Post # 1
Christmas is HUGE in my family. I’ve actually never met a family that does this holiday bigger than we do. While I love it and all, its VERY expensive and stressful. I realized after making my list of gifts that we have to buy, that the money that would normally be spent on Christmas will more than pay for the DJ and photographer for our wedding next fall.
I’m sure most of my family members realize that we’ll be cutting back this year due to our wedding but I dont want to just assume that they do so I need to send an email letting them know.
Any suggestions for how to word something like this? I don’t want to come out and be like “Since we’re getting married we can’t afford to buy you Christmas gifts”. Any suggestions?
Post # 3
Just email people in groups or individually and say “Hey can we agree to keep Xmas modest this year?” My siblings and I actually agreed a long time ago just to exchange ornaments and it works out really well. The only big ticket items are the pollyanna presents (since we have a price we have to spend) and my gift to Darling Husband.
Post # 4
Alternatively be creative about your presents to cut costs.
Use ancestry.com to create a family tree for everyone and make a book out of it at staples.
Or make a scrapbook for each person leaving blank pages so you can add to it for other holidays.
Or buy plain ornaments and using paint, glitter, crystals make personalized ornaments for their trees.
Post # 5
I was also going to suggest making something instead of buying something. If you live close to your family, it’s really easy. You can bake food, make candies, make ornaments, etc. I love the scrapbook/photoalbum/family tree thing too. When money is tight, gift your services! You can offer X nights babysitting for parents of young kids, or offer to make people dinner. If you’re artsy, you can offer a free photo session or paint someone’s picture.
Post # 6
I like the suggestion about making something as opposed to buying. Another thought is to go “Secret Santa” style. That is what we are doing between FI’s siblings – there are 5 of us, so instead of worrying about 4 gifts at about $100 each, we will have one present to get at $100. Maybe you could do something like that. Good luck!
Post # 7
I’m in the same boat, here are some suggestions on how we’ve cut back in past years and what we’re doing this year.
1- We’ve chosen to do a grab bag for adults with a limit of $50. This is great since it cuts costs greatly and adds fun of who’s got who. We also include 3 or 4 things we would like so we’re sure the gift we give is wanted.
2- We’ve also started having the kids do their own grab. Our kids are all teens now, so we set a smiliar cap of $40-$50. It also makes the kids have to go out and shop for their cousins which they complained at first, but once we set them loose in the mall, they loved it! So for $100 we took care of everyone, of course we each added smller gifts for the kids from the adults, but it cut down costs greatly.
3- We did group gifts. My niece wanted sneakers that were 2 pair for $250, so we all chipped in and that was her gift, we added small stocking stuffers but she was much happier with that one gift she wanted than a bunch of smaller gifts.
4- This year Fiance and I made our x-mas list of things we need for the wedding! Wether gift cards to stores like Micheal’s where I get tons of stuff for my DIY projects or actual items – accesories for hair, jewelry etc- with specific pics, store names or item numbers.
My family actually liked the idea of being able to contribute to our wedding this way, adding a very personal touch to our upcoming nuptials. There’s nothing worst than giving gifts that get re-gifted or tossed aside, so this has worked grest for us. I’m so looking forward to x-mas morning now that I know I’m getting wedding goodies.
Good luck, hope my ideas helped a bit! You may be surprised at how many other family members may want the same thing you do, to spend less.
Post # 8
On the same theme as a secret santa, about 5 years ago my family started doing a “present steal” game – everyone brings a wrapped gift (usually we box everything no matter what it looks like, so theres no way to tell whats inside) worth approx the same amount (we go with $100 – normally i wouldn’t spend that much on individual gifts for family, but since everyone is only buying one it works). Someone puts all the names in a hat, and when your name gets pulled you can either pick a gift from under the tree, or steal a gift from someone. People who have no gifts once all the names have been drawn get their names put back in the hat, and they can go through the whole process again, but only with the people left over (i.e. everyone with a gift at the end of round one keeps the gift they’ve chosen or stolen), and depending on the size of your family it can go on for ages!
Its a fun alternative to secret santa, and hilarious because people fight over gifts even though they have no idea whats inside.
I hear you on expensive christmases – i have to spend usually a minimum of $2500 to even get to my family for christmas, so they are lucky if i even have money left over to buy one gift. And with the wedding looming, Fiance and i have had to put our flights on our credit cards which we hate doing – so at the moment going into christmas we’re in the negatives. Yikes.
Post # 9
I’m in the same situation – I thought about having our family draw names and also impose a monetary limit. Not sure what i’m going to do. I’ll be watching this thread!
Post # 10
A couple of years ago we started drawing names, as well as contributing what we can to the “Santa Fund”. It works out beautifully.
Post # 11
I’ve tried instituting the “secret santa” thing before but it didn’t take. Everyone is going to end up buying for everyone else anyway. Even if I tell my family not to buy for Fiance and I, they are going to regardless of what we say.
I’m also not crafty, at all! I have decided to try to get as much shopping as I can done through Etsy but even that can get pricey.
I still need to let my family know that we will be cutting back this year even though I’m sure they assume we will be.
@mrstobeeisme: Great thinking on the Michaels gift cards!!
Post # 12
We have become very conscious about getting functional gifts. Even though we do the grab bag for adults and the kids do theirs, I will always get my nieces something, but now it’s maybe $15-$20 opposed to the normal which was over $50 each time. We also make stocking heavy with cute gifts, even $15 gift card to each one for the local theater. That way they all get to go to the movies together and it doesn’t cost us any more money. I think it’s also been a great lesson for our kids not to go beyond their means, not charging up cards just to gift. Our economy won’t be getting any better any time soon, so they have to learn to save too.
My friend started giving family gifts a few years back. For example, she would get beautiful platters at the $1 store and have cookies/brownies, cookie dough for us to make our own cookies and include a gift card to the local light show, or maybe a certificate saying they would be treating us to snow tubing. These are great because it also entails spending time together and these are really cost effective, spending like $30-$40 per family. She also bakes our favorite spanish rice pudding and gives each person their own bowl nicely decorated. The kids actually look forward to see what edible treat she will give this year.
Post # 13
My family is huge, I have about 20 cousins. We drew names one Thanksgiving and one “Aunt and Uncle” gives a $50 gift to one “kid” and it’s from “all the Aunts and Uncles”. We stick to the same person every year. I still give gifts for parents, grandparents, siblings… but nothing over the top.
Post # 14
Also, this year, I am getting some of my favorite recipes from my grandmother and making a little cookbook and I am giving that as a gift!
Post # 15
Forgot one, same friends I previously mentioned….few years ago they took pictures that had been taken throughout the year of us all and created a dvd movie, made on Microsoft moviemaker with music for each family. So my movie had pics of me, Fiance, my son and stepkids. I have to say it was better than any other gift they could have given us. So maybe a scrap book for those not technologically inclined, the fact that it’s so personal means alot too.