Author Topic: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way  (Read 22575 times)

fiveoh

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How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« on: September 28, 2012, 09:15:18 AM »
My wife and I both come from large families.  Our large families(including us) are having kids of their own.  There are multitudes of birthdays/baptisms/Christmas etc etc that gifts are expected for.  I dont want to sound like an asshole but I really dont want to be buying gifts for their kids on every occasion.  Even at $10 a gift it will add up to thousands of dollars easily over 10 years.  I'm a pretty blunt person a lot of the time and a year ago I basically wrote an email that said "dont buy my kid gifts and we aren't buying any for yours".  This, along with an email around Christmas time where I suggested that we draw names out of a hat for one family to give a gift to, has been met with heavy resistance from my wifes family.  They feel the kids are "worth it" and its "fun" for them, makes them "happy" etc etc etc.   Eventually my wife caved and bought them all gifts so as not to look bad.  So now its that time again, all their bdays are around this time of year and Christmas is coming up.

 How do I say this in a nice way that doesnt make me look like as much of an ahole?  Any suggestions/experiences with this?  I've tried to explain we are trying to cut back on things.... now they all just think I'm a cheap ass...

My wife and I do NOT have time to make stuff(and im not crafty at all).   

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012, 09:32:17 AM »
It wouldn't help with the cost, but gifts of experiences (i.e. a trip to somewhere fun), savings bonds, a donation in someones name/honor, or even something edible would all get the point across that you don't have to buy "stuff" without it seeming like you are just being cheap for its own sake.

It would make it seem more reasonable when you demand to not get your kids more "stuff" as well, on the grounds that you don't need or want an unending supply of material objects cluttering up the house and your life.
Maybe (maybe...) it would even catch on.  At least if you got all the other kids savings bonds, and eventually all the other parents did the same for your kids, the net cost would be neutral - it would be mathematically equivalent to you giving them directly to your own kids (assuming your cousins and siblings don't all have a lot more kids than you!).  And at the same time, you would be teaching all the kids about saving, making them think about the future, and they can't fritter the gift away (at least until the bond and/or the child matures a little)
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fiveoh

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012, 09:38:45 AM »
It wouldn't help with the cost, but gifts of experiences (i.e. a trip to somewhere fun), savings bonds, a donation in someones name/honor, or even something edible would all get the point across that you don't have to buy "stuff" without it seeming like you are just being cheap for its own sake.

It would make it seem more reasonable when you demand to not get your kids more "stuff" as well, on the grounds that you don't need or want an unending supply of material objects cluttering up the house and your life.
Maybe (maybe...) it would even catch on.  At least if you got all the other kids savings bonds, and eventually all the other parents did the same for your kids, the net cost would be neutral - it would be mathematically equivalent to you giving them directly to your own kids (assuming your cousins and siblings don't all have a lot more kids than you!).  And at the same time, you would be teaching all the kids about saving, making them think about the future, and they can't fritter the gift away (at least until the bond and/or the child matures a little)

Savings bonds aren't a bad idea... I'd rather blow $$$ on that then some cheap gift they will play with for a week.(I appreciate the suggestion) 

My whole point was I didnt want this extra expense period though.  Is that just too unreasonable in my current situation?  Should I just suck it up?

bananabread

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012, 09:44:02 AM »
Instead of using an email, can you get them on the phone or in person? It's easy to dismiss an email because there's no conversation attached, but if you actually sat down with your wife's family and talked it through, you'd probably get much better results. Active confrontation instead of letting them go over you or around you. I'd also try and sell it as a philosophical thing instead of a price thing - materialism, setting an example for your kids, etc etc.

If you don't feel like that would get you anywhere, then hand-made gifts aren't a bad idea. Especially if you can get your kids involved.

sibamor

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 09:54:40 AM »
Matriarchs/Patriachs set the tone for the family.  If you want change in the family group you need the buy in of the grandparents.  Took us three years to convince one set of Grandparents that everyone didn't need a present every xmas ( I think age and consumer behaviors caught up to them).  We now do the hat thing, and even then we try to pair up to get aunt/uncle pairs.  Grandma and Grandpa still give money to each of the Grand kids but now we take turns for the adults in the family group.

Also stress the Bonds thing.  My niece thinks these are so awesome.

