Author Topic: Holiday Gift Woes  (Read 8164 times)

Libertea

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Holiday Gift Woes
« on: November 11, 2016, 05:09:49 AM »
Curious if any of you, like me, have family members who are spendthrifts.  In large part because of this, every year, the holidays are a source not of joy, but of misery, much of which centers around different values concerning gift-giving.  I personally would be fine with not receiving anything.  If my family members insist on buying me something, which they do, and ask me what I want, which they do, I am happy to give them ideas.  However, it kind of peeves me to be told that my requests are not acceptable.  Last year, for example, I wanted to buy some financial planning textbooks, so I requested those when asked what I wanted.  My mom and sister didn't like that idea, so they bought me an Apple Watch instead, which I did not want or need.  I returned the Apple Watch and got the books I had wanted in the first place. 

On the other side, we've started doing group gifts.  My mom, for example, likes jewelry, so that's usually what my sister and I buy for her.  But she already has tons of jewelry, and half the time she winds up returning what we buy for her anyway.  Also, since I readily admit that my taste in jewelry fashions is lacking (I don't even wear jewelry), I just wind up sending my sister a check for whatever she picks out for my mom.  So from my perspective, the gift winds up being meaningless, and I don't even see it anyway, assuming my mom actually keeps it. 

I've tried having discussions with both of them regarding us not doing this, and I know my sister is also stressed and unhappy with how the whole holiday gift business goes down.  We tried agreeing to ask each other before buying expensive stuff, but again, see my example regarding the books above--it does no good to ask what someone wants if you're not going to respect their request and buy it for them.  Also, a lot of times, no one will tell each other what they want (my sister is the worst offender here). 

Adding to the difficulty is that all of us have enough money to buy ourselves anything we really need or even most of the things we want.  It's not like the days when I was in school and couldn't afford to buy myself, say, an Apple Watch if I had decided I wanted one.  The only reason I don't have an Apple Watch now is because I sincerely don't want one, not because I can't afford one.

Sorry this kind of turned into a vent, but if anyone wants to commiserate even if you don't have any suggestions, commiserations are also welcome.  :-p

Lis

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 07:39:26 AM »
I'm slowly getting to that point where gifts are more of a pain than enjoyable. I was a fairly consumerist kid with fairly consumerist parents, so seeing piles of gifts under the tree was always super exciting. I'm not going to lie and say I still don't enjoy getting a wrapped something, but now I know the difference between "want" and "need."

My mom just asked me what I want for Christmas and if I was still eyeing an Instapot (I'm torn trying to figure out how much I would use it or if it would just become another kitchen gadget on my shelf - here's looking at you, rice maker). If I decide I do want it, it's something I'm perfectly capable of getting myself. I think unless you're willing to make a stand and say "no gifts!" (meaning receiving and giving), I think you're stuck in some sort of gift giving cycle. If your mom is like my mom, she will never not get me a gift of something. Good moms are funny like that.

You could try to push activities you can do together during the holidays, like a spa treatment or a wine tasting, something that's more focused on "let's do this thing *together* and make memories" instead of "lets give each other stuff." Even something as simple as a cookie exchange, where you all bring cookies and hot chocolate and sit around and eat too much while hanging out.

Gotta love the holidays :)

lthenderson

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2016, 07:54:41 AM »
My favorite gift to give is a gift card to the recipients favorite restaurant.
My favorite gift to receive is a gift card for buying books or for the local home improvement store.

Kitsune

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2016, 08:03:34 AM »
I'm in partial agreement with you.

On one hand, I love giving gifts. It's an expression of affection and caring, and we try to suit the best gift to the person we care about. I'm generally pretty good at finding deals and making things and finding something really good for someone on a fairly restricted budget. I enjoy that.

On average, we get really practical gifts that we enjoy and like using and appreciate. In return, we try to do the same. The people who are the most difficult are... my family. ARGH. Like, I saw my dad's tax return from 2015 yesterday - he, alone, made 4x my family income that year (PLUS my mom's income, which is not insubstantial), and he was complaining about being broke, right? (Meanwhile, on 1/4 of his income, we built a house, lived well, paid off 23K of debt that year, and generally are doing fine - that's the kind of money I'm talking about.) But anything under 300-400$, they basically buy without even considering the cost. So... trying to find a present that's in-budget for us, that suits them, and that isn't something they've already bought on a whim and then discarded... ARGH.

