Solving the Big Issues: The giving of the gifts

How’s all your shopping coming along? Yep, me too. I’ve done a little, but I’m a long way off being done. One day I might be organised and actually get around to doing it throughout the year, choosing well thought out gifts rather than, Oh yeah, that will do and not being hit up with one HUGE cost.

One day. When I’m organised.

I’m interested to know how you all do the gift giving shenanigans. How many people do you have to buy for?

For us it looks a little like this:

Rob and I give the girls their main Christmas present from us. Rob had this as a kid growing up while we usually got the big thing from Santa. I like his theory that the kids should be grateful to their parents rather than some made up character! Last year and again this year the present for the girls has been joint – last year they got an Ikea play kitchen and this year I got them a basketball hoop attachment for the trampoline. They then get a handful of presents for their sack – some puzzles, a DVD, books, pj’s or swimmers, that kind of thing.

We buy for all our parents and on my side of the family we do a KK scenario. There are 8 adults and 8 kids so we pile all the names into a hat and each adult buys for another adult (with a $100 limit) and each adult also gets a kid to buy for (with a $30 limit). We’ve been doing this for about 8 years now and it works really well – each person gets one present that they will love and the kids don’t get overwhelmed with LOADS of presents.

So that’s us. How about you? Does it work for you or do you feel totally overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” that will be coming into your home in 2 weeks time?


  1. the kk idea is the way to go!!! We seriously need to do that…

  2. First time with no Santa this year…the kids are 12 and 15….it had to come sometime. No staying up late…waiting for them to finally fall asleep….which they don’t do because they are too excited.
    Hopefully I will be all organised by Christmas Eve and I can just relax for the first time in…like ever…

  3. I just completed all Christmas shopping (ok other than one thing I’m still to get…whatever) all online as we’re traveling so haven’t been able to get to the shops, nor have the room to stash it all. So have had it all sent to my mum’s so I can rifle through it and wrap it all up when we arrive home a few days before Christmas. I try to buy Aussie handmade for the kids, we buy for all our nieces and nephew (7 girls, 1 boy) but this year my sister is getting her girls a trampoline as their ‘mainer’ so we are contributing towards that. I try not to buy the kids toys, I’ll get them puzzles, clothes, books, pencils etc. They probably think I am the worst aunty, but I don’t care! In my family we buy for my parents, although my Dad I generally just get a bottle of wine, too hard basket. My siblings and partners do a KK with $50 limit. In my husband’s family we play this round robin KK game on boxing day with his siblings, partners, parents, aunty, uncle and cousins and their partners. Everyone has to bring 3 gifts of very little value, $10 or under, they have to be either handmade or from the op shop. We usually pick up some honey from a market, I make some jam or a cushion cover or Matt’s mums container of choc chip biccies is high stakes! We also bring books we’ve read to exchange. You take turns going around in a circle with all the gifts in the middle, selecting what you want, but then you can steal off other people, but one item can only be stolen three times. If you position yourself next to your husband/wife you can get quite sneaky and steal things for your household you don’t want going to someone elses! It’s always a riot and so much fun with no big expensive gifts. Merry gift giving Beth!

  4. we buy for parents and siblings and their kids on both our sides. as for my aunt, uncle and cousins we do secret santa with a $20 limit. anymore and it gets out of control,but we do buy for their kids as well. We make something small for teachers. my own son gets 3 or 4 small things, going with the theme of something they want, something they need, something to read and something to wear. he gets so much from others we don’t have to get a lot, and his birthday is in Feb.

  5. On one side of the family we do a KK for the youngest generation (the great-grandchildren). On the other side, where the numbers are lower, we do a $30 KK for adults, and everyone gets something for the great-grandchildren. D & I also buy for our parents, our siblings and each other. And children of friends. Makes me tired just thinking about it, but dare I say, two weeks out, I think we are done?!

  6. Traci Sparkle Devlin says

    I start my Christmas shopping early November because we buy for 11 adults ($100 each) and 8 kids ($30-40 each). I start off with a spreadsheet and list ideas then get online for the best deal. I have about 75% done now and need to hit the shops to finish it all off. It’s an expensive venture but it’s how I grew up and I adore both giving and receiving presents.

    • Spreadsheet! RESPECT.

    • I keep notes on my phone throughout the year when people mention something in passing, then when it’s Christmas or birthday gift giving time I have a handy go to list of what to buy them!

    • This is doing my head in. Such exquisite organisation.
      Total respect.
      This is who I want to run the country.

      I wing it come mid Dec and hope and pray the shopkeepers have stuff for those I buy for
      This behaviour results in a meltdown (mine) followed by apologies to spouse and kids and anyone else on the road followed by modest alcohol intake and online shopping for vouchers…

  7. We buy or make for our parents, and bake for the family members that always give our kids presents to say thankyou. I would really like to have a KK going but my family are stuck in their ways and hubby’s family always pull the “everyone is struggling so we won’t be giving presents this year.” Part of me always thinks “Yay more money for wine” and the other part thinks “You just don’t want to have to buy me a present you bastards”. But the wine wins.

