Christmas and birthdays consume a lot of our year. There are eight, soon to be nine of us in our immediate family, with two grandparents living on the same property. When six children each want to give a gift to the birthday boy or girl, we can easily spend the better part of a week transporting everyone to the store(s) to purchase the items they have in mind.
Several years ago, I created "Mom Store", an idea I gleaned from a mom on a board I can't remember. If you know to whom I should pay credit, let me know. Anyway, I look for things that would be enjoyed by the recipient and then stash them away. Typically the items are around five dollars, and the older children do save their money to purchase them. The last Mom Store contained two board books, a Pez dispenser with candy, bubble bath, a box of circus animal crackers, and a CD. I display the items on a counter and allow everyone to parade through and choose what they want to purchase, and once purchases are made, the children set to work wrapping.
The Mom Store has been very successful for us, simplifying and bringing peace to our lives in yet another area.