Fun Ideas for Exchanging Christmas Gifts
The months of preparation that go into the Christmas gift buying and wrapping can be exhausting but we all do it willingly in anticipation of seeing the joy on family and friends’ faces as they unwrap and reveal what we have gifted them. More often than not family sit around the living room and presents are passed out by one person. While this is an effective way to exchange gifts there are lots of fun ways that gift exchanging can be done that add an even more exciting element to the whole tradition.
For young children having to wait to open their gifts is agonizing. They have been told over and over that they have to wait until the gift exchange time arrives, so when it finally does all they want to do is tear off the wrapping and then play with the toys they get. While you can do something a little different in the way of how the gift exchange plays out, it is better to get the young ones’ unwrapping out of the way first.
If you are part of a large extended family consider using the ‘Secret Santa’ method of exchanging gifts. This allows each person to buy for one other family member instead of for everyone. Everybody gets their name placed in a bag or hat and then each family member draws out a name. The idea is to not reveal to anyone else who you are buying for. It is wise to put an upper limit on the amount each person is to spend on their gift, but the gift can be made up of several items that total the limit set. Once all gifts have been exchanged on Christmas Eve or Day it is up to you whether you reveal who you purchased for, but chances are your gift recipient will have guessed!
Consider instead of spending large amounts of money on buying everyone in your family individual gifts that each family member contributes to a charity of a pre-agreed upon choice. There are a huge number of organizations crying out for financial help during the holiday season. Animal shelters gear up for the influx of unwanted pets gifted for Christmas, old folks homes try to give their residents as fun a Christmas as possible on limited funds, churches try to provide food and clothing for their parish, and the food banks’ resources are typically stretched to the limit.
If you know a family who is struggling and may not have Christmas dinner or toys to give their children why not consider asking the children to consider donating one toy each to the needy family and the adults can put together a food parcel. This is not only a great way to ensure a family gets to enjoy Christmas too but also a nice way to get to know someone in your neighborhood. An alternative to this is to invite them to join you at your Christmas dinner table if you have the room. What a wonderful way to spend a few hours with old friends, family and loved ones, and some new friends. Christmas is about caring and sharing and you will give a deserving family a warm memory they will never forget.
A growing trend in many homes today is minimalism. If you or another family member has chosen a minimalistic lifestyle it may be a bit of a challenge to convince other family members that a huge pile of gifts is not what you want from them. Grandparents in particular will want to spoil their grandchildren and so you may be challenged with getting them to understand that you want to keep the gift giving and receiving to a minimum. If this is the case you can suggest to your children that for every gift they receive they have to select an old toy to donate. At least in this way the number of toys your children have will not be any more than it was before Christmas, and some other children will get to enjoy the ones they donate.
If Christmas dinner is traditionally hosted at your parents’ house but they are growing older and it is becoming more of a chore for them, why not forego the gift giving and put the money towards either having the meal catered or going out to a reputable restaurant to have your meal? You can always return to the family home to partake of a dessert or Christmas cake. Children will still want gifts so arrange to do their gift giving prior to leaving for the restaurant. This is likely to promote better behavior during dinner. Another alternative is that instead of gifts you each select one dish to bring and then make sure that the younger adults go on kitchen duty so that Mom and Dad can relax and enjoy having their children and grand children around them without worrying about spending hours getting the house back in order.