Practical Christmas Gifts for Big Families

“Wait, how many people are in your family? Christmas must be crazy at your house!”  I smile and nod. It’s a comment I’ve heard more times than I can count. Yes, Christmas is always crazy in a house with 12 children, and siblings introducing boyfriends/girlfriends and spouses to the mix. There are three things that happen every Christmas in my family without fail:

  1. We’re big and crazy!
  2. We’re always close to broke.
  3. We’re blessed with joy!

While presents are not the reason we celebrate Christmas (Jesus is!), they are a way we express love to each other, and often, give practical help. If you have a big family, or just have a lot of friends you want to bless, you know how costly and time-consuming giving presents can be! Here is a list of my tried and true favorite gifts you can make or buy for crowds (most of them for under $10 each).

Pillowcases

With only three straight seams, even a novice seamstress can make a pillowcase! Pillowcases are practical, fun and personal. A pillowcase takes exactly one yard of fabric, and the beauty of making your own to give as a gift is that you can pick any color, print or theme. Got a little brother that likes super heroes? There’s fabric for that! Along with roses, lizards, horses and plaids – anything you can imagine! Great for children, but also adults as you can easily match their color scheme or personalize them to fit any style of décor. (For quick instructions, message me or visit the comments!)

Duct Tape

The newest rage in kid’s crafts is duct tape! What child wouldn’t want to make something out of tape? This is great gift because you can make a little kit to go with the duct tape (patterns, scissors, etc). Or it can be used as great bonding time — make the project with them. Vests, wallets, hats, purses — the possibilities are endless. For duct tape pattern ideas, visit here.

Journals

Monetarily cheap, this is a gift that can mean a lot! Composition notebooks can be found in almost any department store ranging between $0.99 – $4.99 each. By simply scrapbooking the front cover, you can turn them into beautiful, personal journals, with the person’s name and/or favorite quote/scripture verse. Decoupage or a clear glue glaze over the cover helps hold everything in place — even 3D designs.

Books

Books are my favorite gift to give. Giving the gift of knowledge means giving a gift that keeps on giving. Prayerfully watching what God is doing in someone’s life and giving them a book on it is a huge blessing to the recipient as well as the giver as you watch them grow. Hobbies, cooking, personal growth, uplifting fiction – the options abound! Books speak to all ages and circumstances. My favorite places to look for deals are: Amazon, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Half.com, and eBay. (Library sales are great as well!)

Time Cards

Handmade cards or slips of paper tied to the tree have endless possibilities! Make your own coupons or time cards to give away. Example: “Good for one night off of dishes” or “One night free babysitting”. Be creative!

Photos

Photos are timeless! And moms love them, but are often too busy to collect them, print them, or organize them (if they even get taken!).  A quick photo collage (check out Picmonkey!) can mean a lot when it’s printed out or turned into a magnet or mouse pad. Shutterfly will make all things photo for a reasonable price and they often have print deals and promotions. Their photo books, while a little more expensive, are excellent (and they often are on sale as well!).

T-shirts

While t-shirts go great paired with the photo ideas, they can also stand alone. Classic white t-shirts can be purchased cheaply at any department store in packs of three or five. The sibling number can be appliquéd, painted or iron-on transferred onto the t-shirt football number style, in order of sibling birth. It works great for married siblings and nieces and nephews too! Sibling number 2’s spouse is simply 2.0 and their kids 2.1, 2.2, etc! For small(er) to medium size large families, you can also list all of the siblings names on the shirt and cross off all the names but the right name. This can be a fun joke because in big families, parents often run through their whole list of children before the remember which child they are calling!

Cookie Jars

Fast and easy, simply make up all the dry ingredients to your favorite cookie or baking recipe and put it in a glass Mason jar. Seal and attach the recipe card.

Towels

Similar to pillowcases, big families are always short on towels — or else siblings always steal yours. Buying different colors for each family member or embroidering their name or initial on the towel is a nice practical gift.

Miscellaneous Service Projects

The family recipe box? Can anyone read it or even find what they are looking for? Time-consuming but always helpful, redoing or organizing little things like a recipe box will be a gift that everyone appreciates. (Or cleaning the attic, garage, etc.) Be creative – time is a huge gift!

Do you have a favorite gift idea you like to make or buy for people? Care to share in the comments?

Katie
Katie is a mid 20 something who has lived a real life cheaper by the dozen experience. As the oldest of 12 children she loves life and is passionate about restoring order to chaos of every kind. Her greatest passion is discipling and mentoring young adults, and writing is something she does on the side to unwind and process life. Katie is a book lover, Jesus follower and truth scribbler.
Katie

@Notunredeemed

Addicted to growth. Book lover. Jesus follower.Truth scribbler.
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conversations between sisters in Christ

  1. Amalia says

    This is great! I live in a family of 6, (kids) and our extended family is huge! I just found something this year that I had fun with for my brothers: bowties! They’re really pretty easy, and fun fabric patterns are everywhere–and they don’t take too much fabric, or time, either.

  2. Victoria says

    I’ve been busy lately and haven’t kept up with the latest posts. But being from a family of 12, this one caught my attention as I quickly glanced through my e-mail inbox. Money always seems to be even more tight around the holidays (somehow) than usual, and it’s hard feeling like you have nothing to give. These were neat, creative ideas and I really appreciate where you’re coming from!
    Hope you have a blessed Christmas and wonderful new year. :)

    Victoria

  3. says

    Great ideas, from someone who obviously knows what she’s talking about! :)

    My mom did pancake mix one year, with homemade calligraphed labels. I know that falls under your “baking” category.

    If you do Christmas ornaments, you could come up with a theme or tradition involving those.

    Nativity sets: my mom made soft figures over several years, adding to the “cast of characters” each year. Each recipient got an angel or set of camels or whatever that year’s addition consisted of.

    I always thought it was fun how some families did sweaters or pajamas each year, although that can be expensive. Socks? :)