Author Topic: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures  (Read 15677 times)

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« on: November 21, 2013, 03:11:33 PM »
I was just writing a blog post about giving donations to charities in people's names instead of giving gifts, and it occurred to me that people on here probably understand the frustrations of gift-giving pressures better than most.

For me, avoiding gifts is about having less unwanted crap in the house, avoiding the strain on my savings, and giving gifts that people actually appreciate. I've found that if I choose charities that people really care about (matching a different charity to each recipient) then they appreciate it even more than physical gifts. Of course, I'm just talking about adults here. I'm guessing this doesn't work for everyone, but it's worked out great for me and my family. I was just curious what others do.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2013, 03:20:28 PM »
I make a "donation" in each person's name to the Human Fund. 

The Human Fund
"Money for people" 

Melody

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2013, 04:09:07 PM »
I typically try and organise a holiday in a non-Christian Country ;-) But this works for me because there are heaps of cheap flights to Kuala Lumpar, Singapore, Bali, Jakarta... You just got to book super early to avoid Christmas price gouging! But I think you can politely opt out even if you stay home. Just say something along the lines of wanting to avoid stress, pressure etc, but still wanting to be with them and invite them over for potluck Christmas lunch. For family you wouldn't see at Christmas just make sure you send a nice card and maybe follow it up with a phone call a couple of days before Christmas. My family has done this for more than a decade (on the years we are not traveling).  We do send a card/letter to over 100 people though! The letter is a meaty typed two pager with everything we have done during the year. We hand write a note in the card to personalise it.

Rural

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2013, 06:07:51 PM »
We suck it up and deal. Don't spend that much on presents, really -- my side is fine with carefully-chosen thrift store gifts. But the travel costs way too much time and money both. However, we determined that family harmony is worth it.

We do "save" some by comparison to most people by not doing any decorating whatsoever. Bad enough to have to do all that traveling, shopping, etc. I sure don't want constant reminders in my home for a month.

cats

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2013, 07:38:19 PM »
A while back I proposed to my brothers that we keep our gift giving at a "student" level, meaning $20-30/person.  We often will pool together and combine resources to get someone else in the family one bigger gift (for example, we usually all go in together on getting my parents concert tickets or restaurant gift certificates).  I also don't generally gift to anyone other than people I will actually see on Christmas Day, which I feel no/very little guilt over.  I realize this is not at all at the level of "no" gifts, but it is a heck of a lot less than I see many people spending...

Frankies Girl

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2013, 08:16:18 PM »
I buy livestock. :)
heifer.org

I got a goat for my dad one year - as we used to (lovingly) call him an old goat...


I ask family to donate to a worthy cause or charity that helps either people or animals. Most of my family donates to a no-kill animal shelter in their area for my gift, and I couldn't be happier.

I used to get tons of ridiculous junk from family members and no one in my family needs anything that they haven't already bought 10 of. I also live several states away and it just made more sense. I think my dad wasn't happy (he had a shopping addiction, and would buy things, but never send them) but he went along with it and was pretty happy about finding out about a no-kill shelter run in his area that he could help out.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 08:22:38 PM by Frankies Girl »

Anatidae V

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2013, 02:54:37 AM »
For stress reduction we do secret Santa's in several groups of my family and everyone has a wish list, so you can just pick something off it :)

marty998

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2013, 03:35:55 AM »
I make a "donation" in each person's name to the Human Fund. 

The Human Fund
"Money for people"

Constanza claimed he was frugal. But Elaine always called him out for what he was: a cheap mooching tightwad.

Love him, but try not to emulate him.

Charlotte

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2013, 03:46:59 AM »
We all got tired of the gift certificate exchange, so decided no more gifts for adults. Kids only.

When I married my husband I made it clear that this was our policy (he'd been trying to get out of the gift thing for years!) and that was the end of it. Every now and then someone sees something and gives it to one of us, but they know we won't be giving back. It works for us, and my husband didn't have to be the bad guy with his family!

rubybeth

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2013, 07:52:32 AM »
We have a carefully planned list of giftees each year, which is limited to mainly immediate family (parents, siblings) and close friends, and I start shopping quite early for thoughtful gifts vs. more crap people don't need. We also send out photo holiday cards to pretty much everyone we know, since we know they appreciate hearing from us and getting an updated photo for their fridge or whatever. Per person or per couple dollar amount is usually around $20 or less, like board games or card games, books, magazine subscriptions, calendars, etc., and I bring food for co-workers (homemade cookies or candy is easy and makes a nice gift of your time vs. money). Really, a thoughtful gift of a book you know they'll love can be gotten for under $10 from a variety of sources. One thing we didn't get into when we got married is buying a lot of gifts for kids; we only have two children on our list, and they don't know any of the other kids we know, so nobody's feelings get hurt. They are easy to shop for since they collect LEGO and Playmobil so I just add to their collections each year. We have a Chase Amazon card and we rack up points all the time buying everyday things, then use the points to buy gifts.

