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Each year on Christmas Eve, everyone gets a gift to open at dinner that is the same for everyone but personalized. In the past I have made everyone Christmas pillowcases, chosen books for each, or a new mug or maybe some fun socks or a handmade tree ornament. One year we all got personalized t shirts that a friend with a vinyl printer made with funny phrases carefully chosen. One year we all got a set of 10 dice in a little bag for playing tenzi. I don't mind repeating certain things (like books but those were last year) but coming up with new ideas is really the ideal.

 

We have 9 in an age range from 3-20 plus my husband and I which is tricky enough but then my SIL and husband come with 2 young children of their own. Sometimes grandparents come (even last minute) and sometimes we end up inviting someone who has no where to go. Last minute additions do sometimes get something generic like chocolates or a candle out of desperation and that's ok too.

 

Anyways the age range plus the budget ($10) plus the fact that I'm choosing for a whole other family makes this a very challenging undertaking. Some things I come up with I think would work great for us (stainless steel drinking glasses with names engraved) but since I have another family to think about I can't always do my idea.

 

This year I am considering a magazine subscription mainly because I know my middle three would love getting a magazine in the mail. My older kids probably would like it too if it was carefully chosen. The budget would be more like $15-20 for this so we might not end up being able to do it but I'm just thinking through it.

 

Ideally I would have one arrive to wrap and open at dinner. I could probably ban everyone from checking the mail except for me and sneak them in but then I would have to go change all the addresses afterwards since they would be going at least 4 places (I have two in college) and then when my kids came home in summer I would have to switch the address again and this all just seems too complicated to pull off.

 

I think I just talked myself out of this idea 😂 I may choose one for stockings for my middle 3 that would love it and live here and aren't moving this year. 😉

 

Anyone have any other clever ideas? We love reading but I did books last year. We love games but most are too expensive to work unless I break them down like I did tenzi. My sister does this too and she gave everyone a portion of a large Lego set to put together that evening as an activity. She has all young adults now though and I know it wouldn't work here. We do a nativity and have a story to read and then we make kids go to bed early since we have so much to prepare for them all. I am drawing a blank at other ideas. To reduce my stress level this gift is usually taken care of by thanksgiving because otherwise I just worry about it too much as its a pretty big tradition that I don't want to mess up (my mom started it with us when I was younger)

 

ETA: another idea I had for this year was a photo book of our once in a life time trip to disney this past August. It was a first (an maybe only)for our family and a pretty big deal. I could easily make one and print multiple copies but that doesn't take care of my SIL's family. I can't turn it over to her because I did that one year as my parents were bringing their own since my mom had already bought theirs when they decided to come. They didn't bring anything at all which made it pretty awkward. I've just decided that if this tradition is important to me (and it is) I have to be the one who makes it happen for all.

Edited by busymama7
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I had a bunch of young cousins that I needed to buy similar gifts for. I finally decided on Redbox coupons (pretty sure you can buy them on the website and print them), a movie theater sized box of candy, and a bag of microwave popcorn. This may not be personalized enough for your needs but it might be a good last minute type gift idea...

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I wanted to say on the magazine idea, you could print a copy of a recent cover or similar and then wrap that for each person, and that could eliminate the changing addresses problem. It's not quite as exciting because there's nothing to really read/do/enjoy, but it could work. 

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Personalized pencils (with names or silly family phrases/jokes)

 

Personalized book plates (either personalized with names or just by special themes)

 

Personalized sticky notes

 

Personalized luggage tags

 

Crazy mittens and/or hats

 

Small first aid kits (like ones that can fit in a car console) but just character bandaids for the littles

 

Hot cocoa packages with special marshmallows and chocolate dipped spoons

 

Novelty earrings (clip on or stick on where appropriate) or cuff links

 

Crazy erasers

 

Not a take-home gift per se, but one year my mom wrapped up disposable cameras for Christmas Eve with instructions to use up the film by end of day Christmas and then collected all the cameras and made a scrapbook of everyone’s Christmas. Cousins and aunts and uncles were included, so everyone’s page looked different, and it’s a really fun memory.

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Do you think your college students would be able to keep up with the magazines during school? My ds found that he didn’t get around to reading his subscription at school.

