Author Topic: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread  (Read 3542 times)

Hall11235

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Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« on: November 17, 2021, 12:47:24 PM »
Hi, all!

I was thinking, as we come into the worst part of the year (Christmas - blech), it might be fun to see who has the absolute wildest gift-giving traditions in their family. You got an aunt who gives out iPads every year? Let's hear about it!

I have two that come to mind:
1. My DW's family is insane. They are a bigger family (about 15 members all told at the house for Xmas day). It is a requirement that EVERY person buys EVERY other person a gift. Any suggestions about how bad this is for our wallets and the planet is usually met with either blank stares or eye rolls followed by condescending chuckles. The best my DW and I have been able to do after 5 years of cajoling is that we now buy and get gifts as a couple.

2. On my side of the family, for as far back as I can remember, my mother had her 'Christmas job.' Every year, after the school year would start, she would go out and find a min wage job somewhere (Target, Walmart, Starbucks, etc.), and would work there for 8-10 hours a week until the two weeks before Christmas. After I turned 14, she managed to find a gig at a local coffee shop that was cool with her doing this on a yearly basis. She would then use this money for our gifts under the tree. Seemed insane to me then, and insane to me now.

*Not about my family per se, but I also cannot stand the people my age (around 25-35) who use the winter holiday to buy gifts for themselves, essentially using the holidays as an excuse to spend frivolously on things they wouldn't otherwise buy.

**Also, going even farther afield, when on Earth did Birthdays turn into weekends? As in, "Its my birthday weekend this weekend, so I am taking Friday off, and celebrating Friday and Saturday." Gross.

ETA: Fixed my age range. I am not as close to 12 as I wish I was.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 12:53:25 PM by Hall11235 »

Kris

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2021, 01:11:19 PM »
This is not exactly in the spirit of this thread, but I have sort of lucked out in this department, in that my MIL is a Jehovah's Witness. So we do not have a Christmas holiday with that side of the family, and hence do not have any Christmas gift-buying traditions with them at all. (Yay!) Plus, my husband, having been raised JW, doesn't give a shit about the holiday, which means that between us, we also do not give each other gifts. (Double yay!)

On my side, both my parents are deceased, and I am an only child. So, no gift-giving on that side, either. (Not exactly a yay, but...)

We give gifts to my two stepdaughters and their partners (usually money or gift cards), and my younger stepdaughter's two young children. And I also have a group of three friends I cave and exchange gifts with, mostly because one of the friends is a big "gifts as love language" person. Finally, we also sometimes exchange gifts with our two best couple friends if we happen to be spending Christmas day with them (as we are this year).

GuitarStv

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2021, 01:28:50 PM »
I have discovered stroopwafels this year and have plans to consume them at insane levels at each given chance.  :P

Hall11235

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2021, 01:32:09 PM »
This is not exactly in the spirit of this thread, but I have sort of lucked out in this department, in that my MIL is a Jehovah's Witness. So we do not have a Christmas holiday with that side of the family, and hence do not have any Christmas gift-buying traditions with them at all. (Yay!) Plus, my husband, having been raised JW, doesn't give a shit about the holiday, which means that between us, we also do not give each other gifts. (Double yay!)

On my side, both my parents are deceased, and I am an only child. So, no gift-giving on that side, either. (Not exactly a yay, but...)

We give gifts to my two stepdaughters and their partners (usually money or gift cards), and my younger stepdaughter's two young children. And I also have a group of three friends I cave and exchange gifts with, mostly because one of the friends is a big "gifts as love language" person. Finally, we also sometimes exchange gifts with our two best couple friends if we happen to be spending Christmas day with them (as we are this year).

I am almost comically jealous of you here. :) The whole gift give-a-palooza makes me want to throw up.

Kris

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2021, 01:47:58 PM »
This is not exactly in the spirit of this thread, but I have sort of lucked out in this department, in that my MIL is a Jehovah's Witness. So we do not have a Christmas holiday with that side of the family, and hence do not have any Christmas gift-buying traditions with them at all. (Yay!) Plus, my husband, having been raised JW, doesn't give a shit about the holiday, which means that between us, we also do not give each other gifts. (Double yay!)

On my side, both my parents are deceased, and I am an only child. So, no gift-giving on that side, either. (Not exactly a yay, but...)

We give gifts to my two stepdaughters and their partners (usually money or gift cards), and my younger stepdaughter's two young children. And I also have a group of three friends I cave and exchange gifts with, mostly because one of the friends is a big "gifts as love language" person. Finally, we also sometimes exchange gifts with our two best couple friends if we happen to be spending Christmas day with them (as we are this year).

I am almost comically jealous of you here. :) The whole gift give-a-palooza makes me want to throw up.

Yeah, it’s pretty great. Even giving gifts to our two grandsons, I am always struck at every Christmas or birthday what a ridiculous deluge of crap they must be getting. Between both sides of the families (both parents’ parents are divorced, so that’s four sets of grandparents alone) plus other friends and family… good lord, it’s freaking ridiculous. How do parents even have room to store all that crap? Seems like they would need to buy a bigger house just for all the toys? Ugh! 😑
« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 01:50:35 PM by Kris »

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2021, 01:51:04 PM »
My ILs live out of the country, and don't celebrate the holiday, so no conflicts there. Our family is very trimmed down. Only kids get gifts, and there is a firm limit on cost ($50/pp). Our kids receive gifts from us, my parents ($50 limit) & my sister ($50 limit). That's it.

