- Personal Finance
How to Budget, Shop for and Survive a Large Family Christmas
Large Family Christmas Secrets
Budgeting: Set a price per family member and review the total. Modify the budget or who you buy for if necessary. Stick to the budget
Shopping: Suggest that your children or other family members help shop for each other.
Survival during present time: Opening one present at a time keeps the atmosphere civil and everyone will enjoy watching what every one else receives.
My parents have nine children and nearly fifty grand and great grandchildren. People have often said to me, "Buying for your family must be so expensive!"
The key is…we don’t buy for each other. In a family this large you must draw the line somewhere and help everyone keep some sort of budget. My parent’s set a trend early on that we did not buy for our siblings once they were adults (which is all of us now) and we only buy for our Godchildren.
This makes Christmas less expensive for me, but what about my parents?
How can they possibly buy for a family of that size when you are on a budget?
How can my parents possibly find the time to go shopping for all those grand and great grandchildren?
How crazy is present time with all those people?
Find out how my parents budget, shop for and survive a large family Christmas.
Christmas Shopping Season
Creating a Christmas Budget
My parents implemented an amount per family member budget to help ensure they knew how much they were spending and create some sort of fairness amongst a giant group of people.
Single Adults: $30
Married Adults: $15 for you and $15 for your spouse
Great Grandchildren: $5
At face value, this does not seem like a crazy amount of money.
Evaluate Your Christmas Budget
Modifying Your Christmas Budget
As genius as this fixed amount per person rate is, my parents were still spending more than their budget permitted. As a result, we suggested all adults are removed for Christmas presents equation, including grandchildren who have graduated from college or reached 21 if they did not attend college.
We all agreed that watching a child open a gift is far more exciting and memorable than an adult.
By agreeing to this new structure, their budget was adjusted:
Modify Your Christmas Budget
By modifying the number of family members, the budget from $695 to $225 for a $470 savings.
This gave my parents some peace of mind.
Are you buying for too many people? If your budget it tight, maybe it is time to reevaluate the list of people you buy for each year.
Hitting the Malls for Christmas Shopping?
Online is a Simple Way to Buy Christmas Gifts
Shopping for a Large Family at Christmas
We addressed my parent’s budget, but what about their time? How can they possibly know what every child would like and find the gifts in a reasonable amount of time?
My Mother solved this issue early on as well. We buy for our own kids. With the $10 for each grandchild, we set out to maximize what our children receive from their Grandparents as well as make sure they will love their gifts.
My parents appreciate the effort we spend to save them hours of mall time!
Are you running ragged buying for your children and their children? Ask them to help you out. Instead of asking for lists from the grandkids so that you can run to the store, see if you kids can do some of the shopping for you.
Unwrapping Presents in a Large Family
Unwrapping gifts for a family this size could seem chaotic and no one might notice what anyone else received.
Our unwrapping tradition has been in place my entire life. We open gifts one at a time. Sure, it takes a little longer, but it allows one person to be the temporary center of attention and allows everyone to comment on your new item.
Unwrapping gifts is civil, organized and enjoyed by the group.
Does your unwrapping time result in a pile of paper and no one knows what happened? Consider slowing down and letting each person open a gift and thank the gift giver right away!
Enjoy the Christmas Season
Enjoying a Large Family Christmas
We gather as a family each Christmas Eve. We begin my filling three pews and attending mass. Mass is followed by buffet styled hors d'oeuvres at one of my sister's houses.
When the younger kids start getting antsy, gift opening begins. My parents get prime seats and the one at a time gift opening begins.
I am sure my parents are pleased by the budget they implemented.
I guarantee they love that they don’t do the shopping.
I know they love watching each grandchild open their gift and then giving them a hug.
Keep your budgets in check. Ask for help if you need it. Slow down this Christmas and enjoy the season.