Need Some Good Ideas

I know it is early, but this is the way my mind thinks. The topic is Christmas, and the hassles it brings to me and the stress and the too worked up attitude and the gifts.

Now the topic is the gifts. The economy is changing, we all know this. There are family members who can not afford gifts and there are also members I don’t see except at holiday time.

I love having the family here and I look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas so we can all be together, but the gifts is becoming a pain in my rear. I have had this idea tossing around in my head, but I can’t complete it. I just toss and toss like dirty clothes in a washer

Pile of gorgeous gifts

Pile of gorgeous gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and can not come up with a working plan. This is where you come in, so put your thinking caps on, and help me figure this out! Please?

I have three grown children and eight or nine grandchildren. Now how can I do this to help myself and others

I have had the idea of drawing names, but kids can not draw names, especially little three and four-year olds.

I have thought about no bought gifts. All has to be something wrapped up from their own home, or make something at home.

I have wondered if we don’t draw names, do we make a boy or girl gift, an adult gift, and hope it goes to the right gender?

I have thought of if you don’t bring a gift then there is no gift, but then that doesn’t seem right, everyone wants a gift.

I have thought of dollar limits no matter what way we go.

You see? I need help. What are your ideas?

I have thought of no gifts period, just dinner and family time together, but then I don’t want to not get something for my own kids.

Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


71 thoughts on “Need Some Good Ideas

  1. We did away with the traditional gift giving and went to all white elephant gift exchange. Everyone seems to enjoy it and it a wonderful way to get rid of things around the house that you can’t believe you ever bought…I think my favorite was when I got stuck with a half empty bottle of English Leather cologne.

    Be encouraged!


  2. Tough question to answer. My personal choice is giving healthy food per family and/or gift certificates for services that we can offer (a massage, afternoon tea, a baking lesson, music lesson, art work, etc). What I’m saying is that we are giving the gift of our time. Many kids won’t like this idea, but it’s time to learn that things can’t take the place of people. Advertisements on TV make us want to have things rather than people. Games for the entire family is great, too! I like Monopoly and Rummikub.


  3. Since my family has become quite large, and sometimes money is tight, we started a tradition, of making our gifts. Last year all of the kids got a photo collage that I had worked on just about all year for them. The grankids are the only one’s that get gifts that are bought, such as toys and stuff. Otherwise, we make food, or gift certificates, or something like that. I got coupons from the girls for an afternoon to spend together making cookies. The reason for the season isn’t about gifts, it’s about spending time with the family all together and making memories.


  4. My side of the family does a Chinese gift exchange, where each person brings a $10 gift, wrapped up. We pick numbers and then get to pick a gift accordingly. It has been fun and a blessing, but not sure how that would work with your grandkids, unless they could have a separate exchange like this one at a lower price limit.
    Hope and pray it all works out and is a blessing for you and doesn’t make things harder on you!


  5. I totally get the problem and I have the same feelings myself, but I’m afraid I’m in a family that has one leader who loves to find the perfect gift for everyone and the other one (me) who focuses on holiday lighting so you see the problems!! I feel the decorations and food and togetherness are the gifts, but what do I know? All I can do is say good luck!


    • with the price of food for all of us women who do the cooking, this is a vast amount of money, plus when i buy for each person, it becomes a huge over load for me. a decent toy cost almost thirty dollars. i just can’t do it anymore and have to find a way to make everyone feel goood about it. i offered a mean and family time, but some didn’t like that at all


  6. I know lots of families do the ‘draw name’ etc. but ours doesn’t and I really don’t want to either and only making the gifts wouldn’t work as most are not big on crafts etc…but setting a dollar amount seems feasible…But each family has to do what’s right for them…Diane…


    • i think in the making a gift in our family, foods would be the subject. crafts won’t work, no one is crafty, a dollar amount works too, but then some bring nothing at all even if it were a zero dollar amount


  7. When my grandmother was alive, the whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins) went to her house for Christmas Eve. The younger children received gifts from everyone but the older children and adults drew names so everyone got at least one gift. Then each family had their own Christmas in their own homes on Christmas Day.