    For our kids we generally give them a big present from both of us – this year they are getting a Wii which I found second hand and in perfect condition for a THIRD of the price. If I had to buy it new it would never happen.

    I make a dress for each of the girls and hubby is giving them each a charm bracelet and will give them a new charm each christmas. They get a small santa sack with books and games. And we give them a new pair of PJ’s on Christmas eve.

    And as long as hubby gives me a new bottle of gin I’ll be content!

  8. You do your Christmas exactly like our Christmas!

    I grew up with Santa being the only present-bringer, so I never understood why my parents were so scabby, and would never give us gifts while my friends all got Mum and Dad gifts!

    We give a big present – big box of Lego to our boys to share and Santa brings some little individual things to go in the sack.

    Family do KK for each adult with a $200 limit. We ask the person what they want and if it is too hard, we give the cash and the recipent spends it when they see something they like.

    Kids are supposed to get one thing from everyone, but their grandma is naughty and a few extras make it onto the present pile. We try to keep the “stuff” to a minimum and make sure it is something they really want or need.

    I have a son who’s birthday is before Xmas and mine is just after. Sucks to have birthday time at Xmas time!

  9. We do KK for the adults with a $100.00 limit but all the adults buy for the kids…we only have three kids in the extended family so it isn’t too overwhelming.

    Instead of presents for my husband and myself, we do a family present…usually something along the lines of an experience like a trip up the coast.
    This year we are getting chooks! I am so excited!

  10. We do a KK for adults as well, but instead of spending $100 on each person we spend $50 and then donate $50 to a charity of their choice.

  11. kk is definitely a life (and money!) saver in our world. Hubby and I buy for each other, we buy for my parents (usually a big gift that all the children go in on together) and then we do a kk for both sides of the family for the siblings with a $50 limit, it works a treat! No kids in either of our families yet so we can deal with that next phase down the track! Merry Christmas! x

  12. last year we (just me, my mum and my brother) decided we’d spend around $150 on each other, so we’d each get about $300 worth of presents! sounded like a great plan.

    my brother has done his usual “can you just organise it and i’ll give the money” spiel. which has become the norm for xmas/birthdays/mothers day etc…

    but this year, my mum has also hand-balled it to me? I mean, what the flippin heck??! on the weekend i got a text from her: “i can’t think of what to get your brother – can you just organise it and i’ll give you the money.”

    oh, did i mention that said mother had also decided that xmas is at my house this year? yep, so they’re rocking up, and staying, and getting presents that i’ll magically make happen…

    no presents next year me thinks… end rant.

  13. We buy for our parents, brother, sister, in-laws and nephews. I also buy something for my two besties and their bubs as well as something small for a handful of other close family friends. My twenty six presents are sitting in my study all waiting to be wrapped now πŸ™‚ For my husband’s extended family, we do a KK thing for the adults with a $50 limit where we do the ‘stealing game’ a few others have described. It’s a bit of fun and we all have a good laugh over it πŸ™‚

    I agree, I don’t want Santa to take the credit for my daughter’s new bike either…. I’d prefer the ‘main gift’ to come from us with Santa filling the stocking with smaller bits and bobs…

  14. I remember as a kid the ‘big deal’ present was from santa – trampoline, bikes, etc.. and we do that now, though the biggest thing asked for to date has been a bike. I would LOVE to do the KK thing with hubby’s side – they are total rubbish at gift giving. I hate to be so brutal but really I have no idea how they come to pick something off the shelf and say ‘yes! this is PERFECT for Tahnee!’ when in actual fact it is the total opposite of perfect.. perhaps next year I will pluck up the courage to suggest KK.. which no doubt will be laughed at and more rubbish gifts given again… arrrgghhh!! We try to do small things for the kids too, I never want them to expect loads and loads of presents every year x

    • Im the same! I have finally learnt to lower my expectations. I suggested to my hubby that we cut out adult presents with them this year and just do the 4 kids but he woosed out…… guess who does all the present buying and worrying tho….?

  15. We don’t do Santa at our house – we give the kids gifts. CB and I also exchange gifts. Then we do secret Santa on CB’s side with the adults, and our kids are given small gifts from each aunt and uncle. It is crazy but they all want to get them something, so I suggest things like pencils, hair clips etc. On my side, it is only the kids we buy for – much easier.

  16. My family do not give the grown ups a present just the kids in the theory that we have everything and we just do birthdays.

    Mr FF and I buy things for the kids and he and I exchange gifts.

    He has to give something to everyone in his big family which is expensive. I think they should do KK too. But I don’t think they’d go for that.

  17. We just do the kids these days, we tried KK but some people made the effort, some didn’t and it all got a little tense.
    I’ve done all my shopping, all on line except a few DVD’s for the kids and its wrapped under the tree but then I have the luxury of planning all year as I watch gorgeous things walk through the web door πŸ™‚

  18. We have KK with $100 limit for all the adults on my side and each family buys a gift for each of the nieces and nephews (6 in total) with a $30 limit.

    On my husbands side it’s a different story. We buy for everyone! And we have to send it to Ireland. I’m not complaining since we hardly ever see them but often the postage is more than the value of the gifts.

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