It is fairly common for families to be scattered throughout the country as well as abroad. Along with rising costs of living, that can make gift giving to extended family members challenging. A family gift exchange makes giving easy and affordable. It results in a less stressful holiday season because you're able to purchase for one person rather than several. Family gift exchanges are quite easy when everyone is gathering in one place on Christmas, but that isn't always an option. Organizing a successful gift exchange requires some planned ground guidelines.
Decide who will be Included. This includes a few questions, including whether anyone will be getting together for Christmas. If so, you may want to include only those who will be gathering together. Some families choose to include all adult siblings and their spouses, regardless of whether they will be in the area for the holidays. Who will be included in a gift exchange depends on each family's circumstances. Remember to confirm that out-of-towners want to participate.
Set a policy for children. Many families do not include the children in the gift exchange so that aunts and uncles can all give their nieces and nephews Christmas gifts. Other families choose to include children in the gift exchange so that they can participate and learn about giving. If children are not going to participate in the gift exchange, it's a good idea to determine their "age of inclusion," the age at which a youth will be included in the gift exchange instead of receiving gifts from everyone. For some families, 18 years of age is the magic number; for others, it's after graduation.
Determine a price limit. This is different for each family, but a range of $20 to $50 is reasonable and common.
Draw names. Some families draw names on Thanksgiving. Whoever is gathered together draws names, and someone keeps a list of the matches. There is then a designated person who contacts the people who weren't at Thanksgiving to let them know who they are to purchase a gift for.