Wednesday 20 December 2017

Sibling Secret Santa - how to save money but lose your mind

Inside - how we include our children in the gift giving experience, without breaking the bank buying lots of gifts

One of the best Christmas presents my sister ever gave me was my Granny GloBug. We walked around the shops together, telling each other what we wanted and stood side by side at the register as mum paid for our "secret" gifts.

We failed at actually keeping the secret, though.

(If I remember rightly, that was the year she got Caterpillar GloBug)

In 2013 Steve and I decided it was finally time to tackle the issue of children buying presents for each other.

Money was still tight for us, so we settled on the idea of using a Secret Santa style of gifting, where each child picks a name from my hand, and buys the person a gift.

The whole process is a little bit of a mum-nightmare.

Small children don't understand keeping surprises to themselves, or buying gifts for other people when all they want is everything for themselves.

Big people make smart arse comments about others and generally don't want to be out of bed.

And this year they wanted to add the cousins to the mix.

There's a few ground rules before we start -
  • no flaking and buying gift cards or clothes, unless there's no other choice, and you know that your person wants that more than anything else in the whole world.
  • no asking other people what someone wants, this is about paying attention to people around you, and finding the perfect gift for them.
  • don't tell anyone who your giftee is.

Not telling people who the giftee is is the hardest part for the kids, in a small group of six it becomes a process of elimination to figure it out, and often results in a redraw process when they won't stop talking about it.

But when they figure out just the right gift, and manage to sneak through the checkout without being spotted, their eyes light up. Bags get shuffled out of view, and everyone is eager to head home and start wrapping.

And once the last piece of tape is stuck into place, everyone wanders off and forgets about the pile for the rest of the day.

Let's hope they can keep the surprise for 5 more days.

How do you encourage gift giving without breaking the bank or losing your mind?


1 comment

  1. What a great idea! My son's wife is from a family of 6 kids and they do the Secret Santa idea so that instead of getting 5 smaller presents they get one big one. A price limit is set and they are allowed to give a few ideas of what kind of thing they may like, but no specifics!


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