Author Topic: Gift giving is out of control  (Read 12664 times)

swimgriff06

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Gift giving is out of control
« on: September 07, 2015, 05:48:41 PM »
I keep a record of every gift that my husband and I give throughout each month. I just sat down to calculate our gift giving YTD. it's over $3000. THREE GRAND. And we are only at September!

We are not lavish gift givers. I try to be as conscientious as possible. As I look through my log, most of the gifts are modest - ie $50 for a wedding or baby shower gift. $50 to take mom out for dinner on Mother's Day. $25 for dad for a round of golf on his birthday. We did get hit with 3 weddings, one of which was my siblings, and that is about $1000 of the expenses for 2015. But eliminate that, and I still consider $2000 a punch in the gut for USELESS STUPID CRAP.

I could say no to gift giving. Yes, that's a choice I could make. But HOW do you get past the enormous expectations to give a birthday gift, wedding gift, Christmas gift, comtribute to the Boss's day gift, mother day, Father's Day, gifts for young nieces and nephews, sponsor a friend who's doing a charity, say no to the little Boy Scout at the door who asks you to give a donation?

Has anyone found solutions around this issue? Do you just buck expectations? And how did you handle other peoples reactions?

wordnerd

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2015, 06:09:35 PM »
Start with family. Perhaps they hate the required gift-giving as much as you do? Offer to host a birthday dinner at your place instead of going out. See if they're amenable to a no-gift (ideal) or Secret Santa (so you're buying one gift) Christmas.

Wedding and baby showers are tougher--etiquette and all. Be thoughtful. My SIL has go-to wedding shower gifts she can assemble herself (e.g., a picnic basket, where she picked out the dishes and basket at a discount store) and stays away from the registry. One of my favorite gifts from our wedding (FTR, we asked that people not bring gifts, but some did) was a shutterfly book of some pictures from the wedding. Very thoughtful, and probably didn't cost more than $20.

Work showers are tough. I usually throw in the obligatory $20 to the group gift, but I recently skipped out one shower completely (first time ever). I decided I didn't owe a gift to a person I'd (a) never worked in the same office as and (b) never had lunch or coffee with, in a group or one-on-one. Basically, I interviewed her to take over my last position when I left it, and that is the extent of our relationship. The gift terrorism shall not stand!

wordnerd

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2015, 06:19:18 PM »
Also, how much of this spending is between you and your SO? My husband and I instituted a no-gifts-on-holidays rule (we can still give gifts randomly if we think of something the other person would enjoy) about four years ago, and it's worked very well for us. It takes the pressure off finding the perfect gift and cuts down on needless spending. I think he knew I was the one when I told him my Christmas gift was putting the money in savings instead of buying something. ;) Obviously, this is highly couple-specific, but something to think about.

gbbi_977

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2015, 06:19:40 PM »
I'm interested in this thread, as I've begun to feel a bit ill lately at the amount of gift-giving that goes on. My dilemma is that I consider myself somewhat of a minimalist - I know that's a relative notion, but meaning that I like to be intentional about the number of possessions I have, and don't take much joy out of unexpected additions to the possession tally.

But that's quite counter-cultural I think (although 'decluttering' seems to be having a zeitgeist moment right now)...?

I am already uneasy about Christmas...it's at the parents-in-law this year, and last year I felt really overwhelmed by how many gifts they got. I know to many that might sound like privileged whinging, and I get that it's not a bad problem to have - but it was just SO much stuff that I felt this pressure to keep/find a home for. I'm not a gift-giving love language person, so for me, it stresses me out to receive things I don't want. This year we're writing a very specific wish list, and it's going to be SHORT...

But they ARE big gift-givers, which I think often means love language = gifts, so will they be upset if we don't ladle out heaps of pressies this year? Is it mean to do so? I don't want to be frugal to the point where it upsets people or leaves them feeling like we're being thrifty meanies.

swimgriff06

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2015, 06:57:59 PM »
My husband and I don't exchange gifts for any occasions anymore. We might go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday or our anniversary, but that's the extent of it.