Add to that that we're on a VERY limited budget for Christmas presents this year (I'm pregnant, and my husband is expecting a layoff right after the holidays, so... we'll be ok, but let's just say it's not time to go wild with spending, hmm), and it's kind of brain-breaking.


MandalayVA

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2016, 08:08:21 AM »
My mom just asked me what I want for Christmas and if I was still eyeing an Instapot (I'm torn trying to figure out how much I would use it or if it would just become another kitchen gadget on my shelf - here's looking at you, rice maker). If I decide I do want it, it's something I'm perfectly capable of getting myself.

My God, woman, when someone offers you a free Instant Pot YOU TAKE IT!!!!  :D

Mr. Mandalay and I agreed a while ago not to give each other Christmas gifts, and our families are far away enough so we don't exchange gifts with them either. 

As for the OP, my stance would be "look, I understand that what I'm asking for doesn't seem very Christmasy to you.  But (insert what you want here) is something I really want and would make me very happy and I would get a ton of use out of it and think of you every time I did." 

Kitsune

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2016, 08:23:09 AM »
As for the OP, my stance would be "look, I understand that what I'm asking for doesn't seem very Christmasy to you.  But (insert what you want here) is something I really want and would make me very happy and I would get a ton of use out of it and think of you every time I did."

Or give them a list of very specific things that are practical but kind of luxurious. ;)

For example: I live in Quebec, and we don't really heat the house much at night. I'm pregnant, due in February. I asked my mom for a flannel nightgown that unbottons low enough to breastfeed, and is big enough to fit a hugely pregnant belly, and is warm enough to deal with middle-of-the-night awakeness. It's an immensely practical request, but at the same time difficult to find and really luxurious.

Other things they've given me in the past that I've loved: cashmere sweaters and silk blouses from a company with sizes and cuts that fit me well (luxurious and warm work-wear that make me feel fancy and warm and loved whenever I wear it!). A specific piece of kitchen gear I wanted (I've had that schmancy food processor for 14 years, and I love it a lot and use it 4-5 times a week. Instant pot would fall into this category.) a small luxury that I don't NEED but makes life more pleasant (no one NEEDS a crepe pan, but it's a great excuse for a weekly crepe night). Nice books that I otherwise wouldn't buy (mostly cookbooks, but that's my hobby of choice - I'm not gonna buy a 30$ book for myself, but if someone wants to get me something nice, the Bouchon Bakery book was a great gift last year). I like jewelry, and every year my mother passes on some of what she inherited from my grandmother, which is lovely and much appreciated and well-worn.

Like... We're not talking anything huge or extravagant or hard to store. But... Slightly luxurious versions of things I'd otherwise be buying myself, and then I think of them and feel loved and cared for when I use them, and it's nice.


ketchup

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 08:34:09 AM »
Yeah, I'm kind of a scrooge about gifts.  If there's anything I really need/want, I've probably already bought it.  Certain family members try to gift me dumb expensive shit nobody needs, or gift cards to places I never go and it's all such a waste.  I've finally been able to mostly "opt out" of all the madness.

Once in a while (at most once every year or two) I'll have a "really good gift idea" for someone that makes me feel good/clever, but then I tend to half-ass the rest of any obligations.  Then I feel bad that Person A gets a very-hard-to-find copy of an LP that I tracked down of the folk band a mutually cherished childhood author of ours that just passed away was in with his brothers in the 1960s, and Person B gets $25 to Chipotle.

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2016, 08:42:25 AM »
I'm I'm this same boat.  In my family it's all adults - no children - and yet my SO's parents insist on giving us a ton of gifts - some more practical / wanted than others.  It's hard because we live out of state and I think it's a way for them to feel connected to us; however, we end up with trinkets and other things we don't want and won't use.  We can't really return them because they usually shop local (to them) - which is something I appreciate over shopping at big box stores, but it means we're stuck with weird stuff.  I've offered to limit gift-giving and each year everyone says yes, but then nothing changes, well except for us.  We got each person 1 gift that was either a consumable that we knew they liked or an item that we knew they wanted or would use.  We also made fancy cards and gave folks service coupons (e.g., Dinner's on us - we'll cook!).  Everyone seemed pleased, but we did feel about off about being the only one abiding by the 1-2 gift rule that we had all agreed to. 

Slee_stack

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2016, 10:52:29 AM »
I tend towards suggesting food or food related items for us.  I'll put a special request for something home baked if appropriate.

