (with 4 nieces and nephews). We also have grandparents and cousins we are close to.

We want to buy everyone gifts but...

Things are really expensive and people are struggling!

And if you truly love someone, you'd never ask them to go into debt to buy you a gift, yet that's what ends up happening a lot of the time.

I think about the Mickey Mouse Christmas episode where Mickey sells his harmonica to get Minnie a chain for her watch. 

But she had sold the watch to get him a case for the harmonica.

It's a beautiful story of love and sacrifice that we'd rather not repeat if we don't have to.

So here's the old method we used to give gifts that stopped working and the new one we adopted that has made gift-giving this Christmas so much better for everyone!

This Method Doesn't Work For Big Groups

Originally, when my family was younger and everyone was single, we bought gifts for each other. 

Simple enough.

Then, marriages happened, kids happened and the list of people to buy gifts for got longer.

So we put a limit on the present price at $35.

Here's the problem...unless you're a newborn who will slobber on anything, it's hard to get a good, quality gift anyone is going to want for $35.

I can only have so many candles/pairs of socks/etc.

And to do quick math, spending $35/person x 12 people = $420. 

That's a lot of mediocre stuff you need to buy.

So, we decided to switch it up and for the past few years, this method has been MUCH better.

From Old n Busted To New Hotness

There's a site we use call and its been a gamechanger.

Basically, we changed it up to a $250 Secret Santa.

All the siblings/spouses put their names into this, create a Christmas list and then it scrambles it.

You can also block people from getting others (this way you don't get matched with your spouse).

Then, whoever you get, you have a $250 limit to buy them things on their list or whatever you want.

You can get some really cool stuff for $250 that people actually want!

We also incorporate a small gag gift for laughs.

So to math it up again...$250 x 1 person = $250

That's better because...

  • It's less than $420
  • You can get quality gifts
  • Allows you to be thoughtful about one person and what they love

Then, its a free for all on the kids. You don't have to get them anything and if you do, just get one thing.

Now, since we have our parents and grandparents around, sometimes we will do a combined gift where we pitch in for a big thing or do new pictures or whatever they want.

All in all, this method has been a lot more enjoyable and budget-friendly.

One important thing to consider...

Two years ago, one of my brother's lost a job and things were really tight.

They opted out of gift giving totally and we berated them for the rest of the year about it to make sure they felt super guilty for being lazy and unemployed.


We were totally understanding to this and since it had never happened before, praised them for doing so and being responsible.

And then we STILL bought them gifts because we love them. 

A gift isn't much of a gift if there's pressure behind it.

During this time of year, be gracious to others and remember that generosity isn't generosity if there is an expectation of reciprocation. 

Be the Hero of your story and be extra generous this year!

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