    The older children might appreciate $10.00 in cash so they can buy whatever they want. I know that even $10.00 per person adds up in a larger family, and you can’t buy much with $10.00 or even $20.00 any more. It’s a shame when the adults cannot understand that money is short and going into debt for gifts is not necessary for a happy Christmas nor is it acceptable. Years ago I even stopped sending cards as I couldn’t afford the cards and the postage, especially for people I see often.

    I just found a site where you can learn to fold money into different objects (origami). That might be something different. Perhaps buy a pair of socks or something simple like that and then take a couple of $5.00 bills, fold them into something appropriate for each person and use that instead of a bow for the parcel decoration. I save my old cards and make gift tags from them and that saves quite a bit of money, too. Or perhaps you could give one family gift to each family rather than individual gifts.

    When I am invited to wedding showers or baby showers and don’t have much money, I go to the dollar store and pick up several items that make a nice size package. I don’t know what your dollar stores are like, but here we can get many household items for the kitchen, decorative items like candle holders, framed pictures, toys and books for the children, even CDs and DVDs. Some things they sell are very good looking, and they don’t need to know they came from the dollar store.


  8. ok this might not be a very popular idea but i hope it is something you might be able to work with. even small children can understand that it is better to give than to receive. each holiday my son picked out an agreed upon number of toys and donated them. we have done coats for coat drives and that sort of thing. as he got older we volunteered at a food bank. as for presents for the children their parents can bring one of their gifts and let them open that gift at your house. if they don’t like it let them come up with an idea that doesn’t put you in a bind. if you buy for smaller children the older ones will feel left out. you might even let the older kids come up with suggestions.

    we have 11 grandchildren and i start buying as soon as christmas is over. target has great toys and even some items for older kids in their discount section at the front of the store. my son loved giving to others and even though he did not understand the first year (we started preparing him months ahead of time) he looked forward to it the next year.

    just remember that you are enough. all the rest of the “stuff” is just that. they will love you whether you buy them something or not.


    • the donations are a wonderful idea! thank u for this. buying as soon as Christmas is over is good too! I can keep this in mind also. i think that with my kids they were used to big Christmas’s when they were small, but now the money is tight, not just for me, but for them also, so i thought the relief of not buying would help them feel less stressed. some agreed some did not. i am getting some great ideas from all of you. thank you so much for your advice!!!!!!


    • last year i spent three months at least, making each of my kids a calender with the whole entire families birthdays on it, i went to great efforts to add sparkles, glitters for holidays etc. three complete calenders. i have never seen them in or hear about them helping them to remember. my daugher has it hanging in her laundry area above her washer and dryer. maybe she looks at it as she is piling in her laundry…………if i can finish my book before Christmas, I will give each of them a copy, even if it is made into a book here at home with paper punch and twine. hehe- i could add a poem in the front or back of it, good idea, thanks Julie!!


  9. How about a cheap cork board, covered in a nice material to suit the recipient, criss-crossed with ribbon? You dig out old photos and small mementoes – eg programmes from school plays, tickets to a special movie you saw together, that sort of thing – and make them personal to each child.

    For our son’s 21st, we made up a special photo album of his life, with little stories under each photo. He said it was the best gift he had ever received.


    • that is what i would like to do ,,,,,,,,to have home made gifts, for everyone and from everyone that are adults, they can make or bake something, but then there are the kiddies. actually i am learning from you and all that maybe a limit of ten dollars for kids under 10, and over 10 they have to make something


  10. I love that you are thinking ahead! And I love the idea of home made gifts or recycled gifts — giving things you have loved or have meant something special — to another for their blessing. I will pray that your grown kids will understand your dilemma and realize that Christmas is about Jesus, much more than it will ever be about us. He is our greatest gift. And as we share His love and gift each other with our love and time, our hearts should sit up and take notice. No amount of stuff will ever fill an empty heart, but rather time spent together, hopefully enjoying each others’ company.

    As for the practical side of things: what about gifts for the kiddies with an established dollar limit that you set for yourself according to your budget constraints. And a “secret santa” gift for the adults, with each picking one name and selecting a gift with a set dollar limit.

    And you are always free to gift another as God puts that desire upon your heart. How they receive it {or dont} is their own issue.

    Well, Merry Christmas to all of us in advance, and God bless us all, everyone!!

