(Closed) How do you & your family celebrate Christmas??

posted 8 years ago in Family
Post # 3
858 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Yeh, we just get gifts for each other and hope they like them. I made everyone in my immediate family a tie/prayer blanket.

But in my extended family on my mom’s side, we always play white elephant. It’s sort of what you describe where there is a limit on what you spend. Then there are lotto tickets, gift cards, useful gifts, and joke gift aka white elephant. You can steal or just open a new gift. But since some gifts are better than others, there is a limit to how many times a gift can be stolen. It sucks if a great gift is opened early, and you draw a really late turn…

On my dad’s side, we play different games each year. Like the intro to different Christmas songs is played and you have to name them, and highest score wins first draw. Also, you we have done name the origin of that tradition, and stuff like that.

A co-worker told me that they played a game where they answered questions like “What is your dream vacation?” and “What did you want to be when you grow up?” And then someone would read the questions which were anonymous and people who guessed who said what correctly got like $5 a question. Then afterwards the person with the most money got to draw a gift first, or they could keep the money. There were like 5 gifts- 2 “good” gifts and 3 “bad” gifts. However, secretly each gift had $100 taped to it, so everyone wins, it was just a fun game to play before they discovered the bonus prize. 🙂

Post # 4
3788 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

FI’s family isn’t super big on presents, and my family is pretty scattered, but on both sides we all exchange gifts in the immediate family but nothing fancy. The best part about Christmas for me is Christmas morning we go to his grandparent’s house for breakfast. No one can fry an egg like his Grammy!

45 days till Christmas… not that I’m counting. 🙂

Post # 5
3378 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Our family is also in the process of figuring out gifts – for a few years, things were starting to get pretty expensive (if we go unchecked, we all really like to give very “special” gifts), so we’re working through options.  Last year, we had a price cap for each household (not including kids, so basically for each couple), which we kept at around $30, but we found that to be difficult to find anything meaningful.

This year, we each pulled a name (actually, a couple – we’re still keeping households as the basic unit) when we were together for Labor Day.  We have a limit of $70 for the couple we pulled, then we’re each going to get every family member a $5 stocking gift, bringing the total to about $100 spent per household.  This doesn’t count kids, though – I have two nephews (2 1/2 and 10 months), so everyone will also get them gifts.

Post # 6
33 posts
  • Wedding: September 2011

One side of the family gets together on Christmas Eve and we all bring 1 gift that has to cost $15 or less. All the presents go in a big basket. We eat and converse, play games, watch old home movies, etc… Then we all get in a big circle (and I do mean big we’re talking 60ish people) and everyone selects a gift from the basket. 1 person is selected to read the story Olive the Other Reindeer. Everytime you hear the name Olive in the book you have to pass your present to the right. When the book is over the person to the right of the reader opens their gift first and so on down the line until everyone has a gift. If somehow you miraculously end up with your own gift you have to trade with someone. In the end sometimes we end up trading, but everyone goes home with a little something extra and we sure have a fun time opening presents. Grandma is excluded from the present pass game. She buys or makes gifts for all the kids (anyone under 18) and the rest of us she gives money too. Bless her! She says she doesn’t want or need anything, but most of us make her something or buy her something anyway. Oh and I almost forgot… my grandfather, who passed away just before last Christmas Dec. 20,2009, was a quarky guy and years ago he got this kit to make your own toilet seat. Well he made it with clear resin and added all kinds of weird knick knacks and junk into it. Think rubber bands, tacs, plastic game pieces, change, etc… As a joke he gave it to one of my aunts for Christmas. Thus, a tradition was born. It’s a great honor in my family to be given the toilet seat for Christmas. I am yet to have the honor, but my younger brother got it when he was 10yrs old. He proudly displayed that toilet seat on his bedroom door. Then my mom moved it into his room and hung it in his closet. I guess she didn’t appreaciate the tackiness. Anyhow the reciever gets it for exactly 1yr and then the next Christmas they pass it on to someone else and so on every year. In permanent marker there is a list of who has had it each year. Maybe this year will be my lucky year. Ha ha!Wink

The other side of the family is slightly smaller. We’re talking 30ish people, so we just draw names. Everyone is in the mix. I got my aunt this year and my fiance got my cousin who is 19. Last year I got my grandfather’s wife and fiance got my cousin who is 6. You never know who you’re going to get. They normally do the drawing @ Thanksgiving dinner, but this year too many of us aren’t going to be there so they did it early. We’ve also got a limit of $30 for this gift. We eat dinner, open presents, play board games, and hang out for hours. This is literally an all day marathon. We have church in the morning and then Grandpa’s straight after that until it’s dark.

My cousin’s family does a really cool gift exchange idea. Everyone is required to make a gift. Anything really, I don’t believe they have any limits on what to make. One year my uncle made a park bench. It was large and goregous wood with metal legs. All presents are wrapped, if they can be that is, and put under the tree. Each person picks 1 gift from under the tree starting with the youngest and working their way up. Then each person starting with the youngest again gets to open their present. When it’s your turn to open you can exchange 1 time with someone else if you want. My cousins and aunt, and uncle are very creative and talented people, who make amazing gifts each year, so it’s a breeze for them. My cousin’s wife on the other hand is a sweet girl, but completely un-creative and every year she struggles to come up with ideas. She loves the gifts she recieves, but she dreads making something. I wish my family would start doing this. My fiance and I are both art students and we love creatiing. We’ve started making all our own Christmas presents for the most part. Last year I made all the women in my life bathscrubs and soaps in fancy jars. This year we’re making clothes for the guys since my fiance is a master screen printer. I’m so excited!

