Ask the Readers: Family Gift Ideas for Large Families

Today’s question is from Amy:

We have some friends that live across the country from us and every year, they send us Christmas gifts — and always include gifts for each person (my husband, our daughter and myself).

We also send them a gift, but the past few years we have sent “family gifts”, like a movie and popcorn night (Christmas movies, candy, popcorn, etc.). We can’t afford to send them a gift for every member of their family because they have 4 kids (ranging from 6-13), plus mom and dad, which is why we try to stick to family gifts.

However, I’m running out of ideas. Do you have any frugal gift ideas for a family this large (keeping in mind that the items will have to be shipped as well)?

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  1. Joy in Alabama says

    I have 9 children. We love all the suggestions!

    How about 1 or 2 kits to make gingerbread houses? We usually save ours until Valentines and buy a bag of pink/red candy to replace the candy that comes with it and it’s heaps of fun to make!

    Or how about a chapter book to read aloud and a snack to go with it? We’re big on reading aloud.

    Or how about a subscription to Country or Reminisce magazine? Lovely pictures that kids and adults love and educational, too.

  2. Rebecca says

    We have a large family (6 with the 7th on the way). Here are our favs through the years:
    -a big box of various craft supplies
    -a big box of pvc piping and elbows/joints, cut to various sizes (I know it sounds weird, but we have 4 boys so far and they LOVE to build. PVC piping is cheap, and you can build large things with it – like houses and bridges and such – that they can actually play in.)
    -a big box of dress up clothes and accessories from the thrift stores
    -a membership to a museum that has extra perks throughout the year
    -a big box of books (we homeschool) from garage sales, thrift stores, and half-price books

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Jani says

    One of the best ideas I’ve seen is to make the family its own Christmas Pageant Kit complete with costumes and accessories for the Nativity scene. Here is my pin:
    We’re always scrambling on Christmas Eve to find costumes and props, so it would be so nice to have it all in one nice tidy bag to just pull out and put on the show! It would be quite cheap to make using things around the house, and Salvation Army and Dollar Store finds. I also love that it can be used year after year–maybe even into the next generation!

  4. Amanda says

    I would like to offer a completely different perspective…
    Is it possible to have a senstively worded, frank discussion about the situation? My family lives far and wide, so I addressed everyone in an email that basically said that, clearly, everyone is struggling right now, so would everyone be okay if we took a hiatus from all the gift exchanging? And, everyone enthusiastically agreed, because yes, we are all struggling. Currently, my husband and I just purchase gifts for our children and each other. And we are all okay with that.

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