Its a subtle reminder that I truly don't want/need nor expect anything.  It kind of works.  I still get occasional near-useless items that I re-gift or donate.

choppingwood

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2016, 11:09:06 AM »
Your mom does not want to buy you financial planning textbooks. She wants to buy you something more fun. So think of something that fits with your life and that would make sense to her. (Kitsune's list is great to get you thinking.) Buy yourself the books you want.

If you and your sister ask your mom what she wants, and get that for her, that's good. Don't worry about what she does with it.

Then, move on from it. Otherwise, it's a battle of wills, which you are not going to win and which isn't appropriate to the season.

I'm 62. My parents and two of my siblings are gone. Enjoy the parts of the season you enjoy and don't worry about the rest.

sjc0816

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2016, 12:29:09 PM »
This is something I deal with every year and it does give me anxiety. My parents and siblings are major spenders....and they all have serious disposable income. No kids, dual incomes, etc. We have a single income and kids (older, more expensive ones...with college looming in the next 5-10 years).

So they will give us extravagant gifts....and we buy them piddly shit just for the sake of giving them something. We have gotten them things like....food/wine packages from a local butcher here (things they can't find in their state), etc. But we will spend maybe $50....and they will spend hundreds. And no matter what.....we always end up feeling like cheapskates.

I've attempted to suggest secret santa....or grab bag (everyone buys for ONE person), etc.....but it's always met with a lot of negativity. My little brother is finally having a kid next year...so maybe things will change? Maybe not...who knows.


Libertea

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2016, 04:08:01 PM »
I had a whole long reply written out, and then my browser crashed.  Sigh.

To summarize though: to make gift-giving successful, I think the focus needs to be on what makes the RECEIVER happy, not on what makes the giver happy.  So even if my mom thinks my gift preferences aren't fun, and even if I wouldn't want the same things she wants and vice versa, that's beside the point.  The point is to make the person you're buying the gift for happy, not to pick out the gift that you would want for yourself if you were buying yourself a gift.  I think that's why my sister now just refuses to answer if the rest of us ask her what she wants.  Someone, some way, winds up butt hurt.  Sigh.

Food is also not an option, because my mom and sister are both on never ending diets.  So unless someone can come up with some goodies that are calorie-free, fat-free, alcohol-free, caffeine-free, sugar-free, and still taste amazing, forget that.  Heh.  But I do like the idea of trying to spend some time with each of them one-on-one, and this year it will be much more easily possible since I have several months off after I quit my current job and before starting my next one.  My sister is spread pretty thin time-wise, but I still plan to try to at least have a girls night with her once.

MsPeacock

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2016, 05:26:23 PM »
My mom just asked me what I want for Christmas and if I was still eyeing an Instapot (I'm torn trying to figure out how much I would use it or if it would just become another kitchen gadget on my shelf - here's looking at you, rice maker). If I decide I do want it, it's something I'm perfectly capable of getting myself.

My God, woman, when someone offers you a free Instant Pot YOU TAKE IT!!!!  :D

Mr. Mandalay and I agreed a while ago not to give each other Christmas gifts, and our families are far away enough so we don't exchange gifts with them either. 

As for the OP, my stance would be "look, I understand that what I'm asking for doesn't seem very Christmasy to you.  But (insert what you want here) is something I really want and would make me very happy and I would get a ton of use out of it and think of you every time I did."

Yes.  Do It! It can replace the slow cooker and rice cooker, thus freeing space in your kitchen. I was skeptical too, and I am a slow adopter of new kitchen stuff and really guard my kitchen space and super hate do-one-thing appliances. The instant pot is great! If, as in usually, I forget to start slow cooker stuff, I can do the whole dish in the instant pot in under an hour. And by forget I mean, frozen chicken. It's a wonderful thing.


As for gifting.  Just do what you are going to do. If your budget is $50 and someone gives you a $300 gift - accept it. If they don't like the differential they can adjust downwards. I do have a pet peeve with ungracious gift receivers. Thank whoever for whatever and move on (enjoy the gift of toss it in the goodwill bin- the thanks the giver gets should be the same.).

choppingwood

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2016, 07:43:52 PM »
To summarize though: to make gift-giving successful, I think the focus needs to be on what makes the RECEIVER happy, not on what makes the giver happy.  So even if my mom thinks my gift preferences aren't fun, and even if I wouldn't want the same things she wants and vice versa, that's beside the point.  The point is to make the person you're buying the gift for happy, not to pick out the gift that you would want for yourself if you were buying yourself a gift.  I think that's why my sister now just refuses to answer if the rest of us ask her what she wants.  Someone, some way, winds up butt hurt.  Sigh.
You can only follow that yourself, and get her what she would like. However, you can't make your mom to follow your rule for the gifts she buys you.