AJ

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 10:00:04 AM »
This doesn't go over well in my family either. Holidays are a big deal, and everyone is pretty set in the gifts = love thing. We have found success with giving gift baskets of cheaper items. I think my in-laws were actually relieved when we started giving cheaper gifts, because (while we all still feel pressure to give) they felt like they could respond in-kind by giving us cheaper gifts (which we are totally fine with).

Also, I think the real point is the expression of caring by going out of your way for someone. So, if you just stop giving and don't replace it with something you seem like an asshole. That's why homemade gifts are (often) a good replacement - you spent less in money but more in time to express your caring. Is there something else you could replace cost with? My brother-in-law wrote detailed letters to everyone one year about why he appreciated them when he didn't have any money for gifts. I bought a dollar-store calendar and marked one day each month when I would come clean my mother's house for her. Another year we bought a screen-printing kit and screened custom hoodies for everyone with their hobbies on them (cost about $12 each). All of those went over really well.

People feel cared for and thought about when you give them something. If you take that away without replacing it with something else, it just seems like you don't care about them.

fiveoh

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2012, 10:11:30 AM »
This doesn't go over well in my family either. Holidays are a big deal, and everyone is pretty set in the gifts = love thing. We have found success with giving gift baskets of cheaper items. I think my in-laws were actually relieved when we started giving cheaper gifts, because (while we all still feel pressure to give) they felt like they could respond in-kind by giving us cheaper gifts (which we are totally fine with).

Also, I think the real point is the expression of caring by going out of your way for someone. So, if you just stop giving and don't replace it with something you seem like an asshole. That's why homemade gifts are (often) a good replacement - you spent less in money but more in time to express your caring. Is there something else you could replace cost with? My brother-in-law wrote detailed letters to everyone one year about why he appreciated them when he didn't have any money for gifts. I bought a dollar-store calendar and marked one day each month when I would come clean my mother's house for her. Another year we bought a screen-printing kit and screened custom hoodies for everyone with their hobbies on them (cost about $12 each). All of those went over really well.

People feel cared for and thought about when you give them something. If you take that away without replacing it with something else, it just seems like you don't care about them.

Your last line is a very good point and probably where I have been going wrong. 


anastrophe

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2012, 10:14:13 AM »
In my partner's family, what they do is pool resources for one gift for each person. One big present per person. It really doesn't release you from the financial burden of gift-giving but it does simplify hassle.

tooqk4u22

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2012, 12:40:17 PM »
We have done the polyanna thing, but it always lead to an issue....somebody wanted somebody else, that person exceeded the limit, that person didn't......

I have tried to claim the lets celebrate with a good meal (preparing a holiday meal can be price) but people still bring gifts. 

Anyway, I have given up on the matter but we have cut back getting gifts for certain (i.e more extended) parts of the family. 

For me its not just about the money spent giving gifts, its more that gifts nowadays are generally thoughtless crap. 

prosaic

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2012, 01:14:49 PM »
We have just started to get some nice shifts in this area by asking people to give *experiences* -- take our kids to the movies, take them hiking and for ice cream, mini golfing, etc.

So far the kids LOVE it and they get to build memories.

Are the kids within age and location clusters, or more distributed? If there are kids you can group together (like all the kids on your wife's side from X age to X age), maybe you could give an inexpensive experience, like "Camping and Uncle and Aunt Mustache's House" and do indoor or outdoor camping (indoor camping: set up tent in living room, roast marshmallows over fire in fireplace, tell silly/scary stories, wake up and make pancakes), sending each kid home with some sort of memento (a framed picture of the kid during the activity).

Or load up your cars and take all the kids to the drive-in (so few kids experience this these days!) and bring your own goodies. Your sister/brother/SIL/BIL will appreciate the free babysitting, and the kids will have a great time with their cousins.

Get the free museum passes at your local library and ditto -- take a group to the museum, get a nice picture with a camera and make framed prints. Have an ice cream sundae party at home.

This obviously doesn't work for ALL the kids, but it might be a fun, inexpensive option for some kids.

One idea we had a few years ago: for my two siblings' kids, we got a super deal on a local indoor waterpark and gave each family 1 night there. Killed off 7 sets of birthday and Christmas gifts in one step and everyone loved it.

Barry

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2012, 01:31:52 PM »
My wife and I have never liked gifts, and even specifically asked for no wedding gifts (printed right there on the invite...)

My Wife's family is big into xmas gifts, with lots of people and strays always invited.

