I am a daughter of a divorced household, so we have two Christmases. My husband's parents are married, but both grandmothers are alive. Thus we have two sides of the family to work with there, too.
My Mother's Family
They usually want pictures of the kids for Christmas, and I like making food for them. One Christmas craft with stevia fudge will be going to everyone. I'm going to be making my mom some Ukranian egg ornaments and, if I have time, I'll make some for my aunts and Grammy. I'll be posting about these this coming week. I budgeted $20 to give my mom some fun jewelry and she will also get surplus stevia.
I have a young step-brother and step-sister, aged five and eight. I have budgeted $5 for each. He is getting a small toy car, and she is getting an ice cream sandwich maker. Both gifts will contribute to their ever growing car and kitchen collections.
My Father's Family
My Dad had more kids than my mom. My mom had me and my two brothers, who are twins. One brother is counted in my Mom's family, getting a Christmas craft and fudge, and the other doesn't celebrate Christmas. Then, from my Dad, I have my half brother and sister, each of whom will get a Christmas craft with fudge.
Dad and my step-mom will get a Christmas craft with fudge, my old bread maker and bulk yeast that I never got around to putting on ebay, and surplus stevia. I asked if they wanted the bread maker and surplus yeast for Christmas and they did. I might have gotten more than what I usually budget for them if I resold it, up to $40, but I'm glad to be giving it to someone who can use it.
I was thinking of making a cheesecake for my step-sister. I did cheesecakes for everyone a few years ago and she ate the one I gave to her family real fast. She's 13 and doesn't eat much, so she needs it. I found a Wham-o ball for my eight-year-old nephew and a Baby Einstein toy for my three-month-old niece. They each had a $5 budget, too.
My Husband's Family
They used to have a gift swap where everyone drew a name and gave a gift of about $10. Dan's uncle has been under-employed for several years now and has two kids in college, so that has stopped. They still buy for our kids, which I would rather they didn't, but I guess it makes them happy to buy gifts for little kids. Just about everyone buys too much for our kids.
We exchange gifts with Dan's parents. We have an up to $40 budget for them, and it's Dan's job to decide what to do. I always have lots of suggestions for him, though, because I like to help. They will also be getting the Christmas craft and fudge.
Dan's maternal grandmother has Alzheimer's so we are giving her lots of pictures of us and the kids along with her Christmas craft with stevia fudge. Dan's paternal grandmother will also get a Christmas craft and some Turkish egg ornaments if I have time to make extra.
Everyone in each branch of the family will also get wallet sized photos of the kids.
To sum up, we have a $20 budget for each of our parents, including step-parents. We have a $5 budget for the kids we buy for. Everyone else gets the same homemade gift.
The purchased gifts have been bought with swagbucks Amazon.com gift cards. Yes, swagbucks paid for Christmas. If you haven't signed up yet, you should. If you have, refer your friends. Referring is not only good for you, it is good for your friends, too. (For full disclosure, this post is full of Amazon referral links, but their primary purpose is to show what cool stuff I'm getting, not to sell you that stuff.) If I didn't have swagbucks, about half of this would have been saved for, and half would be purchased through mystery shopping.
So, I've gotten my family's shopping done, but I still have crafts and cooking and wrapping. I'll be writing a separate post about our immediate family's budget and what we'll be getting each other. That shopping I have not finished yet.
How much shopping have you gotten done?
How do you decide how much to spend on everyone?
Will this year be different than last?