Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Just for Fun > Community Board
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-02-2013, 06:21 PM   #1
marius97
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Southwestern Michigan
Posts: 974

Family gist exchange when one family is having tough financial times?

How would you handle a family gift exchange when one family out of four is not on sound footing financially? This family works hard, but has three kids (one severely autistic,) and two step kids. The last several years we've had just the kids exchange gifts (like a secret Santa so each kid only buys one gift) because the adults don't really need anything. This year it was floated (not in their presence) to not exchange gifts at all. I really want to be supportive, but I also don't want to dampen my kids' Christmas experience either. They'll still get gifts from Santa and the grandparents, but part of the fun is seeing all the kids open presents together on Christmas eve. Is there a way to keep that feeling alive without alienating the family or hurting their feelings? I though about just doing gifts with the two other families that can afford it, but then that isn't fair to this one family. I thought about having someone in the family offer to pay for the gifts that this family would have to buy, but they are too proud to accept it (just as I would have been when my family didn't have money years ago.) We've always done a limit of $10-20 on gifts, but I think this year even that will be too much for them. Thinking as I write...what if we created a big arts and crafts table at our get together and have each kid create a gift for one of the others? I know Christmas isn't about the gifts, but it is about the memories that are made and one of the ones that I cherish is that of opening presents with my extended family. But that memory isn't worth making a family member feel bad about their situation. And I've used the gift buying experience to teach the kids about what Christmas means as well as how to handle and budget money. Does anyone have ideas on how to make sure that the kids still have that memorable Christmas experience?

ETA: To clarify, the kids are split fairly evenly between 8-13 and 1-4. I think that older kids would like a crafts or cookie decorating table and some of the younger ones would like it too. The ones that are too little wouldn't appreciate gifts anyway. Santa gifts come Christmas morning and each family opens them on their own. Christmas Eve has always been the gift exchange and grandparent gift opening time. Even when I was thinking about just doing gifts with the families that are able, it would never have been in front of the other family. It probably would have been through the mail, but that would eliminate the joy of gift opening with their cousins.

Last edited by marius97; 12-02-2013 at 06:45 PM.
marius97 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 06:32 PM   #2
Robinrs
DIS Veteran
 
Robinrs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Atlanta, GA originally from Bklyn, New York
Posts: 41,257

Quote:
Originally Posted by marius97 View Post
How would you handle a family gift exchange when one family out of four is not on sound footing financially?

This family works hard, but has three kids (one severely autistic,) and two step kids. The last several years we've had just the kids exchange gifts (like a secret Santa so each kid only buys one gift) because the adults don't really need anything. This year it was floated (not in their presence) to not exchange gifts at all. I really want to be supportive, but I also don't want to dampen my kids' Christmas experience either. They'll still get gifts from Santa and the grandparents, but part of the fun is seeing all the kids open presents together on Christmas eve.

Is there a way to keep that feeling alive without alienating the family or hurting their feelings? I thought about just doing gifts with the two other families that can afford it, but then that isn't fair to this one family. I thought about having someone in the family offer to pay for the gifts that this family would have to buy, but they are too proud to accept it (just as I would have been when my family didn't have money years ago.) We've always done a limit of $10-20 on gifts, but I think this year even that will be too much for them.

Thinking as I write...what if we created a big arts and crafts table at our get together and have each kid create a gift for one of the others? I know Christmas isn't about the gifts, but it is about the memories that are made and one of the ones that I cherish is that of opening presents with my extended family. But that memory isn't worth making a family member feel bad about their situation. And I've used the gift buying experience to teach the kids about what Christmas means as well as how to handle and budget money. Does anyone have ideas on how to make sure that the kids still have that memorable Christmas experience?
I bolded your crafts idea because I like it a lot!

I don't know how close you are to the parents but if you communicate with them ask the closest member what would be best for the KIDS. Concentrate on the children and let them know you want the experience to be good for them. There is nothing to be ashamed of to be down on your luck financially, live long enough and it happens to all of us at least once. Let them know that Christmas is a season that is MORE than just "things".

My son's favorite memory of Christmas was the year we went to the dollar store and bought his grandparents and his other relatives items and personalized each one with stick on letters. My Dad kept his back scratcher with the word "POP" on it till he passed away. I still have the telephone book with my Mom's name on it that we gave her and she's been gone 12 years. Gifts like that are memorable and loving, and my son was so proud of them.

