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    6 Christmas Gift-Giving Customs

    I have recently asked friends about their Christmas gift-giving customs. It turns out that there are almost as many different customs as there are families. Maybe you will find one of them worth introducing in your family? Below you will find various Christmas gift-giving customs along with their pros and cons.

    1. Everyone prepares everyone a surprise

    This is probably the most popular Christmas gift-giving tradition among Polish families. What are its pros and cons?

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    – the considerable number of gifts make a great impression

    – in a big family, everyone receives so many presents, that it is impossible to know which gift was given by whom, and there is bound to be something nice among them


    – in big families, this entails significant expense

    – preparing or buying Christmas gifts is very time-consuming

    – although everyone receives a lot of presents, many of them are trinkets or completely missed gifts

    2. You write letters to Santa and give them to the closest relative

    In most families I know, letters to Santa are written only by kids. Nevertheless, I need to admit that since also adults started writing them in my family, our satisfaction from received gifts increased considerably.

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    – you increase chances for a dream gift


    – there is no surprise – even before Christmas begins, you already know what you’ll get (although the details may remain secret until the very end)

    – if you send your letter late, your relatives will have to organize your gift in the midst of the Christmas shopping fever

    3. Everyone prepares one gift, and you make a draw

    I have only participated in such gift-giving once, and it was not in my family, but among university colleagues. In such a company, this tradition may actually be the best possible one. Apart from office and school gift-giving, it may also be worth trying in smaller families, where relatives may give one another gifts “for the household” (e.g. a cool family board game).

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    – lower cost and less time spent on organising gifts


    – it’s difficult to think of something to please everyone

    – it is highly unlikely that you will receive something you were dreaming of

    4. Before Christmas you draw the person for whom you will prepare a gift

    That’s another gift-giving custom frequently observed in Polish schools before Christmas though I personally know one family that practises it regularly.

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    – lower cost and less time spent on preparing gifts

    – if you know the recipient well and know what he/she dreams of, you may dedicate more time and money to make their dream come true


    – you may draw a relative that you know little about

    – if you also write your dream gift next to your name, you increase your chances for a nice gift, but you will have no surprise

    5. You only prepare Christmas gifts for children

    This idea is often suggested in families with lots of children, where adults don’t have ideas for their own gifts because they satisfy their desires on an ongoing basis. Is it worth recommending?

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    – lower cost

    – it is usually easier to think of Christmas gifts for children than for adults, and it is easier to please kids


    – parents usually rejoice over their children’s gifts, but if you spend Christmas with childless relatives, they may feel sad

    6. Everyone prepares a gift for oneself

    This idea was really suggested one Christmas in my family when there were supposed to be no children present. It may sound surprising, or even outrageous, and was hence implemented only halfway, but after consideration, it does have both disadvantages and advantages.

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    – you may dedicate the amount that you would normally spend on gifts for several people to buying a single, bigger dream gift

    – less time spent on preparing gifts

    – you will be surprised not by what you get, but by what others have given themselves

    – all gifts are 100% satisfactory!


    – someone may break ranks and decide not to bother buying oneself a gift at all – in such a case the rest of the family enjoying their gifts may feel somewhat embarrassed

    – in this gift-giving it is obvious who bought what and for how much

    What does Christmas gift giving look like in your family? Do your customs the best possible, or would you rather change something? I would love to read what you think in the comments below!


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