My kids love to give each other presents, and they always have. I love watching the excitement on their faces as they pick out the “just right” gifts for their brothers. At Christmas time it is important to me that they get to enjoy the excitement of giving as well as receiving, so we started our Dollar Store gift exchange.
Each of the boys brings $5 (there are 6 people in our family), and ideally it is $5 of their own money (sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t). We let them purchase a gift for each sibling and one for mom and one for dad. Surprisingly, the gifts are often needed or wanted items (plastic animals, mini-football, bubble gum machine, army men, new tongs, a doorstop, DVD cleaner…), so it is usually not just a waste of money.
Then, we open all of the dollar store gifts on Christmas Eve along with our Christmas pajamas. The boys are so anxious to open something, and the tiny gifts would be over shadowed on Christmas morning, so it is an especially sweet moment to watch them hardly contain their excitement as they GIVE gifts purchased with their own money to the people they love most. They spend a few minutes that night enjoying their presents and playing together, and it is a big pay off for the giver as they see the enjoyment their gifts bring. As they get older, we might change the money amount or the place we shop, but for now, this is a perfect little Christmas tradition that helps us feel LOVE at Christmastime.