Honestly, isn't it a little bit pissy asking a spendy person to buy you financial planning books?

My real point, though, is that you aren't going to have her around forever. Is it more important what you do for her or what you get for Christmas? I do understand where you are coming from. I have Christmas present stories of my own. But they aren't important.


GizmoTX

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2016, 10:05:46 PM »
After DH & I married, we spent a couple years shipping Christmas gifts to parents & siblings -- since we were out of state, not only was this expensive, over time we really didn't know what would be meaningful. So, we told them all we just couldn't do it anymore. There wasn't any fallout that we could see; I think they were relieved as well. In our immediate family, we give ourselves the gift of travel; we have lots of memories & no junk.

The only Christmas gift exchange we now participate in is the grab game if we are with family or friends, where each contributes a 'white elephant' or re-gift to participate. Lots of fun for very little expense. Sometimes I bring something I wouldn't mind keeping, so I can grab it instead of the other choices.

As our siblings had children or grandchildren, we've chosen to send birthday cards with currency equal to their age. This ends after each turns 18.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2016, 11:17:14 PM »
I keep telling my husband we need to cut back what we spend on his brother.

BiL is very generous... in theory. He has turned over-promising and under-delivering into an art form.

A few years ago he told us to buy things for ourselves (he gave us a price range), and said he would fix us up for them. He didn't, so when he suggested the same thing the following Christmas I declined. We bought him something, he bought us nothing.

Last year for Christmas he requested a modern polaroid camera. We bought him that, plus film, a case and an album for the prints.

He gave my husband a bottle of barbecue sauce. A $7 bottle of barbecue sauce.

He had just gone through unexpected break up and didn't feel like Christmas shopping, but he told my husband he would get him something else later. Didn't.

For my husband's 30th this year BiL said he would give my husband $500 towards a specific project. Too much money, but it doesn't matter because of course he didn't deliver. For my birthday he pledged $100. Same thing, haven't seen it.

My husband just bought concert tickets for he and BiL for January. $60 each. I suggested we make that BiL's birthday and Christmas present.

My husband objected, saying I was being cheap.

Yes, $60 is cheap compared with $500, but it's reasonable compared with ... nothing.

I have suggested to BiL that give up exchanging (or pretending to exchange gifts) and he insists on continuing.

I really don't mind if he doesn't buy me anything, but I'm done with the absurd promises.

(He regularly owes people money, owes his parents thousands and complains bitterly to me when they remind him. A friend booked accommodation for them and when the friend reminded him about the money BIL said, "Just text me and remind me." "I have. Three times!")

MsPeacock

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2016, 04:39:41 AM »
I keep telling my husband we need to cut back what we spend on his brother.

BiL is very generous... in theory. He has turned over-promising and under-delivering into an art form.

A few years ago he told us to buy things for ourselves (he gave us a price range), and said he would fix us up for them. He didn't, so when he suggested the same thing the following Christmas I declined. We bought him something, he bought us nothing.

Last year for Christmas he requested a modern polaroid camera. We bought him that, plus film, a case and an album for the prints.

He gave my husband a bottle of barbecue sauce. A $7 bottle of barbecue sauce.

He had just gone through unexpected break up and didn't feel like Christmas shopping, but he told my husband he would get him something else later. Didn't.

For my husband's 30th this year BiL said he would give my husband $500 towards a specific project. Too much money, but it doesn't matter because of course he didn't deliver. For my birthday he pledged $100. Same thing, haven't seen it.

My husband just bought concert tickets for he and BiL for January. $60 each. I suggested we make that BiL's birthday and Christmas present.

My husband objected, saying I was being cheap.

Yes, $60 is cheap compared with $500, but it's reasonable compared with ... nothing.

I have suggested to BiL that give up exchanging (or pretending to exchange gifts) and he insists on continuing.

I really don't mind if he doesn't buy me anything, but I'm done with the absurd promises.

(He regularly owes people money, owes his parents thousands and complains bitterly to me when they remind him. A friend booked accommodation for them and when the friend reminded him about the money BIL said, "Just text me and remind me." "I have. Three times!")

This is a great situation to adjust your gift giving downward. The discrepancy bothers you and BIL behavior isn't going to change. A nice box of homemade brownies seems like it would fit the bil.