We previously experimented with name draws (too much pressure, don't know or like the person I drew...), no gifts at all (didn't feel like xmas), gifts of charity (couldn't agree on charities, religious land-mine).   We finally have settled on anonymous stockings, which has been a big hit.

One stocking per person, filled anonymously over the approaching week(s) with a suggested 10 dollar max and no requirement to put anything in if you don't want to. 
We made big stockings for the kids (experience shows that people will give the kids too much stuff even when you ask them not to).
My wife and I spoke individually with folk and expressed that we don't really like stuff, and would much prefer cheap and personal experiences, and put up very small stockings for ourselves.  That way it seems we seem to end up with the low-cost gifts, and we are saved a bit of guilt from choosing to not fill up other folks stockings with junk.

People still exchange gifts on the sly with one another, but it seems to have made that process a lot more personal, as they have to sneak each other aside and have a little one-on-one moment to do it, and we seem to have broken the reciprocity requirement, meaning gifts really seem to come more from the heart.


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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2012, 01:36:21 PM »
We have just started to get some nice shifts in this area by asking people to give *experiences* -- take our kids to the movies, take them hiking and for ice cream, mini golfing, etc.


I love this solution for close friends and family:)    The concept of giving "experiences" solves the gift giving dilemma and focusing on memories and relationships instead. 

freelancerNfulltimer

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2012, 01:39:36 PM »
If they won't listen to you then just stop giving gifts. Give everyone a card to mark the occasions but no money, no gifts, no gift cards. A few years into it people will realize you're serious and will stop giving your family gifts when they see it's not being reciprocated.  Maybe it's harsh but I personally refuse to be guilted into things I don't want to do.

igthebold

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2012, 01:43:20 PM »
If they won't listen to you then just stop giving gifts. Give everyone a card to mark the occasions but no money, no gifts, no gift cards. A few years into it people will realize you're serious and will stop giving your family gifts when they see it's not being reciprocated.  Maybe it's harsh but I personally refuse to be guilted into things I don't want to do.

I think this has merit. If you stop giving material gifts, but give a lot in terms of time, meaningful experiences, thoughtfulness, etc, it would be hard to say you're being stingy. It's way easier to buy a cheap toy at Walmart than carve out a day to help build a shed or something.

prosaic

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2012, 01:54:09 PM »
Another thing we started about 5 years ago: the junky/goofy Yankee Swap. Rules:

1. Bring something that cost less than $5. Preferably something used, made, or sitting in the garage collecting dust.
2. The weirder the better.

Examples: a broken miniature foam toilet from a pharmaceutical freebie for a physician in the family; free romance novels a writer got at a conference; a windup walking nun toy; someone's free body wash from a giveaway; a plaster cast of someone's teeth from the orthodontist; a gift card with a few bucks left on it for a store the giver didn't go to any more; a can of garbanzo beans.

You wrap the gift nicely and do the Yankee Swap (google for rules). My kids LOVE this at Christmas. I think they love it more than the regular gifts! Around Thanksgiving they start scheming to find the stupidest gift they possibly can find/make/break. It is memorable and hilarious and the weirdest gifts magically reappear year in and year out (we are currently stuck with "Nunzilla" the walking windup nun -- guess what's getting wrapped and going back in the pool...).

The point is that while my kids love the gifts they get, they'd be OK with not getting gifts from extended family, but you will pry their precious Junk Yankee Swap from their cold, angry hands!

carolinakaren

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2012, 02:04:49 PM »
I loved Barry's anonymous stocking idea!  A few years ago I didn't know what to get for a single person in our family.  I rented a condo at the beach for the upcoming summer and gifted everyone a copy of the reservation.  They loved it so much that we stopped giving gifts (for adults) and contributed to our family vacation fund for each occasion.  This was nice and we all got to spend a week together vacationing.  Fast-forward a few years and we realize none of us like to do the same kind of things on vacation and most are back to buying gifts.  I'm like fiveoh and really don't want any more junk that doesn't match my decor, doesn't fit, and/or has no use whatsoever!  Holidays are stressfull again and I still don't know what to get for anyone.... 

