One of the best decisions we made as an extended family was to exchange names for Christmas gift giving. We put everybody's name in a hat, and each person draws a name out, and that is the person they buy for. We have 6 people in our immediate family, so that means we buy 6 gifts total of my husband's side of the family.
And we set a price limit or range on the VALUE of the gift, not the actual price. That way, if you shop on clearance and are able to get a $40 necklace and earring set for $20, YOU save the extra money for yourself. It allows you to shop within your budget and still get wonderful gifts.
We usually set a GIFT VALUE range from $25-$35 per gift, but usually I can shop on sale and clearance items and spend half that amount.
And only having to buy 6 gifts for that side of the family is a HUGE savings. There are actually a total of 24 of us total, kids and adults. With 6 being in our immediate family, that means we would have had to buy 24 - 6 or 18 gifts if we were buying for everybody.
18 * $25 = $450.00 TOTAL SPENDING
6 * $25 = $150.00 TOTAL SPENDING
And with shopping on sale ahead of time, I can bring that down to $75.00 to $100.00!!
And the Best time to exchange names is NOW NOW NOW!!! So you can watch for sale prices, and plan ahead.
So, get with your extended family, and swap names. A gift exchange not only saves you money, but it allows you to put more time and thought into each gift since you are buying fewer gifts. So each gift you buy is more meaningful and thought out.
*Make the gifts more special
*Draw you closer as a family
So get going, and start making plans for those special gifts.