The Spirit of Giving- $5.00 Family Exchange

24 11 2012

In the past few posts I have talked about the nearing of Christmas and the family traditions I hope to pass on to my children and their children for years to come.  I have mentioned our Annual Christmas Tree Hunt (which we will be doing tomorrow), Making Homemade Ornaments (check), Making Homemade Advent Calendars (check), giving to local charities, and our yearly visit from our friendly Elf on the Shelf (whom will be making an appearance tonight, a little late, due to the flu working its way through the house).

With the passing of Thanksgiving and the launch of the holiday shopping season, I began my quest to search for even more family traditions.  As I have stated, I really would like to show my boys that Christmas is more about giving and less about receiving.

One tradition, that I have not previously mentioned, I started last year, was that of the $5.00 family exchanged.  This idea came to me last year when my oldest boy, four at the time, wanted to make something for his daddy for Christmas.  He began his “work” and became frustrated with what he had created.  Even though I encouraged him daddy would love his creation, I knew deep down he wanted to give even more.  This is when the idea of the $5.00 family exchange came to my mind.  What if I allowed each of my boys $5.00 to spend on their mom, dad, and brother?  Would they want to get more involved with the spirit of giving?  So off the family went with a little money in hand.

My husband and I each started with one child, in the store they were able to think about what they were going to give, then they were able to shop within their budget for a Christmas item of their choice.  Then my husband and I swapped little munchkins and did the same.  To our amazement each of our boys took the challenge very seriously and really thought about what they were going to get for each member of the family.  By the end of our shopping adventure they were gleaming with joy and had a hard time restraining themselves from giving away their surprises.

During the coming days the boys were responsible for wrapping their gifts, and placing them under the tree.  On Christmas day they were also the ones that would give the gifts to the appropriate members of the family. To my husband and my amazement, we watched as my boys were just as excited to open their presents as they were to return the favor of giving.  This new family tradition was such a success that our family with certainly be participating in this $5.00 exchange for years to come.  Just another way for children to get into the spirit of giving.

Interested to know what they picked out and their reasons for choosing them?


  • For Dad: Fishing items “because he likes to take me fishing”
  • For Mom: Wallet “mommy always looses her debit card”
  • For Sylis: Monster Truck “brother likes monster trucks”


  • For Dad: Beer Bread Mix Kit (mommy guided him a little on this one), (he wanted to get daddy beer, “Cause daddy loves beer”)
  • For Mom: Chocolate “mommy loves eating chocolate”
  • For Seth: Motorcycle “brother likes motorcycles”

All in all the boys were pretty on target and really thought about what they wanted to give.

I am really hoping this tradition sticks.

I would love to hear what other family do to help children see the value of giving to others during the holiday season.

Please leave your comments below.




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