KulshanGirl

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2012, 02:26:04 PM »
We do the funny "yankee" type exchange at work: we had a one-time expenditure of cheap 8 x 10 picture frame a few years ago and the "funny" is free now - finding the most hilarious work-appropriate image we can find on the internet and printing it and putting it in the recycled frames every year to exchange.  We must display our large "family" photo on our desks for one month.  Last year I had Nicholas Cage with a hawk on his head for hair.  One person photoshopped photos of Gary Busey into all four faces in a random 80's family photo.  The Busey family gets regifted every year because it is hideous and we all love it.  LOL.  Not having to exchange little knick-knacks with my coworkers every year: Priceless.   

PJ

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2012, 02:44:51 PM »
We do the "draw names" thing among siblings, spouses, and my adult niece.  There are only a couple of rules, which is that spouses are not allowed to have each other, and my sister and her daughter can't draw each other.  When one of those things happen, they just draw out another name.  My parents don't participate, because we all want to buy for them, and they for us. 

But then, we don't have any young kids around, and the pressure seems to be greater in most families when it comes to gift giving for kids.  What I've done in the past with kids is to make a donation in their name, either through World Vision's Christmas catalogue (choosing the item to be donated based on the person's interests, for example, a soccer playing kid would have soccer balls donated to a community in the developing world) or through the "Adopt an Animal" program at the Toronto Zoo, usually a reindeer if it's Christmas time.  They get a nice certificate to stick up on the fridge and no clutter!  And while it doesn't completely eliminate the expense for me, it does get me a tax receipt ...
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kkbmustang

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2012, 03:02:17 PM »
We've had this discussion with both sets of grandparents and with our kids. It had gotten to such extremes as to be laughable. The Hubs' family now does 1/2 of their alloted budget to one or two gifts, the rest goes in the 529. My parents, not so much. My mom was POOR growing up and never had anything under the tree, so now she makes up for it by going nutso with her grandchildren. My dad would totally be on board with doing half and half, but alas, she overrules that every time.

We told all of our family members last year - in conversations in person - that our gift giving budget was being cut down and this year it will be cut down again. Each year we try to reduce our spending by a certain percentage from the prior year. 

I just approach it as being an opportunity for budgetary creativity. I'm not crafty either, so it really comes down to finding deals. For my mom (who has everything and needs nothing, but is very materialistic), I will do a gift certificate for manicure or pedicure, which she will appreciate.

For our kids, we talk about how as the older they get, the size of the gift doesn't necessarily equate with the cost of the gift. So, we've been working on adjusting their expectations so they won't be disappointed.  We also abide by the rule of something to wear, something to read, and something to play with in buying Christmas gifts for our kids.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2012, 03:23:26 PM »
Savings bonds are a bit trickier these days.  It used to be that anyone could buy a bond for a kid from a bank or credit union.  Now that they have gone paperless, parents need to create accounts in the kids' names with the Treasury.  Once an account is established, then grandparents and Aunt Lulu can buy bonds (although they are not paying much these days).

My 20 and 30 something nieces and nephews are now having children.  My gift to the next generation is cash which I ask the parents to place in their child's investment or savings account.  I am in an economic position to give the children money and ask the parents not to give us reciprocal gifts. A couple of the nieces are inclined to make something for me (craft or food) which I thoroughly enjoy receiving.  I think they wish other family members would follow my lead.


happy

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2012, 03:44:48 PM »
I struggled with this too: I suggested to the grandparents we should stop gift giving except for the kids and it was received with stony silence. Sigh, so I gave in.... I so get the idea I need to replace the useless piece of material crap with some other expression of love. Some great ideas which I'm going to try to implement next, see if this goes down better.
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fidgiegirl

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2012, 05:50:53 PM »
I feel thankful for threads like these because I can see that you don't start giving gifts to anyone's kids for xmas, right from the get-go, and then you don't have to add on when everyone has kids!  No neices/nephews for us yet.

In my family for Xmas we draw names and have a $30 limit.  We'll be in about our fourth or fifth year of it and it's gone pretty well.  My mom still gets us extra stuff.  I usually give it to Goodwill right away :(  I have gotten over the guilt of KEEPING the gifts I get and don't want.

My fam has never been much into bday gifts.  Sometimes we get them, sometimes not.  We bought my dad a $10 pair of wheelbarrow handles and will put them on his wheelbarrow tomorrow.  Small things.

