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The holidays are defined by many things but one thing matters most – Family! Holiday traditions, get-togethers, baking cookies and making messes, watching Christmas movies – in pajamas with fuzzy blankets, or wearing pajamas and drinking cocoa while driving around listening to Christmas music and looking at the beautiful holiday lights and preparing lots and lots of food is ‪#‎HowWeFamily‬ during the holidays! It’s always about who we’re with not how much we have. Furthermore, family is not about who you love but how you love them. I’ve written before about my love for my family, and for family that isn’t necessarily related but loved and treated just the same. Read on below for our favorite family holiday tradition! 

Tylenol #HowWeFamily Video

TYLENOL®  has been a trusted brand for more than 60 years, earning the reputation for caring about the well-being of families everywhere. They created the #HowWeFamily program which is focused on how 11 real American families celebrate the holidays and each other. Get your tissues ready and give it a watch – so sweet and sentimental and it truly does capture the spirit of the holidays and what family is all about –  joy, laughter, surprise, and unconditional love.

I dropped the video into this post above, but in case it doesn’t load for you, you can watch the Tylenol #HowWeFamily Video at http://goic.io/s6h3bX 

#HowWeFamily Traditions

One way to explain #HowWeFamily is to tell you about a fun tradition that my kids, husband and I created a five or so years ago. We were in a tough place that year financially, and I was trying to think of ways to have a few more packages for everyone to open without spending a ton of extra money. What I came up with was something that we all fell in love with and so far, the novelty and excitement hasn’t worn off with even the teenagers. You can’t see me but I’m taking my bow – that is a win all on its own!  

“Mom? Can I have some money to buy you something for Christmas?” or “Mom, can I buy something for my brother.” These were the types of questions I was hearing more and more from all of the kids. I’ve always wanted my children to see Christmas as a time for giving and to be very grateful for what they do receive. I wanted the kids to be able to buy gifts for each other and to let them buy gifts for my husband and I. After a little brainstorming I came up with an idea and put it into place. 

So, the rules are simple and the overall cost is low. Each person in the family gets $1 for each other person plus $1 for the dog (because they all begged for that one). So, for our family of five, each person gets $5. This year, there’s seven of us and two dogs so we’re looking at everyone getting $8. Because we buy all of the regular gifts for the kids, my husband and I each use our alottment to buy for each other to fill our stockings. We don’t do a lot for each other for Christmas, preferring to spend on the kids instead. The kids each purchase a gift for their siblings, one for my husband and one for myself (and the dog, of course!).

The idea is to select one gift that will be meaningful to the recipient. I love snowmen. Last year my then 13 year old selected a snow globe for me. I’ll never forget my teenage boy in tears when, after wrapping it, he noticed the paper getting wet and realized it had been broken somehow! Husband brought him back to Dollar Tree to replace it. But, the sentiment behind it was beautiful (actually- I’m tearing up now just thinking about it!).

Now, the fun part begins! We all go in together. It’s a small store and we are apt to run into each other in the isles. This is part of the fun! Trying to be sneaky, shopping for gifts for the people that are in the store with you. Getting to the check out without them seeing what you’ve purchased. Everyone is excited! We aren’t allowed to ask questions, get suggestions or give them… 0ne gift, one dollar, many smiles!!

I let the cashier in on our plan the first year and it turned out to be a life saver. The then seven year old was one gift short when he went to check out (on his own). The cashier knew the deal and helped him figure out who he’d forgotten to select a gift for. It turns out he’d picked a puzzle for the then 12 year old and lost it along the way to the checkout.

We all head to the car with our gifts tied up in bags and then its home for wrapping. Everyone wraps the presents that they purchased on their own, labels them and puts them under the tree. If past years are any indication, I can’t wait for the exchange this year on Christmas morning!

At just a dollar, my kids really are overjoyed to give these gifts and I love seeing them give to each other!! Life is hectic, siblings fight and things are crazy more often than not throughout the year but on Christmas morning family trumps all things and we just enjoy! Oh, and secretly, I can’t wait to see what the kids picked for me this year!!

frugal family gift exchange

Tell me your #HowWeFamily story in the comments below! Please also feel free to visit Tylenol on Facebook and share your #HowWeFamily story there, too! 

18 thoughts on “The Holiday Moments That Matter Most #HowWeFamily

  1. The holidays are all about traditions & we all have our own. That’s what makes Christmas so special.

    1. So true, Robin. I love how easy it is to find new ideas for starting new traditions online nowadays as well. I’ve been thinking about which special one I’ll start for my granddaughter who will be celebrating her very first Christmas this year!

  2. Family traditions are what binds us together as a family. Without them, we’re just a bunch of people living together in a box with a roof.

  3. Family tradition is something that binds the whole member of the family, This is how we celebrate Christmas season by the essence of giving gifts and showing love to others.

  4. I love your frugal family gift exchange tradition! I was just telling my husband how the holidays have gotten out of control with greed and that I wanted to do something a bit different. This sounds perfect!

  5. I find that traditions become more and more important to kids as they get older. Some of the traditions that I didn’t think we were a big deal seem to be for our kids.

  6. The Dollar store has a great selection of gifts. I was just there today grabbing a few decorations for my tree.

  7. This is a fantastic idea. I really like this! My grandparents did a game with dollar store items on Christmas that they’d wrap and we’d have to hold them and guess what they were if we got them right we’d get to keep the gift. That’s what I’m starting this year!

  8. I LOVE your dollar gift idea! So fun and cost effective. Every year at my daughters school they have a Santa shop where kids can purchase gifts for friends and family. My daughter always uses her allowance for that week to buy gifts. So sweet!

  9. That video is so sweet! What a great tradition you have! My boys have been doing their shopping for each other at their Santa shop at school.

  10. I grew up with so many traditions. We’ve created new ones with our own family and encourage our kids to hold onto memories so they can create their own with their families

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