This post is Day 3 of our 25 Frugal Days of Christmas series. It was written by Annette from In All You Do.
If your kids are like mine, they have more toys than they can play with in a month! In fact, when we moved earlier this year, I found toys I had not seen in a year!! So the last thing they need for Christmas (or birthdays) is more toys!!
A few years ago we implemented a new Christmas tradition in our home. We no longer go all out for Christmas gifts and instead save that for their birthdays. As you can imagine, with four kids ranging in age from 2 to 8 can get quite expensive. Some families buy one large family gift to alleviate this issue. However, we found that the wide range of ages did not suit this option for our own family. So that’s when we borrowed the $5 Christmas idea from a friend of mine.
What is a $5 Christmas? Basically you get $5 to spend on one family member. We put everyone’s name in a bowl and draw. The name we draw is who we buy for. Everyone gets $5 to spend however they choose. Some of the kids choose to go to the dollar store and buy 5 items, while others want to color pictures and make a craft with supplies they buy with the $5. The older they get, the more fun and precious these gifts become.
In addition to our $5 gifts, we ask that each person write a Letter of Love to the person who’s name they have. The letter is to have 2 things: why they love them and why they are thankful to have them in our family. We encourage them to write more, such as reasons they are so special and something that makes them unique (in a good way). Other than that, the letters are to be in their own words and from the heart.
The Letters of Love are hard when you have little ones, so I have created a Why I Love You questionnaire to use with the smaller children. It works really well and I just love hearing all their candid answers. They make a Momma’s heart smile!!
So, if you’re wondering how we do all this. Well, it takes planning. Even though we don’t have a large budget and a shopping spree to go on, we still have to find time to take each child and help them write the letters. Here are some rules we have implemented:
1. You cannot have your own name. (obvious, but necessary to remind the little ones)
2. Mom and Dad cannot draw each other, they must have a child’s name.
3. ABSOLUTELY NO TRADING (this keeps fighting to a minimum & teaches them to appreciate who they drew)
4. You may ask for help from Mom or Dad, but they will not decide for you (so long as the child is old enough to really participate. We do help the tinies until they are old enough to answer questions and pick things out.). They can only ask you questions to get you thinking.
5. You must write your own letter or answer the questionnaire in your own words. (Smaller children can dictate their answers to Mom or Dad. The tinies questions are answered by Mom and Dad from their observations.)
6. You can make, buy or a combination of the two your gift – so long as you don’t spend more than $5 (plus tax, which Mom & Dad cover).
7. HAVE FUN!!!
This tradition has been such a blessing in our lives. While I do cherish the memories of tearing open presents on Christmas morning, I cannot express the JOY I feel when my children read their Letters of Love from their siblings or Mom and Dad. And their letters bring tears to my eyes – and sometimes even a bit of laughter.
Annette has been married to her husband and best friend for 10 years. They are raising their four children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet her 5 angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating UNIT STUDIES with FREE PRINTABLES (more coming soon) for homeschool families and she gets her scrapbooking fix in by making Subway Art for herself and her readers. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about homeschooling, gluten- and grain-free recipes, homemaking, the occasional DIY projects and maintaining her sanity. You can also keep up with her via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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