When my kids were younger (and there were only two of them), we had a sibling holiday shopping tradition at the dollar store. I would take them to the mall and with their own money they would pick out something for their brother or sister. They would wrap it up and give it to them on Christmas morning. It was important to me that they learned about giving to others at Christmas from an early age. They were really good at receiving, but the giving part needed a little guidance! There’s no better place to start than with your siblings.
Let me start by saying that the dollar store is not normally where I do my Christmas shopping. We tried to buy sibling gifts at other stores, but inevitably my children would pick out a toy that cost more than they (or I) were willing to spend. At the dollar store, we could all know with certainty how much everything cost and that they had enough money to make their purchase.
When we added a third child to our family, I tried to keep the tradition alive by heading out to the dollar store with the three of them to select sibling gifts. We got it done, but in the process I almost had a nervous breakdown! Trying to assist three young children in shopping, while also allowing them to be somewhat independent in the dollar store at the mall during the height of the Christmas season is not something I would suggest anyone in their right mind to do! I knew then and there that we were going to have to modify our tradition for the next Christmas.
The next year began our new sibling gift giving tradition, fondly referred to by my kids as “The Store.” Here’s how it works. From their Christmas wish lists and my own ideas I go shopping ALONE and purchase gifts for each child in the family. I try to make sure these are low cost gifts, but ones that are of quality that I know my children would enjoy giving and receiving.
When I get the gifts home, I separate the gifts by child and place them in a bag. Then the kids go shopping! I give them each a shopping bag and make sure they have their wallets ready. I set the prices on the gifts very reasonably, usually all at one dollar. The kids get in line outside of my bedroom door and wait for their turn to shop. They come in one at a time, and I present to them all of the gift choices for their siblings (i.e., they are all over my bed). Obviously I keep the bag of presents meant for them hidden during their turn to shop!
After they’ve made their purchase for each sibling, they take the gifts to their room and hide them until they are ready to wrap. Then I give them each some wrapping paper, scissors if they are old enough, and tape, and off they go to wrap their presents independently. You should see what some of these gifts look like under the tree! HILARIOUS! Despite what the wrapping looks like, the joy that my kids have in seeing their siblings open up the gifts that they picked and wrapped for them is priceless.
Since we’ve added our fourth child, we have continued with this sibling gift giving tradition at “The Store.” Thankfully they love it, because I cannot imagine my mental state if I had to take the four of them Christmas shopping at the dollar store! It would not be pretty!