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December 1, 2014 by Shannon 5 Comments With Thanksgiving over, many of us are searching for the perfect gifts to exchange with loved ones.
That post is pretty brief, but I’ve identified several additional ideas because my family typically tries a new alternative each year.
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July 26, 2013 by Shannon Leave a Comment Welcome to the fourth installment of Christmas in July 2013.
Have you ever experienced frustration, embarrassment, or other unpleasant emotions because your family didn’t discuss or didn’t agree upon how to exchange Christmas gifts? One of the most common approaches to exchanging gifts is for each individual or immediate family unit to purchase a gift for everyone in the family. Your traditions and the nature of your relationships with your family members will influence how easy or difficult it is to have a discussion about giving gifts. This time of year is always pretty chaotic, especially coming off the Christmas holidays and still trying to get the house back in order from the new items, books and toys the kids were lucky to receive this year. Withe their birthday so close, the idea of giving them even more new toys just seems like way too much. In place of a gift for the child, ask that each guest bring an art supply gift in place to be donated to the local children's group.
Many people are able to pick up a can of spaghetti sauce or vegetables for a dollar from the store.
You can simply ask that no gifts are necessary and that the person hosting the party is giving the event-out as a gift to all attendees.
Similar to the book exchange, but each invited member would bring a small gift under $10; wrapped. You can ask each invited member to forgo the gift for the child and bring a dollar or two in place.
Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. The main concern is that this exchange is variation of an old-fashioned pyramid scheme because you supposedly give one gift and expect 36 in exchange. But, most of the women I see participating in this are just hoping to spread some holiday cheer. However, if you are seriously hoping to buy one $10 gift and get 36 in return, you probably shouldn’t be participating and you may be missing the point of simply sharing the holiday spirit of giving. Whether or not you choose to participate in an SSS Gift Exchange, you are also invited to experience the spirit of giving by joining with other women of Mompact. Sign up for the Weekly Newsletter to receive all the new recipes, DIY projects, and tips straight to your inbox each week! My family and I have noticed that last several years there is something missing from the exchanging of the gifts, especially among the adults. Draw Names – Prior to Christmas, perhaps when you are all together for Thanksgiving, put each adult family members name in a hat. Homemade Gift Exchange – Each person must make a homemade gift to swap- a knitted afghan, a dozen homemade canned items, a wreath, etc.
Musical Gifts– This can be done in conjunction with white elephant, homemade gifts, or other gifting options. Gift Snatch– Quite frankly this one is not my favorite, but a lot of people love it and think it is great fun. The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. Everyone chip in to buy the workplace a coffee machine, microwave, water cooler or whatever the office needs. If the increase in views of my Christmas in July: Alternative Gift Exchange Ideas post is any indication, then many of you are also looking for gift exchange ideas. Family members pool their money to purchase some sort of activity or experience (a weekend at the beach, a camping trip, a visit to an amusement park, etc.). Each family member documents his or her favorite recipe on a recipe card and places this in a gift basket that also includes all of the ingredients needed to make the recipe.
Each member of the family brings a copy of his or her favorite book, or a book by his or her favorite author. Instead of exchanging gifts, family members spend a few hours together giving of their time.
Each family member purchases a board game or similar item (jigsaw puzzle, trivia book, etc.), wraps it, and brings it to the exchange.

