Post # 16
On both my side and my DH’s side (siblings and parents), we do Secret Santa. It’s great because we focus on one person with a $50 limit and not only does it help focus on something that you know the recipient would really love, but it makes the holidays so much less stressful.
We still buy for all nieces and nephews, but since they get so many gifts (and I hate clutter), last year Darling Husband and I decided that once the kids are of a certain age (3+) we gift them an experience. Last year we gave my nephew and his niece (same ages and friends) a gift certificate to a ceramics painting place. We took them there, for lunch, and ice skating afterwards. (Parents loved it because it was an afternoon off!). I had wondered if we would do it again and last weekend, my 4 year old nephew said, “Hey Aunt M, remember when we painted and went ice skating? That was so fun; can we do it again?” That solidified giving experiences to the kids and we plan on continuing that tradition with our own children as well.
Post # 17
We stopped doing gifts for everyone years ago.
We do a Secret Santa (drawnames.com) and there is only one gift you have to buy.
My siblings and I will chip in and get a gift card to a restaurant for my parents, and we take my grandma out to lunch.
Post # 18
Occasionally through my wine-fuelled Pinterest-browsing evenings, I’ll stumble upon a creative idea that I like. Seldom does that result in me actually attempting to make it, but I like the idea of a small personalized gift… see if anything on Pinterest catches your eye? Some of the ideas I’ve done have been: homemade oreo & cream cheese chocolate truffles in little glass mason jars with ribbon, handpainted christmas ornaments, homemade soaps & body butters…
For my SO’s birthday I taught myself how to paint (which was a fun challenge and side-hobby for me), and did a large oil painting on canvas for us to hang in our home. He’s a tough one to shop for, and I feel like going the creative route is definitely more meaningful than anything I could buy him.
Post # 19
We used to do a big Christmas dinner with all the fixin’s and exchange gifts only for the children. So just the nieces/nephews/grandkids of the family. We tried to keep it reasonable but it was still expensive and the meal alone was a huge expense and exhausting. We started a family tradition of bringing a Christmas Eve party to the local homeless shelter. No gifts for family. We even get the kids involved. All family members and some family friends bring a dish or dessert. The kids make cards for the residents and decorations for the dining room to make it extra festive. A friend donated small gift bags with toiletry items and socks. We set up a small keyboard, someone plays guitar and we sing Christmas carols. It’s been the most rewarding way to celebrate the holidays and the kids literally don’t even miss the gifts. They have actually expressed to us that it’s been the best gift ever for them because they feel so good about spreading Christmas cheer to those who don’t have a family to go home to.