I'm not so big into birthday "weekends" & often work the day of my birthday. For my husband, it's a bigger deal. We typically plan a long weekend around his birthday anyway, to celebrate. I don't understand the disdain. It's the adjustment of a trip that we would have otherwise taken to celebrate. He loses vacation time every year, so we have plenty to use up on his birthday weekend.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 02:27:41 PM by MaybeBabyMustache »

Hall11235

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2021, 02:13:45 PM »
This is not exactly in the spirit of this thread, but I have sort of lucked out in this department, in that my MIL is a Jehovah's Witness. So we do not have a Christmas holiday with that side of the family, and hence do not have any Christmas gift-buying traditions with them at all. (Yay!) Plus, my husband, having been raised JW, doesn't give a shit about the holiday, which means that between us, we also do not give each other gifts. (Double yay!)

On my side, both my parents are deceased, and I am an only child. So, no gift-giving on that side, either. (Not exactly a yay, but...)

We give gifts to my two stepdaughters and their partners (usually money or gift cards), and my younger stepdaughter's two young children. And I also have a group of three friends I cave and exchange gifts with, mostly because one of the friends is a big "gifts as love language" person. Finally, we also sometimes exchange gifts with our two best couple friends if we happen to be spending Christmas day with them (as we are this year).

I am almost comically jealous of you here. :) The whole gift give-a-palooza makes me want to throw up.

Yeah, it’s pretty great. Even giving gifts to our two grandsons, I am always struck at every Christmas or birthday what a ridiculous deluge of crap they must be getting. Between both sides of the families (both parents’ parents are divorced, so that’s four sets of grandparents alone) plus other friends and family… good lord, it’s freaking ridiculous. How do parents even have room to store all that crap? Seems like they would need to buy a bigger house just for all the toys? Ugh! 😑
Its what the guest bedroom is for at my In-laws - storing all the gift-based garbage, lmao

Hall11235

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2021, 02:16:19 PM »
I'm not so big into birthday "weekends" & often work the day of my birthday. For my husband, it's a bigger deal. We typically plan a long weekend around his birthday anyway, to celebrate. I don't understand the disdain. It's the adjustment of a trip that we would have otherwise taken to celebrate. He loses vacation time every year, so we have plenty to use up on his birthday weekend.

I think the disdain might be more of a thing for the people I see around me in my age range. Taking a trip that happens to be around a birthday is fine. It is more the oddly casual, "Oh, its my birthday weekend," followed by an orgy of expensive consumption that really gets my goat. It is the behavior I expect out of 17 year olds, not 28-32 year old professionals, if that makes sense?

Kris

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2021, 02:27:23 PM »
@Hall11235 , One thing I do that mitigates the crapfest for us a little is, when I get a gift that I know I won’t use, I have a box in one of my closets that is specifically for regifting. I put a post-it note with the name of the person who gave it to me on the item, so I don’t accidentally give it back to them or to someone they know. To be honest, most of the gifts I receive go into that box these days. Then when I happen to need a random gift for someone, I can go “shopping” in the box.

DragonSlayer

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2021, 02:53:03 PM »
My parents no longer want anything except maybe some magazine subs, or restaurant gift cards. And even then, they'd just as soon not really bother. DH's parents couldn't care less, as well. They're all in the "no more crap" phase of life, which is wonderful. So we neither give nor receive. It's perfect. We don't bother giving to siblings, etc., either, and they don't give to us, either. They're all far away, so why really bother? We buy what we need and want all year round so come Christmas, we just kind of sit back and think about how content we are with that. If there's a work party (thank you Covid for ending that tradition!), we bring some food or booze and call it a day. It's very freeing and calm. We just enjoy the decorations and chill.

JoePublic3.14

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2021, 04:09:54 PM »
I have discovered stroopwafels this year and have plans to consume them at insane levels at each given chance.  :P

WTF? Based on your posts, you come across as well read, well traveled, and so on. Clearly that was a smokescreen you put up if you just discovered those delicious little treats.

I guess your expertise was but one square of one ply.

Dutch Comfort

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2021, 03:15:24 AM »
I have discovered stroopwafels this year and have plans to consume them at insane levels at each given chance.  :P

WTF? Based on your posts, you come across as well read, well traveled, and so on. Clearly that was a smokescreen you put up if you just discovered those delicious little treats.

I guess your expertise was but one square of one ply.