Each member of the family purchases a voucher for a service—a pedicure, a car wash, a massage, carpet cleaning, etc.
I’ve got all these ideas swirling through my head now about how I can host a Christmas party and have one of these exchange!
While there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way for families to approach gift exchanges, it’s sure helpful when family members can agree on how to do it! In these exchanges, family members exchange handmade gifts or items they currently own and are choosing to give away. It might benefit you to keep a few general tips in mind as you broach a conversation on the topic. Many individuals begin purchasing gifts long before the traditional Christmas shopping season. If you bring up your discontentedness with the current approach without presenting an alternative, you’ll likely not get very far.
Your family may not be willing to make dramatic changes; however, they may be willing to compromise. When you host a birthday party for your child, traditionally each invited member brings a small gift for your kid and depending on the size of your party — that can amount to a lot of new toys. Asking that each invited member bring a non-perishable item for the food bank in place of another toy for the child is a great way to keep the spirit of giving going. The party host would have a gift exchange so everyone gets something new & that means only one new toy for your child too.
The birthday kid can then take all the donated money to the local shelter or charity of their choice. If you do a quick search on Facebook for “Secret Sister Gift Exchange”, you will see thousands of posts about the gift exchange.
You will be notified when it is time for you to select someone to send a gift to and your name will be added to the list of recipients. Each person uses whatever their special talent is to create something to trade out with the family, even if their talent is putting together a pretty gift basket.
Get everyone in a circle, start with one gift, and play music. Have someone stop the music randomly (this is a great job for one of the kids).
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Okay, so burn a cd, but in any case, if everyone brings some music they like, you don’t have to listen to the satellite feed loop all the time. Maybe, instead of poker, meet to learn a new card game, like whist, so no one has an unfair advantage.
If you bring a few cans of spray-air and hose out everyone’s keyboards, someone else can fix all the broken staplers, someone can replace the horrid curtains, another can reduce the length of wire under each desk, the tech geek can run a defrag on all the computerr.
Pay someone’s gas bill for a month, load up a grocery card, chip in for a washer and dryer.
Recycle your electronics, batteries, packing peanuts, motor oil, or do some research for your area. Some families allow their members to give gifts that were handmade by someone else and purchased by a family member (such as handmade crafts that were purchased from local artisans).
The family members agree upon a price limit (such as $10 or $20) and head out to local thrift stores to purchase gifts. Example stocking stuffers include lip balms, candy, pieces of fruit, gloves, boxes of tea, socks, pens, and small tools. Serve at a homeless shelter, help build a Habitat for Humanity house, or whatever volunteer opportunity interests your family. Each family member draws one name and purchases a gift for the person listed on the paper he or she drew. The ornaments can be left unwrapped and each family member can choose an ornament before he or she leaves the gathering or the ornaments can be exchanged in some other manner. Please see the About tab on the menu for details about the site, including privacy, advertisement, affiliate link, and comment policy information. In some families, tensions have increased right alongside the popularity of these approaches because some family members are interested in them and others aren’t.
The family members agree upon a price limit (such as $5 or $10) and head out to local thrift stores to purchase gifts. Each family member draws a name and purchases a gift for the person listed on the paper he or she drew.
Some families choose to give of themselves by volunteering at a charity together or by pooling their gift money to give to a worthy cause.

It’s best to have this conversation early enough that none of these purchases have been made. However, if you suggest an alternative, your family members may like the idea or at least see that there are alternatives to be considered. What suggestions do you have for bringing up a conversation with family members about exchanging gifts? I was determined to come up withe a way to draw out the fun and make it more than just a paper tearing frenzy, so I came up with five fun ways to make it more of an event. Can you stay sane when a song is played thirty times in one eight-hour shift repeated four days a week?
The gift of not spending money on the electric bill is greater for your boss than spending money on a tie you’ll never see him wear. Offer each teammate an un-work-related service, like edit a story for the writer-dreamer, help someone take out that dead tree, teach the newbie how to change a tire. One family member acts as an auctioneer while the other family members bid on each wrapped gift. To make things even more special, ask each family member to write a note to the recipient explaining why the book is so important to him or her. This winner then sits out while the remaining family members play the game to determine the order in which they will get to choose gifts. The first person to go opens the gift he or she chooses, and the next person has the option to steal the previous person’s gift (in which case, that person would have to choose another gift) or to select a new one. This is natural and really isn’t negative because traditions are incredibly beneficial to families.
With that being said, you’ll need to be flexible because your loved ones may come up with additional ideas. Please note, there are no guarantees, but we hope that all who sign up to receive also do their part and give.
Also, we just cannot buy for every adult so we have transitioned to a family gift exchange instead, with each person buying a gift for one adult. Another good idea is for each person to write up a little wish list to help out their shopper. Each guests pulls a number and gets to choose a gift based on the order of their numbers- 1 goes first and so on. This year, instead of the same old boring ritual of, in a round-about way, buying yourself what you want, skip the Secret Santa drawing. Your workplace will be a happier one for the entire year, not just for the Christmas party. If you’ve got that close-knit employee family, you probably know everyone pretty well and can personalize each coupon. Click here for frugal, practical stocking stuffer ideas for adults and here for frugal, practical stocking stuffer ideas for kids.
White elephant gift exchanges often involve presents that are weird, funny, or unwanted, though families can choose to exchange nice gifts.
We all enjoy giving and receiving gifts, so we opted not to cut it out all together; we just cut back.
The first person chooses any gift from the pile and opens it, the second can choose a gift from the pile or the first person’s gift (who must then choose a new one).
Here are ten other ideas for spending your own and your co-workers’ cash this holiday season. Additions to this is to keep printers and faxes and other occasional use machines off except when used. If not, choose what you’re good at or like to do, such as clothing alteration or auto problem diagnosis.
If you are looking for a new way to to make the gift giving more fun, perhaps you can find one here. Let me say that I do not feel that the gifts or their monetary value are the heart of Christmas, but when playing a game of sorts all parties should be fair. The third person chooses from the first two gifts or a new one from the pile, and so on until you are back to the first person who can then choose any of the gifts from the group.

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