Guizmo

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2013, 07:53:55 AM »
I tell people, whatever you were going to get me, use that money and spend it on yourself. That'll be my gift. It also works on my bday. I hate getting presents on my birthday.

huadpe

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2013, 08:02:19 AM »
I'll often do something a bit craft-y.  E.g. this year I'm gonna make a run over to the Indian supermarket and pick up tons of inexpensive spices that are hard to come by in more conventional supermarkets (or are in tiny bottles at a giant markup).  I make a few blends and put them in little glass jars you get off Amazon, then give a few different blends to everyone.

Numbers Man

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2013, 08:49:03 AM »
I don't give gifts or receive them. Problem solved. The holiday gifts are for the kids.

MoneyCat

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2013, 08:52:02 AM »
My family (parents, brothers, sisters, and their children) don't have a lot of money, so in the past I have just given them money to help them out at Christmas.  This year, everyone seems to be doing a little better, so I am giving all the adults gift cards (which I am purchasing at a discount from gift card exchange websites online) and I'm getting ideas for toys for the kids from their parents.  I also help other people having hard times to provide presents for their children.  It's Christmas and I'm Mustachian so I have the resources from all my savings to help people have a special holiday.  The joy more than makes up for the monetary losses.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2013, 09:18:51 AM »
I make a "donation" in each person's name to the Human Fund. 

The Human Fund
"Money for people"

Constanza claimed he was frugal. But Elaine always called him out for what he was: a cheap mooching tightwad.

Love him, but try not to emulate him.

Not cheap, just "careful with money." 

And for some (related) real advice to everyone.  Stop celebrating Christmas, start celebrating Festivus.  No gifts.  I threw a Festivus party a couple of years ago, and it was a huge hit. 

momo

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2013, 09:22:28 AM »
I don't give gifts or receive them. Problem solved. The holiday gifts are for the kids.

Ditto!  The greatest gift anyone can share is their time.  If someone wants to give us a gift it will be quality time spent together, we don't need to "give" each other materialistic things.

Miss Growing Green

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2013, 12:28:40 PM »
We are upfront and honest with our family and tell them that we won't be giving any gifts this year, so please do the same with us.  We do a "Secret Santa" for the YWCA women's shelter- you sponsor a family and get the mother and children gifts from their wish list.  We usually write a little letter with pictures explaining the family's situation and the things we got them.  Then we mail those as our Christmas cards to family, to help drive the message home that we aren't exchanging gifts.

Eric

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2013, 01:08:47 PM »
And for some (related) real advice to everyone.  Stop celebrating Christmas, start celebrating Festivus.  No gifts.  I threw a Festivus party a couple of years ago, and it was a huge hit.

I GOT A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE!!


Jane

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2013, 01:21:53 PM »
I wish we could give it up, but like others have said, we do it to keep the harmony. We give small gifts to the kids which I don't mind doing, "token" gifts to the extended family on my husband's side (under $5 each, like chocolate or something) since they all insist on exchanging, and then gifts for my parents. I have unsuccessfully tried every year to get my mom to agree to stop exchanging, but every time she's practically fighting back tears as she tells me that "it just isn't Christmas without having gifts to open!" Ugh.

I was able to successfully stop exchanging gifts with my brother and his wife at least.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2013, 02:02:18 PM »
And for some (related) real advice to everyone.  Stop celebrating Christmas, start celebrating Festivus.  No gifts.  I threw a Festivus party a couple of years ago, and it was a huge hit.

I GOT A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE!!



This was actually the most fun part.

mlipps

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2013, 05:30:33 PM »
Am I the only one around here who still loves getting presents as much as I did when I was five? I have a small family to exchange with, so I really don't mind. Pucking out thoughtful gifts is one of my best skills and I love doing it. That said, I usually start thinking early and hunt down bargains for everything I pick out. We budget $125/month for gifts but that's everything: birthdays, Christmas, Mothers/Fathers Day, etc. I try hard not to go overboard but presents (giving and receiving), are one of my favorite things.

gimp

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2013, 05:38:07 PM »
I only give gifts to a few people. People I don't know that well, or people who have plenty of means to buy themselves things, nah.

