Like you, I come from a big family and over the years we have picked up our own tips for getting gifts for everyone on our ever-growing lists. Not only do I have 5 brothers and sisters, but my Mom is one of 5 and my Dad is one of 7 so that makes for a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins. I have provided a list of the best ways to tackle that long Christmas shopping list.
It may be too late to use this technique this year, but for future years to come it will save you a ton! The best time of the year to shop for Christmas presents, is of course after the previous Christmas. The weekend following Christmas everything goes on sale, usually more of a discount overall than the classic Black Friday sales. This is the best time to shop for stocking stuffers, gadgets, Christmas decorations (great for those ornament exchanges), electronics and anything else that your family won’t grow out of. I would avoid buying clothing and shoes especially for children, no way will they fit in the same pair of shoes next Christmas!
Prepare Ahead of Time
You would be surprised how many people go shopping without a list! You need a plan especially if you have a lot of people to shop for, and are budgeting your money. Make a list of every person, couple or family you are buying for. Create a budget if you want to spend a certain dollar amount per person, and write down ideas within that limit. Scour online sales and the print ads that come in your paper in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This will help you stick to your budget and if you map it out right, you can avoid some of the shopping stress by getting multiple presents at each store without second guessing if you got everyone.
Group Presents Together
Families don’t mind family gifts. Instead of buying a separate gift for your aunt and uncle and their 4 kids, why not save a little money and time by getting a gift for their entire family? Movies, board games (or video games if you know they play them), restaurant gift cards and gadgets for the home all make great family gifts. This of course works for couples too!
Family Gift Ideas:
Puzzles and Board Games
Video Games (if they have a Wii or Kinect, there are great family games)
Gift Cards to Restaurants, Movie Theaters, Local Attractions
Family-friendly Movies or TV Shows on DVD
Ice Cream Maker or Popcorn Maker
Cookie Mix in a Jar
Camping Equipment or Beach Accessories
For the extended family, why not try secret santa instead of buying a gift for each of your 15 cousins? This is a must in my family. With 15 aunts and uncles, 40-something cousins and even more in-laws that I can keep track of, we do secret santa every year!
You can either do this when everyone is together before Christmas, or one person can draw names for everyone is let the rest of the family know who they are buying for. Write the name of each person (we group couples and families together, except for kids) and place the names in a large bowl or hat. Each person picks one name and buys for that person. It’s up to you if you want to keep it “secret” or let everyone know who you are buying for. We aren’t anonymous as family members tend to forget who they were supposed to buy for!
There is nothing wrong with making your gifts from home. Homemade gifts are more meaningful and fun to make as a family! A quick trip to your nearest craft supply store should have everything you need, and you can find dozens of free craft tutorials online.
Handmade Gift Ideas
Scrapbooks (digital pages or the classic kind work)
Ornaments or other decorations
Scarf or Mittens
Cake/Cookie Mix in a Jar (put the dry ingredients together in a jar, with a note about how to finish the recipe)
Photo Collage of the Family/Couple
Record Children’s Books onto a CD
Paint a Clay Pot and place a flower or plant in there
Home-Canned Fruits & Vegetables
Homemade Biscotti with Chocolate Spoons
Homemade Gift Baskets
Whatever you decide to do this year to aid in your long Christmas list, the important part is to have fun doing it! Get your kids involved too, they love to help.