BOSTON (CBS) – There are ways to save on gift giving. Start by trimming your list down to a reasonable number of recipients. If you have a large family and you usually buy a gift for everyone in the family that can get very expensive. And it creates mayhem on the holidays.


For example, imagine a five-year-old who is the youngest of 10 grandchildren and she has 4 aunts who dote on her plus grandma. She sits in the midst of a mess after opening packages from everyone and innocently says, “Is that all?” She is not an ungrateful child. She’s just overwhelmed.

Consider putting everyone’s name in a hat and each family member draws a name. Or better still give only to the kids. The bonus, less shopping and you can afford nicer gifts. And as a family put a limit on the dollar amount spent on each gift. Make it reasonable, for not everyone has the same earning capacity.

Consider buying a family gift rather than individual gifts for your sister’s kids. A gift that keeps on giving.

How about a membership to the Museum of Science so the kids can learn about the Birds and the Bees? They are featuring A Bird’s World exhibit which includes every bird found in New England and a working bee hive. My favorite; a wonderful butterfly garden exhibit overlooking the Charles River.

I remember spending many Saturday mornings there with my kids. Both ended up getting their engineering degrees from Tufts University, so you never know.

A membership to the Aquarium with a book about right whales. A box of microwave popcorn and a gift certificate to Netflix or discounted tickets to the movies from Triple A. How about tickets to a special event like Disney on Ice during Christmas vacation week? Go with them and take them out to dinner and then off to the Garden to create memories. If you have older boys on your list get them tickets to the Beanpot tournament in February.

Support our local zoos, The Franklin Park Zoo or the Stone Zoo; purchase a family membership and a book on gorillas to whet their interest.

One more thing: Black Friday


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