AnnaJane, I identify with your sentiments exactly. I too am a "minimalist" by nature. I don't take any joy in spending my own money to buy unnecessary things, except the occasional cup of tea from a coffee shop, or a great dinner with good company. But "stuff" really stresses me out. I have a tendency to get rid of things as fast as possible. Sometimes prematurely according to my spouse.

And I too am already thinking about Christmas. I have tried my best to institute "no gifts" with family, but it hasn't been successful. We are still much more frugal with our gift giving than the rest of my family, which at times makes me feel that they believe I'm cheap. My brother and sister and huge spendthrifts and I am exactly the opposite. It's for sure uncomfortable at times. My sister gives me sympathetic looks like we're falling on hard times. That couldn't be further from the truth, of course.

Our culture so tightly equates holidays/occasions with gifts instead of time together with loved ones, and it's pretty hard to break free without judgement from others. So we end up spending more than we want to on stuff people don't need, and then feel resentful of the process. It's a vicious cycle, isn't it? I liked your part about gift giving being a love language. I never really thought of it that way.

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2015, 07:05:45 PM »
... I still consider $2000 a punch in the gut for USELESS STUPID CRAP.

I could say no to gift giving. Yes, that's a choice I could make. But HOW do you get past the enormous expectations to give a birthday gift, wedding gift, Christmas gift, comtribute to the Boss's day gift, mother day, Father's Day, gifts for young nieces and nephews, sponsor a friend who's doing a charity, say no to the little Boy Scout at the door who asks you to give a donation?

Has anyone found solutions around this issue? Do you just buck expectations? And how did you handle other peoples reactions?

You have to decide what's more important to you.  Taking control of the gift-giving expense hemmoraghe or satisfying someone else's expectations.  AND, if you really believe most of the gifts are "useless crap" then realize that a week after you've given it the recipient no longer gives a hoot about the whole thing.  So, give a nice card and do what's right for you.

iris lily

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2015, 07:05:57 PM »
Umm, OP,  you ARE lavish gift givers at $3000 for the year, although I see that you include dinners out, so that's maybe not so,bad.

Good luck I in finding a way out of this place.there are plenty of threads about it, but the bottom line is that you cannot change others, you can only change your own behavior.

I am old, without children or grandchildren, and I spend maybe $500.00  total,all year including Xmas. I hate gift giving frenzy and I hate it when people foist crap,upon me. It would be more if we have family weddings but those have died down. We give $100 for weddings and high school,graduations.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 07:11:09 PM by iris lily »

RWD

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2015, 07:08:04 PM »
But HOW do you get past the enormous expectations to give a birthday gift
We only give birthday gifts to immediate family, and not necessarily all of them.

wedding gift
Extended family and close friends only.

Christmas gift
Immediate family only.

comtribute to the Boss's day gift
Uh, no.

mother day, Father's Day
No gifts for these, typically. Sometimes cards.

gifts for young nieces and nephews
For what? We don't have any nieces/nephews yet.

sponsor a friend who's doing a charity
Very rarely.

say no to the little Boy Scout at the door who asks you to give a donation?
I have a rule that if someone comes to my door soliciting anything I will refuse, regardless of what it is. If I want to give my money/business to someone I will seek them out on my own. I refuse to reward unprompted intrusions to my time at home.

Has anyone found solutions around this issue? Do you just buck expectations? And how did you handle other peoples reactions?
I can't recall ever having a negative reaction to not giving a gift. These are just the general rules that we have naturally fallen into. We have averaged around $1,000 per year in gifts.

I'm not saying you need to follow these. You should come up with your own set of rules on where to draw the line that you are comfortable with, and then stick with it.

wordnerd

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2015, 07:09:33 PM »
... I still consider $2000 a punch in the gut for USELESS STUPID CRAP.

I could say no to gift giving. Yes, that's a choice I could make. But HOW do you get past the enormous expectations to give a birthday gift, wedding gift, Christmas gift, comtribute to the Boss's day gift, mother day, Father's Day, gifts for young nieces and nephews, sponsor a friend who's doing a charity, say no to the little Boy Scout at the door who asks you to give a donation?

Has anyone found solutions around this issue? Do you just buck expectations? And how did you handle other peoples reactions?

