Christmas Shopping for Kids

Every year I face the same dilemma, my kids (who are normally broke) want to buy Christmas presents for their siblings. My dilemma is two-fold, one I don’t like the idea of giving the kids money to purchase gifts, I think they should earn the money. Second, I hate extremely dislike standing in the dollar store with 5 kids trying to help them pick out Christmas gifts for each other.

This year I had an idea. For several years we had a points store at our home where the kids could pick out prizes based on completed school work, good behavior, etc… After mulling over my Christmas quandary, I thought, why not create a Christmas store? I sort through my gift stash and do a little extra shopping then create a “store” in my bedroom. The kids will all have the opportunity to visit the store a few days before Christmas and purchase gifts for one another.

The only problem that remained was the money, so I decided to create a Christmas job chart. Each child’s jobs are color coded with dollar amounts next to them. When they complete a job they are paid immediately with Christmas dollars. The dollars are put into a Merry Money jar and on December 23rd they can go shopping at Mom’s Christmas Store.

I am thrilled to see my kids trying to find more ways to earn money so they can buy more gifts for their siblings. I am also thrilled that many of my household projects are getting done thanks to my new commission system. For my little kids, their jobs are ones that they would normally not be paid for, collecting laundry, picking up, etc, because I had trouble finding big projects that they were capable of doing. But my big kids have tackled some lingering household projects. So far my dishwasher, fridge, stove and microwave have been cleaned out, my couch has been vacuumed, my coupons sorted, walls washed, laundry done, and plants watered. I don’t even have to ask them to do the jobs.

If you are interested in using this idea for your kids here are a few tips. Pay kids for jobs completed immediately. This is especially important for little kids who thrive on instant gratification. Use clear jars to store the money so the kids are able to see their earnings and are motivated to do more.  Make jobs age appropriate. There is no reason to give a 14 year old a dollar for unloading the dishwasher or ask a 3 year old to clean the stove. When stocking your “store” price items clearly. My little kids don’t understand the concept of money too well but they are able to count. Items in the “store” will all be priced at an even dollar amount. The child will be able to count out how many dollars they need to purchase an item. There is no tax and no change. (We can save that lesson for another time)


The Merry Money jars are filling up, my house is getting cleaner and I have avoided taking six kids Christmas shopping!

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  1. I love this idea!!!!!!

  2. This is a fabulous idea! You could even use this for birthdays! Maybe even for “just cuz” giving. Hmmmmm…..

    Thanks for the great idea!

  3. My mom did something like this when we were kids. She had a bunch of little things each of us would like, and then priced them low enough that we could afford to buy them for each other. She probably missed out by not having us do extra chores to earn special money for her Christmas store though. 😉

    Someday your kids will look back on the Christmas store as a fond memory. I know my family does!

  4. This is a great idea as it teaches children responsibilities as well as involves them in the Christmas spirit. I do appreciate your adding a download file for the Christmas Dollars!

  5. What a great idea! How extremely clever.

  6. Yet again, I am impressed!! Your creativity blows me away. I noticed you said something about a points store at your home. Would LOVE to hear more about that. Your ideas are Fantastic.

  7. This is such a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I was actually thinking about how to do gifts for siblings just a couple of weeks ago. This will definitely be happening at our house!

  8. This is such a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    I was actually thinking about how to do gifts for siblings just a couple of weeks ago. This will definitely be happening at our house!

  9. Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  10. This a great idea! You are so creative!

  11. excellent idea…thanks for the tips!!

  12. That’s a cute idea.

  13. This is JUST what I needed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for the fantastic idea!!!!!!

  14. That is an awesome idea! It’s so great that your kids want to earn extra “money” for the presents. I would love to avoid the stores too.

  15. Totally love this idea! I have set up the “mom store” before, but had not “priced” anything for the kids to buy…just had them pick out gifts for siblings from my stash.

    I’d love to see your list of available chores and the amount of commission earned. Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Great idea! I also wanted to give you an idea for the future.
    My husband is the oldest of 7. They have been doing secret Santa exchanges at Christmas since they were kids. Now 2 “kids” are married and the spouses (me) are included. We usually draw names on Thanksgiving. So we have time to shop for each other. The only rule in drawing names is you can’t draw yourself of course or your spouse for the married ones. It’s a tradition they still love and get excited about.
    Oh thanks for the compliment on my haircut! 🙂

  17. What a neat idea! I remember going to a CHRISTmas shop at school a long time ago when I was little. 😀

  18. what a nifty idea! It is too late for this year to do that but definitely will put it in the memory bank for next year. 🙂

  19. I’m so happy you posted this! I was starting to worry about Christmas and how we were going to survive this year!

    This is perfect for my children. Thank you!

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