This year I think the list has my younger cousin, my cousin once removed, my girlfriend, and a friend.

Speaking of which: what the hell do you give a 1.5-year-old kid? I'm thinking a drum set, a whistle, and a set of rattles.

N

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2013, 05:53:07 PM »
My best friend and I agreed this year that instead of doing xmas gifts, we will do an ornament exchange for our kids (we each have 2).

I sent an email to my sis and siblings in law with kids and said we wouldnt be buying gifts for their kids this year due to budget constraints. They know we've had a lot of major medical stuff, so I think they understand, although not one person replied to my email at all. :( Last year we didnt buy gifts either for nieces and nephews. same issue. also, there are 11 of  them. and they dont want gifts, they want cash. I think its kind of dumb to have a big ole cash exchange for the holidays. I guess Id rather do nothing than pass out 5 or 10 dollars per kid. I dont even think they really appreciate it, and twice now, kids have lost some of their gift money at family parties. (Not my kids! )

With my sibs in law, plus spouses, there are 11 of us, too. We do a secret santa swap. I made some noise last year how it was dumb to just swap gift cards, and there ended up being a fair amount of actual presents exchanged. This year everyone just wrote down gift card for x store. I told my husband we are not going to do it next year. Its 40$ per person.

Luckily thats about it. My mom has passed away. My dad asks for no gifts, although sometimes I make him something (sewed him placemats one year) and my husbands parents dont need a darn thing. Last year I gave them some jam and pickles I made.


chasesfish

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2013, 06:01:17 AM »
I buy livestock. :)
heifer.org

I got a goat for my dad one year - as we used to (lovingly) call him an old goat...


I ask family to donate to a worthy cause or charity that helps either people or animals. Most of my family donates to a no-kill animal shelter in their area for my gift, and I couldn't be happier.


I actually just heard about heifer international a few days ago while reading Howard Shultz's book.  Its amazing that some families life dream is to own a cow. 

ender

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2013, 08:13:23 AM »
Am I the only one around here who still loves getting presents as much as I did when I was five? I have a small family to exchange with, so I really don't mind. Pucking out thoughtful gifts is one of my best skills and I love doing it. That said, I usually start thinking early and hunt down bargains for everything I pick out. We budget $125/month for gifts but that's everything: birthdays, Christmas, Mothers/Fathers Day, etc. I try hard not to go overboard but presents (giving and receiving), are one of my favorite things.

Everyone's different.

I've never been a gift person and it still bothers me. Especially now that I have an income and can afford anything I want/need (which is a small list anyways) I just get it when it happens. Other stuff is just superflous 99% of the time which bothers me even prior to MMM and now is just even worse.

But I still suck it up and buy my family $20 range gifts because I'm basically ruining Xmas if I don't.

avonlea

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2013, 08:15:32 AM »
This is an awesome organization. If you are ever passing through AR, you should stop by there. I  taking a friend next week. She has donated loyally for years.

Will you visit the the headquarters in LR or the ranch in Perryville?  We visited the ranch and I thought it was really cool.

avonlea

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2013, 04:25:00 PM »
This is an awesome organization. If you are ever passing through AR, you should stop by there. I  taking a friend next week. She has donated loyally for years.

Will you visit the the headquarters in LR or the ranch in Perryville?  We visited the ranch and I thought it was really cool.

We are going to the ranch, and I have no clue about village yet. It is totally up to her. I've only done the ranch once, but the village is a place we usually go to annually.

Cool, Mom to 5!  I hope you all have a nice time at the ranch.  We haven't visited the village in Little Rock, but I hope we will be able to stop there the next time we drive through that area.

Last year, we gave my daughters' teachers a donation in their names to Heifer for a flock of chicks.  (She also made cards for them.)  The teachers really loved the gift.  So, another shout out for Heifer!

adesertsky

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2013, 08:58:12 PM »
We do gifts on my side of the family but try to keep it "reasonable" ($30-40 per person; we are all adults and it is just immediate family and SOs).  My husband's family does a secret santa with a $20-30 price range.  I don't have any kids in my family except for cousin's kids that I don't really know so I end up buying a gift for a child in need through a program at work, too.