You have to decide what's more important to you.  Taking control of the gift-giving expense hemmoraghe or satisfying someone else's expectations.  AND, if you really believe most of the gifts are "useless crap" then realize that a week after you've given it the recipient no longer gives a hoot about the whole thing.  So, give a nice card and do what's right for you.

+1. I'm pretty sure my family thinks we're cheap. I don't really care at this point in my life. I call them all the time, visit, send cards, care about their health and well-being. If not spending money on worthless shit is going to cause a grudge, whatever. I can live with that.

ETA: Even if gift-giving is another person's love language, you can give frugal, meaningful gifts. Or they can be respectful of your love language--whatever that may be. A gift is just that. It's not a summons to spend exactly the same amount of money in return.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2015, 07:12:05 PM by wordnerd »

an1m3n00b

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2015, 07:28:29 PM »
I wish I knew the answer to how to opt out of the socially mandated custom of gift-giving. Honestly, it's so bad I wish I could just lock myself indoors the last two months of the year. I'm pretty sure guilt-induced gift-giving is the largest viral marketing campaign ever concocted. And it's downright offensive to me. If I hear another @!#$^%$#@ing xmas song...! The good news is, like facebook, you can say "f$#@! that" and just opt out. Tough shit to anyone who gets their panties in a bunch over it. Then again, maybe that's why I'm single. lol

oldladystache

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2015, 07:45:18 PM »
With family I tried to put a stop to the gift giving but I met a lot of resistance. I managed to persuade them to try it for just one christmas. After that there was no more argument. Everyone loved it. It's been at least 15 years since I've had to deal with christmas presents.

With friends, I just tell them well in advance of christmas that I don't intend to give them anything and I don't expect anything from them. It has worked well for me. I do get an occasional gift but I don't feel any need to reciprocate. I don't tell friends when my birthday is, so they can't celebrate it.

pk_aeryn

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2015, 11:21:10 PM »
Boss' day gift is a big no no.  Gifts in the office should flow down.  They make more money than you do.

For donation or candy requests, ignore a group email or if asked in person, politely decline.

patrickza

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2015, 03:12:51 AM »
I hate giving gifts, and hate receiving them too. I've worked hard and earn good money. If I need something I'll buy it. Also if I need something, generally I'm the one to decide what brand type etc I need. Recently my wife got me a pair of sunglasses, because she knew I needed a pair. I really wish she hadn't, what I got was not a pair of sporty style sunglasses with good uv blocking, but instead an expensive name brand fashion pair that feels like I'm not wearing any at all in bright light. I was so mad! I'm still working on bringing her around to the no gifts.

On my side of the family we have an unspoken rule that only children get gifts. On the wife's, everyone gets gifts, and most wouldn't be able to tell you what they were a few months later.

1967mama

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2015, 03:21:19 AM »
Posting to follow.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2015, 06:46:17 AM »
Boss' day gift is a big no no.  Gifts in the office should flow down.  They make more money than you do.


I give to the administrative professional's day pot; but not boss's day. I figure their gift is the giant salary and bonuses based on my performance.

As for other gifts: only children and my father get Christmas and Birthday gifts in our family.  I only have 8 nieces and nephews though, so I get off a bit easy on that. But siblings are cut off when they have kids.  (Why my father and not my mother or my in-laws: well, he really likes presents. Thankfully all the other parents have expressed their desire to not have more stuff.)  Mother's day I will donate to charity, but I put that as part of the charity budget; father's day- gift.  We don't do valentines day, easter, or anything like that.

No one gets anniversary gifts.
Wedding gifts are kept to about $50, baby-shower to about $25. And only if I attend.  Relatives who live far away get a baby quilt, but I try as often as I can to make that without buying anything additional.

My husband and I have never exchanged gifts, so that saves a bit too.

I buy 1 box of cookies from each Girl Scout, but I figure that I owe that to the world for having sold so many as a kid.  I do sponsor friends in charities I approve of, but again, I consider that charity giving, not a gift.

Guizmo

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2015, 06:59:36 AM »
I don't usually give gifts. Sometimes I buy a friend or family member dinner or a cup of coffee, but not an actual thing.