No not likely. I was mostly trying to make it work for the ones that would love ranger Rick or the like. So stockings for them is a better idea. I don't even read magazines :/

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I buy a copy of the magazine at the grocery store. Some titles are more challenging to find there, but will be at the book store. They open that copy at Christmas, and the next ones arrive in the mail. I actually agree with school17777 that reading at college can be difficult to find the time, but I actually wouldn't mind a six-month stock to read when I came home in the summer (assuming it wasn't time-sensitive, e.g., a gossip or sports or news rag). A hobby magazine would be just fine to read in two installments - one in summer, and one when I came back home the following Christmas! 

 

I love the idea of the disposable cameras! 

 

Can you broaden your theme any? Instead of "magazines" it can be "magazine-ish" ... magazines for the middle kids, mad libs or crosswords for the others? 

 

Gingerbread house or train - graham crackers, candy bits, etc. ... one "thing" per person, maybe as an activity to do later at night? 

picture frame ... for now have a younger sibling draw the family on a piece of paper; take a picture at Christmas and mail out later.

recipe card ... they can each note their favorite family dish, write it down then or later, and the following year you have a printed family recipe book.

fancy keys ... (my sibs have keys to my house), update everyone's house key with a unique-to-them "fancy" print design (Home Depot/Lowe's)

deck of cards ... everyone needs these!

game ... Retro Night ... marbles, jacks, spirograph, slinky, Rubik's cube, sock monkey, pick up sticks, etc,

activity ... origami paper (one package per person) and two family how-to books (one for you, one for Sis) even littles love origami paper

activity ... paper airplanes ... each person gets a pad of paper (a different color per person, ideally) and 

gourmet popcorn

cookie cutters ... I just bought some fun, unusual ones on Etsy that fit each of my kids' personalities and interests

grooming kits ... fun toothbrushes for little kids, nail clippers for middle kids, scissors for older kids, etc. 

"primping kits" ... hair gel, nail polish, cologne, bubble bath, etc. (nicer than the stuff you buy every day, one item for each person)

sunglasses - something different than winter mittens and that kind of thing LOL

writing utensils - crayons for littles, sparkly pens for middles, nice set for older kids ... cost will be distributed more heavily towards olders

"Name" ... each one gets something different that has their name/initial: book, pencil, ornament, license plate frame, painted initial for wall, etc.

 

 

 

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I like the journal idea. Maybe the kids could get drawing paper and colored pencils instead. We all use journals in this family. Not one of us journals, but it’s more of a designated note-taking spot for things beyond a shopping list. Dh solves geek-technical-computer-math problems in his, I keep in-the-works choreography notes in mine, and ds keeps drawing/character sketches in his. Dd, our English major, might actually use hers as a journal.

Edited by KungFuPanda
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I've done single-copy magazines before, which was affordable and a gift that was enjoyed. I just picked up the latest copy of whichever magazine I thought each person would enjoy, and used them for stocking gifts. It was a fun project to buy, as well (skateboarding, running, cooking, etc.).

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  • 11 months later...

I am resurrecting this thread of mine as I need ideas again for this year. In addition to the other family's two kids they also have 2 teenage boy exchange students for this year.   Ahhhhhh!!!!!! 

Oh last year I ended up doing stainless insulated tumblers for everyone. That worked ok but the kids teased me a bit as it hadn't been that long since everyone got a hot chocolate mug. The choices are hard with such an age range!

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I was definitely thinking card games. Tons go on Black Friday sale -- games can vary depending on the age and interests of the players. Little kids can get fun Go Fish or Uno options, middle kids maybe a timeline game, love letter, sushi go, older folks -- whatever games you all like.

 

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On 11/16/2017 at 9:13 PM, LifeLovePassion said:

 Coloring book picked for each person as there seems to be one for any interest now

 

I like this idea because it would be fun for everyone to be coloring together after! And they really do have them for every interest. You might have to pay a little more for the niche interests, but then the more common ones will come in well under budget if you watch for sales at Michael's and so on. We have insanely complicated color-by-number, math-themed, cityscapes, ancient Egypt, plus more common ones like sea creatures, fairies, nature, mandalas, and so on. 

