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Christmas to me is the most wonderful time of the year! Sleigh bells ring, are ya’ listenin’?! The halls are decked with boughs of holly! Yes, I’ll be home for Christmas! The season when everyone sets aside special time to get together with family and friends. Some of whom you only see once a year around Christmas time!

With each get-together, party, family reunion and celebration we attend, the one question that’s always on the back of our minds? Gifts. Who do we buy for and what do we get? What’s the price limit? Cousin Jane just had twins, that’s two more presents this year and nephew Joseph got married which means we have to now include his wife, June. Cousins and in-laws seem to being coming out of the woodwork around this time, and you can start to feel a little stressed when your once post-it note size list has now grown to a college-ruled legal pad sized list.

Here are five fun and thrifty ways your family and friends can all leave with something from the get-together without breaking the bank!

1. Family Game Night

Instead of each person in your family drawing an individual’s name, each family draws another family’s name. Last year I suggested we do this with all the cousins who have growing families and the only requirement was we had to buy a board game. If you draw a family of three kids under the age of four, then buy a game for that age range and if you buy for a family with teenagers buy a game for that age range.

2. Trim Your Tree

I love, love, love Christmas ornaments, and the stories they hold. One of my collections, and a must when we travel, is Christmas ornaments from the place we vacation or visit throughout the year. Some are really pretty and expensive and some I grab from a gas station, and they give us a laugh when I put it on the (back) of the tree every year. This is fun for large groups! Everyone who wants to play brings an ornament that’s wrapped.

Find your favorite version of the “Right Left” poem and begin! When the poem is read each person passes his gift to the person on his right when the reader says, “right” and when the reader says “left” they pass their gift to the left. The poem is pretty long and gets really silly. People quickly forget which way they just passed their ornament! In the end, everyone has a new fun or beautiful ornament to hang on the tree complete with funny stories!

3. As Seen On TV

Each adult buys an As Seen on TV gift. You can make the limit $10 or $20 depending on your budget. Play a white elephant style game and everyone can go home with a fun and useful (thanks, Shoes Under!) gift! Drug stores seem to have the best selection of As Seen on TV gifts! It makes for a fun and entertaining night!

4. Movie Night

This is the same concept as the As Seen on TV white elephant gift exchange except this time it’s with a movie! Each family or adult can choose their favorite movie and then everyone can open them, steal and trade until it’s dead and everyone goes home with a new movie for their collection. You can make your own rules to only allow family-friendly movies, or include the kids and let them have their own game of white elephant going on with their favorite kid and tween movies!

5. Cookie Exchange

This is a fun get-together activity, and who doesn’t love cookies?! Each family brings 6 dozen cookies and plastic food storage bags. Everyone can first have a “tasting” (be sure to have the host supply the milk!!) and afterwards each family can fill up a bag with 3 to 4 cookies from each batch. Be sure everyone brings copies of their recipe so everyone can make them later! This is a fun way to pass along family recipes for other family members and friends to start traditions with their family.

Each of these fun gift exchange ideas are easy ways each family or person leaves with something, but at the same time everyone isn’t obligated to buy for cousin June’s family of eight when they are only a family of 3! It’s a way that each person can help everyone’s stress level and bank account stay in the green! Have fun and Merry Christmas!

Holly is a mom to two darling girls, Anna (4 yrs.) and Macy (18 mos.), and wife to her wonderful husband, Blake. Holly is a part-time kindergarten teacher and Children’s Ministry Director. In the sacred free time she has, Holly loves starting and sometimes finishing crafts and decorating. You can follow Holly on her family blog, and on Pinterest at filled with her favorite crafts and children’s ministry ideas!