Libertea

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2016, 05:36:58 AM »
To summarize though: to make gift-giving successful, I think the focus needs to be on what makes the RECEIVER happy, not on what makes the giver happy.  So even if my mom thinks my gift preferences aren't fun, and even if I wouldn't want the same things she wants and vice versa, that's beside the point.  The point is to make the person you're buying the gift for happy, not to pick out the gift that you would want for yourself if you were buying yourself a gift.  I think that's why my sister now just refuses to answer if the rest of us ask her what she wants.  Someone, some way, winds up butt hurt.  Sigh.
You can only follow that yourself, and get her what she would like. However, you can't make your mom to follow your rule for the gifts she buys you.

Honestly, isn't it a little bit pissy asking a spendy person to buy you financial planning books?

My real point, though, is that you aren't going to have her around forever. Is it more important what you do for her or what you get for Christmas? I do understand where you are coming from. I have Christmas present stories of my own. But they aren't important.
No, that is true.  After 40+ years, neither of us has yet managed to turn the other into who we wish she would be. ;-)

So, ok, I'll send my sister the check this year as usual.  And....whatever.  But I'm going to take my mom out somewhere special just the two of us.  Maybe it's going to be my holiday present to myself.

choppingwood

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2016, 09:48:33 AM »
I'm going to take my mom out somewhere special just the two of us.  Maybe it's going to be my holiday present to myself.

That'll make her heart sing.

Lis

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2016, 11:21:57 AM »
My mom just asked me what I want for Christmas and if I was still eyeing an Instapot (I'm torn trying to figure out how much I would use it or if it would just become another kitchen gadget on my shelf - here's looking at you, rice maker). If I decide I do want it, it's something I'm perfectly capable of getting myself.

My God, woman, when someone offers you a free Instant Pot YOU TAKE IT!!!!  :D

Mr. Mandalay and I agreed a while ago not to give each other Christmas gifts, and our families are far away enough so we don't exchange gifts with them either. 

As for the OP, my stance would be "look, I understand that what I'm asking for doesn't seem very Christmasy to you.  But (insert what you want here) is something I really want and would make me very happy and I would get a ton of use out of it and think of you every time I did."

Yes.  Do It! It can replace the slow cooker and rice cooker, thus freeing space in your kitchen. I was skeptical too, and I am a slow adopter of new kitchen stuff and really guard my kitchen space and super hate do-one-thing appliances. The instant pot is great! If, as in usually, I forget to start slow cooker stuff, I can do the whole dish in the instant pot in under an hour. And by forget I mean, frozen chicken. It's a wonderful thing.

I am a devout slow cooker user... I absolutely love mine. I do have a horrible habit of saying "I will make this chicken dish Thursday" then promptly forget to remove frozen chicken from the freezer until 11pm Wednesday. Being able to cook frozen meat is definitely a plus...

Sorry, please return to your scheduled programs.

ImCheap

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2016, 12:18:48 PM »
The gift giving has ramped down over the years, thank goodness, its a slow process to change. I get exactly what the OP is gong thru.

Just pre medicate and then drink some more at the family gift giving session:)


Kaivalagi

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2016, 07:08:16 AM »
After years of being underwhelmed by any present he is ever bought, my Dad has finally decided to quit gift giving and receiving. I was so relieved!!

My brother told my Mum about it (M&D are divorced) and Mum was honestly dumbstruck that people would not give gifts for Christmas. For my Mum, gift giving is strongly connected with how you show love so not getting her a gift would be telling her that I didn't love her anymore... *sigh*

Now to get her to buy me one present instead of an entire sack of presents.

FLBiker

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2016, 07:17:07 AM »
I've found that after years of being quite direct with people when they ask me what I want for Xmas (either "nothing" or telling them something specific) I feel like things have really improved.  Both my parents and my in laws tend to give few, thoughtful, environmentally considerate gifts to my wife and I.  And when they don't, we either return them, sell them, or give them away.  Ultimately, what other people do isn't up to me.

I believe wholeheartedly that a gift given is the sole possession of the recipient, and they can keep / sell / discard it as they see fit.  I don't participate in gifts with strings attached.

Dicey

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2016, 08:46:36 AM »
Um, I have two instant pots. Use them often. Love, love, love.

Speaking of love...that's the root of this problem. Some people are show-offs. They find validation in giving others the "perfect" (to them) gift. Then they don't have to expend any mental energy thinking about the recipient and figuring out what would really blow their hair back. It's just easier to buy something that shows the world how kind, generous and wonderful they are .