That was the year I had serious financial issues and you know what, he never knew. Kids do not see money the way we do.

Don't treat it like a charity. No one wants "pity" they want to feel cared for. That's the reason for the season, unfortunately too many people forget that.

__________________


Some people say we got a lot of malice Some say it's a lot of nerve I say we won't quit moving till we get what we deserve... we've been rebuked and we've been scourned, we've been treated bad talking about as sure as you're born But just as sure as it takes 2 eyes to make a pair We can't quit until we get our share -JB
Robinrs is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 12-02-2013, 06:33 PM   #3
Southernmiss
I am hazed everyday
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,399

Quote:
Originally Posted by marius97
How would you handle a family gift exchange when one family out of four is not on sound footing financially? This family works hard, but has three kids (one severely autistic,) and two step kids. The last several years we've had just the kids exchange gifts (like a secret Santa so each kid only buys one gift) because the adults don't really need anything. This year it was floated (not in their presence) to not exchange gifts at all. I really want to be supportive, but I also don't want to dampen my kids' Christmas experience either. They'll still get gifts from Santa and the grandparents, but part of the fun is seeing all the kids open presents together on Christmas eve. Is there a way to keep that feeling alive without alienating the family or hurting their feelings? I though about just doing gifts with the two other families that can afford it, but then that isn't fair to this one family. I thought about having someone in the family offer to pay for the gifts that this family would have to buy, but they are too proud to accept it (just as I would have been when my family didn't have money years ago.) We've always done a limit of $10-20 on gifts, but I think this year even that will be too much for them. Thinking as I write...what if we created a big arts and crafts table at our get together and have each kid create a gift for one of the others? I know Christmas isn't about the gifts, but it is about the memories that are made and one of the ones that I cherish is that of opening presents with my extended family. But that memory isn't worth making a family member feel bad about their situation. And I've used the gift buying experience to teach the kids about what Christmas means as well as how to handle and budget money. Does anyone have ideas on how to make sure that the kids still have that memorable Christmas experience?
How old are all of the kids? And who exactly decided--the other two families? I'm confused there.

A craft table wouldn't go over well with our teen boy laden family lol. Maybe a cookie or cupcake or gingerbread decorating party. Don't know if my boys would go for that much either. Maybe minute to win it games...

We do a similar gift exchange to what you describe in our family. Dh and I have had tough times and are probably those with the least income of the three families, but skimping on a kid's $25 gift exchange wasn't a place we would choose to cut.

What about asking all families to contribute to a joint gift for a kid adopted from an angel tree? Just ideas...
Southernmiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 06:34 PM   #4
kirstenb1
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 3,016

If the whole family spends Christmas Eve together, then I'd propose a new tradition of not opening gifts at that time. Instead maybe have arts and crafts as you propose, or cookie decorating, a scavenger hunt, gaming, or what have you.

I think in a case where it sounds like there are very differing levels of income, it could create hard feelings for the "church mice" kids to see their more affluent cousins opening all their gifts, regardless of who gave what to whom.
kirstenb1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 06:37 PM   #5
Belle61513
Mouseketeer
 
Belle61513's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 189

Time spent is so much more important than giving gifts...I like the craft idea, but would all the kids be into that? What about taking all the kids to volunteer at a soup kitchen, Boys and Girls Club, Ronald McDonald House or something along those lines? That way, the kids all get to spend time together (which is what it's all about) but maybe get some experience in volunteering and have a better appreciation for what they do have.
__________________


Engaged on Seven Seas Lagoon private Wishes Cruise May 13th, 2012.

<> ADPi <>
Belle61513 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 06:45 PM   #6
Pikester
DIS Veteran
 
Pikester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 5,433

How about a treasure hunt with clues leading to something all the kids could enjoy right then? Bubbles to blow at each other or silly string to chase each other around outside. Of course that depends on where you live and what the weather is like. Maybe a movie with lots of popcorn, candy, etc stuff they might not get very often or make your own ice cream sundaes. Or just a treasure chest filled with inexpensive goodies to choose from. Not sure of the kids ages so of course the items would have to reflect that.

