Christmas Gift Ideas for Big Family

A Minimalist Approach: Christmas Gift Ideas for a Big Family

Here’s what you will find in this post:

5 Approaches to Christmas Gift Buying
How to Make a Plan
Gift Ideas by Age

Every year I try to figure out the right balance when buying my kids Christmas gifts. I want them to have such a great day full of fun and beautiful memories.

But I don’t want to buy too much where they don’t appreciate each individual gift. This isn’t good for them and it’s not good for our house or budget either.

Do you struggle with this too?

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Another friend and writer for Just Homemaking shared this story with me:

A couple years ago, my Grandma gave us all the most incredible gift.

She had went through all her photos, sorted them into albums, and gave one to each of her six children and umpteen grandchildren.

It was a treasured gift, and it helped her declutter one area of her life!

We all oohed and ahhed, smiling at memories we’d forgotten, taking the time to revere the faces of loved ones that we now only have the pleasure of seeing in photos.

When we finished looking through our own albums, we swapped with one another, pointing out the doozies.

My dad looked over my shoulder as I flipped through his photo album, filling in some of the blanks for me. One was a picture of him, maybe five years old, next to his simple, homemade birthday cake and one toy truck.

Dad told me he still remembered receiving that truck, and the time he spent playing with it, vividly.

It got me thinking…

How many toys or gifts will my kids actually remember when they’re older?

Furthermore, how many toys or gifts would my kids be able to remember from even last year?

Realization dawned: my dad probably remembered that toy truck because, as the youngest of six kids, it was most likely one of the only toys he received that year.

His time playing with the truck was reveled in with great delight, because he had little.

He appreciated it more because he had less.

My husband and I went home that evening, reflecting on the idea that less is more. We agreed to reconsider how we approached gift-giving from there on out.

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Are you wondering how to approach gift buying this year?

I have four kids ages 3-9. Each year I reevaluate how I’m going to approach gift buying. You would think we’d have things figured out by now, but each year as my kids get older, their needs change and as a family we refine our priorities.

We want to teach our kids to appreciate the things they have, and not be focused on the GIFTS at Christmas, but on CHRIST at Christmas.

Problems with Gift Buying for a Large Family

There’s so much joy and fun at Christmastime. Every year I look forward to decorating and celebrating! And even gifting!

But then sometimes I get overwhelmed. The thought of picking the perfect gift for each child in your home, each family member, teacher, friend…the list goes on and on. I don’t think that’s what Christmas was ever meant to be. To rush and be burdened by this list we have.

Another problem I have with gift buying at Christmas comes on Christmas Day or sometimes the very next day. I look around at all the gifts and I wonder where in the world are we going to put all of these things? The moment they are opened may be fun, but then reality sets in and you have to have space and time for that “thing.”

Gifts can become a burden for kids too if there’s not a true need for them and there’s nowhere to store them.

The most important idea for me is…What do we actually want Christmas to be about? If you’re like me, you’re not thinking gifts.

You’re thinking family togetherness, quality time, coziness around a fire while watching the tree sparkle, sharing meals, talking about Jesus’ birth and what that means to us.

I want to build a Christmas season for my kids that doesn’t focus on gifts.

If you’re looking for ways to save on your family budget, read Melissa’s post, Menu Planning on a Budget for great tips!

An Intentional Approach to Gift Buying

We try to be intentional by encouraging our kids not to value toys/gifts over relationships and other things that will remain valuable forever. This is something we talk about throughout the year.

When we serve, give, and think outside of ourselves on a regular basis, it helps kids to know that those things are more important than what toys they’d like to have.

Once you determine what’s most important for your family’s Christmas season, it will help you decide how to buy gifts each year.

Another great tip my Mother- in-law just shared with me is to not have kids make “Wish Lists.” Instead, have the kids make “Idea Lists.” This changes the way they think about Christmas gifting. By having an Idea List, they are just offering ideas they have for things they’d enjoy, but not expecting that they will get everything on that list.

Any way you can change those habits to get your kids thinking differently will help you as you focus on what’s best for your family.

Today I’d love to share with you some ideas that I’ve gathered from friends on how to make a plan to buy gifts for your kids at Christmas.

5 Approaches to Christmas Gift Buying

Try one of these new approaches for Christmas Gift Giving for a Big Family.

Approach #1: Buy each child 2 or 3 gifts.
When you buy 2 or 3 really great gifts that you thought about specifically for them, the kids will cherish them. They play with them, use them, talk about them.

