Author Topic: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?  (Read 3906 times)

Shwaa

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Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« on: November 21, 2019, 02:18:21 PM »
Just curious on others perspective on this...

I have a niece/nephew that are great.  They are my brothers kids.  Every year, for the last 15 years or so...here is what generally happens regarding gifts  (using ballpark figures)....

Birthdays-
Niece/Nephew (give them $150 each that goes into their savings account)
Brother- gift that is generally $75-$100
Sister in Law - gift that is generally $75-$100

Christmas-
Same exact thing


In return:
I generally get a gift for $75-$100 from my brother/sister in law (combined) for Birthday and  again for Christmas

A few months ago I brought up the idea "Hey, why don't we end the adult gift giving exchange and just make it about the kids".  My sister in law had no issue with this, my brother is like a grown child and made some subtle hints about me being cheap.  He loves getting gifts apparently.  He seems to think just because I make more money than him, that I should continue to get him gifts I think.   If you actually did the math over the years, I spend 4-5x the amount on his family then they do on me.  Also there are years my birthday has been missed entirely. I don't care.  I also don't necessarily care about the gift $ spent on me, that's not the point of this (though it is pretty lopsided).  The point is to end this kind of ridiculous gift giving exchange between adults.

My question is has anyone else run into this?  If so, how did you end the practice of adult gift giving in your family?  Was it easy to do?  Any hard feelings? Am I in the wrong for even suggesting this?

Malcat

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 02:26:48 PM »
Yep, we got rid of all gifts a few years ago and it's fantastic.

There are no kids in my family locally, so it's really just no gifts at all. It makes the holidays infinitely less stressful and complicated, I really can't say enough good about not buying crap for each other.

The season now is just a nice time where we visit each other and eat a lot of food. It's lovely.

The gifts were always such a brief part of the event anyway, over and done with within under an hour. The actual get together is all about eating and laughing, and inside family jokes. We barely even notice the lack of opening presents, it's just not that important to the enjoyment of each other's company.

I have one SIL who simply refuses not to buy us gifts, so we let her buy us merino wool socks, but compared to my no-gift family, the whole gift exchange thing with her feels tacky and transactional.

As for your brother, of course he loves your family's gift giving traditions because he directly benefits from them. Back when I was a broke student I wouldn't have wanted to lose out on Christmas gifts because everyone spent way more on me than I would ever spend on them. It worked out dramatically in my favour, so obviously I enjoyed it.

Your brother isn't a broke student though.

mozar

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2019, 02:49:14 PM »
How about just giving one gift for your brother and sister in law? Like a 50 dollar gift certificate to a restaurant. I say gradually reduce the amount each year until its zero. I don't think the status quo is so bad though. My mom's brother had 3 children and she had one. She enjoys buying presents though. Her other brother lost his job a couple years ago and that ended adult gift giving.

GuitarStv

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2019, 02:54:11 PM »
Yep.  But my sister married a guy a couple years ago who is fucking the whole system up and trying to start giving gifts again . . . sigh.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2019, 03:24:55 PM »
I started getting it to end by pointing out that Thanksgiving tends to be the most enjoyable holiday (at least in our family) because it's just about being with loved ones, eating way too much food, maybe taking a nap, eating more, etc, and "why does Christmas have to be more stressful, hectic, and less enjoyable?"  My family had no arguments for that so that got them thinking and started to reduce the amount of gifts.

Then I put the final nail in the gift coffin by moving 2500 miles away and making sure I left zero spare space in my luggage when visiting, which of course isn't as easily replicated in this case...

GizmoTX

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2019, 05:29:59 PM »
We do a grab (white elephant) gift exchange with each side of the families. Nothing more. It's a fun activity & scratches the gift itch for a low price. The themes have varied over the years, but there's always a cap, usually $20 or less. Whoever wants to participate contributes a wrapped & unlabeled gift. Participants draw a number, 1 to however many participants there are. #1 picks & unwraps a gift. #2 can either grab the unwrapped gift or pick one to unwrap; if a gift is grabbed, the person now without a gift selects another, wrapped or unwrapped. You can grab a previously grabbed gift but not if it was just grabbed from you. When all gifts have been unwrapped, #1 gets the option to exchange from all the gifts. On one side of the family, there's the tradition that a roving rubber chicken will show up with a gift card and/or chicken related item, like socks; each year the final recipient signs the chicken.

