22 answers

Picking Names for Christmas Gift Giving, First Time, Don't Have a Clue

Some of us will gather at Thanksgiving and discuss how this works.
How does a parent not give a gift to an adult child. Twins born on
Christmas Day, so they will get a b-day gift. What about 3rd adult
child with summer birthday. Anybody have clever ideas how picking names
for gifts works?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

We did name-drawing for extended family only and it we exchanged at one particular time. All the adults had their names in a hat, and all children had names in a hat.

In addition, SEPARATELY, not with the rest of the family around, people gave gifts to their own children and parents (even adult children), and something small was given to each grandchild by the grandparents.

Yes, you might end up giving two gifts to an adult child if you drew their name, but that was OK. Everyone got one gift exchange gift.

Birthdays should be celebrated separately. Find a different time of day when ONLY the birthday gifts are given out, and only the birthday people receive gifts, just as you'd do if it weren't Christmas.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with Margaret- only buy for the kiddos

Or you could play "white elephant" that is really fun. Everyone buys ONE gift and wraps to put under tree. Everyone draws numbers and then the first person opens the gift. The second person can either steal the 1st persons gift or open a new one- then you continue on until everyone has a gift. You can set a limit on how many times one gift can be "stolen". You can also do this with christmas ornaments which is cheaper and just as much fun!

I love watching people fight over certain gifts- like the foot soak or the massager. People also will buy a "gag" gift and then put a gift card in it- (like a cheap nose trimmer or oder eaters...lol)

That way you are only buying ONE gift instead of going broke trying to buy for everyone!!!

More Answers

We did name-drawing for extended family only and it we exchanged at one particular time. All the adults had their names in a hat, and all children had names in a hat.

In addition, SEPARATELY, not with the rest of the family around, people gave gifts to their own children and parents (even adult children), and something small was given to each grandchild by the grandparents.

Yes, you might end up giving two gifts to an adult child if you drew their name, but that was OK. Everyone got one gift exchange gift.

Birthdays should be celebrated separately. Find a different time of day when ONLY the birthday gifts are given out, and only the birthday people receive gifts, just as you'd do if it weren't Christmas.

1 mom found this helpful

We started drawing names quite some time ago. Our family consists of eleven adults (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) and three children. The adults draw names and the limit is $25. We usually still buy a little something for our grandparents (sometimes we cousins pitch in for a larger gift) and our parents. But it is generally something small but meaningful. Everyone buys for the kids. Even though there aren't as many gifts, present opening takes several hours. We all take turns (except Papa sometimes jumps the gun and then Mema gets on to him!!). A few years ago we added a white elephant gag gift exchange with a $5 limit. That gets really, really wild! Last year I took the "Summer of the Chupacabre" shirt and everyone wanted it!! I really wish I could talk my husband's family into doing it that way. I LOVE Christmas with my family! We have the best time. The most important thing is to remember presents are not the important thing but celebrating Christ's birth and enjoying your loved ones! Good luck and Merry Christmas!

When we draw names, we only put the names of anyone over the age of 18. They will participate in the gift exchange. Anyone younger will recieve regular gifts. Just set a price limit for everyone to stay at. God Bless.

My hubby is one of 8 kids ranging from the ages of 43 to 22. Everyone is married with kids except the 22 year old. There is always over 40 people at our Christmas get together. Not everyone has a lot of money so we do drawings too. Everyone 17 and under get placed in the "child" drawing and everyone 18 and older get put in the "adult" drawing. If money is really tight, some years we only do a drawing for the children. Everyone's name is written on a piece of paper then everyone gets to draw a name. This way kids draw for kids and adults draw for adults. I hope this helps.

Good morning, J. ~ We started doing the 'chinese' Christmas thing with our family. How that name came about, Im not sure... but we all bring presents, it can be gender oriented, or just a general gift. At Thanksgiving, we decide what the dollar limit will be, then on Christmas we have our meal and we all draw a number. One year we will start with the highest number, one year the lowest. One person will open a present, then the next can 'steal' that present or open a new one. It goes all the way around the room that way, and the first person opening gets the final draw of stealing another present or keeping what they have. You may have to set limits on how many times something can be stolen (we say three, then it's a 'dead' item and cant be stolen again). This isa been so much fun for us since we are all grown. There are multiple reasons, but chiefly we started this because of the financial bind that Christmas can put families into, especially mom who wanted to buy for all four kids, plus spouses, plus grandkids, and now great grandkids. We do all buy (one gift per family) for the smaller kids, i.e., 12-13 and under. If you really want to get something for each of your kids, keep it simple... or homemade... and make it to your child, and his wife. I hope this helps... it has been so much fun for us and no one feels slighted. Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season for you and your family!