When they have 10+ gifts each, it seems like kids are opening only for that momentary feeling that will soon fade. Then they forget what all they opened and not stop to appreciate the time and energy that went into the gift buying.

Also worth mentioning…their rooms and your home can stay organized and not overwhelming.

Approach #2: Something they Want, Something they Need, Something to Wear, Something to Read.
We’ve heard this one before but it bears repeating.

This provides your children with thoughtful and practical gifts that they will appreciate. It also keeps things simple and makes planning easier!

Approach #3: One Big Family Gift.
If you’re overwhelmed with the amount of toys in your home, the best approach for you might be to surprise your kids with a fun family experience.

You could take a family vacation (big or small), buy one big family gift (Xbox, basketball hoop, tree house, trampoline), do a theme park day, visit a nearby city and see all the sights, or buy the necessities for a camping trip (kids LOVE camping).

Think of something creative that would get your kids excited that you don’t typically spend the money on!

If you still want to, you could wrap up a gift or two for each child so they could have something to open. But have the budget spent on your experience.

Approach #4: DIY Gift Exchange.
This one is great for families with older kids. Have everyone draw names of another family member (including mom and dad). Then each person home-makes a gift for that person.

Using your individual talents and the recipient’s interests makes this approach super special!

Approach #5: A Theme for the Year.
Choose a fun theme, then create personalized gifts for your kids based on the theme. Here are some ideas:

~Basket/Bin Christmas: Dinner and a Movie, a Sewing Kit, a Tea Party basket, Bracelet Making Kit, Baking Kit, Books & Notebooks, Sports basket (with new balls for each sport), Makeup basket, Ice Cream Maker & Supplies.

~Photo books for each child: “Firsts” photos (smile, step, tooth, bike ride), the Past Year photo book, Holidays photo book, the child’s Favorite Activity photo book.

~Winter Play: Each child gets a fun new toy for playing in the snow or sledding. When your kids play inside in the winter you could focus more on puzzles, board games, indoor swing, coloring books and markers.

Figure Out Your Family Gift Plan

If you’re like me and find yourself overwhelmed with gift buying, walk through these steps to determine a plan that works for your family.

  1. Determine what’s most important to your family at Christmastime
  2. Decide on an approach for gift buying that doesn’t overwhelm you
  3. Make sure that your plan fits in with your budget (again, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed)
  4. Make lists for your kids based on your plan
  5. Buy what’s on your lists
  6. Choose a deadline for your shopping to be done (mine is November 30th)
  7. Relax and go into this wonderful Christmas season owning what you’ve decided and enjoying the December moments with your sweet kids

By deciding your plan for gift buying, you can eliminate the stress of last minute errands, unknowns, and stress. Join me in enjoying the season a new way this year!

Feeling overwhelmed by the Holiday Season? Read Nicole’s post, Dear Mama, the Pressure is Off. We all need a reminder once in a while to not put so much pressure on ourselves!

Kid Gift Ideas by Age

Toddler Girl

  • Stuffed animal- My girls have always loved sleeping with special stuffed animals. It makes them feel safe and feel like they have a friend to snuggle with.
  • Puzzles
  • Baby doll with clothes- Girls love to play house and dress their dolls! Also could do baby beds or other accessories
  • Kitchen- A kitchen their size with food and a shopping cart is lots of fun. Boys love this too!
  • Bath toys- I like any that don’t have holes where water can get inside and get moldy
  • Board Games

Toddler Boy

  • Trucks/Cars and a track to play on
  • Indoor basketball hoop & balls
  • Dress up clothes- Superheros
  • Workbench & Tools
  • Lego duplos
  • Bath toys
  • Water drawing board
  • Board Games

4-7 Girl

  • Barbies & accessories- Houses, cars, and other ways they can play make believe are sure to entertain them all winter long!
  • LOL Dolls
  • Board Games
  • Play School accessories
  • Robe & Slippers
  • Bath bombs, nail polish, pretend makeup
  • Purse
  • Little Passports- a learning subscription box for adventure from home

4-7 Boy

  • Legos- check the ages on the box to make sure your child will be able to complete it if it’s a set.
  • Board Games
  • Hot Wheels track
  • Pop-a-shot- we have one in our garage. It folds up when our son isn’t playing with it!
  • Slime kit- boys and girls love making it and playing with it.
  • Indoor Pod Swing- Great for boys and girls ages 2 and up!
  • Nerf guns
  • Little Passports- a learning subscription world adventure

7-11 Girl

  • Bracelet making kit
  • Notebooks & Gel Pens
  • Board Games
  • Gizmo Watch- These are a perfect alternative to buying your young kids a phone. They allow you to program your child’s watch to call you or other trusted people, text only these people, and track where they are. I love it for our 9 year old! HERE is some info from Best Buy.
  • Bath bombs, lotion, nail polish
  • Bedside lamp with clock and music player
  • Electric Scooter
  • Microscope – Anytime education feels like they’re playing, it’s always a bonus!

