Works For Me Wednesday

With Christmas coming, I thought it might be fun to talk about kids and the gift-giving that they do for family members. Our tradition is to give each child a dollar for every family member and take them to the dollar store one at a time to shop for each other.

Sometimes one parent will sit outside in the van with all the other kids, while I take kids one by one inside for their turn at shopping. Other times I’ll just take a few kids errand-running and they shop for everyone who doesn’t happen to be along on that particular trip. Usually a few days before Christmas, hubby runs all the little kids to the store to let them shop for me and whomever else they missed.

My four big kids all have a little income from odd jobs: babysitting, cleaning house, etc. They have gradually been taking over their own gift-buying, unfunded by the folks. And sometimes several kids will pitch in together to buy an item for one of the other kids.

I imagine that sometime in the future, we’ll switch to drawing names and having the kids buy for just one sibling. But so far the kids seem to be really enjoying picking something for each sibling. You can find so many fun things at the dollar store these days! Once at home with all the loot, the hurrying and scurrying of excited children to separate corners of the house with gift wrap and tape and scissors is another fun Christmas tradition.

Works for us!

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  1. Yeah and mine really love shopping for others. they have a great time!

  2. We do that very same thing! A great tradition.

  3. We do similiarly for our little guys.

    Also, usually our older kids have something nice that a younger one might like; so we encourage all our kids to look at the things that they already have that they want to pass on to another sibling as a gift.

  4. We do that too! Our children just love to go and shop for their other siblings!! And, actually, those Dollar Store gifts are usually some of the most cherished by the recipient! Thanks for sharing a great idea!

  5. Cute idea!

  6. What a cute idea! I am sure that the kids get a real kick out of it.

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love this idea. We only have one child, but if we had more or if we had a dollar store (none here in Italy!), it would’ve been great to use. It also would’ve come in handy when I was a kid with many brother, sisters, and cousins to shop for!

  8. What a great idea! We will be doing this one this year. Thanks!

  9. We do this too!

    Thanks for reminding me… the kids need to earn some dollars these next few weeks. (at this time of year, we are generous with what they need to do to “earn” their Christmas spending money)

    It’s so heartwarming to see how excited they are to give to each other!

  10. This is a great idea–I do love the Dollar Store even today! And little kids can connect people and things with so much love. There’s so much pride when they do it with their own money!

    I am having a difficult time relating to the gift-giving all at one time thing. I sat here for a long time trying to figure out why I can’t put myself into this.
    Then it hit me that our family doesn’t do the Christmas thing in a big, big way.
    Husband works at the university, so it is end-of-semester crisis season.
    I worked for years in daycare, with the decorating of the classroom trees and the play rehearsals and the Parent Dinner.
    Duplicate it for church gatherings.
    Leads to a recipe for grinchness.
    By the time we get home, we are worn out with holiday cheer.

    I’ll tell ya, though, each person’s Birthdays are a big deal.
    All that gift hiding and giggles really come out in March, May, June, and October.

  11. I think my son could benefit from buying something for his sister rather than himself! I like the idea. My daughter is a bit young still, but it is a great gesture!

  12. That’s exactly how we have done it too, Mary. It’s cheaper, the kids love being the “gift-picker” and we have a pleasant time getting it done!

  13. Let me state from the beginning that i love buying for my wife. I don’t know but i get a kick out of it. This year we set a agreed apone price limit on gifts from each other. Ok I can accept that. BUT my son is 18 months old an can’t fully understand what gift to get my wife. I am kind of glad for that because it means I get an extension on price that I can spend on her is how I see it.

  14. Mary, We do the same thing! We also make it extra special by letting all of the kids give their gifts on Christmas Eve (and those are the only gifts they get on Christmas Eve). We figure that dollar store stuff could very easily get “lost in the shuffle” of Christmas morning, but when they are the first presents of the holiday and the only presents that night, it makes them even more special.

    We let each child have a chance at being “Santa” and they just love it. Wrapping 90 small presents takes FOREVER but it is worth it, and i have each kid help me wrap their presents. 🙂

    We’ve considered switching to drawing names, but I haven’t been able to convince myself yet. 🙂


  15. Erin, I like your idea of doing the kid-gifts a separate day to keep it more special.

    I let EVERYONE over 4 or so wrap their own gift. Give ’em the tape and let’ em go to it. Well, that’s not completely true–for the 4-6 year old range, I cut the paper into the right size for various gifts. But then it is their baby. The results sometimes aren’t pretty but I figure it is a low-key way to get better at gift-wrapping.


  16. We just started this tradition last year. We include the girls’ two grandmothers. I just loved watching Hannah carefully choose the world’s biggest bottle of hand lotion for her Grammy (and at $1, the fragrance was, well, interesting…).
    Erin, I like the idea of opening these gifts on Christmas eve. We usually spread Christmas gifts out over a few days, since we have a lot come in for the girls from relatives out of town.

  17. I like the idea and the Dollar Store. I might do this for Isabella to go and buy something for her cousins that we get together with on Christmas. We’ve already bought them a gift, but this would be fun for her to give them a gift as well. Thanks for the idea!

  18. Great idea! I love the concept of it. Thanks for sharing =)

  19. That’s a great idea. I think I’m going to do that this year with my daughter (3) for her baby brother.

    Hmm… maybe I’ll pick out something “from him” for her. 🙂

  20. Our kids go to the Dollar Store as well! In fact they just asked me when they’d get to go Christmas shopping.

    My holiday WFMW is up!

  21. Mary – LOVE this idea! I think it might also help with the selfish attitude that crops up yearly. I even blogged about it. I just posted so it might be awhile before it actually posts.