For Christmas if everyone who needs to pick a person's name is going to be present at Thanksgiving you could create a giving tree (similar to the Salvation Army ones). Cut out paper santas, angels, Christmas trees, etc and then have everyone put their name and a few gift ideas on them. Once they're done decorate a small tree with them. As the day progresses everyone needs to take the tag of the person that they want to buy for. They have to be sneaky so that no one knows who they have. If you have a lot of people you can do a separate kid tree and adult tree and have the kids participate too.

If you're not trying to keep the giver's identity a secret you can play a "secret word game". Everyone makes a tag with their name and gift ideas like above and they include a secret word of their choosing (you can have everyone choose a holiday word like turkey, football, pumpkin, etc) and they hold on to it through the day and give it to the first person who says their secret word during the course of the day. The person who receives the tag then buys for that person.

Good luck and have fun!
K.

I agree with Margaret- only buy for the kiddos

Or you could play "white elephant" that is really fun. Everyone buys ONE gift and wraps to put under tree. Everyone draws numbers and then the first person opens the gift. The second person can either steal the 1st persons gift or open a new one- then you continue on until everyone has a gift. You can set a limit on how many times one gift can be "stolen". You can also do this with christmas ornaments which is cheaper and just as much fun!

I love watching people fight over certain gifts- like the foot soak or the massager. People also will buy a "gag" gift and then put a gift card in it- (like a cheap nose trimmer or oder eaters...lol)

That way you are only buying ONE gift instead of going broke trying to buy for everyone!!!

We have drawn names in our family for years. We put all the names in a basket then everyone draws one and buys that person a gift. We try to keep it a secret as to who got who's name. Since I have a large family, we let the kids draw kid names and the adults draw adult names but we have done it where everyone's name goes into one basket. It works out quite well actually. My mother balked the first few years we did this because she felt like she had to buy gifts for everyone. But, eventually she came around. The gifts are just a nice thought, not the actual reason for Christmas. It was something everyone could afford and enjoy. We never set a price limit but some families I know do. My friend's family has each person put 3 gift "wants" on their name tag. You don't have to buy from the list but if you are short on ideas for that person, it helps to see their idea. Also, I think putting down sizes would help. Since our family has downsized we now play the gift game where everyone brings a generic gift, you draw numbers, then as you go down the line you can take the gift someone else has unwrapped or pick a new one with the number 1 person having the last chance to pick a gift. You have to have good sports to do this and know it's all in fun ~ which it can be great fun. This is really best with just adults because little ones don't want their gift taken away from them. Hope some of these suggestions help and you have happy holidays.

J.:

In my family, we play "rob your neighbor" and we have a total blast at it! And, we convinced my dad to participate, though he felt odd about it at first. So, here's how it works:

Each person brings (1) gift....either for a guy or for a girl or unisex. Make a collective decision on the value of the gift, such as it should be a $30 gift...or $20.....or $40 or $50....whatever you are all comfortable with. Then, as everyone arrives, have them place the gifts in the your specified area. We usually label ours "RYN" (Rob Your Neighbor). And, we don't put who they are from. Then, you count up how many will be participating and you put that many numbers in a jar for everyone to "draw". No. 1 goes first and picks a present and opens it up for all to see..... No. 2 goes next and can either take a new present to open or "steal" No. 1's present. Then, No. 3 goes and can either open a present or take No. 1's or No. 2's present.... and so on. Now, you have to set the rules on how many times a present can be stolen. We usually say it can be stolen three times, so the fourth person to pick it (the person that steals it the third time) would be the final owner and that present is "off the market". So, for example, if No. 1 opens a gift, then No. 2 steals it (first steal), then No. 4 steals it (second steal), then No. 14 steals it (third steal), well then No. 14 owns it.....he is the fourth person to touch it and the third to steal it. You can also play where it is only allowed to be stolen twice......the rules are yours to create, just make sure EVERYONE is clear about it before you begin so there are no hard feelings. We have NEVER had anything but fun come from this.....once we had a family & friends Christmas and there were like 40 people playing....it was a blast. NOW--VERY IMPORTANT-- we don't let the children participate. If you aren't 18, then you don't play. That's our rule. We send the kids to the other room to play video games or what have you, but this is our "adult time" and we love it! Just make sure you have something to keep the kiddos from interrupting you too much.

And, you can also do this with an "ornament" exchange. Just set a value and tell everyone to bring an ornament at that value. That can be a VERY FUN event too because it's fascinating to see what ornaments will show up....there will always be comical and then there are some BEAUTIFUL ones too!