Duke03

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2019, 07:50:16 PM »
I nipped that crap in the bud a long time ago.  My reply to an adult wanting to do a Christmas gift exchange is simply Christmas is for kids.  If you are not a child I will not be buying you a gift.

minimustache1985

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2019, 08:42:54 PM »
Unfortunately, no.  On Hs side we have the only kid too, so it would look selfish for us to suggest kids only as our son would then be the sole recipient.  We do at least make lists and try to get useful stuff over junk- SILs list has a kitchen aid attachment she plans to use a lot, and MIL wants a new vacuum, BIL and FIL will probably get gift cards for places they like.

Cassie

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2019, 12:53:04 AM »
Yes we quit about 4 years ago. If I had grandchildren I would want to give them a gift.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2019, 03:41:12 AM »
My mother has given us money for years, in lack of inspiration. When even my brother started giving me money, I suggested to skip the adult thing and we do it anymore.
On the inlaw side of the family, we still do presents. We can makes wishes which will be partly answered, but also get some unnecessary stuff.

redhead84

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2019, 05:06:10 AM »
We have mostly succeeded. We started by reducing to a Secret Santa for all the adults. Eventually, that was also a paid so we went down to a white elephant gift exchange with inexpensive but funny items. My family has a long tradition of gag gift giving so this felt like the perfect fit. We still give actual gifts to the children.

There was grumbling about the change, but I think it has gone fairly well.

Dogastrophe

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2019, 05:44:54 AM »
For nieces and nephew's we cut them off at 25 for Christmas (19 for birthdays).  My siblings and I do not exchange gifts; my wife and her sister do.

Freedom2016

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2019, 06:17:52 AM »
On my side of the family we've reduced. Adults do not give each other gifts; instead, we rotate families choosing a charity that the adults donate to.

We do a white elephant exchange (with all 19 family members) that is often the most fun part of the holiday.

It's not entirely gift-free, though: the kids (9 cousins) draw names and buy 1 present for 1 cousin. My parents do still buy gifts for their grandchildren. And we do give our kids some gifts.

Blue Skies

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2019, 07:01:54 AM »
One side we do gifts with the parents but not the siblings.  Other side we do gifts for everyone.  I would like to stop that, but I think it would break my mothers heart.  I'm going to bring up the white elephant idea at Thanksgiving and see if it goes anywhere. 

BeanCounter

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2019, 07:13:43 AM »
On one side we have ended all adult gifts, but still give each child a gift. On the other side, my grandmother always really enjoyed the gift giving and didnt want to give it up. So we compromised and the adults draw names. Our limit is $60-$100, so we give and get one nice gift from the exchange that is hand picked for the recipient by the giver. This has really worked well. The kids still get a gift from each adult and honestly Id be happy to do away with that because my kids are getting older and playing with toys less and less.

One thing on white elephant exchanges, while sometimes funny, I have come to hate them because they just end up putting more useless crap into our homes and landfills. I truly do not know what to do with the mooning Santa or the rooster that clucks who let the dogs out.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 08:27:53 AM by BeanCounter »

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2019, 08:08:34 AM »
There's probably more than one book about the 5 languages of love thing, but suffice it to say that one of them is gifts. Just because you don't speak that language doesn't mean you should dump on people who do. That said, gifts don't have to be bought new or bought at all. I'm pretty sure I'm getting potatoes for Christmas (dad's kennebecks overproduced) and that's awesome. Maybe what you need to engage in is some creative steering of the gift giving, so that you get what you want.

Its worth noting that scale may be a thing here. Two only children, married, with an only child. Only one of us has a relevant uncle (unmarried) that comes for the holidays. Volume doesn't tend to be a problem, because of that.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2019, 08:30:49 AM »
We tried. It was decided that only children should get gifts.

Then one brother screwed it up. He brought gifts for everyone, saying "No big deal! We don't expect gifts in return!" Haha. Yeah right. Nothing like the awkwardness of receiving a gift and not giving anything in return.