It would still cost something to do the above but maybe not as much.
__________________
DH Me DS16DS12


Pikester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 07:17 PM   #7
nighttowll
DIS Veteran
 
nighttowll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 575

First, try talking to them. They might come around to the rest of you contributing to their gifts. I think I have to remind people a lot that if I'm helping them, it's not because I feel sorry for them, it's because I've been there. I'm just paying it forward. I've been in really bad situations before and others were there to help me, so I enjoy helping others in return if I am able to. I really feel God blesses certain people just so they can help others at the right time. Maybe you guys can work something out. Sometimes, for the kids sake, people just have to swallow their pride and accept a little help. You're not buying them a house. This is $25 we are talking about. But if you can't do that, if it will just upset them too much then here are a few ideas.

I second having a treasure hunt. It's a Christmas tradition in our family, and we always look forward to it. You could even do more than one based on age groups. Divide up the work. Just because you can't contribute money for the treasure part, doesn't mean you can't contribute by making clues or setting things up.

Second idea have a Christmas party. Again the ones who can't contribute money for decorations or games, can contribute time or food in getting the party ready.

Third idea, limit gifts to the Dollar Tree. We have actually gotten some great deals there, and nothing costs more than a dollar. Then you could play dirty Santa with them, or just give them out. Everybody gets to open something. I'm not ashamed to admit that we have given dollar tree gifts before. We actually got compliments one year, and people couldn't believe the gifts came from there.

Fourth idea, make a new rule that only home made gifts can be exchanged this year. Let the kids get creative. It could be a lot if fun to see what they come up with.

Fifth idea. Regifting. Have the kids go through their rooms and find things their cousins will love. Not junk, but like new toys and stuff that maybe they have grown out of or don't play with anymore. Good way to teach recycling. Older kids could pass down old toys. I know we also did this as regular gifts, giving things I knew my little sister really wanted of mine or my cousins wanted. Most cousins covet things their other cousins own.
nighttowll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 07:29 PM   #8
minkydog
DIS Cast Member
hey! I've got two college degrees and a steady job. if I wanna watch mindless TV, so what?
DIS Official Rum Taster
I used to be in the all-natural camp.
 
minkydog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North GA
Posts: 16,068

I like the idea of making crafts. You could have a few different stations so everyone gets to make 2-3. One of the stations could be in the kitchen where they could decorate and bake cookies. Get some already prepared dough and have at it!

Since the little kids will have limited attention span and ability to participate, I'd keep their craft very very simple. The older ones might like decorating store-bought aprons with puff paint, making ornaments, or rolling pinecones in glue and glitter (cheap!)

We eliminated gifts year over 22 years ago during a time when some of us were having financial difficulties. That was the year that I spent $140 in shipping alone and had to go home and lie down, I was so upset. Most of us give no gifts at all. A few of us send something small for the entire family, like nuts or candy or a new DVD.

One other point--I wouldn't take kids this young to a soup kitchen. That's something better suited to more mature kids. I have taken things to our local homeless shelter and it scared the bejeezus out of my DD, then about 8. She was an extremely sensitive child and it just upset her to no end. I once hosted a sandwich making party for the shelter, however. Each kid 8 or over got a loaf of bread, some sandwich fixings and a plastic knife. They happily made sandwiches which they then placed individually in plastic sandwich bags and returned to the original bread bag. Each kid had a whole bagful of whatever their ingredients were. The little ones, around 3-4yo, made brownies. Mostly they took turns mixing the ingredients. They made one extra pan of brownies which all the kids ate at the end of the party. Later, the older kids took their bags of sandwiches to the shelter, along with the individually wrapped brownies. The shelter staff was thrilled because they often receive clients after the kitchen closed. They liked to freeze the sandwiches and treats for such a time as they were needed.
__________________
Never underestimate the determination of the mother with a handicapped child
minkydog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
Granny square
Always planning a trip!
 
Granny square's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,669

When our family got really large we started making stocking stuffers. It cracks me up sometimes and boggles my brain at other times. Always some treats, my bil made bird ocarinas, all kinds of fun things
__________________
wishing I was at the beach!
Granny square is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
Help, Please!
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 293

I like the following 2 ideas:

1. Regifting! Each kid gets one other kid to give to, but it has to be something they already have at home (including making something with what they have...for example, a 12 year old girl may not have an age appropriate gift for a 5 year old girl, but maybe she could paint her a picture, make a bracelet, etc. with stuff she already has at home).