7-11 Boy

  • Legos- Again, make sure you check that the ages work for you son.
  • Instant camera
  • Marble Run
  • Board Games
  • Gizmo Watch- These are a perfect alternative to buying your young kids a phone. They allow you to program your child’s watch to call you or other trusted people, text only these people, and track where they are. I love it for our 9 year old! HERE is some info from Best Buy.
  • Codable Robot- If your kid likes building, he would probably love this!
  • Marvel toys – The ones linked below are the 12” figures, like the size of a Barbie doll. Sometimes you can find these on sale before Christmas!
  • Walkie talkies – Kids just love ‘em, what can I say?!
  • Microscope – Kids get to use these at school. Anytime education feels like they’re playing, it’s always a bonus!
  • Electric Scooter – Ours have held up great and have provided hours and hours of fun!
  • Sports Illustrated for Kids- subscribe HERE

12-14 Girl

  • Scrunchies
  • Makeup- HERE’s a great makeup line that’s quality but inexpensive
  • Clothes- Nike, Pink, American Eagle
  • Fuzzy blankets & socks
  • Cell phone cases & pop sockets
  • Lotion, Facial masks, Nail polish
  • Boots
  • Laptop

12-14 Boy

  • MLB sports package- We are cord-cutters, so this would allow him to watch almost all of his favorite games.
  • Sports tickets – You can find just about everything going on in your area at Ticketmaster
  • Drone
  • Sports gear/hiking gear/running gear
  • Codable robot- These codable robots are awesome because they take some time, skill, and patience to build. What 12 year old couldn’t benefit from learning some perseverance?!
  • Ancestry DNA Kit- My girl, Jenna wanted to share this one since her 12 year old is super into genealogy right now. They got him an Ancestry DNA kit and genealogy sheets one year.
  • Video games- Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Play Station, Wii

Teen girl

  • Hair Straightener-  This one is amazing! I received one as a gift about 4 years ago and it’s still working perfectly.
  • Felt Letter Board- Cute customizable sign for her bedroom.
  • Clothes- Take her shopping! You could give her a card that says Girls Shopping Day.
  • Makeup gift cards/subscriptions
  • Concert/Sports Tickets – You can find just about everything going on in your area at Ticketmaster
  • Gas cards/car washes
  • AirPods
  • Laptop
  • Ice Cream Maker

Teen Boy

  • Subscriptions
  • Clothes
  • Concert/Sports Tickets – You can find just about everything going on in your area at Ticketmaster
  • Video games- Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Play Station, Wii
  • Gas cards/car washes
  • AirPods
  • Laptop
  • Spikeball- a fun game with friends
  • Dart Board
  • Bucket Ball

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Big Family

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5 thoughts on “Christmas Gift Ideas for Big Family”

  1. Love these ideas! Kids often get so much they don’t appreciate any of it. These are great ways to correct this and there are so many benefits! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  2. I shop ALL year round and tuck things away as I see them for family members everywhere I go. I find it helps with budgeting and also avoids any “holiday season” frantic shopping. Instead we can use that time for togetherness and enjoying the wonderful season that is Christmas. Usually the more sentimental the gifts, the better. The gifts that cater to someone’s gifts, interests, and funny quirks are always the ones that the whole family enjoys watching get unwrapped. I recently recieved a Birthday gift from one of my girls that was a simple piece of paper, wrapped in a box we already owned. It had been hid under a bed for days and was all crumpled. She squealed with excitemet while I unwrapped it. It simply said in red marker, “You are the best part about my life and I mean it. ” How simple and awesome can sweet little gifts be when our hearts are so full! If the gift makes your heart swell and brings a tear of joy when you think of the person receiving it, then you have given the best gift of all. LOVE:)

    Reply
    • Such good ideas! Very smart to shop all year and spread out the expenses. Thanks for sharing your mom hacks with us! You’re right, it’s all about the LOVE!

      Reply

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