Treat Them to Unforgettable Presents

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Colossal Christmas Countdown ButtonTreat...Them to Unforgettable Presents!

The Rule of 20

"Sit down and make a master list of everyone you need to give gifts to," says Cynthia Ewer, the founder of  "This also gives you a chance to examine expectations.  Maybe you've always given to your siblings, but now they have spouses and kids, and things have gotten out of hand.  If you do it early, you have a chance to discuss this with them."  Our rule of thumb:  You should buy no more than 20 gifts - this includes gifts for friends, family, teachers, neighbors, everyone.  To cut down gifts by two-thirds, consider:

  1. Whole-Family Gifts: "One way to save money is through one gift everyone can enjoy together," says Gillian Joseph, director of merchandising at  Examples include board games, Wii Fit, or a basket full of supplies for a cooking or art project.
  2. Friend Brunch: If you're gathering your busy friends for a holiday lunch date anyway, make it clear that this is their present.  They'll appreciate not having to buy yet more gifts, we promise.
  3. Office Goodies: No one at the office will think less of you if you cook lunch or bake something and declare it your gift.
  4. Experiences: "Children uniformly have too much stuff," says Ewer.  "Everyone dreams of giving kids the present, but the truth is, a kid doesn't remember who the Transformer was from three days later."  Ewer suggests a Christmas campout.  "Invite kids to come visit overnight and camp out under the Christmas tree.  You can talk about the tree and the holiday, and kids will always remember it."
  5. Gift Exchange: "One of the advantages of doing a list very early is that you can make deals," says Ewer.  If your coworker list is out of control, be the one to suggest a Secret Santa.
  6. Rotation: Many large families make it one gift per person, total.  One year you might give to a brother in-law; the next, to a cousin.


{This post is an excerpt from "Merry Holidays: Treat...Them to Unforgettable Presents" as published in Woman's Day magazine}
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!

Melissa @ Mommy Living the Life of Riley!
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