Why can't you tell your family that giving gifts is no longer one of your values and as such you don't want to receive and will not give gifts. Sure there may be some backlash, but eventually people will get used to it. My family now very rarely gets me any birthday or Xmas gifts and I likewise rarely get gifts for people.

MayDay

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2015, 07:17:42 AM »
We give a variety of gifts, but we have cut down on the quantity and the price. 

Pretty much all gifts are 20$ or less, and I aim for under 10.  The point is to acknowledge the person and the occasion, not the transfer wealth.  They can all buy their own shit just fine.  The only exceptions are for our own kids. 

I used to get my niece nicer gifts, along the lines of my own kids, but after getting her a nice, expensive backpack for school, that was intended to be a multiple year item, her mother used it for one year then replaced it.  Forget it, I'm not wasting my money when their family's culture is one use/disposable. 

RunHappy

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2015, 07:41:54 AM »
I only give to immediate family.

If the child is 18 or younger they get a modest gift on their birthday and christmas.  When they were 10 and under they usually got PJs and a book.

If 18 or older they usually get a card on their birthday or a gift card (AMEX, Target, or Amazon) at Christmas.

I'm pretty much out of the age where people are already married.  So I only have 1 a year, tops.  If they are family I give a $100 AMEX gift card. If they are "just friends" I give a $50 AMEX gift card.

I try to make everyone a handmade afghan at some point in their life but with so many family members it will take me about 10 years to get to everyone.  This year I'm making everyone crochet booties.  People really love crochet booties, I usually get requests for more around the summer time because people wear holes in them.  They are pretty simple to make. 

I have 2 friends whom I consider family.  When they started having kids (each is a family of 4 now) I started doing family-style gifts preferably the edible kind.  Most other friends just get a card.

2 Years ago I made family "snow days" packs.  They were given at Christmas, but with instructions, to be opened on the first snow day day of the year.  It included cookie mix, hot chocolate mix, hand warmers, a snowman kit, a DVD, chapstick and a few other things.  WOW!  I never received such a great response from a gift.  One reason my friends liked it was it was a gift that was given on the holiday but didn't need to be opened right then and there, so there was something to open in Jan/Feb timeframe.  These can be time consuming to make, because I collect the items over time (on sale) and toss them into a box until Christmas. 


Kwill

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2015, 08:08:53 AM »
One year I bought an assortment of attractive coffee mugs at Goodwill (75 cents each), and planted lemon or apple or pear seeds in them from fruit that I ate. I covered the tops with plastic wrap until they sprouted. I started them around October, maybe. By Christmas, there were cute little seedlings in each. Most of them have died now (3.5 years later), but some people washed out the cups and used them. One of my cousins took good care of his lemon seedling and transplanted it a couple times into larger containers. Now it is a handsome and healthy little tree. It looks like it might start having blossoms next year or sometime soon. I might try it again this year because people have been admiring the photos of my cousin's tree.

My parents go to a lot of weddings because my father is a minister. My mother tends to keep a wedding gift drawer, in which she puts pretty, wedding-gift-appropriate things as she finds them on sale or when traveling. Then they just have to choose and wrap something. I think she does more when it's a close friend or relative, though.

Edit: lemons rather than oranges. I think lemon trees may be easier to start and grow indoors than most other fruit trees.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 08:15:30 AM by Kwill »

little_brown_dog

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2015, 09:53:27 AM »
For birthdays it was easy. We just stopped giving gifts to the adults in our lives. No one seemed to care, as we still remember to call them. It helps that we also don’t do birthday gifts for each other as a couple – we might go out to dinner, but we don’t buy presents and out family knows this. Personally I think it’s weird if an adult cares if they don’t receive a birthday present from another adult.

We also stopped giving gifts for mothers day/fathers day. Instead we might try to get together for a brunch or something, or we send a card. Parents don’t care…they have everything they want (materially) and just like spending time with their kids.

Weddings and baby showers are sort of gift giving obligations. I am not materialistic at all, and I still think it was a bit tacky that some of our guests didn’t send us even a small token of congratulations or card for our wedding or baby shower. Thankfully you should have fewer of these than birthdays, so $50 here and there shouldn’t be a big deal. I scale the size of our gift based on how close we are to the couple.