This is not about you and it never will be. Fortunately, these folks can rarely be bothered to inquire about what happened to last year's gift. My suggestion is to ask for something from somewhere that's easy to return to, such as Costco. Then set aside the money and use it to buy their gifts next time. Lather, rinse, repeat. You will never change their behavior, only your response to it. Remember to smile and keep a cheerful attitude, because it really does help.

BCpuppy

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2016, 08:58:39 AM »
I actually just talked with both of my adult siblings about not gift giving this year.  It just seems silly.  There are no little kids yet, and we are all able to buy whatever we need to buy for ourselves.  We all agreed that none of us need any more "stuff".  Now I just need to have the conversation with the parents...

partgypsy

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2016, 10:41:49 AM »
I'm in a quandary about Xmas myself this year. Normally I love the whole picking out gifts that are meaningful for people in my immediate family and decorating, etc. Husband and I split. This entire year feels, not so celebratory.
a) no/very little for xmas. I spent the money I saved for xmas on attorney's fees, and my family also has no money. I am visiting my family over Thanksgiving weekend so I may go out with Mom and sister and let them each pick something out from myself. Rest of family is low key so I can still afford the malted milk balls for lil brother, and pistachios for Dad : )
For my kids I've already told them this will be a more low key Xmas. I think they will understand. My youngest even opened up her piggy bank and counted her money. She had ideas of crafts or small gifts for her grandparents, which I thought was sweet.
b) Tree while I do the rest of the decorating (and pretty much all the other xmas stuff including buying his family gifts), the one thing ex did was carry and set up the live (not fake) xmas tree. I'm not strong enough to carry a 6 foot tree in, and I don't want to depend/wait on him to do this.
My kids love having a real tree, but I'm wondering if they will accept an artificial tree.
c) in-laws gifts. My in laws have been a big part of my life, and have been generous with us. I normally organize the gifting not just for the parents in law, but the nieces and nephew. What do I do this year? I know I will get something for the parents in law even if small, but not sure about nieces and nephews (ex did not invite me to Thanksgiving, whole thing is awkward). Let him take care of it this time, just send a card?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2016, 10:47:35 AM by partgypsy »

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2016, 02:55:37 PM »
After years of being underwhelmed by any present he is ever bought, my Dad has finally decided to quit gift giving and receiving. I was so relieved!!

My brother told my Mum about it (M&D are divorced) and Mum was honestly dumbstruck that people would not give gifts for Christmas. For my Mum, gift giving is strongly connected with how you show love so not getting her a gift would be telling her that I didn't love her anymore... *sigh*

Now to get her to buy me one present instead of an entire sack of presents.

Love language.

People show love in different ways, and they generally show it in the way they crave to receive it.

choppingwood

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2016, 10:26:58 PM »
I'm not strong enough to carry a 6 foot tree in, and I don't want to depend/wait on him to do this.
My kids love having a real tree, but I'm wondering if they will accept an artificial tree.
In spite of my macho handle (it comes from a zen saying), I'm a not very strong 62 year old woman. I can manage a 5 foot real tree without any problem.

When I was a kid (the youngest kid), it was my job to hold the tree up straight while my dad got it in the stand properly. As an adult, I discovered that I could put the stand on while the tree was lying on the floor and simply lift it up when it was ready.

This is a job that looks much tougher than it is.

I had an artificial tree for a few years and it was fine, but never as nice as a real tree.

Goldielocks

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2016, 12:07:55 AM »
I keep telling my husband we need to cut back what we spend on his brother.

BiL is very generous... in theory. He has turned over-promising and under-delivering into an art form.

A few years ago he told us to buy things for ourselves (he gave us a price range), and said he would fix us up for them. He didn't, so when he suggested the same thing the following Christmas I declined. We bought him something, he bought us nothing.

Last year for Christmas he requested a modern polaroid camera. We bought him that, plus film, a case and an album for the prints.

He gave my husband a bottle of barbecue sauce. A $7 bottle of barbecue sauce.

He had just gone through unexpected break up and didn't feel like Christmas shopping, but he told my husband he would get him something else later. Didn't.

For my husband's 30th this year BiL said he would give my husband $500 towards a specific project. Too much money, but it doesn't matter because of course he didn't deliver. For my birthday he pledged $100. Same thing, haven't seen it.

My husband just bought concert tickets for he and BiL for January. $60 each. I suggested we make that BiL's birthday and Christmas present.

My husband objected, saying I was being cheap.

Yes, $60 is cheap compared with $500, but it's reasonable compared with ... nothing.