I love gifts as long as they are special and wanted/needed.  I reeeeeally hate when I get something I don't care about.  To mitigate that, I keep a comprehensive Amazon wishlist.  It doesn't always work, though, but it does sometimes!

Gifts are not all bad if they are done right.  It is great to surprise someone with something really special.  A few years ago my sister, brother and I chipped in to get my dad a flying lesson in a biplane.  He had long talked about it but never would have gotten that for himself.  His eyes really lit up when he opened the certificate.


sunshine

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2013, 06:42:11 AM »
A few years back we changed things a bit with my spouses huge family. We now buy only 6 gifts for that side and spend $150 to $175. That is a far cry from what it was. My side is tiny and consists of 3 people and one friends I buy for plus my 2 kids and hubby. Way calmer! Years ago we bought for 27 people total. It was insane and all requests to change things were met with heavy  resistance on hubbys side.   For years my husband and I resented it because we never had any $ left to get each other anything and wanted to get our kids more and the extended family less without a huge fight. When a lot of the nieces and nephews became adults it also stressed them to the hilt so it finally more besides just hubby and I wanted the change. I had been pushing for YEARS to no avail. Yeah for it changing before we went AWOL. I was actually told once to cut back on the charity's we sponsor at Christmas. I was smoking mad.

This year we are cutting the gift giving for the kids in half and hubby and I are having a teeny tiny limit. We were not cutting the charity gifts ever because our whole family enjoys it and I want my kids to always remember to be kind to those that need help. The kids know that part of their gift  this year is getting to leave the country for vacation the next month to create some awesome memories again as a family.

higgins2013

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2013, 08:15:19 AM »
New but high-quality thrift store (or ebay) purchases.

rubybeth

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2013, 08:48:27 AM »
Am I the only one around here who still loves getting presents as much as I did when I was five? I have a small family to exchange with, so I really don't mind. Pucking out thoughtful gifts is one of my best skills and I love doing it. That said, I usually start thinking early and hunt down bargains for everything I pick out. We budget $125/month for gifts but that's everything: birthdays, Christmas, Mothers/Fathers Day, etc. I try hard not to go overboard but presents (giving and receiving), are one of my favorite things.

No, you're not the only one who loves it. I absolutely love giving gifts, and feel we can afford it, and we plan for it. I think gifts are one of my primary love languages (if you've never read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman, google it). I didn't get a lot of gifts as a child, but really enjoyed the thoughtful gifts I've received. Gift cards to places we really enjoy but rarely go fall into the category of thoughtful. A couple years ago, DH's family loaded us up with free movie tickets. No guilt date nights for literally years? Yes, please. :)

mikefixac

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2013, 11:03:50 AM »
My problems start around September. With anniverasary, birthday and Valentine's Day, my wife expects something on each of those occasions.

I absolutely loathe that time of year for that reason. (A little hyperbole but you get what I'm saying.)

For Christmas, when all the family starts to open their gifts, I wheel in our large outdoor garbage can and set it in the middle of the room. They still haven't gotten the hint. (BTW, no kids, all adults.)
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 11:08:48 AM by mikefixac »

scrubbyfish

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2013, 11:25:44 PM »
I weaned myself off the pressure, and my response to it, over the years and now feel almost none. Like many here, my first steps involved proposing to adult family members that we skip a gift exchange, do White Elephant Christmas, etc.

At this point, I do still give:

-birthday presents to the 3 main kids in my life, and
-any type of present to anyone else on the whole planet if I happen upon a rare thing I'm confident would give them joy, and
-2-3 Christmas presents to my kid

Recently I handed a near-stranger a pair of fuzzy socks because she looked like she would love them as much as I love mine.

I noticed my partner never, ever, ever looks happy when I give him a present, including unique items specific to him that I trip over myself locating. He just doesn't seem to care about receiving them. So this year I'm removing him from my "list" with no guilt :)    I am, though, gifting him with other things he cares about, like expanding my capacity to go along for the ride on a trip he plans.

Anatidae V

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2013, 08:09:52 PM »
I find Christmas gifts less stressful because I love tinsel and family time and gifts. I can't wait for 1December when I'll bring out our decorations. But I've also only just transitioned from being in the child group to being in the adult group (I still got a stocking last year :)). Did many find that presents became a problem after that transition, or did you always dislike exchanging gifts? Also, in Australia we use Christmas as our celebrate family holiday, whereas I understand Americans have this at thanksgiving?

Mrs.FamilyFinances

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2013, 10:57:25 PM »
I only give gifts to a few people. People I don't know that well, or people who have plenty of means to buy themselves things, nah.