You should really come to the Netherlands........ stroopwafels on every corner of the street! (together with loads of chocolate, banketletter (pastry filled with an almond paste) and pepernoten (with or without chocolate) around "Sinterklaas" and "oliebollen" at New Years eve).

cupcakery

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2021, 05:58:46 AM »
My ILs used to buy the kids a ridiculous amount of gifts.  Most were cheap things no one wanted.  She wouldn't give us receipts, so we either had to try and return them for pennies on the dollar or just donate them. We were frustrated at having to store these things or the hassle of getting rid of them.  ILs were frustrated that they didn't see the kids using or wearing their gifts.  Words were spoken.  They've toned it down a lot in the past few years since they retired and have a more limited income. We are much happier and they've started giving the kids money, which is their favorite color.

sonofsven

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2021, 06:20:00 AM »
I'm actually really looking forward to being together with my family this year, unlike most years. I think the main difference that's changed my outlook is that we'll all be on Maui.

LaineyAZ

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2021, 06:41:04 AM »
Didn't I read somewhere that there was a December cruise specifically for non-Christmas people?  A getaway with no holiday decorations or music allowed, just an ordinary trip.

Sounds like a lovely experience for those who are burnt out on the whole thing but can't escape it otherwise.

GuitarStv

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2021, 09:28:04 AM »
I have discovered stroopwafels this year and have plans to consume them at insane levels at each given chance.  :P

WTF? Based on your posts, you come across as well read, well traveled, and so on. Clearly that was a smokescreen you put up if you just discovered those delicious little treats.

I guess your expertise was but one square of one ply.

You should really come to the Netherlands........ stroopwafels on every corner of the street! (together with loads of chocolate, banketletter (pastry filled with an almond paste) and pepernoten (with or without chocolate) around "Sinterklaas" and "oliebollen" at New Years eve).

I like that life can still surprise me in a good way occasionally.

Kris

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2021, 09:52:25 AM »
I have discovered stroopwafels this year and have plans to consume them at insane levels at each given chance.  :P

WTF? Based on your posts, you come across as well read, well traveled, and so on. Clearly that was a smokescreen you put up if you just discovered those delicious little treats.

I guess your expertise was but one square of one ply.

You should really come to the Netherlands........ stroopwafels on every corner of the street! (together with loads of chocolate, banketletter (pastry filled with an almond paste) and pepernoten (with or without chocolate) around "Sinterklaas" and "oliebollen" at New Years eve).

Oooh, Dutch letters are one of my very favorite pastries of all time!!! (That's what they call banketletter in the Dutch communities of Iowa, not far from where I grew up.) Soooo delicious...

JoePublic3.14

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2021, 01:02:39 PM »
I have discovered stroopwafels this year and have plans to consume them at insane levels at each given chance.  :P

WTF? Based on your posts, you come across as well read, well traveled, and so on. Clearly that was a smokescreen you put up if you just discovered those delicious little treats.

I guess your expertise was but one square of one ply.

You should really come to the Netherlands........ stroopwafels on every corner of the street! (together with loads of chocolate, banketletter (pastry filled with an almond paste) and pepernoten (with or without chocolate) around "Sinterklaas" and "oliebollen" at New Years eve).

Oooh, Dutch letters are one of my very favorite pastries of all time!!! (That's what they call banketletter in the Dutch communities of Iowa, not far from where I grew up.) Soooo delicious...

Yeah, I had forgotten about the letters until going to the Des Moines farmers market last month. They were all over the place.

Villanelle

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2021, 01:33:18 PM »
Christmas with my family (parents and sibling, and now my spouse and sibling's spouse) is a huuuuge deal.  It always has been.  Thankfully, gifts in our family has always leaned toward the practical, or at least a luxurious version of practical.  Everyone is very, very happy to get suggestions.  My parents are the ones who buy the most (they can well afford it and it truly does bring them joy) so I try very hard to steer my mom.  "I think DH would really enjoy a weather station." (He's a bit of weather nerd, having previously been a pilot, but this is not something he'd ever spring for himself.  I do think he will get a lot of enjoyment out of it.)  My sister and I also conspire and she will tell me something she wants and I will mention to my mom that when sister and I talked the other day, she told me her blender just died and I'm sure she'd like another one for Christmas.  Mom seems to feel it is more exciting if a suggestion comes from me, versus directly from my sister, so sister and I have worked out that system. 

So yes, many, many gifts are given, and much money is also spent.  In addition to that, we almost always get a large check (4 figures).  Yet somehow it doesn't manage to be wasteful.  I never have to buy body lotion because mom gives it every year (purchased at deep discount when Bath and Body Works has a big sale).  Things like that. 

That's not to say things never miss the mark, but usually there is very little that will be wasted. 

For those whose families insist on many gifts and/or much expense, can you at least find ways to guide them toward things you want or need?  Maybe each family member sends out a list, or starts an Amazon list.  If someone gifts you the new tires you need for your bike or the fancy hot chocolate you love but won't buy for yourself, it's a lot nicer!

Also, similar to what someone mentioned above, I keep a box of gifts, ready to regift as needed.  These usually come from hostess gifts I receive of things from outside family, but it is nice to have a fancy hand lotion set in a scent I don't care for, or a candle, or a themed dishtowel set that I can just grab and throw in a (reused!) gift bag if I need a hostess gift or a last-minute present.  Keeping track of who gave you what so you don't regift to the giver or within that same circle is important. 