Christmas is the only time we give gifts outside of weddings/baby showers. With our big family, it was getting really difficult to buy gifts since we both have multiple siblings, each with their own partners. As a sibling group, we decided to forgo gift giving and just do something fun together. Dinner, a cookie bake, etc. It was a huge relief to not have to think about buying a ton of different presents, not to mention the crazy money we save.  We still give gifts to our parents, but we scaled them back considerably and really try to go for a thoughtful experience instead of just giving items. Gourmet chocolates for the chocoholic. Homemade wine paired with a few expensive cheeses. Things like that.

At the office, I’ll bring cupcakes in for a special occasion. I don’t give gifts because it sets a dangerous precedent. Thankfully we don’t do joint gifts for the boss or anything like that.

Charity can be tough -  as a rule I just don't give to charities associated with people I know. It prevents me from looking like a jerk if I give to one friend's special cause but ignore another. Instead I give to charities we prioritize.

Overall I think gift givers build up the obligation and expectation in their mind way more than the person who will be receiving the gift. I have never had a friend or family member act hurt or upset for not giving them a birthday gift, donating to their charity, etc.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 10:00:21 AM by little_brown_dog »

Butterfingers

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2015, 10:10:22 AM »
Boss's day? What is this new devilry?

We don't do gifts for adults in the family any more, though Mrs Butterfingers comes from a gift-giving culture so it's really hard for her to rein it in. We do however buy presents for Firstborn's friends for birthday parties etc. Having our own kids made us realise that we really don't want other people to give us more plastic shit that will end up in landfill, so in the future we'll bake something nice instead of buying something from a shop.

Another option is to regift. We get given stuff we'll never use, stick it in a drawer, and it comes out again at an appropriate moment when we need a gift for someone. Of course you have to be a little careful you don't give it back to the person who gave it to you in the first place.

Greg

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2015, 10:15:19 AM »
Some ideas to help bring down your gift spending:

Cards.  Buy or better yet make a card with some thoughtful words, maybe more like a short letter.  Much more meaningful than another thing.

Time.  Along with a card, offer to help with something (gardening, housework, kid sitting).

Home-made gifts.  I'm a beekeeper so I almost always give a small jar of honey.  It's become a thing.  Other ideas are jams, cookies, bread, art.

Scandium

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2015, 10:28:31 AM »
I'm still confused how OP spends so much. All the gifts listed are <$50. So do you give 60 of these gifts every year? Minus the weddings it's still 40, almost one gift occasion every week? How is this possible?

Your boss must be amazing if anyone gives a shit about boss day.. I say I work for my boss all year; every day is boss day. That's gift enough.

ps; a version of the joke also works if you want to rile some people up on International Women's day. "Sure enjoy your day, just remember that the rest of the year belong to us men!"
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 10:30:23 AM by Scandium »

1967mama

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2015, 11:37:17 AM »
I've dropped my gift giving price limit to $20 per gift instead of the $50 that I used to give. And if I can do it for under $20, I will.

I often supplement a gift with something homemade. For example, this year I am giving my sister and her family each a mug with with their initials on them (sorry, poor grammar there, just starting my morning caffeine hit) and I will fill it with some home baking and may add a canning jar of homemade hot chocolate mix to the thrift store basket that contains the family gift. When wrapped nicely, a gift can look very classy (but not pricey).

Sadly, my sister always goes wayyyy overboard, and I know they can't afford it. Last year they gave us an electric wax warmer device and each kid a Costco movie ticket which included pop and popcorn (we have a large family so this was a big expense).

fitfrugalfab

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2015, 07:55:26 AM »
My DH and I never give each other gifts. Instead we go on vacations. Nothing fancy, just a few days each. We'd rather spend money on memories than gifts. And bonus, we always use travel miles, hotel points, etc. to help pay for our vacations.

RunHappy

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2015, 09:56:21 AM »
Last year they gave us an electric wax warmer device and each kid a Costco movie ticket which included pop and popcorn (we have a large family so this was a big expense).

I really like this idea, but I only have 1 niece so it wouldn't be expensive.   She goes to the movies a lot with her friends and her dad. 