I have suggested to BiL that give up exchanging (or pretending to exchange gifts) and he insists on continuing.

I really don't mind if he doesn't buy me anything, but I'm done with the absurd promises.

(He regularly owes people money, owes his parents thousands and complains bitterly to me when they remind him. A friend booked accommodation for them and when the friend reminded him about the money BIL said, "Just text me and remind me." "I have. Three times!")

Have I got the Christmas present idea for you...

Get one of those "square" card readers for yourself.  Next time BIL promises something, just whip it out, ask for his credit card and swipe it right away.

It is awesome for all the times when friends say "I will owe you $20" because there is no need anymore to have to remember or remind each other.

Lis

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2016, 07:32:47 AM »
Have I got the Christmas present idea for you...

Get one of those "square" card readers for yourself.  Next time BIL promises something, just whip it out, ask for his credit card and swipe it right away.

It is awesome for all the times when friends say "I will owe you $20" because there is no need anymore to have to remember or remind each other.

Venmo. Free if you use a bank account or debit card, 3% (I think) if you use a credit card. It's how I pay for my fitness class and any of those pesky 20-people-at-dinner situations.

bognish

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2016, 03:11:50 PM »
For family that insists on sending something we have steered my parents to Omaha Steaks or Harry & Davids. I wouldn't buy it for myself, but some fun food that doesn't add to the clutter is a nice treat. We usually have a new Years party, so any weird food we wouldn't eat gets put out then.

partgypsy

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2016, 10:46:15 AM »
I'm not strong enough to carry a 6 foot tree in, and I don't want to depend/wait on him to do this.
My kids love having a real tree, but I'm wondering if they will accept an artificial tree.
In spite of my macho handle (it comes from a zen saying), I'm a not very strong 62 year old woman. I can manage a 5 foot real tree without any problem.

When I was a kid (the youngest kid), it was my job to hold the tree up straight while my dad got it in the stand properly. As an adult, I discovered that I could put the stand on while the tree was lying on the floor and simply lift it up when it was ready.

This is a job that looks much tougher than it is.

I had an artificial tree for a few years and it was fine, but never as nice as a real tree.

Unfortunately my kids like the big trees, 6, 7+ feet. My oldest is 5' 8" she is def not going to want a tree smaller than her. Plus we have 10 feet ceilings so small trees look odd. I've seen my husband struggle with these size trees so I don't think I'm up for it. I guess I could ask the kids, would you rather have a smaller real tree, or a bigger fake tree? Then they may be OK with smaller real tree.

myrrh

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2016, 12:04:36 PM »
We always had real trees growing up, usually around five foot trees. My dad would put the tree on top of a 2 - 3 foot box to make it look taller. The box would be covered in a tree skirt type material (white felt with glitter) and it always seemed very festive, plus it made access to presents under the tree a lot easier. Could you do something like that?

partgypsy

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #33 on: November 17, 2016, 12:45:17 PM »
We always had real trees growing up, usually around five foot trees. My dad would put the tree on top of a 2 - 3 foot box to make it look taller. The box would be covered in a tree skirt type material (white felt with glitter) and it always seemed very festive, plus it made access to presents under the tree a lot easier. Could you do something like that?
This is actually a great idea! I'm going to steal this, get a real tree  the girls and I can handle, but give it a platform. I have an old wine crate that would work (if I got all the clutter out of it). I have to say it's not just my children; I prefer a real tree over an artificial one. I wish I didn't that's just the way it is.

Dicey

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #34 on: November 17, 2016, 01:01:26 PM »
I keep an old wooden box from when I was a kid for just this purpose. Works great. PG, make sure the wine box has enough ballast to guarantee stability. Another fun uption is to help the kids wrap the box like a big present before you set small-ish tree on it. It will look wonderful, I promise.

Here's another fun idea. Make If-I-had-all-the-money-in-the-world-I-would-buy-you-this ornaments. Cut out a colorful picture of a special Place or a Thing, coat it with ModgePodge (even cheaper: diluted dollar store clear-drying glue). Add a pipe cleaner hook and hang it on the tree.

partgypsy

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #35 on: November 17, 2016, 01:18:23 PM »
I keep an old wooden box from when I was a kid for just this purpose. Works great. PG, make sure the wine box has enough ballast to guarantee stability. Another fun uption is to help the kids wrap the box like a big present before you set small-ish tree on it. It will look wonderful, I promise.

