Christmas is a time of giving and showing others the love of God in our hearts. Presents are one way that we show that love to others, but the commercialization of Christmas can get out of hand even if we have the best intentions. In an effort to cut down on holiday spending but still maintain the giving of the season, try swapping names this Christmas.
Name swapping cuts down on the number of people in your family or civic organization that you have to purchase gifts for. At church, the name swap can be done amongst Sunday school classes or Bible study groups. Name swapping also works at the office if employees want to spread a little Christmas cheer this year.
There are only a few guidelines that need to be followed for this type of activity. Best of all, everyone gets something they like for Christmas and no one has to go broke. This activity also teaches an important lesson to kids and adults. That lesson is this: The blessing is in the giving and not just the receiving.
- Propose the idea of name swapping to your group. Do it before Thanksgiving so people have time to make up their minds early. At the workplace, they like to call name swapping “Secret Santa.” everyone who wants to participate can get a chance to sign up.
- Set the guidelines for the swap. For instance, what will be the monetary limit for the gifts? This is crucial. Some people are not picky shoppers and will get your gift from the Dollar Store. Others are more lavish and you’ll get a $100 gift. To make it fair, setting a price limit of say, twenty dollars keeps all gifts on the same level. At home, you can set a higher limit for family if you so choose.
- Get everyone to list three of their favorite desires for Christmas on a piece of paper. Of those three, the Secret Santa will decide what to get. If you ask for something that is under twenty dollars, your Secret Santa may get you more than one thing as long as you don’t go over the limit. With families, there is more discretion as to how many gifts they will want to choose from your list.
- Set the date for the gift swapping. For families it will more than likely be Christmas day. At the office, choose the last day that everyone will be there before the Christmas holiday. Some groups hold a party in conjunction with the gift swap.
Name swapping at Christmas is one way to save money and get into the spirit of the season. Put your own spin on your gift giving this year by requiring that everyone make their gift or create something from only a specific list of items, etc. The possibilities are endless and the memories will be too.