Friday, November 26, 2010

Who’s on Your Christmas List?

How do you decide who to buy for, and how do you set the budget?

Surprisingly enough, this has never been a fight for my husband and I.  We’ve never thought that “well we bought for your sister, and spent this much, so we have to spend that on my sister!”.  Our family groups are so spread out, and not interconnected, and there are SEVEN of them! Yup! Seven different ”sides” of the family.

Each of those seven groups has such different traditions, and expectations that we just do for each family what suits that group.  Our siblings are so varied, in ages, where they live and just how they are related to us that it makes sense just to decide on a person by person basis.

Each parent and their spouse gets a photobook, and so do all the grandparents. Even those that are related to us through marriage, because we are just as close to them and love them the same anyway.  Latching onto the photobook idea has simplified this for me!  

We buy for my sisters, who live on the opposite side of the country from me.  There is a large age difference between us, as they are from my dad’s second marriage, but I’ve never thought of them as my “half” sisters.  These wonderful ladies are still teenagers, and a lot of the years Shawn and I have bought for them, they were still kids.

I stopped buying for my step-brothers when we all became adults.  Now that all three of us have kids, we do buy for each other’s kids, which is more fun anyway!

Shawn’s siblings took a bit more time to work out.  Once his brother had kids, we stopped buying for each other as adults and just bought presents for the kiddos.  However, his sister , while an adult, was single some of those Christmases.  So we bought for her, even though we didn’t buy for his brother.  See? person by person basis, hee hee!

In my father-in-law’s family, everyone over 18 ( every one now except our kids) goes into a name draw.  We used to set a spending limit, but once all the cousins and spouses were in the draw it got really hard to know what to get each other.  Two years in a row, I drew the wife of Shawn’s cousin.  I had only met him once, and her not at all then!  A few years ago, we settled on the idea of buying calendars.  Everyone needs a calendar!  Plus, it made it even simpler to mail when some of the cousins lived in Egypt and Europe!  So this year, Shawn’s aunt is on our list.

We don’t really exchange gifts with our friends anymore.  There are just a couple families that our kids give small gifts to their kids.  These are practically cousins to our kids.  We tend to just get together and have a nice evening instead.

And that’s about it for our list. 

Did I miss anyone??  Shawn and I limit what we get for each other, but we each help the kids pick out something small for the other.  Then of course, there are the things we, and Santa, buy for the kids.

It’s taken us a few years to simplify it down to this, but Christmas is so much less stress for us!  I actually enjoy getting everything wrapped and ready to mail.

Who is on your list?


  1. i agree bonnie that is crazy complicated we only buy for kids which i have 5 kids to buy for besides my 2 children. I buy for my cousins 2 boys and her we do an exchange. me and my hubby arent going to buy a gift. we really need comamd start for the new van so that is what we are getting after christmas.


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