White Elephant with a $10 per person limit worked great on the other side of the family until one day the patriarch got a pair of ladies' underpants and threw a fit because he didn't get something good. After that, the White Elephant broke down because people would bring this one family member gifts in addition to White Elephant, and then grandkids got extra gifts too, and then ... you get the picture.

brandon1827

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2019, 08:31:41 AM »
I have 3 siblings...older brother has 4 kids, sister has 5 kids, younger brother has 2 kids. My wife and I have one and are not having another. In addition to getting gifts for the children, we also did a gift exchange between the four of us and our spouses. It was hectic and stressful, and eventually we all agreed to just get gifts for the kids; which with as many of them as there are, it still ends up costing a pretty penny. Just removing the adults from the gift equation made it less stressful, but my wife still hates that we have to purchase gifts for 11 children other than our own, lol.

albireo13

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2019, 09:04:22 AM »
We stopped that years ago, other than simple things like a nice bottle of wine for the family.

At my point in life I don't want to be accruing more crap.

better late

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2019, 09:37:12 PM »
Yes.
We used to pick a name among all the aunts uncles and cousins. It should have worked ok- and it did for a while when the moms were making sure all the gifts were bought and shipped. But as the cousins got older and started becoming “adults” they would “forget” their gift so inevitably one of my kids wouldn’t get a family gift. It just sucked and after pissing me off for a couple of years we ended it.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 09:39:29 PM by better late »

Billy B. Good

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2019, 12:15:46 AM »
My question is has anyone else run into this?  If so, how did you end the practice of adult gift giving in your family?  Was it easy to do?  Any hard feelings? Am I in the wrong for even suggesting this?

Here's what I did. I just announced to everyone at a barbecue one time, during the non-gift giving season: "Hey, you know what, we're not going to be participating in the gift giving this year. (We = me, my wife and 2 small children.) We appreciate all the gifty thoughtfulness, but please don't get us any gifts this year. We won't be buying gifts for anyone either. We will be around to toast a cup of cheer though, and we look forward to being with you."

A bit of silence, then it was over and it was ok. A few people asked why and I just said we are trying to reduce our consumption of stuff. A few years later and now most of our family has basically dispensed with all gift giving and we focus on good food and good wine at our gatherings any more. Nobody cares any more about the stupid shit we used to buy and gift around. It's great.

mspym

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2019, 01:05:40 AM »
5 siblings, all married, full sets of niblings. We started doing a 'gift to one sibling' thing about 6 years ago and then expanded it to the next generation so it was one gift to a cousin and then the adults dropped out. It's nice! And the kids are slowly aging out of the pool as well.

RWTL

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2019, 02:14:57 AM »
We stopped a few years ago.  One day while talking with my sister, she said "Well, I do get something for Mom.....and a couple of other people."

So, now it has started to back slide and people buy for their "favorites"

jeroly

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2019, 02:21:55 AM »
I have basically no extended family, so not relevant for me, but my ex came from a huge family (five siblings, about twenty first cousins, lots of nephews/nieces/great-nephews, etc.) and she was able to get agreement to drop the adult gift exchange and to cap the cost of kid Christmas presents to $20 each. Other presents- birthdays, graduations, etc. - were not capped.

My current SO comes from a small family so she still gets things for her brother and mother.

albireo13

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2019, 06:18:07 AM »
We do a Secret Santa with our kids.  At Thanksgiving, we pass around a hat and each one pulls out a name.  That's the only person they buy a Christmas gift for. 
Gifts are modest, usually homemade.
It's all held secret as well.
  It adds some fun around the holidays and takes away the materialistic stress of crazy shopping.

mistymoney

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2019, 01:44:35 PM »
I tried - nobody went for it. We at least now limit the dollar amount.

Imma

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2019, 02:30:37 PM »
There's probably more than one book about the 5 languages of love thing, but suffice it to say that one of them is gifts. Just because you don't speak that language doesn't mean you should dump on people who do. That said, gifts don't have to be bought new or bought at all. I'm pretty sure I'm getting potatoes for Christmas (dad's kennebecks overproduced) and that's awesome. Maybe what you need to engage in is some creative steering of the gift giving, so that you get what you want.