ArcadeStache

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2015, 04:24:30 PM »
The worst part for me is the obligation of it all. "Cousin so and so will be there with the kids so you have to buy for them in case they get one for your kid" I'm the only one in my family that hates all the commercialism and gift nonsense and tries to be the voice of reason. They also think I am weird because I prefer gift cards for music or restaurants rather than physical crap.  Can I get a Bah humbug?!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2015, 04:47:18 PM »
Wow. Early September is probably a new forum record for the obligatory anti gift-giving threads that pop up each year....

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2015, 06:34:36 PM »
They also think I am weird because I prefer gift cards for music or restaurants rather than physical crap. 

As an adult, I hate that crap too.

Why trade my money for your money? It makes no sense.

I give gifts to kids. That's it. 

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2015, 07:55:18 PM »
Wow. Early September is probably a new forum record for the obligatory anti gift-giving threads that pop up each year....

I blame costco and all the other related big box type stores that have halloween stuff up before kids go to school and christmas stuff up before halloween. It's hard not to feel stabby.

N

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2015, 12:30:07 AM »
We stopped doing gifts for non-immediate family 3 years ago.

In our case, we had a good excuse-my husband and I had both just had surgeries, so we said we had to opt out for the sake of our medical bills. and it was true.

But then we just never joined in on that part again. Its harder for my husband-he has a big family and they all live local, and they are the ones who expect presents for each of their kids. After the first year, they just stopped asking us what our kids want, and they didnt get our kids anything, so it seems resolved.

1967mama

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2015, 12:28:30 PM »
I have to admit that we still buy gifts for our parents. I feel sort of sad because I know they are all mid-seventies now and won't be here for ever to give gifts to so I actually enjoy the process of choosing something personal for each of them, even if it's a bookstore gift card or something (since I don't know what books they have read recently). We spend about $20 on each of them and it brings me joy.

Daisy

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2015, 12:38:34 PM »
My husband and I don't exchange gifts for any occasions anymore. We might go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday or our anniversary, but that's the extent of it.

AnnaJane, I identify with your sentiments exactly. I too am a "minimalist" by nature. I don't take any joy in spending my own money to buy unnecessary things, except the occasional cup of tea from a coffee shop, or a great dinner with good company. But "stuff" really stresses me out. I have a tendency to get rid of things as fast as possible. Sometimes prematurely according to my spouse.

And I too am already thinking about Christmas. I have tried my best to institute "no gifts" with family, but it hasn't been successful. We are still much more frugal with our gift giving than the rest of my family, which at times makes me feel that they believe I'm cheap. My brother and sister and huge spendthrifts and I am exactly the opposite. It's for sure uncomfortable at times. My sister gives me sympathetic looks like we're falling on hard times. That couldn't be further from the truth, of course.

Our culture so tightly equates holidays/occasions with gifts instead of time together with loved ones, and it's pretty hard to break free without judgement from others. So we end up spending more than we want to on stuff people don't need, and then feel resentful of the process. It's a vicious cycle, isn't it? I liked your part about gift giving being a love language. I never really thought of it that way.

The older I get, the more minimalist I get. So I have started disliking receiving gifts that I know I will never use and then have to worry about regifting them or putting them in the corner awaiting their donation to a worthy cause. Since I tend to procrastinate, the donations start building up and this causes stress. So as a result, receiving gifts not wanted increases stress.

I appreciate the generosity of the giver and I know they are expressing their love with gifts, but after receiving such a gift that I don't need or want I then feel bad for the person that gave the gift that spent their hard-earned money on something I won't even use. Sigh...

That's why I love Thanksgiving. Everyone is grateful for things in their lives and no one expects to give or receive material gifts. Oh, and the good food...

ender

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2015, 12:52:41 PM »
I'm still confused how OP spends so much. All the gifts listed are <$50. So do you give 60 of these gifts every year? Minus the weddings it's still 40, almost one gift occasion every week? How is this possible?

Yeah I was trying to understand this too. Math here suggests some overly lavish gifts mixed in to really raise the total.