Good luck and happy holidays!

we stopped doing that in my husbands family because there is too many.(approx. 60 if they all come.) We do a "white elephant: gift now. Everyone who plays brings a gift (we set a $15.00 limit). Everyone draws a # and thats the order we choose a gift and open it. You can take someones already opened gift 2 times and then its "dead", or pick a new one. If your opened gift gets picked, its your turn again. A few years ago we started adding a "white elephant" figure as a gift. Whoever opens this gift hosts christmas the next year. That gives everyone a whole year to plan where christmas is going to be. Of course when you pick the elephant you get another turn. It ends when the last gift on the table is opened. Sometimes it takes us a couple of hours. It really fun. We also limit the age to 18 and above. The smaller kids everyone just gets them each a little something. That gets expensive sometimes. Trying to figure out something for them.

Anyway if you are going to draw names then it is inevitable that a parent will get an adult child at some point. As for the twins.... why can they not be included? Just because their bday is that day should make no difference. You get a gift on your bday don't you?
If you are worried about getting one adult child a gift and not the others then perhaps you should re think drawing names.
I also have a friend that in their family they all buy gift cards to somewhere. On Christmas day they draw names/numbers and they choose a gift.
Good luck......

I'd say everyone buy for the grandkids (I was in a situation where, as children, aunts drew names for the kids, and we each got one gift. Kids don't understand that!). Then either draw names for the adults or do the games that others suggested. Those can be fun - for the adults. The children should get their own gifts.

As for the birthdays, I would say don't give them their gifts as part of the Christmas celebration (these are the adult children, right?). If you buy a birthday present for your other adult child on his birthday, he is an adult and will understand. Otherwise, switch the way you do things and celebrate all three of their birthdays in the summer!

In our family we drew names out of a hat. For us it's a generational drawing, so me, my brother & sister & spouses all have our names in the hat & do a darwing. This year my Dad is in the drawing. My Mom & Dad are divorced & my mom said she couldn't do it b/c she couldn't forego gifts for her kids. That's fine too. Only do it if you're comfortable doing it. We're doing it for the 1st time this year. Honestly, it's going to be tough for me b/c this year just my Dad, sister & me & my husband will be together on Christmas, so I kinda feel like we should have done a gift exchange with only those we were gathering with, but my sister & I agreed that we would fill stocking for those of us who will be together at Christmas. Anyway, I hope this helps you in your family's gift exchange!

Real simply: Each person participating gives one "big" gift to just one person in the family. Have a preset limit, could be $20, $30, $40 or &50.00. Depending what will work well for EVERYONE participating will have the SAME limit. If agreed on, set another amount for 1 small gift for each of the others, IE: $3-5.00. So if you have 6 people in your family, and you choose the max on the amounts above. Here's what you'd have:
$50.00 + 20.00 (1 big gift, 4 small gifts)
Have each person give you or fill out a card telling size, fav sport/activity/music/clothing item. Draw cards/names out of the hat, and ta da,.... that's it.
Folks can add fun holiday activities to it, but to keep the cost down, if that is your goal--? there it is.
If you have a bunch of adults and a few kids under 18, you may need to adapt differently- but this is what worked for us, as we all have adult children w/no grand kids yet.

Keep the birthday gift apart from the Chrsitmas swap!

My family has done this since my dad started the tradition in the mid-60's when we were young. At that time, there were 6 of us kids. I had another sister born after the tradition started. My dad realized our family would grow and decided to start a tradition that gave everyone an opportunity to give a gift and receive a gift while not spending too much money (obviously at that time, it came from his pocket). He placed a price limit on the gift. We drew names and we kept the name we had a secret. This added extra fun to the tradition.

As we married and had kids, the tradition has been maintained. It is voluntary because some in the family have had hard times and, even buying the name gifts for our holiday family gathering, would have been too much for them.

When we draw names, it gives us an extra opportunity to have a family get-together. Still, not everyone can make it so we always have a designated drawer, usually my mom, who draws those names and sends them to the absent parties.

We still limit the amount spent which is currently at $20. We also put together wish lists so everyone has an idea of what to purchase for their namegift. We try to get the wishlists out before Nov.

Oh yes, to add extra fun, we start youngest to oldest for drawing names one year, and then go oldest to youngest the next.

Of course, my mom still gives a gift to all of her grandkids. And we still give a gift to our mom. And I know some godparents give to their godchildren, and vice versa. But it certainly helps keep the costs down by limiting the number of gifts as there are now 15 grandkids and 8 great-grandkids. If we were buying for each of the youngsters, we would be spending a lot more money.

