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. It is fun to watch them carefully hide from each other and make sure their gift stays secret. Surprisingly, the gifts are often needed or wanted items (plastic animals, mini-football, bubble gum machine, army men, new tongs, a doorstop, bobby pins, glass cleaner…), so it is usually not just a waste of money. We give them wrapping paper, tape and scissors and let them wrap their own gifts in whatever creative way they choose.
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 excitement their gifts bring. It has also been a nice thing for them to do on Christmas morning while they wait for everyone to wake up.
As they have gotten older, we draw names and set a $15 limit and go to Marshall’s or TJ Maxx and they thoughtfully buy something for the brother they have chosen. It is all them, and we still open up that one special gift on Christmas Eve. It continues to be one of my very favorite moments of the season. So much love, fun, and appreciation for each other! this is a perfect little Christmas tradition that helps us feel LOVE at Christmastime.