Ask Design Mom Week — Family Christmas Gift

November 5, 2009

My husband’s family always draws names for gift giving. This year we are gifting to his sister’s family; they have six kids and a total of eight people. (Which made me think of you ;)). I’m wondering if you know of any good gift ideas that the whole family could enjoy, or perhaps a something we could get for each family member that wouldn’t break the bank. The kids range in age from 3-14. Thanks!Lynnette

Another great question. My family picks names as well. One of the favorite gifts we’ve ever received was a collection of Nativity Dress-ups my sister put together from thrift store finds. It’s awesome. And really good for a wide range of ages. You can see my post about it here.

Dear Readers, I’m sure you have tons of good suggestions for Lynnette. What do you like to give for “family” gifts?

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janet November 5, 2009 at 4:08 pm

We like to give a family gift of a Hollywood Video (or other video rental) giftcard, then the family can have a fun evening on us, pick a movie and even get movie treats to go with it.


2 bloggerjeanne November 5, 2009 at 4:10 pm

A good family board game is fun! Maybe make a family game night basket!


3 Anonymous November 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm

a museum membership.


4 Jessica Jo November 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm

or a zoo membership. that goes over better with the kids i think


5 mymcmlife November 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm

My first throught was games. Maybe a set of classic family games: pictionary, UNO, taboo, madgab, etc.


6 the emily November 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Last year I gave my sister's family a fun big popcorn bowl, an air popper, actual popcorn with different toppings, a movie, and some candy. It was like $40 total and they loved it. It's easy to make the bowl full of candy/popcorn/movie cute with clear wrap and a pretty ribbon, then just wrap the air popper separately (or skip that if they have another method of popping).


7 Carolee November 5, 2009 at 4:24 pm

I made a memory/matching game for a family gift that was quite a hit. We used pics of each person in the family as well as their pets, house, car, etc. You print off the photos onto fabric, it's incredibly easy, economical, and very cute. The original idea and directions are here:


8 Whitney November 5, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Ah, I love family gifts! Board games are a favorite: Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, etc.

Also, a collection of books to read aloud might work too: Harry Potter, Narnia, any series for any age.

One of my favorite gifts is movie boxed sets: Audrey Hepburn, Hitchock, Thin Man, Bourne Identity, or just favorites put together.

Have fun!


9 sammyw November 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

i love the idea of a 'family date night' basket. different little dates that the family can use throughout the year, like movie tickets, gift card out to ice cream, an outdoor campout complete with smore supplies. it's also fun to do a couple smaller baskets to break it up into themes, say a daddy & daughters date and a mama & sons date, then there's always room for a daddy & mama date thrown in the mix to with a coupon for free babysitting!


10 Jen November 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I gave a family subscriptions to magazines for each of them. kids, Kids National Geographic or Highlights, mom- Real Simple or Family Fun, Dad- whatever they are interested in- golf etc. They have fun with it all year.


11 Sally Fienup November 5, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Netflix subscription.
Costs start @ $5 or $9 per month.
(Give a gift for a year.)


12 Ali November 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm

We've done games, movies, etc. but my favorite so far was gifted to us by my brother and sister in law and their kids. They choose a brand new book for each of us, many of which that were favorites of theirs. We all received a lovely new book and the memory that it came from a loved one who chose it especially for us.


13 Amber Lee November 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Love these ideas. We're working on picking out gifts for a whole family too this Christmas. Here are some we've thought about,

Documentaries (like Planet Earth or the new Ken Burns one)
Tickets to a Christmas Concert (given in advance)
A stargazing kit or sled some other activity they can do together

i've blogged about a few others here


14 wideopenspaces November 5, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Oh, Gabrielle. You really got me with this one. I am so stealing this. The idea – amazing. Your sisters finds – awesome. There is nothing about this that I am not head-over-heels in love with. thank you!


15 Amberly November 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm

A few lovely Christmas picture books with some hot chocolate would be perfect for our family – especially if the giver told us to open before Christmas. We read at least one Christmas picture book every night in December and are always adding to our collection.


16 Peggy November 5, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Have you considered small silhouettes of the kids? I treasure the cuttings of my girls and just took the photoes to do the cuttings of my grandkids. Checkout my Etsy shop for an example.


