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Gift Exchange Eases Burden

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

Our relatives and friends' families have grown in size since we first started our traditional Christmas party a few years ago. Traditionally, we gave presents to all the children. But, back then, there were only 5 children. This year, it seems everyone has a new baby added to their family, and we've also added a number of new families to the invitation list. Now, the children number 15, and we cannot afford to give out 15 presents! How can we gracefully get out of gift-giving at our party?



Dear Overwhelmed,

You should not have the burden of buying gifts for 15 children. Instead of doing away with gift giving altogether, you could have a gift exchange.

In large family gatherings where gifts are exchanged, it is reasonable to "draw names". Every child who wants to participate brings a gift to put in a box. When they bring a gift, they get their name put in a hat for a drawing later. When a name is drawn, that person can choose a gift from the pile. So, if you have two children, you only need to buy two gifts for the gift exchange.

Either over the phone or in the invitation, explain to your guests that there will be a gift exchange this year where each child brings one gift to give and they in turn will receive one gift. Be sure and mention that since they don't know who will be receiving the gift, the gift should be "generic," not specifically for a boy or a girl. Books, games, or gift certificates are good gifts for any gender.