If you are looking for a new gift giving tradition in your family you have come to the right place. I don't have a huge family but we are a close family. While most people have long since stopped sharing Christmas with their first cousins by the time they turn 40 we continue to gather every year with my aunt, uncle, first cousins and their kids (would they be second cousins? and what are they to my children?) While we love each other and our traditions very much the expense of gift giving even just to the children can be a burden. For me it is only an additional 3 children but for my cousins it becomes an additional, soon to be, 7 children between my brother and me. (we stopped including my sister who lives out of town in the gift giving side of this gathering years ago)
The adults each bring one generic gift which we play a game to distribute each year. It has been a fun tradition but we needed a new approach for the kids. They are too young for the game plus someone still dresses up as Santa every year and we needed him to be able to pass out the gifts.
Then last year my cousin came up with an idea I thought was ridiculous. However, nobody else had a better one so we decided to try it. Forever we will be bowing to her genius and our lack of vision as we loved how it played out so much.
We decided to buy each child 1 $25 gift rather than them getting several cheap gifts. We each contributed $30ish to the pot including the grandparents and then the cousins went out on a shopping day where we each chose gifts we knew our children would love, followed by dinner and a gift wrapping extravaganza. A girls day out and shopping for an entire Christmas event finished. Santa passed out the gifts, the kids loved them, peace and harmony reined across the land.
This year we decided to step it up a notch by including the grandma's in the mix. While we were out shopping they were getting a tea party ready for us. After our successful shopping spree we headed over to my Aunt Cari's for a lovely luncheon tea, shared the gifts and then got to work wrapping them all up. We sent them home with this years Christmas hostess who will have them ready for Santa on Dec 18th. A good time was had by all.
We let under 1 year old come to our ladies events.
All wrapped up and ready to go.
OH and just as we come to what we THINK is the last child born to this generation (that is what we thought about the last last child) we have started a tied quilt tradition. The hands of each woman in the family are part of tying this quilt just as we will all be part of this child's life. So while Julia didnt' think the 5th child needed a baby shower per se we snuck that task into our Christmas shopping/tea day anyway.