Sounds like OP needs a gift budget or price limit. Which is easy, figure out after 2015 how many occasions you gave gifts, figure out what you want to spend total, and divide them.

Need 50 gifts and only want to spend $1000? Max gift is $20.

Jakejake

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2015, 12:57:05 PM »
I mostly don't do gifts anymore. I've never done wedding shower/baby showers - I just don't go. I didn't do a wedding shower, and I had my kid when I was overseas living in isolation so I didn't get any of the baby things from others, and maybe because of that I feel less obligated to buy things for other people's babies. That, and most of the crap people buy new for showers could just be picked up free from craigslist. Luckily I hate all the crap that goes with those parties, so I can just decline the invite and not feel like a mooch eating their party food.

Attending weddings - I will give cash, not a gift, knowing that it will help defray the cost of the wedding and my meal there.

Anyone coming to the door to sell stuff - I just don't answer it. Problem solved. If I am not expecting someone and there's no delivery truck in my driveway, I know it's politicians, sales, or religion come to call. I don't feel any more obligated to open the door as I would to answer the phone if caller ID shows it's spam. Once or twice I had an urgent sounding knock on the door. I opened an upstairs window, called down and checked that the person was okay. I don't want someone bleeding to death on my porch while I refuse to help. But pretty much nobody's going to try a sales pitch when they have to twist their neck up uncomfortably and shout at me, so those talks are short and sweet.

Office charity stuff - no. A simple no thanks when asked to donate is all that's needed. If pressed - we do charity donations through payroll deduction, so we can plan our budget for it at the start of the year.

When I do get gifts, it's because something strikes me as a thing just right for a particular person, and I don't necessarily wait for a holiday. When my dad - a musician - was laid up in the hospital a few years ago from a heart attack, I got him his first ipod, preloaded with music, so he'd have something to help pass the time. Last year for christmas I got him an amazon prime membership and a firestick so that he could watch the series "treme" (music based - and actually he knew some of the musicians with cameos, so it was perfect!). Both those gifts were things, but they were experience based. Other years, I don't get them anything, or sometimes I might make up a spice blend I like and edible things from ethnic stores around here that they don't have access to.

kittenwhiskers

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2015, 01:00:47 PM »
Wow, what a great topic. Thank you for posting, and thanks to everyone who replied, from a mustachian wannabe with a similar problem.

Hummer

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2015, 01:02:16 PM »
I don't do gifts, giving or receiving them... ever.... at all.... for any reason... And some people get upset with me over it and they can either like it or lump it. I don't care. They will either get used to it or find new friends.

pachnik

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2015, 07:00:27 PM »
That's why I love Thanksgiving. Everyone is grateful for things in their lives and no one expects to give or receive material gifts. Oh, and the good food...

I am in Canada and our Thanksgiving is in October rather than November like American Thanksgiving but I love it too.  My husband and I host the meal and make the turkey and the soup, everyone helps out by bringing side dishes, and no presents!   



use2betrix

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2015, 07:56:56 PM »
I have 2 siblings and my parents. I spend about $50 on each for their bday, Xmas, and mothers/Father's Day.

My sister is getting married next year. Will cost me about $1200 for plane tickets, gifts, etc. one of my best friends is getting married 2 weeks later. Will cost about the same.

I turn down plenty of weddings and don't get gifts for plenty of people. However, for a family member they'll always be on my "gift" and wedding list, and for my 5-6 closest friends I'll always make their weddings.

Sucks and it's money, but I value our relationships and i find these actions to be kind gestures instilled in me from a young age. Last Father's Day my mom told me how appreciative her and my dad are that I never forget any birthdays or holidays. That means a lot to me and I'm sure it means a lot to them as well. I do have a higher salary which makes it easier. If I made 50k it'd be a different story.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Gift giving is out of control
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2015, 10:45:56 PM »
My recommendation is to set up a gift budget.  Everything else in my life is budgeted, so I decided to take a crack at budgeting my yearly gifts so that there's not a surprise in how much I spend.  I found that I plan on spending about $1,000/yr as a family for everything.  That includes 3 wedding gifts & 3 baby shower gifts per year.  If you set up a budget, and stick to it... there's nothing to be shocked about.