Or the same idea with activity books. Crosswords, Mad Libs, logic games - another fun thing to do as a group or in small groups. We did Christmas-themed Mad Libs in a big group last year and laughed a lot. 

 

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so Im currently debating between socks and gift cards.  my kids love cards they can spend themselves like to sonic or cold stone and i could personalize them to what everyone like.  I could also stay within budget that way. 

for the last two years I've wanted to give my younger kids pogo passes which give them entrance to a bunch of places around the city but they are impractical for my college kids plus I don't want to spend $40 each on the other family. I'm debating between asking my SIL if she wants to buy them for her family or maybe giving them to our younger kids and giving everyone else a different kind of gift certificate.  Choices choices.  Socks might be easier and we could still give the POGO passes from us. 

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Handmade napkin rings with a cloth napkin in each one.  You could make the napkin rings from beads on one of those coiled wire bracelet forms, and then make the napkins out of cotton.  Each napkin could have a name embroidered on it if you have a programmable sewing machine that will do letters.  You could pick a theme--Christmas, or New Year's, or hearts, or snowflakes.

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2 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Handmade napkin rings with a cloth napkin in each one.  You could make the napkin rings from beads on one of those coiled wire bracelet forms, and then make the napkins out of cotton.  Each napkin could have a name embroidered on it if you have a programmable sewing machine that will do letters.  You could pick a theme--Christmas, or New Year's, or hearts, or snowflakes.

I like this idea. I'm might be fun to personalize them to interests.  Or maybe make Christmas ones to use on the table from here on out. 

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How about Christmas crackers? They are pretty simple to make. You can include the traditional paper hat and joke for everyone and then personalize the trinket. Everyone would get a cohesive experience, but you wouldn’t have to think of a gift idea that works for all. You could do something like nail polish/chapstick/makeup for the ladies, hair clips/necklaces for the little girls, matchbox car/action figure for little boys, keychain bottle opener or flashlight/pocket knife for the men, etc.

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On 11/2/2018 at 9:17 AM, bibliophile said:

How about Christmas crackers? They are pretty simple to make. You can include the traditional paper hat and joke for everyone and then personalize the trinket. Everyone would get a cohesive experience, but you wouldn’t have to think of a gift idea that works for all. You could do something like nail polish/chapstick/makeup for the ladies, hair clips/necklaces for the little girls, matchbox car/action figure for little boys, keychain bottle opener or flashlight/pocket knife for the men, etc.

This is brilliant. Time to google for how to make them. 

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  • 11 months later...

And here I am for the third year 😊

Last year my sister in law made her family pajamas as their gift and I gave team shirts to mine that coordinated with their pj bottoms that we sewed.  They help with those so they can't be the gift but my sister in law was able to make hers while her kids were in school.  I gave up trying to keep pajamas a secret with 9 homeschooling kids and just put them to work helping make them 😉

So this is easier now as my sister in law is participating.   This means she is not only helping figure it out but she is paying for her family's gifts.  

This year we will have my family ranging in age from 5-22, oldest is married so his wife, and then of course dh and I.  Her family has parents, two kids 6 and 9 and teen exchange students(boys).  Grandparents from both sides may also be here.  

I am leaning towards santa hats with names on them but have to ask her what she thinks.  Or travel cosmetic type bags with names on but I don't think that is the best idea for the adults.   We have lots of cheap santa hats but personalized nicer ones could be nice and it's not clutter as it gets packed away. I loved the year I did Christmas pillowcases.  They use them only for the month of December so they are excited when we pull them out.  

Another idea I had is nerf guns and bullets just for fun and playfulness that night.   I shy away from anything for that night as after our big dinner we act out the nativity and sing songs etc, have a special book to read and  the other family has to head back across town so there really isn't time for another activity.  

Socks with personalized interests is also on the short list this year.  I have done Christmas socks before but it's been a long time so I could do socks again.  

Another personalized item is also a possibility.  Maybe nicer pens or mechanical pencils for older ones and a set of like 25-50 regular pencils with their name for the younger set.  I'm actually leaning towards this but if she doesn't want to I will use it for stockings. I don't have much longer with kids young enough to think that is fun.  