I love Christmas time. Good company, Good food, Good Music, and Fun times!Smile


P.S. Sorry that was so long. I guess I had a lot to say.

Post # 7
294 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

These are a lot of neat ideas! I have to say though, I save all year because I SPLURGE at Christmas. The last Saturday before Christmas, FH and I host our annual “Christmas Fiesta” at our house. Christmas Eve Mass and dinner all together,  Christmas Dinner is at Future Sister-In-Law (talk about a great time) Day after Christmas is at FBIL’s.

At the Christmas Fiesta, Everyone gets a small gift from me and FH. It’s funny. They never expect it every year. (Mostly because we don’t put anything under the tree. That’s Santa’s territory. Wink)

Christmas Eve is presents for the baby Jesus and cookies for Santa and reindeer food.

Christmas Day is SANTA TIME!

Christmas Dinner at Future Sister-In-Law, all of the kids get their gifts from the aunts, uncles, Nana and Abuela.

At Future Brother-In-Law, they do the most amazing cookie spread to send home with everyone.

I’m not even sure we could cut it if we wanted to.

I’m sorry, I know you were looking for advice, but I was kind of in a sharing mood.

Post # 8
129 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

We all just get each other gifts that we think they’ll like.  There’s no set price range.  It’s kind of understood that the younger family members buy cheaper gifts, and the older family members spend more money.  I’m kind of on the border now…have my grad degree, working, getting married, bought a house…so this year will be my first “splurge” year.  I think I’m in the grown-up category now!!!

We usually go to open houses on Christmas Eve hosted by various family members.  Then the Christmas day is filled with good meals, happy hour, crystal and china.  It’s a time that I LOVE!

Post # 9
2083 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

This year my family is totally branching out from the norm and we decided instead of getting gifts we would all go to Vegas together for a family vacation! We are actually all eating dinner together Christmas Eve, then going to midnight church services, then Christmas day flying to Vegas. I can’t wait!

Post # 10
2214 posts
Buzzing bee

Well on my mom’s side there are about 65 of us (aunts, uncles, and cousins, not including 2nd cousins!), so obviously we don’t all buy gifts for each other.  We have our family Christmas party the Saturday before Christmas, and we do a Yankee Swap with a $25-30 limit on the gift. Yankee swap: Everyone brings a wrapped gift, you pick a number based on how many gifts there are, and start at 1 and work your way up.  And every person gets to decide whether to keep the random gift they picked or swap with someone who already opened a gift.  I’ve been to a Yankee Swap where some people let you open a second gift, but we don’t do that just so everyone has a chance to open one present. So if you pick the last number, then you have a bunch of gifts to choose from, but if you pick #2, then you only have 2 gifts.  #1 is the best because that person goes at the very end and picks whatever they want since they didn’t get to swap with anyone at the beginning.  It’s really fun, and because we’ve been doing it for about 10 years, there are some gag gifts that are thrown in every year with a gift card on them.  Alcohol has been really popular the last few years too.

As for the actual holiday, we don’t really do much.  Wake up around 10, open presents while listening to Christmas music, and then my mom cooks breakfast and we usually all go take a nap while she cooks dinner. haha.  This will be the first Christmas that I’m not spending with my family (and my Boyfriend or Best Friend is Jewish, so we won’t be with his family).  The two of us are going to wake up and open presents, then I’ll probably cook breakfast and then make a ham for dinner.  I’ve been thinking about having a Christmas movie marathon just so we have something to do, but I haven’t decided yet.  Potential movies on the list: Love Actually, Die Hard, Home Alone, and Elf.

Post # 11
33 posts
  • Wedding: September 2011

@Boston Bee – Our family has a movie tradition as well. Some of the must haves for Christmas time is National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, The Christmas Story, and for the lighter side The Family Stone and It’s a Wonderful Life. Your list is definitely in ours too. We also try to watch Frosty the Snowman. They all just get you in the Christmas mood.

Post # 12
266 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

A few years ago, we’d go all out and do the traditional gift-giving with FH’s family. They have Christmas Day with immediate family, and a nice lunch/dinner/supper kind of thing, and presents for said immediate family. Then before New Years, they have another “Christmas” with the extended family at someone else’s house, and that’s mostly just a cocktail hour/large dinner thing (and maybe a couple extra gifts for the few children that show up). Since we moved out of state a couple years ago, we’ve flown back and done mostly gift cards, since there’s limited shopping time once we arrive and it’s so hard to ship or pack other gifts.

We don’t really talk about most of my side of the family, which I’m very ok with. End of that part of the story.

Not sure how things are going down this year. We’re really tight on money right now, and it’s starting to look more like we’ll both just stay home. We don’t have many friends in the area, so I’m thinking it’s going to be a rather calm and simple Christmas this year. That’ll actually be a first for me. I’ve either always spent Christmas completely alone, or with a large group, no in-between.

Post # 13
98 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

often a zoo… I think last year we had 7 christmases to be at… this year 2… go us!

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