Here's another fun idea. Make If-I-had-all-the-money-in-the-world-I-would-buy-you-this ornaments. Cut out a colorful picture of a special Place or a Thing, coat it with ModgePodge (even cheaper: diluted dollar store clear-drying glue). Add a pipe cleaner hook and hang it on the tree.

awww

Cassie

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2016, 05:26:20 PM »
I am the same age as CW and my parents are long gone too. Some of my friends have also passed. OUr traditions have really changed through the years now that we are the oldest generation.  Much less gift giving and more spending time together, making great meals at home or going out to eat.  If I do buy someone a gift I buy them something consumable.

Slinky

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2016, 11:40:41 AM »
Most people like getting certain kinds of gifts. They consider these good gifts. Other gifts may be boring or too practical or too cheap or too whatever. When people give gifts, they want to give a good gift. Therefore, most people seem to give the kind of gift they like to receive. To varying degrees of success, people will filter their own preferences through an additional filter of what they know you like when they decide on a gift. Rarely, someone will actually just want to get you something you want. Sometimes you can steer people a little bit towards something mutually acceptable, but I've had little luck getting someone to change their idea of what constitutes a good gift.

For coping strategies, I try to enjoy giving my gifts and expecting nothing in return and I keep an Amazon wish list. Anything I would like to get at some point, but am not going to buy right now for whatever reason, goes on there. I also specifically add things I don't think are good gifts, but that might fit other people's definition of a good gift. Like the plates I'm slowly replacing our old set with as they break. I don't actually want to get plates as a Christmas gift and think that's really boring, but I'd rather get plates I want than a serving dish or centerpiece that I don't have room for. Results are still pending on that particular tactic, but it's a long term experiment. I was pleasantly surprised last year when my husband's aunt checked out my wish list and was inspired by the books about a topic to get me some other book on that topic. It wasn't on my list because I already had it, but I still really appreciated getting the kind of thing I would actually like to get and was able to sell it and get something else.

Libertea

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #38 on: November 22, 2016, 01:29:32 PM »
Ironically, after all this angst, my sister and I ended up with a wonderful, unique gift that we know my mom wants and will love.  The three of us were at an art show, and my mom saw this hand-made beaded necklace there.  It was more than she wanted to spend, so she took the artist's card and walked away.  My sister distracted her while I went back and bought the necklace.  A few minutes later, my mom went back to look at it again and was SO disappointed when the artist told her that someone had already bought it.  (I had told the artist that my sister and I were getting it as a surprise for my mom, so the artist was in on the secret.)  So for once, it was actually fun to buy my mom a gift, not to mention that my sister and I had fun railing with my mom against "whomever bought the necklace" and lamenting how "it wasn't meant to be" for my mom to have it.  Will be fun to surprise her next month!

pbkmaine

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #39 on: November 22, 2016, 01:49:24 PM »
A few weeks ago, I told my stepdaughters that I did not want a gift, and that instead, they should give to a charity of their choice. They responded enthusiastically. Today, much to my surprise, DH emailed them with a list of "adopt an animal" charities that he would prefer instead of a gift. This will be the best Christmas ever!

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #40 on: November 22, 2016, 02:13:55 PM »
Ironically, after all this angst, my sister and I ended up with a wonderful, unique gift that we know my mom wants and will love.  The three of us were at an art show, and my mom saw this hand-made beaded necklace there.  It was more than she wanted to spend, so she took the artist's card and walked away.  My sister distracted her while I went back and bought the necklace.  A few minutes later, my mom went back to look at it again and was SO disappointed when the artist told her that someone had already bought it.  (I had told the artist that my sister and I were getting it as a surprise for my mom, so the artist was in on the secret.)  So for once, it was actually fun to buy my mom a gift, not to mention that my sister and I had fun railing with my mom against "whomever bought the necklace" and lamenting how "it wasn't meant to be" for my mom to have it.  Will be fun to surprise her next month!

Fantastic.

I love when stall holders/shop assistants go the extra mile like that.

Giro

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Re: Holiday Gift Woes
« Reply #41 on: November 22, 2016, 02:25:50 PM »


Unfortunately my kids like the big trees, 6, 7+ feet. My oldest is 5' 8" she is def not going to want a tree smaller than her. Plus we have 10 feet ceilings so small trees look odd. I've seen my husband struggle with these size trees so I don't think I'm up for it. I guess I could ask the kids, would you rather have a smaller real tree, or a bigger fake tree? Then they may be OK with smaller real tree.

Yep...the box idea is nice.  Also, a 5'8" child can help carry a tree.