For reasons not worth explaining here, I was at one point given many cow-themed gifts.  I couldn't really be less into any of that stuff, but it was related to a position I held and traditionally, gifts are given to the new C.O.W.  Thankfully, it's a position I knew many other people were in, and would be in.  The COW dish towels, kitchen timer, slippers, milk creamer, pens, statues, lawn decor, and probably many others I'm forgetting went directly in to the gift box. And my go-to gift is a donation to heifer international--cow-themed but not useless crap--if I need something more substantial.  I'm out of them now and have several dear friends who are about to be in that position, and I'll need to buy gifts.  But I'm going with stuff they will use--likely beef spices which stays close to the cow-theme but is hopefully usable, so they aren't stuck like I was. But as the first Cow of the friend group, I've also advised them to save all that stuff because they too will be needing to give many cow gifts in the coming years. Sometimes I've wondered just how many homes some of those items have been in.  Some people in the position REALLY lean into it and I'm sure use most of the things they get, but some are like me. 

Anon-E-Mouze

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2021, 06:17:50 PM »
My sister and her husband don't give gifts at Christmas and actually fast on Christmas day as an anti-consumer protest. My in-laws are frugal but like to give stuff - I don't want any more stuff.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2021, 07:06:11 PM »
For reasons not worth explaining here, I was at one point given many cow-themed gifts.

Moo. @Ma’am.

kanga1622

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2021, 07:19:15 PM »
DH and I are at opposite ends of the gifting spectrum.

I love to get gifts that are practical while he loves gifts that are more frivolous. So I LOVED getting a vacuum, knife block, bakeware, and mini spatulas in previous years but he HATES to shop for practical things. Oddly I feel uncomfortable “splurging” on these things for myself.

Every year I try hard to surprise DH and not be so practical. But he still ends up with a sweatshirt I know he will love, headphones to replace the broken ones, or funny new pj pants since the elastic wore out of his. My compromise is frivolous stocking stuffers - candy, lottery tickets, and gift cards to restaurants.

Thankfully we have one practical kid and one “wild idea” kid so we each take the one most like ourself to be the major shopper.

Now if we could get to a point that we didn’t feel obligated to get gifts for my in-laws….. They are just impossible to shop for since they buy everything they want as soon as they think of it.

Travis

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2021, 02:58:26 AM »
MIL is a big gifter, which has been a double edge sword. That's her way of showing affection, and Christmas morning is full of things to open. Since we don't live in the same area, that usually means a lot of "stuff" to haul back home. On the other hand, her constant gift giving means she's had a lot of practice and is the only person who can buy me clothes. I can't stand holidays in the sense that according to Hallmark, Hershey, and whatever is advertised on TV, I should be buying a lot of stuff every couple months. If my wife and son need something throughout the year, I'll get it for them. I don't feel the need to wait for a particular day. This week I refurbished one of my old phones to give him for gaming and Youtube. It cost me nothing and he's happy as can be with a bigger screen and more recent OS to support his games. I suppose I could have put a bow on it.  I'll try to do something nice for them on their birthdays, but I don't feel compelled to buy anything.  He's already receiving packages of clothes, and I'm sure checks are in the mail. With us living overseas, the extended family got the hint that more "stuff" just isn't helpful right now.  My wife feels like she needs to get "something" for a long list of people. I think she gets some of that from her mother.  Over the years I've whittled that down to something small and preferably consumable for a lot of the people on her list.  She'll still get me something for birthday and Christmas, and in return I'll pretty much ask her what I'm getting for her and then wrap it.  The most difficult part of Christmas is SIL. Love her to death. She makes several times what I do and it shows through their gift giving. It's a struggle sometimes to not come off as cheap when our two families are doing something together or sending a Christmas gift in exchange that doesn't look pitiful.

LD_TAndK

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2021, 04:00:14 AM »
My sister and her husband don't give gifts at Christmas and actually fast on Christmas day as an anti-consumer protest.

Oh man that's such a good idea. I'd love to do this but it'd upset too many people in my family. I'll suggest this to my wife for shock value

GuitarStv

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2021, 07:25:29 AM »
My sister and her husband don't give gifts at Christmas and actually fast on Christmas day as an anti-consumer protest.

Oh man that's such a good idea. I'd love to do this but it'd upset too many people in my family. I'll suggest this to my wife for shock value

The best part about Christmas fasting is the enhanced impact of alcohol.  Very useful for family gatherings.

sonofsven

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2021, 07:38:33 AM »
My sister and her husband don't give gifts at Christmas and actually fast on Christmas day as an anti-consumer protest.

Oh man that's such a good idea. I'd love to do this but it'd upset too many people in my family. I'll suggest this to my wife for shock value

Myself, my ex and her two sisters years ago decided to spice up Easter by making thai food at MIL's house. It was so shocking and upsetting that she got a severe migraine and spent the holiday in bed.


Warlord1986

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2021, 08:42:57 AM »
I'm very fortunate. It's just me and my parents and we're all kind of relaxed. I think Mom is buying Daddy a succulent this year. Most of the gifts I get them are locally produced goodies, like toffee and fancy soap. Daddy has a sweet tooth, and Mom likes the scents. I used to knit them shawls and scarves, but I don't think they cared much for those.

