In my Holiday Traditions post, I talked about my extended family on my Mom's side. Last year I was crazy enough to tell my Aunt I'd help her with the Christmas party and she handed it over to me. With a current head count of about 70, there are quite a few different opinions as to how to structure the gift exchange. There are some people who have very firm ideas about how it should go.
When I was little, there was an adult exchange and a kids exchange. My Uncle Bob is 2 years older than me. Of course an some point he moved into the adult exchange. The tradition was that the original 11 siblings and their spouses were the only ones in that group. As the second generation grew older, there was a huge range in ages. Some of the mothers of Toddlers struggled with buying appropriate gifts for those of us in our early 20's. So there was the Adult siblings group, generation 2 group and the kids. Then some of the younger siblings wanted to be able to expand their pool of gift exchange candidates to neices and nephews who are close to them in age, but there are also 2 of the siblings who insist on keeping an exchange pool to be the traditional siblings and their spouses. If it is done this way, this Aunt and Uncle won't participate, if it is done that way, that Uncle and Aunt will not participate. Sheesh.
How do you make 70 people happy? You don't. My Mom - the oldest surviving sibling, has a goal to keep as many people coming as we can. So last Christmas I set out names of everyone on strips of paper and set out 4 large cans. 1. People who decided to sit out the exchange; 2. Only open to the original 11 siblings and their spouses. 3. Adults over 16 4. Kids 18 and under. It was a do-it-yourself, put your name in the appropriate can. The Siblings and their spouses had their choice and kids between 16 and 18 had their choice. I planned to draw names that night, but I do have one traditional-minded Aunt who was not pleased with my set up. But I look at it as only one of the 70 people had issues with it. Pretty good percentage. In July I pulled the names out of each can and entered them in a spradsheet. I engineered the Exchange. I then sent post cards to everyone with their names on it. Of course I did have a cousin who whated to know how I expected her to remember who she had for the next 6 months... LOL! I'm going to set it up this way again unless my traditional-minded aount wants to take it over.