2. Gingerbread houses! The kids pick "teams" of 2, and work together to create an awesome gingerbread house...maybe you can have a contest...or a theme each year...maybe the grandparents can be the "judges"...print out a few blank award certificates to be used as needed...every kid gets an award..." Most Colorful," "Funniest," "Best Roof," etc! Maybe you can take a picture of each pair of kids with their "house"...what a fun memory to look back on each year! And I bet you can suggest it, and, if you have the money, maybe you can buy the gingerbread or gingerbread "kits" and icing, another family can buy the candy/sprinkles/decorations. For the family with financial trouble, either tell them that it was your idea, you have it covered, not to worry about bringing anything...or, if you think they'll feel bad, can you have them bring in "bases" for the houses? They can just cut out a piece of cardboard (even a shoe box lid) and cover it in foil, tape it on the bottom...they probably would only have to purchase some foil, maybe tape, and put a little time into it, and they could "contribute." I think that would be SO FUN!
Help, Please! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 09:47 PM   #11
Janepod
The new dinning plan is out. Need to get those ressies in!
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Fairfield County
Posts: 3,478

Not crafts. Do gingerbread houses, cookies or cupcakes. I would cancel the gifts and just have a party -- maybe a movie night with a Christmas movie. You can even do something like favor bags where everyone gets the same thing (or all the girls get the same thing, all the boys get something else) so it's not like gifts per se, but it is something fun for the kids. Do Christmas crackers. Just make it about enjoying each others' company and not about gifts. Oh! Bread dough ornaments!
Janepod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 11:04 PM   #12
chuckabone
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 75

Last year we had each of our kids make gifts for the other they are 13-11-11. Which you think would be hard but it was really fun and I had to help of course. My ydd made her brother a arrow holder for his room. she covered a plastic tall container with camo fabric, we attached a strap and it's perfect.

This year we are doing $DOLLAR TREE theme. Each kid gets 3 bucks and they have to get the present from the everything a dollar store. I try to present i to them in a way that they think they are being creative.
My one dd wants to do a candy cane wreath for her sister who loves them. It will take her months to eat them all. This may not work for everyone but my kiddo's love it. It's hard when one family does not have alot of extra$$.
chuckabone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2013, 11:17 PM   #13
npierce25
Mouseketeer
 
npierce25's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 304

I like the treasure hunt idea. Can you make teams..... Match a big kid with a little kid....you can have the craft or cookie decorating as stops on the hunt. At the end have a gift for each kid..... Then have the families chip in what they can afford to fund it...... Don't put a set price.... Just say give what you can.... That way it doesn't have to be embarrassing and those who are able and contribute more....
__________________
npierce25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2013, 01:06 AM   #14
ksjayhawks
DIS Veteran
Dorothy and Toto have taken all my glory!
 
ksjayhawks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Metro KC, Kansas Side
Posts: 3,239

What about having the kids draw names and buy for that person, setting a limit of $10?

You could also set up a cookie decorating table/movies/etc.
__________________
Live Laugh Love
ksjayhawks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-03-2013, 01:17 AM   #15
NHdisneylover
Lanyards are taking all my poor organizatioanl skills
mice and such creatures tend to like to travel aorund
 
NHdisneylover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Heidelberg, Germany (formally from New Hampshire)
Posts: 13,716

I like several of the ideas here--including the cookie decorating or crafts table (I think gingerbread houses might go over better, but hard to say not knowing the group), and just making it a party (volunteering could be difficult since there are also several very young kids).

One idea that I thought of that I have not seen mentioned:

If everyone lives sort of in tech same area, can the grandparents suggest that this year they really want to take the kids out (one family group at a time) to shop fir their cousins, and they are picking up the tab? They think it would be fun to be with the kids picking items out, and have even all the parents be surprised by what was purchased, etc.

The two families who are in a good financial place right now can actually give $$ to grandparents to make this happen, without any of the kids, etc knowing about it. All the kids would get a day out with grandparents, everyone would get a gift from their cousins, and no one would feel "too poor" to be a part of things
__________________
Hadley

My blog about my wanderings and ramblings in Europe, Disney and where ever else life takes me:

http://hadleyswanderingsandramblings.blogspot.de/
NHdisneylover is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:12 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

You Rated this Thread: