Talk with people that you exchange gifts with this year to see if they would like to change the theme for next year's gift giving, like shopping at thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, only, for gifts. You might be surprised!
Or set a dollar amount and see who can get the best value for the set amount of money!
Make up rules and make a game of it! There are a lot of really nice things that you find throughout the year. It's fun and will save on the hectic Christmas shopping rush next year.
Oh, I like this, I think my sister in laws might be game to try it! (03/28/2007)
Our family came up with a "White Elephant" exchange. Each adult wraps something they don't need or want anymore and brings it. There are just 2 rules: no gift can be broken and no gift can be entered into the White Elephant exchange 2 years in a row. The gift can be ugly, though!
It's a good way to clean out your house, or you can shop yard sales for funny things to bring. It doesn't have to be just 1 thing - some folks have brought boxes full of things like VHS movies their kids outgrew, books they've read, etc. Sometimes you simply don't want the item anymore. No one labels the gift they bring - in fact, some care is taken to just casually place the gifts on a pile for the game to start.
After dinner, the adults sit in a large circle around the room with the gifts in the center. We play our exchange game with 2 decks of cards. One deck is dealt out until everyone in the circle has a few cards and that deck is gone. The other deck is held by the announcer - generally 1 of the teens. The announcer draws 1 card from his deck and calls it. The adult holding the card to match gives it to the announcer and then chooses 1 gift from the pile. The announcer draws a 2nd card from his deck, calls it, and again the person holding the match gives the card to the announcer and then picks a gift from the pile.
BUT HERE THE GAME CHANGES A LITTLE! That 2nd adult may go to the 1st adult and swap the gifts! If 1 of the cards you are holding is called, and you already have a gift, you decide whether to keep it or exchange it with someone else who has 1 - or you can put it back on the pile and choose a different 1. The game continues that way until the pile of gifts is gone (every adult will have 1 gift). From then on, when a card is called the adult holding the match card decides if they want to keep the gift they are holding or swap it for 1 someone else has. Lots of thought goes into those decisions, and lots of good-natured advice is given! Quite often 1 or 2 gifts will become favorites and folks will "fight" for them - swapping back and forth till the cards are gone. Sometimes a gift becomes desired because of being elegantly wrapped, sometimes because of it's size, sometimes because it makes funny noises when it is moved. Folks have been known to put loose marbles in a box with the gift, or putting a very small gift in a very large box. One year my husband brought his gift in a wrinkled old brown paper bag. People "fought" NOT to get that gift! LOL! Imagine my brother's surprise when he opened the gift he "got stuck with" to find an electric drill! My husband had received a new drill and put his old one into the White Elephant exchange. LOL!
Then, 1 by 1, each adult opens the gift they have, and the giver admits who they are while all of us oooo and ahhhh or laugh some more. In our family, we then spend some time swapping the unwrapped gifts if we choose. LOL! We all look forward to our White Elephant gift exchange every year! (10/23/2008)
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