You get together with your extended family every holiday season, and now that all of your nieces and nephews are grown, the number of people in your family has nearly doubled. There are now 25 of you and several more on the way. Buying one gift for each person in your extended family has become an expensive endeavor and the price will only go up in the future as the family grows. You and your siblings have decided it is time to put the brakes on individual gifts and find some other less expensive route.

Giving individual gifts can get costly in large extended families. One gift for 25 or more people can add up quickly. To curb this, many large extended families resort to other gift-giving tactics. Some of these include:

• Family gifts. This works well for extended families with several members. Each of the immediate families either exchanges names or buys one gift for each other. The Walkers, for example, might draw the Smiths’ name and buy a gift for them that applies to the whole family, like a set of movie tickets or a gift certificate for dinner. If there are just a few immediate families, then they might just buy each family a gift. The Walkers might buy movie tickets for the Smiths, a gift certificate for dinner for the Tripps and a gym membership for the Stevers.

• Gift trade. This also works well for extended families with several members. All immediate families must purchase a generic gift for each member of their family and wrap them. The gifts are divided into two piles, one for adults and one for kids. Each person picks a gift randomly from the table and opens it. Then everyone begins trading for the gift they really want.

• Kids only. This works well for extended families with several young kids. The adults in the family buy gifts for the kids only. If there are a significant number of kids, the adults may draw an equal number of kids’ names and buy just for them.

• Name draw. This works well for extended families with mostly grown adults. The names of everyone within the extended family are thrown into a hat. Each person draws one name from the hat and purchases a gift for that name.

• Secret Santa. This works well for extended families with mostly grown adults. The names of everyone within the family are put into a hat. Each person draws one name and buys small gifts for that person which they deliver secretly throughout the event. At the end of the event, the Secret Santas reveal themselves.

These are just five ways to exchange gifts within a large extended family without spending a bundle. Other options are available. With some thought, you and your siblings are sure to come up with just the right one for your extended family.


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