Having a large family means multiplied joy, friendships, and happiness. It also means multiplied food bills, gas bills and BILL bills! Christmas and birthdays can strain the finances of any family, but especially a larger one. Thankfully, gift giving occasions do not have to be burdensome!
We choose not to celebrate each childs birthday with a 'friends' party. On their birthday, each child gets special privileges like choosing the meals and being excused from most chores. They choose their desired dessert and receive a couple of presents from Dad and Mom and their brothers and sisters. It's enough, really.
Once a year we have a big party that we invite all our friends to. We do not accept gifts from friends. Rather, the children spend time choosing a ministry they wish to bless, usually from among the various outreaches of Voice of the Martyrs. They make a presentation board and develop activities for the party based around that choice. They collect donations and mail them in.
For Christmas, we shop sales year round. Much of the shopping is done by the time the season rolls around. We have the children draw names so each one buys a gift for another, and they love it! We don't put a limit on the number of gifts per child, though it's usually three or four at the most. Instead, we have a spending cap for each. That way, if one person wants ONE more expensive gift, they can ask and they *might* receive it.
Children really can be satisfied with less extravagance. Allow them the privilege of NOT being spoiled rotten!