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Christmas Gift Buying PART 3 – Buying For Family & Friends

Tuesday, 13th November 2012

Christmas Gift Buying PART 3 – Buying For Family & Friends

Welcome to part 3 in my series on how I shop for Christmas at Chaos HQ.

In PART 1 I covered the little folk and Santa’s deliveries.

In PART 2 I braved the depths and discussed buying for teens.

In PART 3, I am going to talk about some ways around shopping for the extended family and friends at Christmas time.

So here goes….

I guess there is no right or wrong way to shop for relatives at Christmas time. Everyone has their own idea on how it should be done and 9 times out of 10 not everyone is going to agree.

In my family we have done present buying a couple of different ways.

Back when I was a child the family would all get together at my Nan & Pop’s house and the aunties and uncles would all buy for the kids. We’d sit there surrounded by mountains of paper as we tore open package after package.

Times gradually changed and gift buying became less and less a part of our family Christmas. As we neared the end of our teenage years, gifts became cash in a card and the excitement was really quite lacking.

Fast forward several years…..

We attempted a Kris Kringle/Secret Santa….

Now if you don’t know how it works or what it is click this link HERE!

Since the family had grown dramatically, the idea was that instead of spending crazy amounts of money, or just buying everyone a crappy $2 present, you would have a certain couple of people to buy for and that was that.

I was keen, wanted to give it a go.

The verdict??

Well, since I have more kids than anyone else I still ended up having to buy 5 presents, but I felt it really did take some of the excitement and shine of a big pressie opening session.

I’m a sucker for the kids faces when they get handed gift after gift with a Cheshire cat type grin. Perhaps they got one lovely gift each, but if that gift wasn’t suited for them, then there was nothing else to play with or to keep them amused.

End result? “IM BORED”…… Argh bored, even on Christmas.

So personally I think I prefer it the other way. Maybe that is just because it’s what I am used to. Kris Kringle’s were always a workplace thing for me so doing it amongst my closest family was just a little strange.

I have heard of families doing Kris Kringle and it working perfectly, so I guess you have to try it once to see how it fits with your closest ones.

Mixed Christmas
{A little collage of some Chaos Chrissy Pics!}

Here are some of my hot tips:

* Age restrictions – While they suck if you’re the 18yr old, just buying for the KIDS is a perfect way to ease the financial strain on your family.

* Think outside the square – We often end up at the service desk of many retailers exchanging multiples of the same item. Brainstorm and try to think of budget friendly ideas that the children may not already have.

* Opt in to purchase a big present for a big family. For example… if you have a few relatives that are not sure what to buy your kids, suggest they all put in and purchase a joint gift, like a Swing Set, Trampoline, Video Game Console etc…

* Family hampers are awesome too. Grab a washing basket and load it up with everyday type of treats to spoil the whole family.

* Choose a theme and have a themed Christmas. Books, Music, Outdoors and so on. It could get interesting!

* Always buy for your Nan, Pop, Grandma, Grandpa…. They’ve put in the hard yards of spoiling kids all these years, they deserve something nice too!

* Consider homemade or personalised items for extended family. Have a calendar with your family pic printed up. Have a bake up and display homemade cookies in a nice jar. Make up a small lolly jar for each family (Aunts and Uncles) so they’re not missing out too.

* Buy wise. A bag load of bits and pieces soon adds up money wise. Sometimes you’re better off buying one special gift than a bag load of stuff that will get chucked out in a week.

* Talk to your extended family in advance. It’s no good deciding on doing a family Kris Kringle when a few have already gone out and purchased gifts for everyone.

* We only buy for a couple of very close friends, that are pretty much considered family anyway. If you’re in a position where you are meeting with others, resort to baked goods, lolly bags etc etc. I don’t feel there is a need to buy presents for absolutely EVERYONE!

* Set yourself a budget and stick to it. It’s hard enough to make ends meet these days, dealing with the financial strain on top of the usual holiday stress is not going to make for a very enjoyable Christmas at all.

* Lay-By. If buying for all the kids in the whole family is unavoidable, make the most of the mid-year Christmas Lay-bys and do one for your children and one for the relo’s!

Like I said, there are no rules when it comes to shopping for family gifts.

This year I am going back to basics. Our budget is tight, so the gifts will be small.

Perhaps some handmade items if I get time, maybe a hamper or 2.

Whilst I love the spirit of giving and the joy or receiving gifts, I really want to focus on the importance of actually spending time with family this year.

Good Food, Good company and a whole lot of Christmas Chaos!

I’d love to hear how your family shops for relatives at Christmas Time. Please share your thoughts and ideas on this post so other Common Chaos Readers can be inspired too! xox


Linking up again this week with Tina of TinaGray{Dot}me fame!


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    1. We're lucky that our relos don't celebrate Christmas, only maybe my husband's nieces? So we only have to buy for our own kids and them. And we believe in buying just one good gift to a)minimise spending and b) giving too much crap. ;) This year though our family has gone the "secret Santa" route for each other. Although, we already have bumped out the "secret" because we were buying each other the gifts during our holidays. Basically we each only have to buy for ONE person this year & was randomly picked too.

    2. Great advice Jacqui - we certainly don't have much of a budget either and our kids have far too many toys. I'm trying to be sensible and reduce the stuff we have in our house too. I think edible or consumable gifts are the best - next best gift vouchers for relatives .

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