Its worth noting that scale may be a thing here. Two only children, married, with an only child. Only one of us has a relevant uncle (unmarried) that comes for the holidays. Volume doesn't tend to be a problem, because of that.

Gifts haven't been a tradition in either my family or my in-laws for probably decades. We don't celebrate Christmas with gifts over here, gifts come from Sint Nicholas 3 weeks earlier. I think both of our families stopped giving gifts around the time the youngest child stopped believing. We haven't done birthday gifts in my family since we all moved out. I tried to continue giving gifts to my siblings the first couple of years but they never gave me anything in return so I stopped. I still get my mother and my grandmother a gift. They both give me cash which is well intentioned but boring.

I kind of miss the gift giving thing, which is why my partner and I are re-introducing it on a small scale for birthdays and Christmas (only to each other, and it's about thoughtful not monetary gifts). It's not that I'm interested in a pile of expensive stuff, but I'd love someone to give me something they made or picked out especially for me. My mum gave me a 50 note in an envelope for my graduation, instead of that I'd loved to have gotten something special to mark this occasion as it was a long and difficult road for me to get there. Friends got something like a nice pen or a piece of jewelry. It's my partner's birthday in a few weeks and I got him a practical item that he'll use a lot that's also a reminder of the day we met. I would love it if someone got me a thoughtful gift like that. The thought and effort that goes into that as well as the practical use is what makes the gift valuable. If someone doesn't want to bother giving anything that requires more effort than a bank note, that kind of feels like they don't want to waste their time thinking about you and what you might like, like you're not important to them.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2019, 12:42:02 AM »
As DH's side of the family still wants to do presents, I had to make a list of my wishes. I have only 3: a specific Norwegian book about foraging plants, a robot vac particular type which is best in test/best price, and another article, as expensive as the robot vac.
DH was complaining that he couldn't send that list to his relatives. There are only very expensive things on it, and a book that you can only order in Norway. Yes, so what? FIL is always buying stuff in real shops, instead of just ordering online. He could just order this in Norway and send it to us. At least BIL could do this, he knows how internet works... DH kept complaining, so I put one cheap thing on it, which is a notebook for a bullet journal. I have one currently to start in January (free from work), but I suppose I will need another one in the future.

iris lily

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2019, 06:33:37 PM »
I quit with my side of the family decades ago.

DHs side took longer to figure it out, but finally they got there, there  being no crappy gifts that no one cares about exchanged, yay.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2019, 07:15:40 PM »
We don't buy adults gifts in our family. We do a sock exchange (white elephant style) & it's a fantastic & hilarious addition. At worst, you end up with an ugly pair of socks, which we wear with pride & fond memories throughout the year. This year we are likely going to also do something homemade, white elephant style.  We are decidedly uncrafty people, so it should be amusing.

The kids get a gift from my sister & my parents. We bought them ski passes this year, and will get them each a book. So, in addition to ski passes (which, are super pricey), they will likely receive 3-4 total gifts. Completely manageable, fun & easy for everyone. My parents & sister ask for help with the kids ideas. This year it will likely be a gift card to the local climbing place, & a board game.

BeanCounter

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2019, 05:14:19 AM »
I love the sock exchange idea!! Funny and useful! My DH enjoys wearing crazy socks with a nice suit to the office.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #31 on: November 27, 2019, 05:30:26 AM »
I love the sock exchange idea!! Funny and useful! My DH enjoys wearing crazy socks with a nice suit to the office.

Last year my DH got a pair of socks with a nice south African pattern on it, lots of colors. He also wears them proudly.

Malcat

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #32 on: November 27, 2019, 06:13:15 AM »
I love the sock exchange idea!! Funny and useful! My DH enjoys wearing crazy socks with a nice suit to the office.

Ugh, people are always giving me socks because I ask for no gifts and they seem to think that socks are exempt.

Goldendog777

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2019, 03:40:42 PM »
We ended the family gift exchange a couple years ago and its wonderful!  We focus on family, fun things to do and delicious meals!

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2019, 06:51:45 PM »
Just do a bottle of booze and/or homemade edibles. Everyone kind of brings a dozen items and leaves with a hamper of goodies, basically. Swapsies are allowed as well, so everyone gets stuff they like.

