Meaningful Christmas Ideas

posted 2 months ago in Holidays
Post # 2
Member
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

I’m here to follow because I feel like I give my in-laws and parents similar gifts year after year. Gift cards, bath sets, nice socks, perfume, printed photos in frames, chocolates. I hope someone has some great ideas because I need some, too! Good post!! 

ETA: thinking of getting my Mother-In-Law ancestry DNA or a similar kit this year. Anyone have advice for which one is best?

Post # 3
Member
1525 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

mcoutinho :  We did the Ancestry kit and it’s really nice, but just keep in mind that there are a LOT of paywalls on the Ancestry.com site.  So aside from the basic results you get about your ethnic breakdown and the ability to make a family tree, everything else you have to pay extra for.  I can’t speak to the quality of any of the other sites, though.

Post # 4
Member
1525 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

jkweddingb :  I totally hear you on this.  My family was always one that worked hard on gifts and made sure they were something meaningful and fun, not just STUFF.  My fiance’s family is the complete opposite.  They do lists and then you just buy people stuff off the list, and I was horrified when I learned that fiance had bought his dad a bottle of scotch EVERY YEAR for like the last 8 years.  They see it as more obligation than anything, which I just don’t get.

Last year we decided to forego gifts for each other, and instead give “experience” gifts to his family.  So we took his dad on a distillery tour, we did a cooking class with his mom, we went out to a cool restaurant with his sister and her fiance.  Maybe an option there?

Post # 5
Member
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

hickoryhills :  thanks! I have heard a little about extra fees and was wondering about that.

Post # 6
Member
562 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I wish I could get away with not receiving gifts without looking like a grinch. I don’t mind getting people gifts when there is something they want or I think of something they will love, but I really don’t like struggling for gift ideas for myself and/or just trying to come up with something for other people. Also, with a kid now, it stresses me out having so much stuff brought into the house every holiday 😬 

I would love to successfully be able to convince the family to stop doing gifts for adults, or switch to experiences, and put a cap on kids gifts, but so far hints in that direction have been ignored. My husband and I never give each other gifts, and my sisters and I rarely do, just need to get the parents/in-laws on board!

Post # 7
Member
1414 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

Hmm..,How about personalized homemade gifts? Like ornaments or framed pictures? Digital picture frame so you can swap out for recent pics/videos? Homemade baked goods? Or if you knit/crochet you could do something small? 

If your all together on one day could you make a new family tradition and do like a gingerbread house building competition or something new instead of a gift? 

If all of that doesn’t work then I second gift cards and gifting experiences. I think the bottom line comes down to-know your reciever.   

best of luck bee, just keep talking to your husband about ideas-hopefully you’ll find something you’re  both happy with 🙂 

Post # 8
Member
311 posts
Helper bee

Both myself and my boyfriend have very large families. My side started doing secret santa a couple of years ago and everyone loves it. I still buy for my mom/dad/grandmother/brother, but only have to buy for one other relative, and its a $50 limit. We have about 50 people from 3 generations, so we split it up into generational santas. The aunts and uncles buy for each other, the cousins buy for each other, and the cousin’s kids “buy” for each other.

My boyfriend’s side has all adults or college kids, so they do a dice exchange game, which is really fun. Everyone brings as many presents as they want, whether it be something fairly nice, something from a thrift/dollar store, or something you got as a gift that you never wanted. we keep playing until the gifts are gone. His SIL also makes this giant saran wrapped ball filled with tiny bottles of alcohol, chocolate, lotto cards, with a gift card in the center. You have to roll doubles and can then start unwrapping it until the person beside you gets doubles and takes it.  

Christmas has become a lot less stressful, more fun, and everyone really enjoys it. No one really needs all that stuff from everyone anyway, but everyone was always too polite to say it. 

As for homemade gifts, I made everyone homemade bread, whipped butter, and jelly and put it all in a basket with a flour sack towel one year. 

Post # 9
Member
2470 posts
Buzzing bee

What about gifting experiences or services?  Stuff like memberships to museums, tickets (movies, sporting events, theatre), or even stuff like car maintenance/oil changes/house cleaning/meal delivery services?  

 

Post # 10
Member
104 posts
Blushing bee

Maybe hire a photographer for family photos! Everyone would enjoy having nice family photos to cherish forever 

Post # 11
Member
47 posts
Newbee

Hi,

I think people generally enjoy gifts of food. It doesn’t have to mean anything more than you wish them comfort and something simple to enjoy. A few ideas:

– Buy or make jams – same gift for everyone. Put in bags with tea/coffee/biscuits/blanket if you want to give a larger gift.