I'm making a friend a sign that says 'Make More Music.' It's going to be bright and colorful, much like her. I'll take another friend for coffee. My housemate is getting pretty placemats since she's getting married in a few months and those are nice to have for a house.

I've been difficult to shop for since I was a teenager. This year I asked for helping funding a trip to Portugal in 2022 (which, trust me, my parents can afford).

dcheesi

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2021, 10:19:37 AM »
This year will be interesting, as it's the first time we won't be gathering and holding festivities at my parents' house (they've both passed, and the house is on the market). My fiancée is Jewish, so no Xmas traditions on her side obviously, but she's encouraging me to come up with something (she knows it will be weird for me, and wants to establish some kind of new tradition to replace the one I've lost).

We also have a family trip planned right after the holiday, so there's still the possibility of presents being exchanged at some point. But most of us will be flying, so that limits what we can bring if we wind up doing it in person.

In previous years, my brother and SiL have established the annoying habit of buying everyone bags full of crap, err, "stocking stuffers", straight from the $1 bin at Wal-Mart and/or Target. Lots of useless plastic junk, candy no one needs, etc.

For several years, that was the bulk of their gift giving, even as the rest of the family bought more significant (and expensive) gifts for each other, including them. One year I finally got fed up, and bought similarly worthless trinkets for them --and of course that was the year they decided to splurge and buy us all real gifts?! I think they must have come into some money or something (they rarely talk about their finances, so it's hard to say).

In recent years, we've come to a sort of understanding, which mostly involves buying each other lots of booze :) But they still do the trinket bags, much to my annoyance.

« Last Edit: November 19, 2021, 10:22:23 AM by dcheesi »

partgypsy

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2021, 11:30:04 AM »
I don't think I will have a problem with that this year. Before FIL passed away, it was tradition for both of them to go big in giving gifts to kids, grandkids, as well as the kids expected to give big back. Kind of like an arms race of presents. It's still a lot of presents but since it's just MIL does feel toned down, and gifts more on the useful side.
I already talked to my immediate family and the idea is to do a white elephant exchange for the adults. I'll still give my Mom and sister something to open, but nothing major. And I already told my kids that it will be modest (for me, yes I still like buying xmas gifts).  So far I bought youngest a down comforter (I'll let her open it Dec 1st). She also wants an alexa of some kind to listen to music, so either I or MIL are going to get that for her.  I told my family NO socks for my oldest. I counted and she has 3 dozen pairs of socks (multiple years of getting socks for birthday and xmas presents). Both kids want various books, graphic novels so I do need to order some of those soon to make sure of availability. I'm really of the age, if I need something I can buy it myself. But I told my kids I'd like a new pair of gardening gloves as they have holes in the fingertips, and a hand pruner.

« Last Edit: November 19, 2021, 11:34:08 AM by partgypsy »

tygertygertyger

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2021, 11:39:30 AM »
My partner's mom is the big gift giver. I have never seen anything quite like Christmas with my partner's family. Giving gifts is clearly her love language. The first few years my partner and I were together, I wasn't able to attend their Christmas. But, the next time we'd go to their house, she'd have a jumbo pile of presents for me, and would pull up a chair in front of where I was sitting so she could watch me unwrap each one. Oh boy. Intimidating, and so unlike anything I was used to. (It weirded me out - is THIS what my partner expected?!) But over time I've come around that she genuinely loves this, and she is the only one in his family to go crazy like this, so I'm not going to get in her way.

My partner and I also have the divide on practical vs fun gifts. I like practical gifts - I have requested a sonicare and a vacuum (with attachments!) for presents in the past. Both things (like someone said upthread) that I would hesitate to buy for myself for some unknown reason. But my partner thinks practical gifts are so boring and not for presents. One year he bought me a kayak, and this year he got me a hammock stand for my birthday. Luckily, both he and his mom are good at giving gifts. 

My family, however, does smaller stuff, and we've all agreed not to buy presents for adults for Christmas. My brother's wife has called us all cheap. (She was shocked that when she and my brother got married, I gave them a check with the same amount that Her brother gave them...) Win some, lose some.

Villanelle

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2021, 12:05:22 PM »
My partner's mom is the big gift giver. I have never seen anything quite like Christmas with my partner's family. Giving gifts is clearly her love language. The first few years my partner and I were together, I wasn't able to attend their Christmas. But, the next time we'd go to their house, she'd have a jumbo pile of presents for me, and would pull up a chair in front of where I was sitting so she could watch me unwrap each one. Oh boy. Intimidating, and so unlike anything I was used to. (It weirded me out - is THIS what my partner expected?!) But over time I've come around that she genuinely loves this, and she is the only one in his family to go crazy like this, so I'm not going to get in her way.

My partner and I also have the divide on practical vs fun gifts. I like practical gifts - I have requested a sonicare and a vacuum (with attachments!) for presents in the past. Both things (like someone said upthread) that I would hesitate to buy for myself for some unknown reason. But my partner thinks practical gifts are so boring and not for presents. One year he bought me a kayak, and this year he got me a hammock stand for my birthday. Luckily, both he and his mom are good at giving gifts. 