 

If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.  

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Just want to say your commitment to gift giving is pretty impressive.

ETA maybe an olive wood camel or donkey to be put in a nativity? Our friend in Bethlehem has a shop called Blessings and sells them. They make them right in the shop. 

Edited by Chris in VA
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On 11/16/2017 at 9:03 PM, busymama7 said:

Each year on Christmas Eve, everyone gets a gift to open at dinner that is the same for everyone but personalized. In the past I have made everyone Christmas pillowcases, chosen books for each, or a new mug or maybe some fun socks or a handmade tree ornament. One year we all got personalized t shirts that a friend with a vinyl printer made with funny phrases carefully chosen. One year we all got a set of 10 dice in a little bag for playing tenzi. I don't mind repeating certain things (like books but those were last year) but coming up with new ideas is really the ideal.

 

We have 9 in an age range from 3-20 plus my husband and I which is tricky enough but then my SIL and husband come with 2 young children of their own. Sometimes grandparents come (even last minute) and sometimes we end up inviting someone who has no where to go. Last minute additions do sometimes get something generic like chocolates or a candle out of desperation and that's ok too.

 

Anyways the age range plus the budget ($10) plus the fact that I'm choosing for a whole other family makes this a very challenging undertaking. Some things I come up with I think would work great for us (stainless steel drinking glasses with names engraved) but since I have another family to think about I can't always do my idea.

 

This year I am considering a magazine subscription mainly because I know my middle three would love getting a magazine in the mail. My older kids probably would like it too if it was carefully chosen. The budget would be more like $15-20 for this so we might not end up being able to do it but I'm just thinking through it.

 

Ideally I would have one arrive to wrap and open at dinner. I could probably ban everyone from checking the mail except for me and sneak them in but then I would have to go change all the addresses afterwards since they would be going at least 4 places (I have two in college) and then when my kids came home in summer I would have to switch the address again and this all just seems too complicated to pull off.

 

I think I just talked myself out of this idea 😂 I may choose one for stockings for my middle 3 that would love it and live here and aren't moving this year. 😉

 

Anyone have any other clever ideas? We love reading but I did books last year. We love games but most are too expensive to work unless I break them down like I did tenzi. My sister does this too and she gave everyone a portion of a large Lego set to put together that evening as an activity. She has all young adults now though and I know it wouldn't work here. We do a nativity and have a story to read and then we make kids go to bed early since we have so much to prepare for them all. I am drawing a blank at other ideas. To reduce my stress level this gift is usually taken care of by thanksgiving because otherwise I just worry about it too much as its a pretty big tradition that I don't want to mess up (my mom started it with us when I was younger)

 

ETA: another idea I had for this year was a photo book of our once in a life time trip to disney this past August. It was a first (an maybe only)for our family and a pretty big deal. I could easily make one and print multiple copies but that doesn't take care of my SIL's family. I can't turn it over to her because I did that one year as my parents were bringing their own since my mom had already bought theirs when they decided to come. They didn't bring anything at all which made it pretty awkward. I've just decided that if this tradition is important to me (and it is) I have to be the one who makes it happen for all.

 

Can you get photos from your sister and make a photo book for her kids.

Or make a photo book for her kids FROM your kids. My kids, growing up, loved having pictures of the older cousins and them with the older cousins in a photo book they could look at anytime they wanted.

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4 hours ago, Chris in VA said:

Just want to say your commitment to gift giving is pretty impressive.

ETA maybe an olive wood camel or donkey to be put in a nativity? Our friend in Bethlehem has a shop called Blessings and sells them. They make them right in the shop. 

Ha! Thanks.  It's really just about tradition and not the gift.  It is fun to see everyone get the same thing but different and the kids are always wondering what it's going to be this year.  

I LOVE the idea of the nativity set with each person getting a figure for a family one(each family). I could then do a small one for the grandparents and everyone would get something nativity.  I am super excited about this.  Oh! The married couple would get their own too.  And the exchange students could get a small one of their own too that they could take home.  One is Catholic and practicing, the other isnt religious so I would need to see what my SIL thinks of that.  I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner.  Great idea!!!

Edited by busymama7
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