This Christmas as the kids gave their gifts to each other I was reminded of the reason we chose to have every child get something for every sibling. The 2 oldest have jobs and sometimes pool their money together to buy things for siblings. Some of kids make their gifts or give away some of their old special toys (i.e. this year our 15 yr old split her old Playmobil toys among her 3,6, and 9 year old siblings - they LOVED it!).
For the kids who aren't old enough to hold a job we "finance" their gift giving at the cost of approximately $2-$3 per person. So, each child gets to spend about $14-$21 combined on their 7 siblings. (My husband and I don't buy stocking stuffers - that's what many of the sibling gifts are).
Some years I wonder why we bother. It's hard to get them out shopping at a number of stores to get all their gifts, especially when I don't take them all together...and it can be hard to find gifts for only $2-$3 per person. But we make it work. I've asked the older kids for inexpensive ideas and they've come up with things like pens, tape, snacks, etc. The younger ones are easier (dollar store whoopee cushions, matchbox cars, etc.) I also have a box of small gifts that we've accumulated over the years that they can choose from. They really put a lot of effort into choosing the best gift they can for someone. This year was a little extra challenging due to shopping time cut short by sicknesses. But it all worked out.
When we settled down to open gifts...the kids didn't search out gifts with their names on them. They searched out gifts that they chose for each other. It was beautiful to sit back with my husband and watch the kids excitedly carry their wrapped gifts to the recipient and eagerly watch them open them. Even our 3 year old was excited to carry her gifts to her brothers and sisters and watch them open them (though she did pick out a couple gifts from the grab box to wrap for herself...so I was a little worried she wouldn't understand the giving...but she did!) Only after all of their gifts were exchanged did they start opening presents from us.
GIVING! Yes, they were very excited to receive. But it was amazingly beautiful (as it is every year) to sit back and watch the kids be so excited about giving! For that reason, we will continue this tradition.