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how we do christmas gifts in a large family.

I made my first Christmas purchase yesterday.  Online.  If you know me at all, you know this is a major feat, since I find clicking the 'checkout' button inexplicably paralyzing when internet shopping. It doesn't matter that I know for a fact I will be buying that exact item eventually; it doesn't matter if the item is a genuine need.  For instance, one of the kids has been dealing with a legitimate health concern for the last week and a half, and the supplements for treating it are still sitting in my amazon cart because I JUST CAN'T EVEN CHECKOUT.  I'm terrible at millennial-ing.

However, there will occasionally be some kind of major catalyst powerful enough to finalize an online purchase.  And yesterday the stars aligned, and there was 40% off at Burt's Bees on coordinating Christmas jammies in all the kids' sizes, and I just had to go for it.  And, with it being the first Christmas purchase of the season, it was simultaneously freeing and sickening.

Don't get me wrong; I love the fact that I can do all my shopping from the comfort of my own couch, and from the womb of my own jammies.  But we're not really in the habit of throwing money around willy-nilly like we live in some kind of casino cash machine.  Online shopping is already hard for me, and Christmas is especially disorienting.

So to cushion the blow, we are really intentional with gifts for the kids each year.  For instance, this year, the kids will each get one present for under the tree, one pair of jammies, a fair trade tree ornament, and a small gift for their stocking.  I'll round the stockings out with small treats and maybe a dollar bill or two, but that's really it.  That's all we do for gifts each year.  And believe me, it's plenty.  By the end of the gift-opening, the kids are all foaming at the mouth and Todd is pre-stroke.  Any more than this, and I'm pretty sure someone would end up in a coma by the end of the day.

The nice thing about keeping it simple is that each gift can be pretty well thought-out.  There are no flippant gifts in this system.  Throughout the year, I jot down gift ideas for each kid on a list I keep in the back of my planner, then I spend a couple weeks around Thanksgiving really noodling on what to get.  Then between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I watch the online sales and pounce when I can.  Our checking account doesn't make it through the holiday season completely unscathed, especially since we're giving gifts to about one million kids, but it's definitely not as bad as it could be, and I at least take comfort knowing that each gift was an intentional choice.

So anyway.  That's the system that's currently allowing us to keep gift-giving alive at Christmastime without breaking the single-income bank, or watching the kids' brains peel out over too much stuff.  What works for you guys?

3 comments :

Danielle Tiarks said...

Paige, I love this. :) The littles don't get caught up with ALL THE THINGS and materialism and your bank account doesn't implode every year. It's great!

the jersk. said...

does begging your family to not get your toddler more crap count as "working"? even when it's puzzles and books and art supplies -- were chock full. her gift from us this year: a broom. she loves to sweep.

todd said...

I like how we are learning to do Christmas