My family, however, does smaller stuff, and we've all agreed not to buy presents for adults for Christmas. My brother's wife has called us all cheap. (She was shocked that when she and my brother got married, I gave them a check with the same amount that Her brother gave them...) Win some, lose some.

I think this is so important.  My mom clearly gets so much about giving gifts to her adult children.  (There are no grandchildren.)  My parents can very easily afford the extravagance.  With direction, usually we can prevent too much waste.  So I embrace it.  Getting excited about all the gifts and generosity is a gift back to my mother.  I can't think of a good reason to deprive her of that.  My sister struggles a bit more with that perspective, but I love how much joy my mom gets about giving me soup mixes (that I wouldn't buy, but that we do really like and certainly get used!) and socks and a sweater (even if I don't need another sweater, it gets worn so it does prolong the life of everything else) and pajamas and a book and a bottle of alcohol and...

elaine amj

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2021, 07:14:58 PM »
I didn't even know people gave multiple gifts for Christmas until my SIL showed me her tree one year! And then I learned about stocking stuffers. Which by the time the stocking is stuffed, has got to be at least $20-50 (or more).

It is fun opening presents on Christmas morning though. A few presents. After 5-6 gifts, my eyes cross and I am overwhelmed.

I've asked DS19 and DD20 what they want and both say they don't need anything. So I just talked to DH that this year, we should trade dollar store presents between our young adult kids and ourselves simply for the fun of a few gifts.

One wrinkle is that my mom is the lover of gifts (both receiving and giving) and she lives with us so we will all be together Christmas morning. My plan is to make sure everyone gives "real" gifts to my mother. It will be slightly weird - but she knows my opinions on gifts.

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G-dog

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2021, 07:47:05 PM »
I have discovered stroopwafels this year and have plans to consume them at insane levels at each given chance.  :P

WTF? Based on your posts, you come across as well read, well traveled, and so on. Clearly that was a smokescreen you put up if you just discovered those delicious little treats.

I guess your expertise was but one square of one ply.

You should really come to the Netherlands........ stroopwafels on every corner of the street! (together with loads of chocolate, banketletter (pastry filled with an almond paste) and pepernoten (with or without chocolate) around "Sinterklaas" and "oliebollen" at New Years eve).

Oooh, Dutch letters are one of my very favorite pastries of all time!!! (That's what they call banketletter in the Dutch communities of Iowa, not far from where I grew up.) Soooo delicious...

Yeah, I had forgotten about the letters until going to the Des Moines farmers market last month. They were all over the place.

Tulip festival! They are also in some stores now in Des Moines - I have seen them, but cannot remember where. 

gooki

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2021, 11:36:57 PM »
I have discovered stroopwafels this year and have plans to consume them at insane levels at each given chance.  :P

Good shit. They're soooo good.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2021, 07:27:26 AM »
I didn't even know people gave multiple gifts for Christmas until my SIL showed me her tree one year! And then I learned about stocking stuffers. Which by the time the stocking is stuffed, has got to be at least $20-50 (or more).

"All the stockings were  hung by the chimney with care
in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there"

I'm brainwashed, I did that from memory.   ;-)

Stocking are great when you have little kids, they can open all the little presents in them and play with the little toys and eat the mandarin orange in the toe, and parents can get to sleep a bit longer.

Decibel

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2021, 04:20:54 PM »
My DW and my families are all in other countries which removes the gift giving issue. We do have a tradition of gifting Christmas ornaments though and in my case greatly aided by having a 3D printer allowing the creation of personalised ones.

As it is just my DW and I for Christmas Day, we host dinner for a number of other Christmas orphans who have no local family which can be from 3 -5 depending on circumstance. As for gift giving since there is only the two of us DW buys me a few small  gifts while I am Mr. Meany and only buy her one as her birthday, our wedding anniversary and Christmas all fall within 10 days and I buy her something she needs such as this year replacement for her 6 year old phone that is starting to play up.

Travis

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2021, 06:49:55 PM »
I didn't even know people gave multiple gifts for Christmas until my SIL showed me her tree one year! And then I learned about stocking stuffers. Which by the time the stocking is stuffed, has got to be at least $20-50 (or more).

"All the stockings were  hung by the chimney with care
in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there"

I'm brainwashed, I did that from memory.   ;-)

Stocking are great when you have little kids, they can open all the little presents in them and play with the little toys and eat the mandarin orange in the toe, and parents can get to sleep a bit longer.