– Order Florida oranges or Honeybells for everyone – Cushman’s has a large selection and different price points. 

– Homemade sea salt butter caramels (I think this will be the gift I give everyone this year).

– A wedge of gourmet cheese, nice crackers, maybe a bottle of wine. 

Post # 12
Member
588 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Probably helpful to start with a price cap of what you’re willing to spend and go from there. We went a teeny bit overboard on gifts last year (cost-wise) so I know this year we are going to focus on the meaningful-affordable gifts.

Some of my gifts are the “blah/traditional” or “normal” suggestions but hopefully they help!

The best gift we gave to the grandparents thus far were the insulated Crocs – the ones with the fuzzy inside. Sounds like a weird gift but one set of g-parents LOVED they had matching crocs and rave about them because they can wear them as house shoes but also go outside when its cold without switching shoes.

I gave my great-grandma a super fuzzy but cute plaid blanket she uses all the time because she’s chronically cold.

I second a PP about getting a personalized ornament. Shutterfly has lots of great options to put a photo on of you and your husband, I know Mother-In-Law and our grandparents love that shit because they’re all about having it for the memories. 

What about a personalized cookbook for grandma’s? Maybe gather all of the women’s recipes in your family (I’m thinking like new-er Pinteresty type of recipes) and order an adorable cookbook from Etsy, see if you can add photos if you guys happen to do any cooking together (thinking like holiday baking events). Also recommend handwriting the recipes! I feel like a gma would love to feel “cool” to have the new type of recipes the youngin’s cook nowadays, lol. 

Then for grandpa – maybe some personalized cigars if he is into that? Personalized money clip or wallet? Pocket watch? Of course, only if they use that sort of stuff. Maybe some super handy outdoor lawn tool that is a newer but user friendly thing he could use? Like Darling Husband and the men went in on a pole saw for his grandpa one year and he uses it so much, but it was a gift that was “fancy” and outside of his realm of a traditional chainsaw or hand-saw to cut tree limbs up with.

Post # 13
Member
1764 posts
Buzzing bee

Between my husband and I and his siblings, we have 5 kids still living at home and not financially independent. The 5 kids draw names and the parents buy for the name drawn. So, for us, we have two boys, so we draw two names and buy for them on behalf of our boys. They are $50 gifts each. (My mom is an only child, and my brother isn’t old enough to have his own kids – so we only do this for my husband’s side). Budget for cousins: $100

Then, we do a family white elephant with his family. Each participating person brings a gift valued at around $20. Usual participants are his mom and her boyfriend, his siblings and their spouses, us, and the kids. Budget for white elephant participation for us: $80

What this breaks down to (aside from each other and our kids):

I buy for my mom and her boyfriend (around $75), my grandparents (mother’s side only, around $75), my brother (he’s 12, around $75), and one niece or nephew from the cousin gift exchange drawing ($50), and a white elephant gift for myself and one of our kids ($40). I do not buy for aunts, uncles, or cousins on either side. We do a gift exchange at either my mom’s or my house for my side of the family.

My husband does not have living grandparents, but pitches in money with his siblings (all adults ) for a gift for their mother and her husband ($100-$200), and he purchases a gift for one niece or nephew from the cousin gift exchange drawing ($50), and a white elephant gift for himself and one of our kids ($40). He and his siblings (and their spouses) do not exchange gifts.  He does not buy for aunts, uncles, or cousins on either side. We do the gift exchange for his side of the family at his mom or sister’s house.

Basically, outside of us we buy for: our mothers and their partners, my maternal grandparents, 2 nieces or nephews, and my brother. No aunts, uncles, cousins, or adult siblings. Everyone else just gets a Christmas card in the mail.

This year I’m also planning to try and make homemade soy scented candles for anyone else I wish to acknowledge on the cheap.

 

Post # 14
Member
442 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - York, ME

When I was in college I made truffles, scarves, and carmel corn for everyone in my family and they seeemed to enjoy that!  One year my SIL gave everyone a plant she grew from a seedling, and I still have that plant.

As our family grew over the years, we now do a “Secret” Santa, where we draw names and get gifts for two people, with a $50 limit. Gift giving is my love language too, so I really enjoy giving and receiving gifts at Christmas.  This is a good way to ensure everyone gets something but it doesn’t get out of control.  Of course, all the young kids get as many presents as poeple want to buy!

Post # 15
Member
684 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

We essentially had a family meeting a few years ago about this & we now do a secret Santa style. My mom uses a random generator thing and each person gets one sibling each year. She put a spending cap and we all submit things we really want to her and she makes sure it gets to the right person. It’s worked really well!

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