My immediate family is not a large family. My husband and I each come from a family of two kids and my two kids are two of four cousins that I have to worry about shopping for during the holiday season. However, growing up holiday shopping for my family was a little different. My mom and dad had 22 cousins, 11 aunts and uncles, and 4 grandparents to consider. Needless to say the family had to get creative when it came to gift buying. After all, as my mother used to say, they “were not made of money.â€
In Holiday Shopping on a Budget: A Guide for Large Families there are some ideas that my family used to use to solve their dilemma and some other ideas that can be used when you are preparing for your own larger family.
6 Steps to Holiday Shopping on a Budget
- Draw names. In my family the cousins drew names for each other and the aunts and uncles drew names of other aunts and uncles. Each aunt, uncle or cousin only had one name to buy for and there was a spending limit has the spending ability of the entire family varied widely. It was actually more fun to shop for only one family member per person being able to focus on what a truly thoughtful gift would be for each person. And it also took a lot less time to open gifts as Grandma insisted only one person opened one gift at a time.
- Join funds. Many times there are some items that family members could really use, but as an individuals the cost is just way to high. However, when you join your funds together, especially with large families, all of you may be able to pay for that new winter coat that Grandpa is needing.
- Give a gift of talent. I always joke that my dream husband is a man that cooks, is handy around the house, and likes to knit…all things that I don’t enjoy doing or don’t do well. With a large family, however, odds are there are people who have special talents that they can share. And really, who doesn’t want Uncle Bob who is really handy coming over to your house to do all of the odd jobs that need to be done?
- Give a gift of time. With people’s busy schedules today sometimes the best gift you can give a person is a gift a time. Offer to clean someone’s windows for them, detail their car, or babysit their kids.You will be appreciated more than you know.
- Hit the discount stores. Every year it seems that my kids have more and more teachers to buy for. This year we’re at 11 teachers, and the bills can add up even if you want to get them something small. So I’m a huge fan of getting the most bang out of my money at the discount stores. Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Ross, Big Lots, and Tuesday Morning are some of my favorites, and in years past I found beautiful garnet earring for $5, current Oklahoma State University Christmas tree ornaments for half of what they were sold for at other places, and Harry and David’s Moose Munch for bargain prices. Make the most of your money by checking out these places.
- Be creative and have a sense of humor. One of my all time favorite bloggers, the Redneck Diva, also known as Kristin Hoover, used to write about her family’s creative solution for her large family. They created a tradition called Festivus (for those of you who may remember the name taken from the show Seinfeld). Basically the rules are as follows:
- The family must gather as close to Christmas as possible. In 2009 that was March.
- The gifts must be tacky, and there will be a competition for most tacky.
- Family members by birth, adoption, step- or marriage who reached the age of 16 are eligible. (No girl/boyfriends, fiances, or kids.)
- Gift-giving is done in secret. Gifts are dropped off at the yearly chosen “Official Gift-Holding Recepticle”in complete anonymity. If two people show up to drop off their gifts at the same time, they must each avert their eyes during drop off lest they be considered a “cheater cheater pumpkin eater.â€
- Gifts can be handmade or store bought and must total no more than $8.18. If you spend less than this, than the difference must be brought in cash and placed in a fund used to buy pencils for the great-grandchildren when the graduate from high school.
- Winner is chosen by secret ballot, and the official turkey plaque prize must be hung in his or her bedroom or bathroom for one year. If the plaque is not hung and you are found out, the plaque may be stolen and the violator is fined $8.18.
There are many, many more rules as shown in her post It’s the Most Tacky-ful Time of the Year, but you get the idea. Sometimes, having fun, being creative, and providing the gift of laughter is better than no other.
So get out there and have fun shopping for your large family. I’d love to hear about all of your creative ideas as you prepare for this holiday season.