Are you done with your Christmas shopping already?!
But seriously though, well done you!! Impressive!
Personally, I’m just getting started on it all as my wife tends to take on the Gift Fairy role in our family, but wanted to chime in with some of our “rules” of gift giving over the years, as well as two *new* ones we’re trying out for the first time this season (and which I’m nerdily excited about!)
Here’s how we do gifts in our immediate family:
- Those who get gifts: kids
- Those who don’t get gifts: spouses. They only get stocking stuffers :)
BOOM – easy. Not a Grinch enough to hold back on the kids, but the wife and I already love and appreciate everything we have so we mainly just fill each other’s stockings with niceties to help brighten each other’s day a bit… Things like chocolate or books or maybe even a new shirt or gadget, so long as it’s under $10-$15/ea. No cheating and slipping in diamonds just because they’re small!
We’re onto year #3 of stocking stuffers only, and it’s been such a relief for both of us. Especially as our two birthdays are around Christmas which means double the shopping adventures! But of course we have rules around that too – specifically not being able to spend more than $50 on each other, and that the non-birthday spouse is in charge of dinner/dessert for the family :) It doesn’t take much to make us happy!! Haha…
Now to how we tackle extended family:
- Those who get gifts: nieces, nephews, parents
- Those who don’t get gifts: uncles, aunts, and now – siblings! Our first attempt at trying this!!
This is our first new rule of the season, and the one that has the most potential of getting weird because not all us siblings have kids :( So some will be passing out presents to a family without getting any gifts in return, while others are more fairly balanced since you’re just swapping kids toys to each other. Of course, us parental siblings could enact a caveat that those without kids will then get a gift from us to even it out more out, but then you run into the problem of them feeling bad for not *returning* the favor to us adults, and, well, you might as well just have stuck to the traditional plan in that case…
At any rate, we’re still optimistic it’ll all pan out okay and everyone seems to be on board, but we’ll see what happens in practice :)
And then lastly, here’s what we do with distant relatives:
- Those who get gifts: godparents, godchildren, anyone who gives us a gift which of course then means we have to reciprocate whether we want to or not (and thus, why we always have backup gifts in our closet for last-minute exchanges!! We’re no amateurs here!)
- Those who don’t get gifts: everyone else
I wish there was a universal button you could click that alerts everyone of your preferences, but until that’s created we just do the best we can and hope no one gets their feathers ruffled throughout ;) We’re all about our loved ones, but don’t think gift giving is the end all be all of showing love! I’d much rather get something thoughtful throughout the year than on a day when it’s more “expected”.
(Funny story on that, actually – apparently my brother had already bought my Xmas gifts months ago, so he called me up and asked how he should handle it with the new rules in place ;) Asked if he should just randomly surprise me throughout the year or if I would be mad getting them on Christmas, and I told him 100% SURPRISE ME throughout the year as that’s awesome!! haha… Who doesn’t like random gifts?!)
Anyways, that’s how we do gift giving in our household… And just realized I don’t have “friends” listed up there actually – I guess ‘cuz us guys never get gifts for each other? Is that weird?! Trying to think what my wife does with her besties, and don’t think they swap many gifts either. Outside of a nice holiday card or phone call.
At any rate, I think we’ll end up spending around $300 on gifts when all is said and done, which is ironically less than we did before even having kids :) Interesting how things change over time…
One last note before we go here:
What is your budget looking like for this holiday season? Are you happy with it?
PS: If anyone has cracked the code on how to get less toys but more stocks/bonds/529 contribution gifts to your kids, please let me know!! It’s the one area I still can’t figure out despite many hints! :)