Chances are if you are feeling the financial crunch, other families in your extended family are feeling it too and if you have a big extended family, money spent at the holidays adds up mighty fast. There are a few different ways that you can trim your budget a bit. Talk with your family at the Thanksgiving get-together or even beforehand to find out if they are interested in doing any of the following things...
- Decide with your extended family to give family gifts instead of individual ones... a movie basket with a new movie, popcorn and candy; a board game; a new Wii game (some can be purchased for as little as $15)
- Encourage family members to get together and draw names at Thanksgiving. Decide on a preset amount for the gifts to make it fair... this way you only need to buy as many gifts as you have family members.
- Even cheaper, see if the extended family is interested in doing a fun dollar store gag gift exchange with their drawn name. We did this one year for our Christmas In July Family Reunion. The best gift was the person who gave my bald brother a set of combs. It was SO much fun and ended up costing my family $4.
- Talk to the adults in the family about purchasing gifts only for the children. This isn't my favorite idea because it only works if EVERYONE agrees and NO-ONE goes back on it. Otherwise, the people who stuck to the agreement and didn't buy everyone gifts just end up feeling lame.
- Agree with extended family to give gifts of time rather than something that is monetary. For example, your family can give Grandma and Grandpa the gift of shoveling their snow or raking their leaves. Or you could invite them over for a night of games! This can take a lot of thought, but with a well planned, short presentation on the true meaning of Christmas delivered to the kids on Thanksgiving, you could get them on board pretty cleverly. :)
What have you done that worked well in your extended family to help trim down gift giving costs?