Several years ago, Hubs’ Family gathered around the Christmas tree to exchange gifts.
I’d love to weave a story about the heart and soul that was poured into each gift.The sweaters that were knitted or the present that was painstakingly found in a special boutique.
In the end, all of us resorted to the easiest gift – the gift card.
During this Christmas each family member received not one, but two gift cards to Pottery Barn. To be honest, it might have been easier to just say, “Hand your Pottery Barn gift card to the right and now back to the left” because I think the only one feeling super merry that Christmas were the Pottery Barn stockholders.
So after the “Pottery Barn Christmas”, Hubs’ Family decided we needed to “downsize” and instituted a new family tradition called “The Consumable Gift Exchange.”
Here is complex breakdown:
- The gift can not cost more than $10 and
- The gift must be consumable. Meaning it can not be “around” a year from now. Examples include food, beer, wine, candles, pens, stationary, candy, flower seeds, soap, lotion, body wash, etc..
And we love it. Why?
Before, on average, we were spending $40 per person – now we are spending $10. When you are buying for 5 people, the difference is a $150.
I can shop from my stockpile.
You can make some pretty amazing consumable gift baskets with your stockpile. Who wouldn’t go gaga over a high-end razor, shave gel, body wash, lotion, and a smelly soap. They think you spent a fortune – you’ve spent $2.00.
It is STRESSFUL to find the “ultimate” gift for $40 or less for people you may/may not see twice a year.
You want them to like the gift - but you never know if their smile meant “WOW – this is cool!” or “WOW – this is going out in the garage sale next year!”
At $10 – you try your hardest, but if they aren’t in love – it’s okay, because someone else will eat/use it.
More fun to buy and receive.
My mother-in-law loves chocolate and my sister-in-law loves to bake – so it is fun to buy them premium chocolate bars and baking mixes. They love getting them as a gifts because it is a guilt-free “spluge”.
I’ll admit to receiving gifts from people that I never used, wore, or took out of the box. And those gifts ended up at a garage sale or given to a thrift store. When the gift is consumable – nine times out of ten the item is going to get used.
Donate to worthy charities.
If you are financially able, you can take the money you save and donate it to charity. You could use the money to provide gifts for children who have parents in prison with Angel Tree or purchase some toys for those less fortunate with Toys for Tots or decide you are going to sponsor a child in a developing country for a year with Compassion International.
If you are feeling burnout with exchanging Christmas presents, are looking for a way to downsize, or trying to find a way to give more to charities this year, (but still want to do a little exchanging) – you might bring up the “Consumable Gift Exchange” idea to the family. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.