For Xmas DH's brother is of the same mind as us and gives a card.  We give a food product or simple card to everyone.  DH's parents buy something for everyone, and so does his sister.  They won't stop doing that, and that's ok - we aren't going to start up.  We give his parents an experience gift, at their request.  With no little kids (niece and nephew in their 20s, with a BF and a GF) it would be easy and everyone would feel included and equal.




badassprof

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2012, 07:03:30 PM »
I agree with the person who noted that it is important to replace the gift with something else that indicates your thoughtfulness.  The hard part is that it takes a lot more time and energy  than running to the mall to pick something up. I'll never forget the best present my partner gave me and it wasn't the 1800 dollar pearls. No, it was the time he pulled out of the trash an antique lamp that was one of the few things I had of my beloved grandmother. My dog  broke it months before and I was holding onto it; finally, I couldn't stand it, and threw it away. He pulled it out of the trash and had it fixed. I was so touched as he knew how special this lamp was because of my grandmother.

So,I'd vote for thinking of things that really will touch your friends and family. That is harder than a gift card, for sure. If there isn't something specific, a heartfelt letter telling the person why they mean so much to you is a great idea. I've received a few of these from friends, colleagues, family members and students and they are among my most treasured possessions.

fiveoh

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2012, 08:01:55 PM »
Some very good suggestions here, I appreciate all of them!  The nieces and nephews are still toddlers/babies as is my kid so they dont really even appreciate or know anything about it.  It's just their parents that feel the need to buy them(and everyone else) more stuff because they think it makes them happy...

travelbug

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2012, 09:38:39 PM »
Great thread, there are some terrfific ideas here.
We are of the same mindset at Christmas time; way too much plastic crap is given out without any thought of the receiver and their interests.
This year for us is a classic. We are selling up everything mid- next year and travelling around the world, so I have told the family on both sides that anything they buy our children will be givenn away to a charity within 6 months.
It's put alot of people off.
I have suggested money and books for the kindle/ipad for when we travel (picture books as we love to read but will only be doing so electronically due to weight).
Fingers crossed!

HeidiO

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2012, 12:23:19 AM »
I wish we could do this!  For now we have a decent ritual - my father sends me a $250 Walmart card for Christmas.  I take it to Walmart, and use it to buy smaller Walmart cards for the 7 nieces and nephews (w/ a little left over for me to buy groceries with.)  Everybody is happy - my father who hates buying gifts, me who hates buying gifts, and 7 kiddos who are excited to choose their own treasures.
Heidi

gooki

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2012, 01:09:30 AM »
For birthday parties we say no presents, but bring a plate.

You can also ask people to give to your (our your kids) favourite charity.

And I love the idea of giving experiences. From my experience these are the most memorable weather they're low cost or high.
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kdms

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2012, 04:40:38 AM »
What an amazing thread!  So many different ideas out there.  My family used to do the pull the name out of a hat, with a $ limit, but now that we've kind of spread out over the continent and we all hate paying shipping fees we've all gone towards gift cards at stores like Chapters, Future Shop, and Toys R Us...way cheaper to mail.  For local friends I try to do the homemade stuff...I do a lot of canning, and at this time of the year it's easy enough to pull out some decorative jars and do up some extra jars of fancyish preserves to give away with a nice card.  I've never yet had anyone complain....but there have been a lot of requests for more. :)

The most unusual gift we've received for our son was a one oz piece of silver, pre-notched into quarters, for his first birthday.  Although I'm sure it was meant for future use, it was useable in the immediate, as it gave him something to chew on (for a very brief supervised time, anyways.....)

N

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2012, 06:01:23 PM »
Im feeling stressed about xmas, as I usually am this time of year.
With my side of the family, its ok. Ive told them all this year (my brother, my sister and my dad) that we cant do gifts this year. They all know our situation (medical bills, foreclosure) so they get it. There isnt that many on my side, either, so its not been too expensive to do/make things for them either. In the past Ive made them all placemats and napkins (using thrifted material), or food, or stuff like that.

DH's family OTOH, is huge, and local. He has 6 siblings, both of his parents, and there are 9 nieces/nephews. This year we didnt do bday gifts for anyone. We didnt have bday parties for our kids, either (There is usually a family party for each kid). We cant fit everyone in our 2br condo and we cant afford to have parties out. Anyway, Christmas tradition dictates that we all gather at  his sister's house. We arrive at 2. Open presents by 3 and then eat dinner at 5. DH and his siblings/spouses draw names with a 40$ limit. On your name paper you are supposed to put a few ideas in the proper $ range. Most people list 3 stores they want gift cards for. Its dumb to exchange gift cards, IMHO.