    Hope my humble two cents are of some value for you, Terry. ❤


    • the kiddies gifts will come from me naturally, and the Secret Santa is great but for one thing. My daughter is the only one out of the entire grandchildren and my own kids who even buys anything,so there would probably be some or most adults who would get nothing, maybe we should just eliminate gifts period, but then i feel for the kiddies who are young and would not understand my thoughts. i feel such pain here as I can’t figure out how to not hurt my own kids by something they are used to getting, gifts, I just don’t know what to do


  11. 🙂 I can remember many a conversation in our family as we tried to negotiate Christmas gift-giving parameters over the years. Wish I could say it worked out, but it never did…and that’s ok though. We’d try the grab bag thing, we’d try the take a name thing. But inevitably one part of our family would buy gifts for everyone and then the others wouldn’t and then would feel bad. Ah, the holidays. I think whatever you come up with will be fine. My two cents? As long as you’re focused on the real reason for the season, you can’t go wrong. What a great time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to be together as family/loved ones. The best gift I ever got can’t top either of those 🙂


  12. Terry the stray comment about $ 20-30 for a toy got me thinking.Christmas is many months away and things in India don’t cost that much and many of them are as good quality as any I found in the US.So why not make a list of the perfect gift for each family member and put down the maximum you would feel comfortable spending.Then I could see how much these things would cost here.And work out the postage for the whole.If we pick light and relatively small items I think you might still delight your family with the gifts you get.May I mention that books,handicrafts and clothes are pretty cheap here.In fact our mega sales just got over a week ago.,,,,


  13. I really like Debbie’s suggestions .. everybody bring a gift for a set reasonable price.

    We also have a game .. called Christmas gift game.
    Be the spurs on Christmas Eve by challenging friends and family in the fun Christmas game.

    This is needed
    family and friends, each with a Christmas gift
    two dice
    egg timer
    Do this
    Preparation: All that will be with buying a pat for a set amount such as $5.00-$10 First challenge is to stick to the agreed price. Each wrapping her Christmas present.

    Add all packages in a pile.

    Start by determining which combinations of numbers on the dice that will pay dividends, such as two ones or two sixes.

    Going full circle participants and when someone gets digit combination to get that person to choose a pat in the pile. Continue to the presents is over. Then it may be that someone has several Christmas gifts and some other none at all.

    Time for a second round game, set a time for how long it should last, for example, five to fifteen minutes depending on how many you are. Set a timer. Those who now have ones or sixes will then take a pat from anyone else. Since time is limited, it becomes a quick game where everyone hurries to play.

    When the bell rings, the game is over. Then you go around the table to see if the most popular knock really was the best. Extra players please share with those who did not clap.


  14. We did this for many years…Everyone has a Christmas Stocking…with their name on it…Bought…Handmade… Thrift stores have bunches for a dollar usually…Everyone buys the others a dollar gift to put in their stocking…which usually means something small that will fit…It can be candy…gum…a pair of socks…toothbrush…stickers…pencils/pens…small purse size hand lotions…lipsticks…a Christmas ornament…Small colognes for the guys…small packs of kleenex…small packages of peanuts…a dollar…earrings… a disposible razor…It’s up to the shopper…get inventive!…and have fun!…there’s always things for kids at the dollar store…
    We wrapped everything too…to add to the fun!…Just an idea!…maybe they will go for it…If there’s 30 people no one would be out but $30.00…or so …


  15. We do not have grandchildren yet so it is only us adults and we have a small family. Over the years we have finally perfected what works for us. We do not have grandchildren, so I am sure that is a dilemma. Here is my 2 cents worth – now of course I am a girl..but when we were younger we loved getting a new Christmas outfit – maybe you can buy them each a nice outfit for Christmas and skip on the toys. My aunt gave her granddaughter savings bonds when she got older – I am not sure how old your grandchildren are. Good luck!


