Gift giving has become a socially accepted part of holidays, especially for Christmas. Instead of focusing on the gifts we have because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we stress over finances and making sure we didn’t forget someone in our gift shopping marathons. And don’t take me wrong! I love to give gifts, but I love to give gifts that have meaning. I love finding that perfect gift that requires forethought and truly fits the person receiving. And we have a large family, which could very easily get out of control, so I have to be very conscientious about the gifts I give. So from a mother of a large family, here are our top ten best Christmas gift ideas for large families. Thoughtful, useful and varied budgets, because it’s really the thought that counts and spending time together.
1. Family Passes
We have enjoyed so many adventures together simply by having a family pass. We have had passes to the local zoo, children’s museums, art museums, history and science museums, water parks, and this year we are trying out a hockey team. I would love to get a pass to a theater or dance troup one day. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving all year long! And it doesn’t fill my house with more stuff. A win-win in my book!
Another new option are the many subscription boxes available today. Cooking kits to science kits to book kits! A great excuse to do something fun together once a month.
2. Magazine Subscription
This one may add to the pile on my coffee table, but there is such a sweet surprise each month in the mailbox that the kids just love. Again, a gift that keeps giving all year long. We have enjoyed World magazine, Wild & Free, and God’s Big World in the past. Even though the magazine world has shrunk with the birth of the internet, they are still out there and there is just something wonderful about holding a book and thumbing through the pages.
We are a family that doesn’t believe you could ever own too many books. I love being married to a carpenter because building book shelves can become habit forming around here! My sister and I have swapped books for the last few Christmases and I love it! It can be very affordable and you can get creative with it. You can do theme’s, for example one year we did Eric Carle books for the kids. You can have a non-fiction year supplying your large family with DIY books or cookbooks. You could set up a book exchange, where books are wrapped and marked girl or boy, to be drawn for or traded.
4. Snack Foods
This may seem silly and ridiculous, but it was really a fun gift! One year my sister bought my kids a big box of mixed snack foods from amazon. Food is always a great gift for a large family, but this box of new snacks to try really made all the kids happy. And talk about budget friendly compared to purchasing individual gifts.
I wasn’t sure what to title this, but basically it’s a mini-vacation. Large families don’t often get to take vacations due to the expense and the varying schedules of so many people. And because I don’t expect anyone to pay for our family’s vacation, this is like a vacation, but more of an opportunity. It could be an aunt offering to babysit the kids, bringing tons of fun activities to do together, while the parents escape for a day. It could include joining the family at a local event or museum and paying for the meal. It could be planning a fun day at home, complete with water gun wars. The possibilities are endless here!
We have been blessed with vacations thanks to my generous mother-in-law, but it’s not the big get-aways that mean so much. It’s the thought and the time spent together. One year for my husband’s birthday we set up activity stations at home. We had water gun wars (I wasn’t kidding), t-shirt painting, fun desserts, and other outdoor games set up. It was so nice on my budget, plus it provided a full day of fun!
Last year we were gifted a train ride! My oldest son loves trains and we have ridden many across the lower 48, so this was a special treat for our family. Just take time and be creative! It’s more than just marking names off your gift list.
6. Games and Puzzles
Are you seeing a theme yet? Activities that require spending time together are high on my list. Board games and puzzles are a perfect way to encourage togetherness. The challenge here is finding something for all ages in the family. We have littles and bigs in our household, so we have a stack of games appropriate for two age groups. Two board games for a family gift is affordable and loads of fun!
7. Movie Night
Again, this will depend on the ages represented in the family, but this could be a really cool gift. Grab a family friendly movie, some movie snacks and drinks, and maybe a few blankets. It could be movie tickets instead or maybe set up an outside movie if you have the equipment. What a fun memorable night plus every time the kids watch that movie again, they will think of you and the fun night you had!
8. Craft Box
Create a box full of random items to be used for art projects. I’ve done this before where I added craft sticks, glue, construction paper, ribbon, pipe cleaners, pom poms, straws, crayons, etc. There really isn’t a limit to what you could put in the box. Even a collection of recycled items such as toilet paper rolls and milk cartons could be used. Throw in a kid’s craft book for some inspiration. These are great, because they create together time and they are consumable and won’t clutter the house!
9. Around the World
We are homeschoolers and love finding things to turn into school, so why not a Christmas gift. This gift could get pricey, but if you have that freedom it is full of possibilities! There’s two ways to approach this one. First choose a country, possibly one that you have experience with or one the receiving family is fond of. Then give each person an item representing or from that country. We have ten family members, so we would end up with ten different items from one country. The second way to approach this is to give each person the “same” item but from different countries. For example, gift each child a toy, but from different countries.
Having a large family makes paying for dance classes or sports teams very difficult and sometimes impossible. We have to be very cautious with how our time is spent, but there are times when there is a child wanting to take an art class or learn to ice skate and I have to say no. Gifting a family a year worth of lessons can be a costly endeavor but a wonderful blessing. This really will depend on the number and ages of kids and will require coordinating with the parents. A year worth of piano lessons for the 4 oldest children could be done by only paying for two weekly spots and the kids taking turns. Be creative and bless a family!