DH's parents send money ahead of time for the kids, so we are supposed to buy presents they can open there. Then usually each family gives a gift to his mom and dad (of course, they need pretty much nothing at this point) and then all the aunts and uncles give gifts to all the kids.

they all asked for gift cards last year. It was depressing. They dont appreciate anything handmade. One family has 5 kids and for a few years I bought them a family membership to the arboretum which they loved, but they dont want that anymore. Besides, 2 of those kids are 18 and over this year.

Ive tried in the past to suggest the kids draw names since there are so many of them, but was told flat out no.

If we opt out of gifts, Im afraid it will be difficult for my kids to attend the Christmas dinner because everyone else will have them and be talking about them, etc. (my kids are 8 and 5). If we come after the gifts it might be a little better, but then we have to drive 1.5 hrs each way for dinner only, and be there from 5-7.

Im toying with (pun!) not going at all...but fear upsetting everyone involved.

ugh.

N

badassprof

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2012, 05:29:33 PM »
"I'm toying with (pun!) not going at all...but fear upsetting everyone involved."

I often have this fear, but when I stop to think about it, what, really, am I fearing? After all, sometimes desires and needs conflict and you may not be able to do what you and your family need and want without upsetting someone else, and that's okay. Sometimes, in fact, other people's unhappiness is a sign that we've drawn a boundary.  (_The Dance of Anger_ is a great book that I periodically reread to remind myself of that fact)!  I think the key is for your family to all be on the same page and to tell the rest of the family, as dispassionately as possible, what your family is going to do.  I don't even think you have to offer an extensive explanation of your family's financial business unless you want to. Then, decide what you want to give, if anything, and enjoy the holidays!  There may be discomfort, there may be grumbling, in person or behind your back, but you also will know that you're adhering to your values.  It just makes me so sad that we live in  a world that has made the holidays so stressful due to gifts. :(
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 05:31:11 PM by badassprof »

travelbug

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2012, 09:17:34 PM »
I agree, isn't it sad that we would consider not spending time with our family on a holiday due to financial stress and consumerism.
It's a crazy old world we live in.
I am not having a go at anyone, just an observation that I have made about our situation sometimes too...

PJ

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #31 on: October 01, 2012, 09:49:24 PM »
startingfromthestart, I'm so sorry that you are having to consider staying away from family during the holidays.  In my family (I have 3 siblings) we've all hit a rough patch financially at one time or another, and have been up front about not being able to get people gifts during the planning phase for the holidays.  No one holds it against the other, and NEVER would we have let it prevent the rest of us from buying gifts for the children (ok, only one of my sibs has kids, but I'm quite certain that if we did, and one of couldn't buy gifts, the rest of us would still buy for that person's children). 

Of course, you know your husband's family best, but before you cancel Christmas, are you absolutely sure that if you just took the adults aside ahead of time (call them, e-mail them, whatever), and explained that you're dealing with a foreclosure etc, and won't be able to buy any gifts this year, that they wouldn't be understanding?  You don't have to suggest that they alter their gift giving routine, just let them know where you stand.  I wonder if at least some of them wouldn't be understanding?  Maybe I'm naive but I have trouble imagining loving aunts and uncles being Scroogish - surely at least they will want your kids to have a good Christmas?  Depending on their response you can decide whether to arrive after the gifts have been opened, or if you get lots of reassurance you can hope that the kids will get at least some gifts. 

One other idea is that maybe you could do something both inexpensive and creative - what about making a big Christmas pinata filled with candy for the kids?  They aren't that hard to make - a lightweight box that's prescored to make it break more easily, tissue paper, etc.  For the ultimate irony decorate it like a giant present ;-) 

Or what my sister in law has done in the past when money was tight - fill a basket with inexpensive items - candles, candy, fun socks, nice soap, etc - pass it around once or a couple of times with each person choosing one thing.  Kids version could include bubbles, noisemakers, costume jewellery, silly putty - the kind of thing people put in loot bags.
'To be human you must bear witness to justice. Justice is what love looks like in public." 
Dr. Cornel West

N

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Re: How to tell family no more gifts in a nice way
« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2012, 12:11:21 AM »
thanks for the last few replies (and sorry to hijack the OP post)
I will talk to them and they will probably be nice about it. it just feels embarrassing. Im sure no one wants us not to come, so I will try to make the best of it.

N