This year I think the list has my younger cousin, my cousin once removed, my girlfriend, and a friend.

Speaking of which: what the hell do you give a 1.5-year-old kid? I'm thinking a drum set, a whistle, and a set of rattles.

Only if you hate the parents of this child. SO MUCH NOISE!!

 Kids that age like to stack blocks. Melissa and Doug make a great big cardboard block stack set that both my kiddos loved.

scrubbyfish

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2013, 11:01:46 PM »
Did many find that presents became a problem after that transition, or did you always dislike exchanging gifts?

As a kid, I was very excited at the thought of a day of presents (Christmas or birthday), but my reality generally disappointed. I was often extremely let down by what I unwrapped -it seemed to me like no one in my life really knew me, and that I was being given things they thought I "should" like (because I was a girl, or because I was 8 or 12, or whatever) but I usually didn't, and then I felt really sad and really alone. I was way too quiet and polite to say anything about it, and I put in a lot of effort to put on a happy, grateful face -which made the day exhausting, to boot. Ha! (I never realized any of this before you asked this question.)

I was so relieved when, in early adulthood, I got to release Christmas! I loved just lounging around alone or with one or two friends, reading, watching movies, eating popcorn, letting the day go by peacefully.

These days, I do ask for birthday presents and I let people know what I love and dream of, and it's all been much happier for me.

As a kid, though, I do remember a handful of gifts -not always birthday or Christmas, some on a random day from a teacher or whatever- that really told me I *was* known, understood, and cared about. That meant the *world* to me. One teacher gave me a book -I was probably 7 years old- and the details of this gift left me believing this teacher saw and valued me. And that was the message I needed.

Also, I remember finding -in advance of my 11th or 12th birthday- the Cabbage Patch Doll my mum had gotten and tucked away for me. I was in awe -party because the doll was just lovely, but also because I was aware that adults were literally trampling each other to get these for their kids that year. We were relatively poor and had far less materially than any of our neighbours, so were usually not, um, hip. My mum worked in the store and did not need to get trampled to get the doll, but I just really felt my mum "got it" that I wanted that year to be like my peers, and that I would feel incredibly special receiving one of these sought-after dolls regardless of how ridiculous the craze was. It was my mum's care and thoughtfulness and long-advance effort that was outrageously meaningful to me. (I kept the doll 'til I was close to 20 years old and had to finally release so many squishy beings in order to be housed. Her name was Katie. And she won Best Looking Cabbage Patch in my school that year. As a painfully shy kid that perceived herself as stupid and ugly, this was one of the most awesome moments of my childhood!)

Moomingirl

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #36 on: November 25, 2013, 11:37:21 PM »
It's taken us ten years, but we've finally got it sorted now.

We started by telling the family that we really weren't into the whole commercial thing, we aren't religious, and it seemed hypocritical to be 'celebrating' Christmas. That didn't work.

We tried a few years of  'Charity' type donations (buy a goat for a needy African family type thing, as other people have mentioned). Still people insisted on buying us useless stuff that we didn't need.

Finally, after years of difficulty, the family have finally realised that we really don't want more stuff. We live in a very small house, so we don't have a lot of space to store things we didn't really want to start with. Eventually even the most stubborn of the relatives have realised that we are not partaking in the silly season, and they will not be getting a gift in return.  We spent quite a few years thanking people very much , but telling them that we really didn't want them to give us a gift the following year.

We also find it awkward as the rest of the family has way more money than us (or at least the appearance of it). The kids in the family get so many expensive gifts that we just can't compete, so in the end we gave up. We sat down with each of the parents, and told them that there was no way we could afford to buy anything that would begin to interest their children, considering what everyone else was buying them.

I have no idea if the parents are still annoyed about our stance, but all of the kids still love us, and look forward to seeing us, gift or no gift. We go away for the holiday period on our own, but make sure we spend lots of quality time with the kids outside of that.

It's a huge relief to us now when we hear about the stress of the holiday season, and realise we have put in all the hard work and now don't have to deal with it anymore.

Jenga

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #37 on: November 26, 2013, 07:22:40 AM »
Add me to the list of people who gets great enjoyment out of Christmas, and the giving of gifts.  For me, it is a lot of fun to find gifts that the recipient will like. 