What we do with our family is just draw names for those who are in Highschool & younger. Those names are drawn by the families who have children only in those grades or ages, so it all works out fairly. Good luck!

My family has been drawing names for about 15 years now. We LOVE it! Each person draws one name and buys a "real" gift for that person (our limit is $75). Then we all buy "stocking stuffers" for everyone else (little gifts under $15).
I am from a large family, six kids and most of us have families of our own now, this saves a lot of money. And Christmas isn't just about presents . . . now we are teaching that to our children. They too get to draw a name and look for one special present for a family member.
Good luck, I hope you find a system that works well for your family!

We tried this a few years ago (since we have 5 adult siblings with spouses) and when we did we gave presents to each of the children and swapped names for the adults. It was a mess. The person with the master list lost it and half of us didn't know who our person was. My husband ended up with no gift and we gave nice gifts to our people, but once again he got shafted. Poor guy he's the one who receives socks, nail trimmers or a cozy from a bank when he gets gifts from my side of the family. He doesn't complain, but now we just exchange small personal gifts with siblings like photographs or pantry items in a basket, or a couple gift. We still give the children a present. Good luck, I'll be looking at the responses you get for ideas.

Im going to throw "bah-humbug" into the mix and tell you what our family does. We only buy gifts for the kiddos. You grow outta the "loot-group" when you graduate high school. You can go broke, even with the ol' "drawing names" thing. We have a normal sized family, and I would guess that I will be buying gifts for about 6 kids. At approx. 25-30 bucks a pop, my total Christmas budget (including my hubby and daughter) will be about 400 dollars. Not too bad. We all decided to go this route about 4 years ago. Its FANTASTIC!!!! The kids have a great time and the adults dont have the stress of "what to buy Uncle Gary for Christmas!!!" You almost cant go wrong buying a child a toy, its actually fun!!!

Merry Christmas!!!!!

M. :)

We are doing this also. It works out great. We write all the adults names and put them in a hat, bowl , what ever. We all pick a name. Once the names have been settled...as in no one got there own name or there spouse...then we keep it a secret. This year we are writing suggestions next to our name. We set a fifty dollar limit on these...which is down from 100 last year. As for birthdays we still celibrate those as we would any other time. If the twins are celibrating on Christmas there Birthdays then I would think they would get an "extra" gift. We all get the kids a little something because thats what its all about. We also do a Chinese Gift Exchange with all the aunts,uncles, cousins, granparents. We buy a 30 dollar gift put it in the center of the room. Everyone picks a number ( the same amount of people ). number one picks a gift then number two can either steal number ones gift if they want it or they can go to the pile. We allow three steals per gift and number one gets to go again at the end. Merry Christmas. Hope this helped.

I love playing the white elephant gift. Although it works best if some of the gifts are "good" and others are white elephant (gag) gifts. Usually everyone needs to bring a wrapped gift that is no more than $20. Only that gift giver should know what it is... pick numbers and the #1 goes first. subsequent players can either steal gift a previous gift or pick a new one... Each gift can only be stolen a maximum of 3 times. You can wrap up a couple packets of speghetti noodles... you can give a gift card... It can be a framed picture that you know multiple people would want... (I love this game!) Honestly though, it works best with at least 15-20 people.

Otherwise, you could just write all the adults' names down on cards and each is drawn by the organizer on behalf of the others.. You would then call and say to, for example, your son that he is buying a gift of "X"... Put a dollar amount on it... Say a gift costing no more than $40, etc.

As for the children's gifts... I would say this, if they are too young to play the game then give a gift to them. Hence, if a 11 yo gets a gift, then say their 15 yo sibling should either get a gift also or be allowed to play the game. That way no one goes home without something...

In my family we drew names of adults but we all get stuff for the kids. We also agreed that we would get gifts for our parents and our children.

For example after the drawing my shopping list went like this:

Something for my brother(I pulled his name)
Something for my sister in law(my husband pulled her name)
Something for our kids
Something for my nephew
Something for our parents

It may still seem like a lot of gifts but I'm not getting anything for my Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, and Cousins like I was before.

The way I see it, The persons name you drew is the one you are "obligated" to get. Any above and beyond that is your choice.
Happy Holidays!

Hello,J.

Sometimes we can not afford to spend money on all our love ones so names have to be pick to make it affordable and this way everyone gets a gift.I have a idea maybe if you check out my website at www.irenecandles.scent-team.com you may find something special for the person you pick.

Please let me know it works out for you.

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