  16. I know how you feel, and so with my large family, and the economy being tight, and with having 3 birthdays the same week as Christmas, I explained that our gifts will be homemade, and I would like them to do the same. My sister-in-law makes a new glass ornament for the tree each year to give as gifts. I am crocheting prayer shawls and stuffed animals for my daughters and grandkids. Men will get scarves and hats, and my stepson who is in the Marines will get a box of goodies to share with his buddies. I always tell my children and grandchildren that the best gifts are those that come from the heart, and are handmade. If they want to spend money I tell them to do it for the grandkids, but to keep it fair and even. Unless they are staying with us overnight, they are to keep their gifts for their own kids at home, so the other kids won’t get jealous or upset. For Jklyn and my granddaughter who lives close by and is usually with us because her mom has to work, we open those gifts Christmas morning before anyone else arrives and I have them put them up before other kids get here. Then we open only those going family to other family. I suggest that they buy one main gift for the family like a table game or a video game that can be played on the television like Family Feud or Pictionary…something that encourages family togetherness.
    When they are here we do family activities, like the tv video games where we split up into teams, or we make a gingerbread house and let the kids gather at the table to decorate it. We also encourage the kids including teens to put together a Christmas program to perform for the whole family. Usually we find out which child has declared that they don’t believe in Santa anymore and pull a little trick on them that shows they still do believe, and we video tape it to show them when they are older. Christmas is a time of family togetherness, and love not about getting gifts. My husband reads to the kids, usually “The Night Before Christmas” and the story of Jesus birth from the Bible on Christmas Eve, and then they are allowed to open one gift, which is usually pajamas and usually made by me. (This is a gift that my older daughters still bug me for, in fact my oldest has already asked me to make her pajama bottoms again this year.) Then the kids go to bed, and the adults settle down watching an old classic Christmas Movie like “White Christmas”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, “Holiday Inn”, and “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Then when we are sure the kids are all asleep we take care of the gifts from Santa and the stocking gifts, and then we all crash, or just sit around the table, drink hot mulled cider, coffee, and chat. As the teens get older, we let them deal with the gifts and stockings while Grandpa directs them in it, and the rest of us adults enjoy our table talk and coffee.
    The next morning no one opens gifts until they have a glass of juice, or coffee, and then we settle down around the front room, adults on the chairs, kids assigned to certain areas on the floor. My husband (Grandpa) hands out a large trash bag to each pair of adults to collect wrapping, bows and trash in as they unwrap gifts, and then we go from youngest to oldest in opening gifts. Each year someone is assigned to pass out the gifts from under the tree, but they must be 12 and older. This is a job they fight over each year, but I make the final decision. Doing gifts this way allows me to get pics of each person’s response to what their gift is. I usually take close to 350 pictures of our Christmas holiday, and then after I edit them to make them the best they can be, I make cds for everyone who wants one for themselves. We usually fix breakfast as the kids practice their program or play, then we eat together. Then we begin to get dinner ready, and while we wait for the turkey to cook we sit and watch the kids perform their program, videotaping it, and cheering them on. If there is snow the kids will then go out, while we finish the dinner preparations, or relax. This is how each year goes when we have kids and grandkids home. Last year was the only year that it was just Don, Jk, my granddaughter and I. This year we already have one daughter and her family coming at Thanksgiving, and my husband’s family coming at Christmas. Next summer though our house will be full up for a week as my oldest will be coming to visit with her whole clan, and the youngest adopted daughter coming out at the same time with her clan. It’s going to be crazy! I hope this gives you some ideas, Maybe you should get some cheap frames at WalMart, and get a picture done of you and Al to put in them. Give those as gifts to your kids, and for your grandkids, make up a little craft stocking, filled with a color book, crayons, and craft items from the Dollar Store geared toward their age. Simple but encouraging to creativity. For toddlers, you can do the same but just make sure that it is non toxic, safe for their ages, and maybe give them a little puzzle with big pieces that Mom or Dad can help them with. If you shop at the Dollar Store you should be able to make up these stockings really cheap. You could probably get cheap picture frames there as well. Just some ideas on how you can keep it cheap and still make it special.


    • you have given me a lot of great ideas Bonita! plus I enjoyed you sharing your own holiday with me. Thank you so much, and I am sure I will be using at least one of these ideas!!!


  17. The other option you could consider is baked gifts such as cookie then decorate them especially for the individual person I also have just found a really cool recipe for making your own chocolate lollipops that is similar to the recipe I found but you can use coloured sprinkles or anything you can come up with to decorate them then just use some cellophane and ribbons to wrap them or even recycle old jar


    • now that is an awesome idea!!!! chocolate lollipops! i will be looking that up Paula. thanks so much!!!! you know baking is a great idea, how much more personal could i get????


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