Between my and my husband’s immediate families, we have 38 family members. If we gave gifts to everyone without imposing any limits, we would quickly become broke.
Here’s a few ways we keep our holiday spending down without leaving anyone out.
1. Set a price limit.
Sometimes it’s necessary to set a price limit because holiday gifting really can get out of control, especially if you’re trying to “keep up” with other family members’ gifts. This way, everyone has the same limit and it’s an expectation.
2. Mutually decide who will receive gifts.
We always give gifts to our parents and our grandparents. But my husband and I and his brother and his wife agreed not to exchange gifts between the four of us. Each pair of us has a daughter, however, and we’ve decided to give gifts between the girls within the price limit.
3. Draw names.
My dad’s side alone accounts for 22 of the 38 family members, so we draw names with a price limit. People can go into the draw as an individual or couples, but the price limit stays the same. This way no one is left out, and if someone wants to skip a year they don’t have to participate. On my husband’s side, we draw names for an ornament exchange.
4. Make your gifts.
Last year I made some hand and face scrubs for the ladies on my husband’s side and wrapped them in pretty dish towels. These were inexpensive and a nice way to give a useful, crafty gift.
5. Streamline your wrapping.
This year (and many years to follow, based on how much kraft paper I now have) everything is being wrapped in brown kraft paper, sparkly string, and handmade origami bows. They are simple, beautiful, and inexpensive. Nice paper, bows, and trimmings are beautiful but also costly.
6. Limit gift giving to family.
It is fun to give gifts to friends at the holidays, but if you have a big family and a small budget, you’ll have to trim some people from your list. As you get older and families grow, more often than not people are very understanding about no longer exchanging gifts. Have a frank conversation with them so they know your position, but also so they know you don’t expect a gift from them. It may help them out too.
7. Shop the after-holiday sales.
If you can wait until the season is over (it’s difficult, I know), the sales are amazing. Stock up for the following year and you’ll be happy you did once December rolls around again.
It’s hard not to go nuts during the holidays buying everything you lay your eyes on, but if you stick to your limits and lists you can have a financially-stress-free holiday celebration!