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[greenyes] Alternative Holiday gift-giving approaches

Does anyone have good suggestions for alternate rules for Holiday gift-giving that reduces the commercialism? The following are ones we're considering in our family.

1. avoid needless commercial excess;
2. retain spirit of giving

1. Each person should bring a certain number of gifts agreed upon in advance by all involved (e.g. 3).

2. Gifts should not be labeled who they are to or from.

3. Suggested types of "unbought" gifts:
a. something you already have;
b. something you make; or
c. a promise to perform some service.

4. Wrap gifts? (Not sure if they should be wrapped)

5. Gift exchange
Ideas for how to execute the exchange
a. Auction off the gifts one at a time.
For each gift, we hold it up and anyone interested raises his/her hand.
If multiple people want it, whoever already has fewest items gets it.
For a tie, then the tied people have 1 minute to negotiate.
If they can't decide within a minute, then it's randomly chosen.
Unclaimed items go back into pile; item list repeats until no more gifts.
Use decreasing order of value, so people don't "save their votes"???
b. Same as 5a, except for ties go back into the pile.
c. True auction using $100 monopoly money.
d. Display all items at once, and everyone writes the 5 things they want
What if everyone wants the same stuff, and a bunch goes unclaimed?
e. Barter--some people show their items, and other's trade theirs

6. Special gifts <Save this for future years???>
a. Each person will receive one special gift
b. The family will agree, case-by-case, to an arrangement for each person's special gift. Once someone's special gift is arranged, his/her name should be crossed from a master list of all planning to attend family event.
c. Gifts can be gotten by an individual or a group.
d. Special gifts are labeled who they are to, but not from.

Questions that have come up:

Should this year be experimental???
If experimental, then everyone will still get gifts for everyone else, but
some people will also bring "unbought" gifts for the new exchange.

Do we need to accommodate both the new and the traditional type of
gift-giving at the same event? If so, how do we handle people who bring
individual gifts, but not gifts for the "new" exchange?

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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