A few factors that I suspect contribute to my lack of Holiday Stress:
1.  I buy presents for immediate family and my closest friend; everyone else gets Christmas cards and seems quite happy with it.  Anyone visiting is welcomed and fed cookies (with a few to take home), because baking them is a fun family tradition.
2.  I set the budget for next year in December, and set aside a little bit every paycheque for nine months.
3.  I refuse to set foot in the mall in December.  It's too crowded, and loud, and no wonder people get stressed in an environment like that! I buy presents throughout the year as I see things people would like, and usually finish up in October.

For myself, I keep a running wishlist of books throughout the year,  and the few people who buy me presents know where it is - so generally I get a couple books that I want, without having to buy them!  Well, this year instead I asked for an hour of the family's time (and their cooperation) to take some family pictures.


rubybeth

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2013, 10:33:54 AM »
I only give gifts to a few people. People I don't know that well, or people who have plenty of means to buy themselves things, nah.

This year I think the list has my younger cousin, my cousin once removed, my girlfriend, and a friend.

Speaking of which: what the hell do you give a 1.5-year-old kid? I'm thinking a drum set, a whistle, and a set of rattles.

Only if you hate the parents of this child. SO MUCH NOISE!!

 Kids that age like to stack blocks. Melissa and Doug make a great big cardboard block stack set that both my kiddos loved.

I'd suggest picture books or those board books that can withstand toddler abuse.

feelingroovy

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2013, 09:27:54 PM »

Speaking of which: what the hell do you give a 1.5-year-old kid? I'm thinking a drum set, a whistle, and a set of rattles.

A savings bond.  Seriously. Even babies get so many toys it's ridiculous.

When I graduated college and started grad school (and was totally broke), I cashed in a bunch of savings bonds I had gotten as a baby.

This allowed me to move across the country and put a deposit on an apartment and I was SO grateful to those forward-thinking relatives.

If you MUST give a physical gift as well, I would recommend a Sandra Boynton board book.  They are hysterical and will cost only a few dollars.

kkbmustang

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2013, 11:12:59 PM »

Speaking of which: what the hell do you give a 1.5-year-old kid? I'm thinking a drum set, a whistle, and a set of rattles.

A savings bond.  Seriously. Even babies get so many toys it's ridiculous.

When I graduated college and started grad school (and was totally broke), I cashed in a bunch of savings bonds I had gotten as a baby.

This allowed me to move across the country and put a deposit on an apartment and I was SO grateful to those forward-thinking relatives.

If you MUST give a physical gift as well, I would recommend a Sandra Boynton board book.  They are hysterical and will cost only a few dollars.

+1. My kids LOVED those Sandra Boynton books and so did I. And that's saying something given that I read them over and over and over... Also, if you get an obnoxiously loud toy, be prepared to receives one back times ten in loud annoyingness when you have a toddler. You've been warned. :)

MrsPete

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #41 on: December 01, 2013, 06:58:49 AM »
I have a large, close family who all lives within a couple-county area.  We do a gift exchange.  All adults bring one gift suitable for any other adult (anyone may opt out without shame, but no one ever does), and we do a trade-type game . . . the result is that we have a festive get-together including a small number of gifts, but no one feels obligated to search out something special for each and every person, and the financial aspect is limited to a reasonable amount.  Regifting is perfectly acceptable in our family, as are homemade gifts and "gently-used" items.  We've been doing this more than a decade, and we're all satisfied with it. 

Kids receive gifts from . . . pretty much everyone.  I'm not quite sure how we'll transition the kids into the adult group.  The oldest of the cousins is my college girl, and she's still treated like a kid (she's not complaining -- her aunts and uncles are generous).  I tend to give the kids board games, craft supplies and books; they always seem happy, and I see the items in their houses later, so they're not being crammed into the closet or sent to Goodwill. 

oldtoyota

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Re: How to you handle holiday gift-giving pressures
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2013, 06:49:08 PM »
This year, I am doing a combo of buying a few gifts and giving homemade gifts. Eventually, I want to transition to no to almost-no gifts. My mother really likes to give gifts. She was against not giving them to me. If she gets me something, I feel I should get her something. The cycle continues.

However, I am giving her photos. She doesn't want big expensive gifts. I think she'll be happy with the photos and some artwork from the kiddo.

We have two others in our family...it's impossible to get them to dial back, so we try to suggest items we need. I'm being asked if I want X or Z and I don't. I feel rude, but I really do not want the crap they want to get me. I would not use it and it would be a waste for them to buy it....

At the same time, we've talked on this board before about how some people show love through buying gifts for people...