MoneyQuirk

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2019, 11:12:59 PM »
We planned to switch to this a few years ago.

Instead we just kept giving each other full gifts.

Honestly, since we all live in different places and pretty much only see each other on Christmas anyways, it's actually pretty nice (in my opinion). Sure, I may not use the $75 thing they got me, but it's something tangible that I can see the rest of the year and think of them.

Of course, something as simple as a picture would probably work too.

afterthedark

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2019, 07:54:25 AM »
After hoping for years that my family would get on board with stopping presents, this year I realised the only behaviour I could control was my own and Ive told them I wont be doing presents. Im sure they will still buy me presents, even though I have said once again that Im more than happy not to receive any.

I find giving presents stressful (everything, the choosing, the shopping, the guilt around adding more stuff into the world, the parcelling up and posting) at a time of year when my health tends to not be great and my work load is the greatest.

Yes Ill no doubt have some thoughts to work through when I receive presents and guilt about not sending any, but I either have that to deal with or the stress around feeling obligated to do this thing that I in no way enjoy. I wont be seeing any of the people in person that I would have sent presents to, so it wont be as in your face as all sitting around the tree exchanging presents except for me.

mbl

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2019, 08:12:26 AM »
DH and I buy gifts for our adult kids.
Stopped doing the extended family years ago.

We do a day out for sister-in-laws grand kids as we are close to them.
No crap buying.
For their birthdays, $ to go into their 529 accounts.

These kids have more toys, books and assorted trinkets and crap than Hector's pup has fleas.
I refuse to contribute to it.
Even with books, the library has an almost unlimited source of anything they could possibly want to read.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2019, 02:43:58 AM »
I just need to rant a bit.

As I mentioned above, on my DH's side of family, we still do presents. As well as for my brother's children. As we live abroad and often visit by plane, I usually order presents online in that country and let them send it so either my mother of FIL who store the packages until we come. So far so good.

But FIL has now half the time moved in with his new girlfriend. So now we have packages sent to his home while he is not home. One of them is DHL, which is more difficult to handle than the normal post. FIL does not live in the city, so nowhere near a DHL pickup point. This morning I clicked on the DHL sending nummer and chose a different delivery time, in the next week. But now I get a message that they are still delivering it today, to a closed door. I hope they try the neighbors...

Tris Prior

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2019, 09:09:01 AM »
More or less. FIL and SMIL get offended if no gift, though, so my partner usually gets them something small to pacify them. That really pisses me off, but, well, it's his family and I don't have to directly deal with it.

SMIL has also told me to my face that she doesn't like homemade gifts..... a real piece of work, that one. :/ At this point, though, I just ignore it and let my partner handle them.

ontheway2

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2019, 01:48:13 PM »
I only give a bday gift if I am invited to a party.
We ended adult sibling/cousin Christmas gift giving, and I only gift in the $25 range for nephews

catprog

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2019, 02:01:03 PM »
We do the Christmas gift swap with the entire family.

Everyone buys one gift and then we take it turns to pick one of the presents(either wrapped or unwrapped)

This also means we don't need to worry about who will turn up.

sui generis

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2019, 05:42:17 PM »
We theoretically got rid of adult gifts years ago, but my sisters alternate in breaking the rules each year and give us varying levels of junk.  My stepfather finally threatened them both this year that anything they brought was going directly in the donation box.  They were disgruntled, but hopefully will abide.  I know one sister especially likes to show her love via gift-giving, but it has to be a surprise and themed (so no steering her to getting things I would use) and it's rarely something I will use.  So as much as I want to appreciate her love language, it's a huge imposition on me not to mention the environment.  I have to say, as awkward as it has been, I have held strong, receiving gifts each year and never bringing them any.  They never seem bothered that I don't, so that's good.

To be a real grinch about it, I also would like to stop giving gifts to the kids.  I don't have any of my own, but have 5 nieces and nephews and they are all totally spoiled and have roomfuls of stuff (even though all their parents are strapped and don't know how I retired early), so while they are all very good about saying thank you and mostly acting interested and happy about the gifts I give, I'm under no illusion that anything other than them being stuffed in a closet happens when they go home.  So I hate spending time working on good gifts for them, but would feel bad and transactional if I just gave them money or a gift card, because if I'm gonna give a gift, I want to put some effort into it!  And I think it makes a difference to the parents that I do.  And I remember that even as a pre-teen and teenager, I loved getting gifts (though I didn't have nearly so much stuff as these kids do!), so I don't want to take that fun moment away from them and seem like a scroogey aunt...but it's just so depressing knowing I'm basically giving them carefully selected trash.

