Hand-Me-Down Christmas

I love that my Stenson family is always willing to think outside the box when it comes to Christmas gift exchanges. We have done service gifts, homemade gifts, and nostalgic gifts. We have stuffed each others stockings, drawn families and drawn individuals.  Boys have given to boys and girls have given to girls.

But this year our family gift chairman  agreed to have a “Hand-Me-Down” Christmas gift exchange between cousins.

(I may or may not have put the bug in his ear because hand-me-down goes right along with my thrift goals and my minimalism kick.)

Many of my siblings agreed that no one needs to spend more money and many of us have too much stuff in our homes as it is.  So rather than add more to the clutter and unnecessary spending, cousins are going to give away something they already own.  Maybe they have outgrown the item or don’t use it anymore; or they just think their cousin would enjoy it.

I love the “Hand-Me-Down” idea because

a. no money is spent

b. there will be less stuff in our home

c. cousins have to actually sacrifice something of their own to give to the others

d.when you give away something away you make room for something new

We divided the cousins into boys and girls and then tried as nearly as possible to assign kids to the cousin just younger than them.  If a sibling were just younger, we had to do a little maneuvering. The very youngest cousin gives to the oldest cousin.  We figured the mom or dad might have something to pass on in that case.

My kids looked through their toys, books, video games, movies and clothes to see what they could pass on to their cousins.  It was harder than I thought for my children to part with their belongings .  Chad and I were even attached to some of their possessions.  But we managed to find a few gift ideas.

Croft has her little one year old cousin, Lydia. We found this cute purse and we still had all the contents.

Croft and her helpers cleaned it thoroughly with a toothbrush to make it look as new as possible.

Crew and Locke decided to combine efforts and give away one of their Wii games to 2 brothers who are 4 and 6.  We figured they live in rainy Washington and would need something to do in the winter.  Parting with this video game was a very difficult choice for Crew even though he hadn’t played the game in over a year. When he got it out to give away, he remembered how fun it was and played it a few times before he parted with it.

Elle decided to give up some of her “playing school” supplies and give them to her 8 year old cousin, Hannah.  Elle gave supplies like stickers, certificates, grade book, planning book, tickets, note cards, etc. It was a real sacrifice for Elle to give away brand new stuff she hadn’t even used yet, but she thought Hannah might have fun playing school too.

It has been rewarding to reuse and repurpose and pass along.  And it has been rewarding to see my kids struggle and think and try to come up with something their cousins would enjoy from their own toys. This was way more heart warming and meaningful than picking out a $10 gift at the store.

We will see how it goes Christmas morning. I hope everyone is happy with their Hand-Me-Down Christmas.


5 thoughts on “Hand-Me-Down Christmas”

  1. Love the idea. I think we should try new ways of giving. Lydia will love that purse. We have enjoyed that same toy in our home which was a hand me down from Ben and Aly. 😉 I’m interested in how you do gifts for your kids? Do you have a method? A certain amount you spend?

    1. Val, here is a post I wrote last year about Our Santa


      I forgot to mention in that post that Chad and I each pick out something for the kids too. Something we like to do with them. Chad usually gives movies or video games. I give books or board games. My parents never gave us presents from them on Christmas and it always confused me.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. I love the hand-me-down gift idea too! Awesome.

    I also read your “Our Santa” post. –I’ve recently I had this thought, “Why does Santa get to bring the biggest or coolest gifts?” So for the past few years, I’ve made those gifts from us (husband and I)..and then Santa gives a little something and a filled stocking. I don’t mind if it takes some of the focus off of Santa. 🙂

    1. I was thinking the same thing today as I was Christmas shopping. Why does Santa get all the fun? I might be changing that this year. Thanks for the idea.

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