Each year, we try to come up with a way of getting the kids to think of each other at Christmas, and not just concentrate on the things they would like for themselves.
In previous years, we have done a Secret Santa, where we put all their names in a hat and they picked out the name of the person they would be buying for. Then we helped them to find appropriate gifts online. With 5 kids, this was a good way of doing it without breaking the bank, but as the kids get older, we wanted them to put more effort into it themselves.
The younger children’s schools often do a Santa’s Secret Shop for the kids to pick out and wrap presents for their parents, with a set price per present. This is a great way of doing it but doesn’t extend to gifts for their siblings, and the older kids school does nothing at all.
The older children in particular had asked if they could shop for presents for us this year, so we put some thought into it, and this year came up with a new plan.
We took all the children to our local B&M. We gave them a £5 price limit per person, and let the older children go off by themselves, each armed with a basket, whilst we helped the younger two to find their gifts. The goal was to find an appropriate gift for each other member of the family, thinking of what they would like, and learning to shop within a set budget too. They did a fabulous job. The older kids checked in with us at several points so that we could check they hadn’t picked up any duplicate gifts, and any they did could quickly be replaced. (We knew when they were nearby from the sounds of giggling!). Dad checked the gifts for Mum, Mum checked the gifts for Dad and we both checked over the kids gifts for each other, whilst also helping the younger two children select their gifts. Once everyone had sonething for each person, we checked out. I must say, they did a great job. They got some brilliant gifts for each other, and us. They not only stuck to their budget, but actually came in considerably under it. Gifts ranged from sweets and cushions to toys and stationery. There really was plenty for everyone.
Once back home, they took it in turns to wrap their bags of presents. Some of the wrapping may be rather questionable but there is no doubt that a whole lot of effort and consideration has gone into each gift, and that, of course, was the whole point.
We all had such a fun time shopping this way and I think this is the start of a new tradition for us. One that hopefully the kids will carry on long after they’ve all grown up and left home. 🎄🎅🏻🎁
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