15 December 2006

Spreading out the holiday gifts

Consider using all twelve days of Christmas (eight days of Hanukkah, seven days of Kwanzaa...) to open gifts. The season will last longer, each gift will receive the attention and play it deserves, and the piles of wrapping can be more easily dealt with.

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» Dealing with Gift Overload from This Simple Life
With three sets of grandparents and other generous friends and relatives our home tends toward excess around Christmas.  Whats a good way to deal with so many presents? is the question theyre asking over at ParentHacks.  I... [Read More]

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We celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas and enjoy spreading the gifts out... Only trouble is that both sets of grandparents fell compelled to give 8 gifts each. Any hints on a good way to get them to tone it down a bit :)

Meredith: Moxie talks about this here: http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2006/12/holiday_gauntle_2.html

Let me give this a think before I respond further.

We only give a couple apiece for Christmas, but again, with grandparents and aunts/uncles it adds up. We usually take it slow, opening one "appropriate" gift Christmas eve (often pj's or a stuffed toy or doll to sleep with that night) and then trying to keep the pace slow the next day. We only do stockings before breakfast- and limit the candy intake. Then we find that the kids often want to go play with a new toy when they've opened it, so we encourage that. One year we still had gifts at bedtime, so we continued the next day. We'll have a separate Christmas celebration with the other grandparents, so we'll have about half of it saved for Dec 27. A good friend will come over with gifts, but probably not until closer to New Year's.

We're Unitarians, and to help our children understand different celebrations we've added a post-dinner dreidel game to our secular Christmas season. We pass out some coins to each person and play, adding and removing coins from the pot. When we finish, we put all the coins in our "Guest at Your Table" box to go to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee- a charity.

We experiment with Hanukkah present giving. Sometimes we spread it out over eight crazy nights, sometimes we focus on whichever weekend is the earliest bookend to the holiday. One year, we took the first night, lit candles, talked about the Maccabees and The Miracle, then asked the kids to hide in their rooms for a half-hour. While they were gone, we took every present and laid them each out on the living room floor, so that no present touched another present. Then we told them to come out of their rooms and go present-crazy. Experimentation is fun!

Happy 25th Of Kislev!

Oy. One day of presents is fine. Eight is an orgy.
We have a gift per person from the family, and first night we had 'kid present night,' and tonight we had 'parent present night.' Except that the kids all fell asleep early, so tomorrow we'll have 'parent present night redux.' And we discourage gifts from the family, though my MIL sneaks in little gifts - tea for me one night, a CD for the Man another, a deck of cards for the Eldest...small stuff.
But it's an ongoing battle to keep the holiday about Chanuka, rather than about loot.

My family spread out Christmas gifts by opening one gift each evening for several days before Christmas. It's a favorite tradition for me and one I plan to continue with my own children.

We always had the tradition of everyone sitting down to open gifts and going around a circle and only opening one at a time so everyone got to see what the other person got, etc. This was nice because it lengthened the time it took to open presents and everyone got to see what each other got.

We changed our tactic a few ago to where each child gets to open one present per hour. Although some people don't like this format in my family, it really stretches out the anticipation through out the day and lets them play with the toys they opened before opening another. It really keeps the present excitement throughout the day.


1. tell each set of grandparents their gifts will be featured one night. so, they only need to give a gift per child for the one night. on that night, if the grandparents could come over/you go there, so much the better. But, lacking that, make a point of cooking grandma's recipes, telling stories about them, phoning them, making thank you notes/art.

2. have themes for each gift night, 8x presents per kid aren't so bad if you know everyone will have at least 1 book, 1 item of clothing, 1 toy, 1 sinful snack, 1 group gift (board game) 1 promisory note for later. etc.

3. gifts that don't take up time or space right now are god. A promisory note for a day out per kid, or a group outing, is a great gift. if it's not logistically possible for the grandparents to host the events, they could at least purchase the tickets. The point is less junk now, more delayed gratification.

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