They buy time to get coffee and breakfast started.

exterous

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #37 on: November 22, 2021, 05:57:34 AM »
We've been slowly transitioning our families to experiences. We started with us telling people we just wanted $ for travel. At first they were resistant but we'd send them a picture from somewhere with a caption "You just bought us this great meal in Brussels. Thank you!" or "Thanks for covering the Airbnb so we could hike this mountain!". We're now buying experiences for others. I'm taking my mom to a concert, my SIL is getting a GC for a massage etc

That said I still put a few small items on my list because people still want us to have a small number of things. So it's stuff I need and would buy myself but can wait a little bit. My list this year includes new ratchet straps because a couple are fraying and a driver's side windshield wiper. Past gifts have included a $6 power strip and a $4 pack of 1' ethernet cables. It's become a bit of a humorous tradition

elaine amj

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #38 on: November 22, 2021, 12:36:59 PM »


I didn't even know people gave multiple gifts for Christmas until my SIL showed me her tree one year! And then I learned about stocking stuffers. Which by the time the stocking is stuffed, has got to be at least $20-50 (or more).

"All the stockings were  hung by the chimney with care
in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there"

I'm brainwashed, I did that from memory.   ;-)

Stocking are great when you have little kids, they can open all the little presents in them and play with the little toys and eat the mandarin orange in the toe, and parents can get to sleep a bit longer.

They buy time to get coffee and breakfast started.

Oh. So kids can dive into their stockings without parents present? So much for me to learn!

I used put some candy into small stockings. The big stockings get hung up and stay empty. I obviously did Christmas wrong LOL!

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Hula Hoop

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #39 on: November 22, 2021, 03:14:57 PM »
Unfortunately, we're spending Christmas this year with a very materialistic and spendy branch of the family.  I have one particular wealthy shopaholic aunt who eggs everyone else on and buys ridiculous amounts of stuff for the holidays.  She also gets extremely insulted if others don't buy presents for her, even though it's basically impossible as she has every possible thing that she could possibly want/need. 

She has one of those dogs that is like her child as she doesn't have kids.  I remember one year another family member was freaking out on Christmas morning as we'd 'forgotten to buy a present for the dog and "she'll be so upset".  So the family member took the child's fabric ball that my toddler was playing with at the time an wrapped that up for the dog's present.  I suggested a can of dog food but that didn't go down well.  Apparently this dog only eats some kind of home made extra gourmet dog food that her "parents" make for her.

elaine amj

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2021, 04:27:22 PM »


Unfortunately, we're spending Christmas this year with a very materialistic and spendy branch of the family.  I have one particular wealthy shopaholic aunt who eggs everyone else on and buys ridiculous amounts of stuff for the holidays.  She also gets extremely insulted if others don't buy presents for her, even though it's basically impossible as she has every possible thing that she could possibly want/need. 

My mother was kinda like that. Mostly because she expected lavish gifts from my brother and I. When I pointed out my brother was struggling financially,  she said she gave him very generous gifts of money and he should turn around and spend some of that money on her. I cannot wrap my head around that thinking.

She's gotten sooo much better now. She never used to appreciate my brother and SIL's elaborate handmade/personalized gifts. But after I lectured and lectured for many many years, she has now gained a genuine appreciation for inexpensive gifts made with love.

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OtherJen

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #41 on: November 23, 2021, 07:13:17 AM »


I didn't even know people gave multiple gifts for Christmas until my SIL showed me her tree one year! And then I learned about stocking stuffers. Which by the time the stocking is stuffed, has got to be at least $20-50 (or more).

"All the stockings were  hung by the chimney with care
in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there"

I'm brainwashed, I did that from memory.   ;-)

Stocking are great when you have little kids, they can open all the little presents in them and play with the little toys and eat the mandarin orange in the toe, and parents can get to sleep a bit longer.

They buy time to get coffee and breakfast started.

Oh. So kids can dive into their stockings without parents present? So much for me to learn!

I used put some candy into small stockings. The big stockings get hung up and stay empty. I obviously did Christmas wrong LOL!

Sent from my VCE-AL00 using Tapatalk

My mom always bought a bunch of candy and little things (deck of playing cards, silly putty, etc.), wrapped each one, and packed it into a big stocking to buy her and my dad a bit more sleep time on Christmas morning. I was given instructions to unpack and unwrap the stocking and only then wake them up.

Chris Pascale

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #42 on: November 23, 2021, 12:54:10 PM »
We used to do a $50 Secret Santa for the adults. In advance of Christmas one year I briefly converted to Festivus and had an airing of the grievances when I demanded that:
 
   (A) I get a 2-year holiday from getting gifts from a notoriously cheap cousin (shows up to weddings without a gift), adding that
   (B) my mom and aunts were screwing me by always making him my Secret Santa
   (C) the $50 limit is not really a LIMIT
   (D) a $25 gift (always a gift card) is fine if it's thoughtful, but you can't be both cheap and thoughtless

So his mom told him, and I was blamed for the dissolution of the Secret Santa.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 05:26:27 PM by Chris Pascale »

20957

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #43 on: November 23, 2021, 12:58:13 PM »
My favorite Christmas story was one I heard on the radio one time. The parents started turning the clocks back when they went to bed Christmas Eve, and then told the kids they had to wait until (some reasonable time) to wake them up, thereby getting an extra hour of sleep. Then during the day sometime they would surreptitiously put the clocks right. They expected to get caught at it eventually but never did, so they kept it up as a secret family tradition. As teenagers the kids would muse about how short Christmas day always seemed, but still didn't catch on. They were finally let into the secret when they came home from college. The daughter told the story while laughing so all's well that ends well.

