How to do a gift exchange for a large family.
December 21, 2013 9:01 PM Subscribe
One parent doesn't "play by the rules" in our family gift exchange and therefore one of the grandchildren gets two presents while all the rest only get one. As grandma/step-grandma to the other eleven kids, this aggravates me every year. Is there a better way to do gift exchange in a large family?
posted by tamitang to Human Relations (43 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
For the last ten years or so, our blended family, which consists of his and hers kids, kids' spouses, and all the 12 grandkids have joined in an annual holiday party and gift exchange. Due to the large size of the group, we have long quit buying presents for everyone. Now we have two separate exchanges. The younger children exchange names and purchase a present for the cousin whose name they drew, and the adults do a table gift exchange game. Once the kids get to be 14 years old or so, they are given the choice of which exchange in which to participate.
This has worked very well and to everyone's satisfaction with one exception. The parent of one of the grandchildren always manipulates it so that child participates in both exchanges. So that child then gets two gifts while the other eleven grandchildren get one gift. We have tried several ways to get her to stop doing this. Her own brother has told her to cut it out. We've had different people manage the name drawing or host the party but that doesn't seem to help. This has happened the last seven or eight years.
He was clearly asked this year and indicated he wanted to participate in the children's exchange. Mom was involved in this conversation as well. He is 15 years old. This is not unusual as there is another cousin the same age that chooses to participate in the children's exchange. Yet when they arrived tonight for the party, the mother once again announced to the assembled group that he would do both. When some in the group protested, he said to his mother, "But I thought you said this way I could get two presents." So it's clearly something that had been discussed between them.
I know this seems petty and truly in years past, I may have grumbled under my breath about it and let it go, but now the younger grandchildren are old enough to realize what is going on. Is there a better way to handle this? How does your large family do gift exchanges? Maybe we should just not do it at all but that doesn't seem fair to the little ones who go all the way down to age four and every age in between. As the grandma/step grandma to all, what is the best way for me to handle this? The party is usually at my home. Ideas anyone?