17 aimee heff November 5, 2009 at 11:13 pm

My bosses husband is a film maker and puts together the best festival films in themed collections. Check out these DVD's for families, kids, lovers, girlfriend. There really is something for everyone in their gift sets. Wholesome, independent movies – could you ask for more?!

They also sell them at Deseret Book here:


18 Gracie73 November 5, 2009 at 11:44 pm

My group of friends and I received two-sided polar fleece blankets from a dear friend. She went to a craft/fabric store and made them with a personalized theme for each of us. The ends were cut with a thick fringe to be tied together. Some were themed as sports, shopping, favorite color, etc. I love this blanket…especially in the winter when I'm chilly on the couch!! She put alot of thought into how each of these blankets fit our personalities!!


19 Anonymous November 6, 2009 at 12:04 am

Bath towels, monogrammed (w/ a graphic stitched in for each family member)


20 Mary November 6, 2009 at 8:59 am

I was one of five and we always appreciated the thought someone went to personalize the gift, even though it was a collective present. The best was a fun hamper that was of themed fun for days like "Wet & rainy" (paints and smocks), "Summer fun" (slippery slide) "Wild wind Day" (making our own kite kit)… The gift just kept giving all year!


21 Gift Expressions November 6, 2009 at 11:28 am

I love some of the suggestions that have been given.

How about a family movie dvd and coupons for pizza? That way they can all enjoy a special night together and Mom won't have to cook.


22 NSMOM November 6, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Some type of membership to a family-friendly venue in their area.


23 Nikki November 6, 2009 at 9:49 pm

We love Blokus – it may be a tad too 'big' for the 3 year old, but it won't take long to catch on. Great for spatial reasoning and no one knows they're actually learning!


24 Bethany Christensen November 6, 2009 at 10:10 pm

We draw names too and since everyone is married with children we exchange children's books. I love it becasue it is personal, practical and so easy. We love reading our cousin's picks for the year. Here is my post about it.


25 Anonymous November 6, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I come from a large family and we have 4 small children. They are the last of the 20 grandchildren. Our holidays get so hectic that we get together for Thanksgiving and after we've stuffed ourselves we gather around and do a "Yankee Swap" but we call it "Yank-me Swap". It happens the same way as a Yankee Swap (Rooted in New England history so maybe only we know about it around MA) everyone brings a wrapped gift and draws a number from a hat. You go in order from 1- ##, how ever many people and you can swap or keep the gift. The person with the highest number has the last and best choice. The "Yank me" part of it is all the stuff has to be a regift or something you've picked up along the year and want to give away. Every year a ceramic chicken is THE gift to get and it get proudly displayed on another families nick nack shelf until next Thanksgiving. The children get grab bags (usually left over Halloween candy!) Everyone is happy!


26 Zach & Hannah Parris November 7, 2009 at 11:15 pm

My family now has a rule that we can only give homemade gifts or donations in honor of each other. We like to choose a charity or cause that reflects the person in whose name it was given. I usually also crochet hats for everyone each year!


27 Wimzie Prints November 8, 2009 at 1:17 am

We always like to give (or receive) a new game to play as a family. Some favorites through the years have been Chinese Checkers, Bandu, Rumikub, Balderdash…


28 Cissy November 8, 2009 at 11:49 pm

My gift ideas change every year, depending, of course, on the family we get. This year we have an unmarried sister who is a favorite aunt to the kids. I'm helping each of my kids select a favorite picture book to give her, to help her build her own collection (plus, she's a book lover).

I love the nativity costume idea as well; I hope to first make my own set, then start giving sets as gifts.


29 happykatie November 9, 2009 at 3:40 pm

One of the greatest family gifts I've ever received is a family membership to the Zoo or a great art museum. Even better if they've got ongoing movie, show or special sneak peek member-only events — we think of those folks everytime we attend :)


30 Lynnette November 9, 2009 at 11:04 pm

Hooray! Thank you all for the wonderful ideas. Now I have the problem of too many options, LOL. Ask Design Mom is the best!


31 Lizzy Dac November 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm

This year, I'm sending out "Dinner and a Movie" kits – with aprons I've been making all year (out of fabric tailored to each person's interests) and in the pocket, a DVD and recipes to go with it. This could be adapted for a family, too.

Example: Princess Bride and a recipe for Roast of Unusual Size and Buttercup Squash.

Fun, homemade and reusable.


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