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What is your advice on how to get family to draw names for Christmas gifts?

If you draw names on Christmas gifts, how did it get started? Were there some that didn't agree? If so, how did they get convinced to do it? I've tried to get it started with my in laws, but no one wants to do it. DH and I can't afford to buy for every one, especially when we have three kids of our own. Grandma usually wraps up things around her house as gifts, then apologizes for it! I know she'd feel better if she could get one nice gift for some one. It'd make us feel better, too, to be able to participate in gift giving. MIL said once that she "can't choose between her kids." I just think it would make for a nicer and less stressful holiday for every one involved! We all know that none of us can afford it, but DH and I are the only ones who stick to our household budget. Every one else maxes out their credit cards and delays their bills. We just can't do that.


Asked by Mrs.B3 at 3:55 PM on Oct. 27, 2010 in Holidays

Level 16 (3,196 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • I would call around, the SIL's and BIL's if there are any, get everyone on board and decide what to do. It was tough in my family when I first moved to ME from CA. It was only (now ex) hubby and I and there were 4 adult cousins w/spouses, and anywhere between 1 and 3 children per house for a total of 16 gifts just from ONE of my aunts & uncles. I have 9 aunts & uncles with spouses and kids/grandkids LOL!!!

    I called around everyone agreed that the spending was outrageous and it would be MUCH better if a $ limit was set and names swapped. We got together on Thanksgiving (rented a hall and EVERYONE got together) and did the name pull at the end of day.

    It's evolved since then, now we have a $20 limit and everyone buys ONE item, puts bows/ribbons/etc on the package but NOT completely wrapped and we do Christmas Family Bingo. You can win ONE time only and once you win you're out, LOL. Everyone gets a gift and the kids LOVE it!

    Answer by NEMommaOf3 at 5:21 PM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • We're in the same boat. I've been trying for years to convince my in-laws of this, the idea is discussed and it never happens. I don't even care this year, we can't afford to buy for anybody this year, plain and simple. I'm getting for the kids and that's it.

    Answer by thatgirl70 at 4:07 PM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • We have been doing it for about 5 years now. We put the names in a bag & everyone chooses. We set a $100 limit and then you tell the person who got you what you want. I usually ask for a gift card. I was the one who recommended it for the same reasons as you said. Everyone agreed. But they all still buy my Son a gift too since he is 4. I usually buy everyone a small table gift every year also for the Christmas table at my Moms. I buy candles or an ornament or key chains for the guys and set it at their place at the table. BUT I kinda feel bad about who your Grandma gets if you do it, since they may loose out altogether! LOL! Maybe you should make a point to bring her out shopping for that persons gift!! :)


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 4:02 PM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • Our family drew names among the kids and grandkids............Grandma still bought for everyone.

    I was the one who suggested it one year and basically just came out and said....."I can't afford this any longer". At the time it was only me and DD, I was buying for 10, sister, their spouses and their kids.

    Our kids are older now and we change the "theme" every year. Sometimes we draw names.....sometimes we just buy a gift and play Dirty Santa......this year we are all bringing something we already own and don't want (should be interesting).

    Answer by Dyndudes at 4:06 PM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • LOL! I think Grandma could handle buying the one gift!

    Comment by Mrs.B3 (original poster) at 4:07 PM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • we have the same issue. I really want to start this as well, but there are only 4 families involved. My brother and his wife have 2 kids, my sister is just her, my husband and I have 2 kids and then my parents. I feel like I have to buy for the kids no matter what. I would love if my nephew could be involved in the name drawing, he's 16 though, so I'm not sure if his parents would go for it. My parents have said they would still buy for everyone because it's their children. I feel like I have to buy for my parents (I'm super close with them and I'm the only one who is). After all that, I'm only saving on my sister or brother's gift. I guess we might as well keep it the same. I would love any suggestions anyone has too!

    Answer by CJM_SHM at 4:09 PM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • We picked names for years becasue there was so many of us. We always did it at Thanksgiving. How it got started was someone just said it. They just said exactly what you just did "it is getting so expensive and we just can't afford to get for everyone so can we just choose names?" But we have also on my side, a couple of times decided to just do away with any gifts for the adults, I have to say that that was probably the best, least stressfull xmas ever. Now it is that way every year, we just buy for the LO's. On my dh's side it is different there is only one kid (my sd) who is 13. Every year it is a big ordeal about picking names and how much you can spend. There have actually been agruements about this. Last year we (me and hubby) decided that we are not going to be told what we have to do at xmas. We now buy for who we want and what we want the rest can do what they want. But we don't financially stress ourselves anymore.

    Answer by sue118 at 4:13 PM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • We did it for several years but it was unanimous - everyone was low on money. We all agreed it would be easier, simpler and more convenient for everyone if we just drew names. After a while some people got tired of it because they wanted to buy for other family members too - which then lead to some people being offended. But anyway... =)

    Answer by firenicecream at 4:14 PM on Oct. 27, 2010

  • Well maybe you can make grandma understand in this economy not everyone can buy gifts and one person giving her a gift would be a lot nicer than a lot of small ones. And then she only has to buy one. Or if she truly will not participate set a dollar limit for her for the gifts and tell her the rest of you will be uncomfortable if she spends more as none of you can spend a lot. I like the drawing idea, I think it's great and people get what they want instead of a bunch of little stuff they don't need.

    Answer by SophiaofLight at 5:40 PM on Oct. 27, 2010