Christmas 2012 Family Gift Giving Plan

We save a bit of money every month throughout the year so we have have a nice Christmas. Normally I'd have my checklist of things I felt I had to buy my kids to make sure the gifts were perfect. 

I got myself in a rut of this is how to make a good Christmas. The kids usually enjoyed the gifts I picked out, and most of them where on their wish lists. It was a bit stressful for me to make sure that everything was balanced between the kids, but I got pretty good at it.

Then last year something changed....we moved during Christmas. This wasn't just a local move, or one of our standard moves to a place a few states over. We are talking major overseas move! Everything had to change as I tried to plan our Christmas in London. We had to make our own ornaments because we weren't sure our stuff would get to us in time. The funny thing is that what I pictured to be a disaster of a Christmas ended up being one of the best we had. Ok, we all missed going to a tree farm to cut down our own tree, but we managed.

So how did I manage to buy all my Christmas gifts in time while planning a large move? I recruited help! I made my kids help me with the shopping. Crazy idea huh? It turned out great though. I took our family Christmas shopping budget and divided by five. That gives everyone enough money to buy something for the four other people in the family. The money is to buy gift(s) and stocking stuffers for everyone. We told them to take that money and divide it again by four so that they spend the same amount on everyone. If you wanted to buy a gift that cost more than you have allotted for that person, then you need to convince someone else to spend their money on that gift and go in on it together.

The results were fantastic. First when the kids saw commercials for the lastest AWESOME toy, instead of saying "I want...I want..." they would say "Don't you think _____ would like that for Christmas?" Then when it came time to open the presents the kids were almost as excited to see how well people liked the gifts they picked out as they were to open their own gifts. Finally, the kids took pride in knowing they gave someone a gift they enjoyed. I thought I had taken away the joy of Christmas by passing the buck on the stressful Christmas shopping, but instead I really think the kids enjoyed it more. So this year they begged me to do it again :) They learned that is truly is better to give than receive.

PS For those of you who follow my blog(s), you know I have a little 2 year old. We are still doing the fun Santa thing for her until she figures it out. In the mean time Mom and Dad get to decide how she spends her money. 


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