How We Gifted This Year For the Holidays

Every year for the holiday season people tend to spend lots of money on gifting, which can put a huge dent in people's finances. I know there is a lot of emotion attached to gift giving, so some people are reluctant to change how they do things. However, if people would like another suggestion on how to give gifts, here is how we did it this year, something that we've had as a tradition already for a few years.

Before anything, I have to say that I have mixed feelings about gift exchanges, because they can be hit or miss. I took part in a gift exchange this year between friends and got a really sucky gift, but oh well. 

Gift exchanges can be really great, though, if people put an effort into it. The gift exchange that I was part of that was between friends gave a really thorough questionnaire. It asked what people's hobbies were, what they liked, what genres of books and movies they liked, if they collect anything specific, if they prefer something mass produced or individually made, if they prefer consumables or non consumables, and if there's anything they'd particularly like as a gift. I liked how thorough the questionnaire was. If, for example, I'd have a person who was an animal lover and collected funky mugs, I totally would have gotten her a mug with an anthropomorphized (made to look like a person) dog or cat, because that would be a perfect gift for a dog or cat lover, especially one who collected funky mugs. But gift exchanges should specify the price range for the gift, so that everyone gets approximately the same value of a gift.

The person I got for the gift exchange between friends said that she loved sporty things and especially climbing, and mentioned that she collected funny mugs, so I decided to get her two funky mugs with punny coffee jokes, (this type of idea, but not this one exactly) and I also prepaid for her to go to a bouldering place I went to with my daughter, and thought would be perfect for someone who loves climbing. 

Rose climbing at the bouldering place that I prepaid for someone as a gift

In the meantime, I mentioned that I'm into mental health and disability rights and I collect funky T shirts, but instead she got me some broken books that looked like they were from the garbage. Some people shouldn't be allowed to be part of a gift exchange. But I did buy myself some T shirts that make me smile- this funny one about EDS and this one about invisible disabilities, so at least that. 

We also did a gift exchange between my children. This is something that we do yearly and is an event the kids all look forward to. I gave each kid $15 and we went to a mall and each kid was assigned another kid to buy a gift for. Annelise and Rose each got for each other, I gave to Lee, Lee gave to Ike, and Ike gave to me. We tried to give guidelines and suggestions beforehand about what types of things we would appreciate. 

Annelise gave Rose, a cute calculator key chain, a keychain with a character from a show she likes, a unicorn pop-it fidget coin purse, and lipstick. Rose gave Anneleise a pomeranian notepad, a mermaid pen, lip balm, nail polish, and a friendship necklace. Ike got me a pretty mug in colors he knows I like, Lee got Ike a puzzle, and I got Lee some cologne.

Then while we were at the mall I also got each kid something that I knew they'd love, especially if I saw them salivating over that item before, or they'd begged me to get them something similar in the past. I got Ike a really fuzzy fluffy blanket. I got Lee a portable wireless cell phone charger. For Annelise I got a light up magnifying makeup mirror. And for Rose I got her a fuzzy multicolor light-up mini backpack. 

I also got my kids bigger presents that they requested, but made sure to get them as frugally as possible. Rose got a ukelele that I ordered from Amazon, Annelise got a makeup organizer, Lee got a refurbished Pixel phone (bought with a Black Friday sale on Ebay) - I also owed him a few gifts from the past, and he needed a new phone since his was smashed. For Ike, I got him a religious item that he requested.

And for the one friend I bought a gift for that wasn't in my family or part of the gift exchange, I got some items that have to do with her favorite fandom. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for one of them to arrive.

Did each kid get a boat load of presents? No. Did we all get nice things? (Ok, I didn't as much, but I bought myself nice things.) Yes. Did everyone enjoy their holiday? Yes. And that is what matters, much more than how many presents they get.

What do you do regarding gifting among your loved ones for the holidays?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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