The holidays can get expensive, especially when you have a large family like ours. I think we’ve been pretty good about not spending too much on our kids and focusing on memories rather than things.
Instead of Jeff and I buying gifts for the kids and one another, we took the whole family to Cancun while Jack was home from college. It was the perfect getaway from the “cold” in Arizona and allowed us all to reconnect.
This year, we tried to also find a new, fun way to celebrate Hanukkah and take it to a new level. We decided to do a Secret Santa-style gift exchange, assigning each member of the family to give a gift to just one other person. The catch? Everyone had to make something for their person. A poem, a photo collage or simply a coupon book. It had to be thoughtful and not cost a lot of money (if any at all).
Molly, being the proactive kid that she is, quickly created a gift for the person she as assigned (who was me, as luck would have it). The rest of us procrastinated. Jeff and I were under a lot of stress just trying to get ready for vacation and the rest of the kids just aren’t as proactive as Molly.
Eventually, Jeff and I decided that we had too much to do and made the executive decision to cancel the whole thing. The other kids seemed relieved; Molly was really upset, though eventually she came around.
That said, Molly did not want anyone to go without a gift for the holidays. So she talked me and Jeff into braving the mall the Friday before we left town so she could buy everyone gifts–with her own money. (That girl and her heart…) She wrapped everything and brought them along so everyone could open them the first night of Hanukkah.
And my personalized gift that Molly made for me? It was an emergency kit of my favorite snacks and gum plus a really nice acrostic poem.
So even though the gift exchange was essentially a bust, it really showed us how thoughtful Molly is–though we already knew that! And we all had an amazing and memorable time on our vacation. I’ll call that a win!