Hall11235

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #44 on: November 23, 2021, 01:11:21 PM »
Unfortunately, we're spending Christmas this year with a very materialistic and spendy branch of the family.  I have one particular wealthy shopaholic aunt who eggs everyone else on and buys ridiculous amounts of stuff for the holidays.  She also gets extremely insulted if others don't buy presents for her, even though it's basically impossible as she has every possible thing that she could possibly want/need. 

She has one of those dogs that is like her child as she doesn't have kids.  I remember one year another family member was freaking out on Christmas morning as we'd 'forgotten to buy a present for the dog and "she'll be so upset".  So the family member took the child's fabric ball that my toddler was playing with at the time an wrapped that up for the dog's present.  I suggested a can of dog food but that didn't go down well.  Apparently this dog only eats some kind of home made extra gourmet dog food that her "parents" make for her.

This sounds like absolute hell. I think I would just rather burn the bridge...

partgypsy

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #45 on: November 25, 2021, 01:32:11 AM »
Unfortunately, we're spending Christmas this year with a very materialistic and spendy branch of the family.  I have one particular wealthy shopaholic aunt who eggs everyone else on and buys ridiculous amounts of stuff for the holidays.  She also gets extremely insulted if others don't buy presents for her, even though it's basically impossible as she has every possible thing that she could possibly want/need. 

She has one of those dogs that is like her child as she doesn't have kids.  I remember one year another family member was freaking out on Christmas morning as we'd 'forgotten to buy a present for the dog and "she'll be so upset".  So the family member took the child's fabric ball that my toddler was playing with at the time an wrapped that up for the dog's present.  I suggested a can of dog food but that didn't go down well.  Apparently this dog only eats some kind of home made extra gourmet dog food that her "parents" make for her.

This sounds like absolute hell. I think I would just rather burn the bridge...
OMG. I do have a picture in my mind that the dog wears a christmas vest or sweater, or at least a holiday-themed collar.

GuitarStv

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #46 on: November 25, 2021, 09:35:34 AM »
Unfortunately, we're spending Christmas this year with a very materialistic and spendy branch of the family.  I have one particular wealthy shopaholic aunt who eggs everyone else on and buys ridiculous amounts of stuff for the holidays.  She also gets extremely insulted if others don't buy presents for her, even though it's basically impossible as she has every possible thing that she could possibly want/need. 

She has one of those dogs that is like her child as she doesn't have kids.  I remember one year another family member was freaking out on Christmas morning as we'd 'forgotten to buy a present for the dog and "she'll be so upset".  So the family member took the child's fabric ball that my toddler was playing with at the time an wrapped that up for the dog's present.  I suggested a can of dog food but that didn't go down well.  Apparently this dog only eats some kind of home made extra gourmet dog food that her "parents" make for her.

This sounds like absolute hell. I think I would just rather burn the bridge...
OMG. I do have a picture in my mind that the dog wears a christmas vest or sweater, or at least a holiday-themed collar.

Dogs need to dress up for Christmas pictures.  It's a good rule.

We had reindeer antlers for our dog that strapped around her head.  Second year that we tried putting them on her, she ran away as fast as she could to a dark corner, clawed them off her head, and ripped them to shreds.  That's when we moved the Santa robe:


"Dear God, why is this happening again???"

Sibley

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #47 on: November 25, 2021, 12:40:40 PM »


I didn't even know people gave multiple gifts for Christmas until my SIL showed me her tree one year! And then I learned about stocking stuffers. Which by the time the stocking is stuffed, has got to be at least $20-50 (or more).

"All the stockings were  hung by the chimney with care
in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there"

I'm brainwashed, I did that from memory.   ;-)

Stocking are great when you have little kids, they can open all the little presents in them and play with the little toys and eat the mandarin orange in the toe, and parents can get to sleep a bit longer.

They buy time to get coffee and breakfast started.

Oh. So kids can dive into their stockings without parents present? So much for me to learn!

I used put some candy into small stockings. The big stockings get hung up and stay empty. I obviously did Christmas wrong LOL!

Sent from my VCE-AL00 using Tapatalk

Obviously, varies by family. In my family, the stocking presents could be opened whenever you got up, but tree presents you had to wait until everyone was up. Mom and dad had a rule that we kids couldn't wake them up before whatever time. Kids got to open some stuff, parents got to sleep to a more reasonable hour.

Capsu78

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #48 on: November 25, 2021, 12:56:11 PM »
38 years ago, I discovered that my wife (of 37 years), celebrated Christmas on a fairly high budget...  Choices had to be made... Decided that Christmas spending was not a hill "winable" or worth dying on.  YMMV.

Dicey

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Re: Insane Holiday Consumption Thread
« Reply #49 on: November 26, 2021, 04:46:58 PM »
A VERY wealthy woman I know is related to some other friends of mine. She has a habit of attending their annual family Christmas parties and passing out $100 dollar bills. Thing is, she's so rich, it's like an average person giving out $1 bills. FFS, she drives a $200k car! And no, it is not leased, lol.