‘Tis the season for gift giving, but sometimes that can be a bit confusing and expensive for that matter.  There are cousins, grandparents, your aunt Susie, and his Uncle Ralph. By the time you get to the end of your gift list, you may have lost all the joy that comes with giving the gift in the first place. This year instead of holding a competition for which family members you like the most, use some tips for minimizing the stress and cost of spreading your holiday cheer.

Whole family or couple gifts: Instead of trying to track down 5 gifts for your sister’s ever growing family, get something that will bring them all together this year. Board games are always fun ways to create family time but you can also get something the whole family will enjoy such as an ice cream maker. If your cousin just got engaged, get the newly betrothed couple a date night picnic basket. It will cut down the cost of multiple gifts as well as the confusion on what to get for the family member you may not know as well.

Extended family Secret Santa: Send out an email or mail out a letter to all your family members with their secret santa family member as well as instructions in case someone is unfamiliar with the practice.  If you do Secret Santa yearly, you can have everyone suggest gift suggestions ahead of time to make sure everyone gets a gift they will love. Put a price limit on the gift so that it is fair for everyone and give everyone a deliver by date to make sure everybody has a gift under the tree. All your family is sure to appreciate that you all have less gift giving stress this season.

Homemade gifts: Be it a crafted gift or a morsel of Christmas deliciousness, homemade gifts are always a pleaser because they come from the heart. If your whole family spends a weekend together creating something, you will not only have all of your family gifts covered, you will have created some great Christmas memories together. Keep in mind that some foods do not travel well and you will have to delicately package some home crafted items.

Use the same rules every year with everyone:  You can also decide to limit your shopping list and send a wonderful Christmas card instead, but the key to this is keeping the same rules with everyone in your family. If you send a gift to your Aunt’s family, it is only considerate to send a gift to his Aunt’s family as well. Also, don’t change your method from year to year, especially if you do something like a Secret Santa. Changing from year to year will only confuse your family members and may lead you to forget someone very important on your list.

Whatever method you use to give gifts to family members make sure it is a process that you enjoy. If you are dreading the idea of making that Christmas list this year then it is time to make a change because giving a gift should bring you joy. Give gifts the way that feels most comfortable to you and make sure you respect your family members when they do they same. Happy gift giving!