With the holidays quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking about gifts. At least, that is what is on our children’s minds right now. From our perspective, trying to figure out the best way to approach Christmas gifts for the kids without killing our wallet is always a fun game. So, we are considering buying only a family gift this year instead of individual gifts. Here is our thought process and how we hope it might help us save some money on the holidays.
This may not be the most cost effective way for every family to approach Christmas gift giving. But for us, as a family of 7, the holidays can get pretty darn expensive. My spouse and I don’t usually get each other anything, which helps reduce our costs. But, if we did decide to swap gifts, that would just increase the overall cost of Christmas in our house.
The usual average that we spend per child is $40 – $50, which equates to approximately $200 – $250. This doesn’t include anything for us, but if we did, that would tack on another $80 – $100. This being said, what we spend is still a whole lot less than what the average American spends on Christmas gifts.
These studies show a few different figures for holiday gift giving. The majority of us plan to spend more than $1000 on gifts, or somewhere around $885 per person. That is insane!
For us, on the path to financial independence (FI), that is just not something we can justify. But, for those of you who do spend that much on Christmas gifts, then the family gift could really save you some serious cash.
Family Gift Options
In order to save some of our hard earned money, the option of just one family gift we can all enjoy sounds appealing. It also means less boxes, wrapping paper, tape and bows. After all, those cost money too!
A few of the options we are considering are:
- ASTC membership to the Science Museum or Marbles
- Mini-vacation through Trusted Housesitters (where we get to stay for FREE!)
- Ping Pong table for the downstairs living room
This membership has a passport program that lets you use it at museums all over the United States, and in a very select few other countries. If you have a membership near you, then you can get into all of the other museums listed on the passport program for FREE. On top of that, once you buy the annual family membership, you get into that museum for free whenever you want too.
They also send out special events and discounts specifically for ASTC members that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
The membership can range in price depending upon where you live and which museum happens to be closest to you. For us, we have 3 in our immediate area to choose from. They range between $85 – $140 for the annual membership and cover all 7 of us. We purchased one last year to Marbles and go there quite often now. Since each visit to the museum would cost us $5 per person, no matter what, we make our money back in less than 4 visits. And this doesn’t include all of the other museums we have been able to use our membership at to get into for free. I really love this option!
Trusted Housesitters Mini-Vacation
We have used Trusted Housesitters for two trips now and it has saved us a ton of money. If we can find something close enough to us that might only be for a long weekend, then this may be the way to go. Since we get to stay for free when we travel through Trusted Housesitters, the only things we would have to pay for are the extras. We always pack food when we travel, so that cuts down on the costs. Ultimately, this option would still probably be the most expensive though. My best estimate on costs would be somewhere between $200 – $300.
Ping Pong Table
Getting a ping pong table for downstairs is something we have been considering for a while now. It is something fun that we could all end up partaking in, and can be done when the weather isn’t as nice.
I have been leaning towards one that converts into a pool table also, so that it would be multi-function. I have found quite a few used options that range from $75 – $200. Therefore, this might be one of the top runners also.
Ultimately, whatever we get the kids for Christmas, they almost immediately forget about. The toys end up on the floor, or broken. The video games get old and then they are bored. They just don’t have the staying power. And, it really divides our family since they are all off doing separate things.
We continually try to find ways to unite us and keep our communication at a high level for more family unity. So the idea of getting one big family gift instead of a bunch of smaller individual ones appeals to us on all levels.
Plus, if the gift is something we can all do together, or enjoy together, then it creates more overall family excitement. Since the holidays are supposed to be a time to celebrate family and those you love, this idea just makes more obvious sense to us.
Overall, it appears that it will cost us less money to buy one family gift for us to enjoy versus individual gifts for everybody. Plus, the family gift will be something we can all enjoy together to create more unity in our family, as opposed to separate us. Since we are always searching for ways to save ourselves more money and create more family cohesion, this seems like a win-win to us.
Have you considered buying a family gift instead of individual Christmas gifts? If so, what was your thought process behind the decision?