Villanelle

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2019, 06:01:07 PM »
We theoretically got rid of adult gifts years ago, but my sisters alternate in breaking the rules each year and give us varying levels of junk.  My stepfather finally threatened them both this year that anything they brought was going directly in the donation box.  They were disgruntled, but hopefully will abide.  I know one sister especially likes to show her love via gift-giving, but it has to be a surprise and themed (so no steering her to getting things I would use) and it's rarely something I will use.  So as much as I want to appreciate her love language, it's a huge imposition on me not to mention the environment.  I have to say, as awkward as it has been, I have held strong, receiving gifts each year and never bringing them any.  They never seem bothered that I don't, so that's good.

To be a real grinch about it, I also would like to stop giving gifts to the kids.  I don't have any of my own, but have 5 nieces and nephews and they are all totally spoiled and have roomfuls of stuff (even though all their parents are strapped and don't know how I retired early), so while they are all very good about saying thank you and mostly acting interested and happy about the gifts I give, I'm under no illusion that anything other than them being stuffed in a closet happens when they go home.  So I hate spending time working on good gifts for them, but would feel bad and transactional if I just gave them money or a gift card, because if I'm gonna give a gift, I want to put some effort into it!  And I think it makes a difference to the parents that I do.  And I remember that even as a pre-teen and teenager, I loved getting gifts (though I didn't have nearly so much stuff as these kids do!), so I don't want to take that fun moment away from them and seem like a scroogey aunt...but it's just so depressing knowing I'm basically giving them carefully selected trash.

Sounds like a perfect opportunity for either experience gifts, or books!

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Have you ended the adult-gift giving exchange in your family?
« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2019, 06:06:23 PM »
We theoretically got rid of adult gifts years ago, but my sisters alternate in breaking the rules each year and give us varying levels of junk.  My stepfather finally threatened them both this year that anything they brought was going directly in the donation box.  They were disgruntled, but hopefully will abide.  I know one sister especially likes to show her love via gift-giving, but it has to be a surprise and themed (so no steering her to getting things I would use) and it's rarely something I will use.  So as much as I want to appreciate her love language, it's a huge imposition on me not to mention the environment.  I have to say, as awkward as it has been, I have held strong, receiving gifts each year and never bringing them any.  They never seem bothered that I don't, so that's good.

To be a real grinch about it, I also would like to stop giving gifts to the kids.  I don't have any of my own, but have 5 nieces and nephews and they are all totally spoiled and have roomfuls of stuff (even though all their parents are strapped and don't know how I retired early), so while they are all very good about saying thank you and mostly acting interested and happy about the gifts I give, I'm under no illusion that anything other than them being stuffed in a closet happens when they go home.  So I hate spending time working on good gifts for them, but would feel bad and transactional if I just gave them money or a gift card, because if I'm gonna give a gift, I want to put some effort into it!  And I think it makes a difference to the parents that I do.  And I remember that even as a pre-teen and teenager, I loved getting gifts (though I didn't have nearly so much stuff as these kids do!), so I don't want to take that fun moment away from them and seem like a scroogey aunt...but it's just so depressing knowing I'm basically giving them carefully selected trash.

Sounds like a perfect opportunity for either experience gifts, or books!

Agree with Villanelle. Here are a few ideas I've given recently for teens (nephews, and my BFFs 2 daughters):
-pass to a climbing gym
-trip to a bowling alley/arcade that the kids can bike to in their neighborhood
-a popcorn maker (they didn't have this & thought it was amazing)
-an ice cream maker (ditto above)
-A basic but fun cookbook (this was for more of a 12 y.o. age frame)

If you are close by, a lunch date, a trip to the movies or the bowling alley, ice skating, etc. A hike with a picnic. Lots of fun options.

Board games also tend to be a hit, as do books, but you have to know their taste & interest much more closely with those