Friday, November 14, 2008

Lots of festivities!

Wow.. this has been the week of holiday gift prep!

While I’ve exhausted my ideas for savvy presents, here are a couple more ideas for keeping holiday expenses down. I have a large extended family (each of my parents were the third child of five) plus my husband’s family makes for three (or more) Holiday gatherings per year!

Here’s how each family keep the fun going economically:

Grandpa’s birthday party- normally held a week before Christmas in celebration of my (now deceased) great- maternal grandpa’s birthday. It doubles as our Christmas celebration and we hold a giant 30+ person gift game.

The rules:
You must be 13 to play.
Bring a gift that cost about $30 and wrap it.
All people are assembled and gifts are piled in the middle.
Two hats are volunteered and one person takes it upon themselves to write out football teams and the cities the team is located in. The team names go in one hat and the team cities go in another. Everyone who is playing draws a team name.
A designated drawer draws out one team city out of the hat (normally this goes to an eager tween who can’t play, but wants to be involved)
When your team’s city is called you get to select a gift.
If you are the first person to go: you must select from the gift pile. You open it up and show everyone what it is.
If you are not the first person to go: you may select a wrapped gift or steal a gift from a person who has already gone.
There are three steals per round, and a round is over when someone opens a new wrapped present.
If you are stolen from you can not steal back your gift (you can, however, steal your spouse’s gift and your spouse can go steal the gift back for you!).
Everyone has a chance to play.
At the very end, the person who was first to go can choose to steal a gift if they have not been stolen from and they choose to go again. This keeps it fair in case the first person gets stuck with a sucky gift.

No one brings any other presents for any other adults. Young, non-gift-game-playing children may or may not get gifts, but it isn’t expected.

The family gifts- my Dad’s side of the family buys gifts for each family. Every family gets a similar gift and the gifts are of less than $20 in value.
Ex: My Hallmark crazy aunt gives every family an ornament, my aunt and uncle who went to Hawaii brought back every family a bag of macadamia nuts, or my aunt who can cook- canned peaches for every family. This means you only have to get seven of one gift for seven families, instead of 34 different presents! Cheaper and easier!

The in-law way- just get together. Bring food or even better a dessert! I’ll get my mother and father-in-law something, but I have a no-presents rule with my brother-in-law. These gifts, however, will be given in private- not at the large (40+ people) family party. Since most of the family is Jewish (practicing or not) the gift giving isn’t really emphasized. It's still fun, and a whole lot cheaper!

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