Author Topic: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending  (Read 8862 times)

oldtoyota

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Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« on: September 08, 2013, 12:07:37 AM »
I am all for cutting back on holiday spending.

Have you talked to your family about scaling back? If so, what did you say? What was their response?


Peanut Butter

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 02:51:30 AM »
It took a couple of years, but I've finally convinced my mom and step-dad to not buy Christmas presents this year. I think. We'll see if they can resist.

KMMK

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 06:20:58 AM »
Luckily my family was never really into gift giving and holidays, but some was done. About a decade ago I just told them I'd instituted a no gift policy. I don't give gifts to any person at any time. I find just having a blanket policy is easier. Then you don't have to worry about the rules: - do I give to my nephews/nieces but not adult relatives? What age do I stop? What about weddings? Birthdays?

Some people still get me gifts - my mother basically - but I try to discourage it as much as possible. Sure, once in a while I do get someone a gift, but that's generally because of my husband's obligation - we split the cost for a Christmas gift for his mother, and share what she gives us. But I was able to help him stop exchanging gifts with his siblings. And for babies, I just never get started. 1 gift starts the gifting obligation and I refuse to participate.

The whole gift-giving thing makes no sense to me, as I only know people who are relatively well-off, or are doing poorly only because of their own poor financial choices. If I truly knew someone in need, I give them things, but that may be food, rides, babysitting or mentoring. Not just material stuff.

People can't make you feel guilty if you don't let them.

oldtoyota

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 09:13:55 AM »
It took a couple of years, but I've finally convinced my mom and step-dad to not buy Christmas presents this year. I think. We'll see if they can resist.

My MIL said they were going to dial back one year. So, we bought fewer presents aaaand, she had not really dialed back. I felt quite uncomfortable at how uneven it was! I guess she could not resist. LOL

oldtoyota

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2013, 09:18:59 AM »
People can't make you feel guilty if you don't let them.

I agree in theory. Much harder when the whole family is gathering to open presents, and I have little to nothing...So, I am thinking it may be time to address the gathering too.

Peanut Butter

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 10:24:14 AM »
It took a couple of years, but I've finally convinced my mom and step-dad to not buy Christmas presents this year. I think. We'll see if they can resist.

My MIL said they were going to dial back one year. So, we bought fewer presents aaaand, she had not really dialed back. I felt quite uncomfortable at how uneven it was! I guess she could not resist. LOL

Yeah - I feel bad, but one of the reasons I asked to not do gifts this year is because they are SO BAD at giving gifts! It's always some random doo-dad that I have no use for and will only gather dust until I finally remember it's there and send it to the thrift store.

I really hate gift giving "occasions." I love giving people presents, but only on my schedule. I also love it to be a pleasant surprise when the recipient wasn't expecting anything particular.

DocCyane

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 10:31:51 AM »
Luckily my brother is cheap and selfish, so we haven't exchanged gifts in years. I give his two sons cash now that they are old enough to deal with the decision making that comes with it. Previously I sent a check to my brother for the boys, but I have a feeling it went right in my brother's account.

I've decided the kids will get Christmas cash until they graduate college.

As for Dad, he sends me money. Usually an odd amount like $175. I send him something edible, like fine cuts of meat or something like that.

My partner and I don't exchange gifts.

Christmas is a fairly inexpensive thing for me.

oldtoyota

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 06:49:14 PM »
We have 12 people we buy presents for right now.

2 are kids. We'll continue to get them gifts.
4 are our parents. Neither side needs anything. Both sets seem cool with dialing back.
4 are siblings/SIL/BIL. One set is definitely okay with dialing back. They stopped buying us bday presents, which was fine. My DH kept wanting to get them bday gifts, but he eventually got it that they were not doing that anymore.
1 = each other (This is obviously easy to cut back on, because DH and I agree on it.)
1 = a good family friend (I can definitely make something for this person.)

I floated the idea of not buying presents to my mom. She still wants to buy me something. However, she said they need nothing...but she wants a lot of photos. So, I am going to make them a photo book and maybe add in some items they can eat (homemade jams or relishes, etc).



agent_black

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2013, 07:43:05 PM »
How does one go about convincing a family that has always given gifts to stop, or to not include one member?  I feel like my family would take it the wrong way, especially with all the help they have given me.  Serious question: should I just show them this site?

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2013, 09:14:55 PM »
After reading "The 5 Love Languages", I now understand why some people's feelings may be hurt if you don't want them to give you a gift, or if you don't give them a gift. In those situations, some sort of compromise may be warranted.

We stopped bought-gift giving years ago. My side of the family seemed ok with it, my wife's side bought stuff anyways (and seemed slightly offended when we didn't have bought-gifts for them). We did still give gifts, but they were of the homemade variety (cookies, fudge, pies, things like that).

We're pretty adamant about people not getting gifts for us (though my mom still sends cash); but when it comes to our kids, it's merely a suggestion. Reverse is true when it comes to our kids buying presents; I'll tell my son that I would prefer a card he made for father's day than something he paid money for, but it's his money to do with as he wants.

oldladystache

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2013, 09:37:47 PM »
About 15 years ago I convinced the extended family to try a new tradition. Instead of getting each other gifts we would get ourselves gifts. We would wrap them and on Christmas Eve we'd get together and open them. To make it more fun, we'd take turns picking someone else's gift and opening it for them. Then we'd pass the gift around for everyone to see.

Many of them thought it was a dumb idea but they went along with it, just for one year. It was a rousing success. We all got exactly what we wanted. Nobody had to pretend to like something awful. And those who wanted to spend more were able to and those on a strict budget could spend just a little.

After the first year nobody wanted to go back to the old way. Christmas used to be really stressful, worrying about what to get for each person, and worrying about how much to spend. Now it's fun.

Noodle

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2013, 10:45:25 PM »
Depending on the relationships, it may make more sense to make changes gradually, with a few family members at a time, than to try to institute change with everyone at once.  As mentioned above, some people genuinely enjoy giving and receiving gifts. Sometimes the best gift to them is to graciously receive what is given (I do think one should never overspend just to please others.)

Awhile back, two of my siblings and their spouses agreed to stop giving gifts to each other and just give to their children. But other siblings and my parents do continue to exchange gifts. I don't think it has to be "one rule for everybody" unless the family dynamics call for it.

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2013, 05:41:41 AM »
I have a "no presents for adults" rule. You are an adult, get a job and buy your own presents.

This applies to Christmas and birthdays, with the occasional exception of a "big" birthday for one of our parents. Nieces and nephews get birthday presents through 18, and college kids continue to get Christmas presents through college/22 years old.

Weddings, graduations and babies I'm still in for. But I enjoy those!

starbuck

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2013, 06:26:35 AM »
Awhile back, two of my siblings and their spouses agreed to stop giving gifts to each other and just give to their children. But other siblings and my parents do continue to exchange gifts. I don't think it has to be "one rule for everybody" unless the family dynamics call for it.

Yea, this is how things work in our families. Last year my SIL asked to stop exchanging gifts and that's worked out well. We keep trying to get my MIL to ease up on the holiday gifts, but as of yet there's no slowing that woman down. (I understand that there's no way of her completely stopping gift giving. But less would be nice.)

We stopped exchanging gifts with my brother and his wife kind of organically. It just slowly wound down until it stopped. If we see them for the holidays, I usually bring a food gift like homemade granola, but it's more of a hostess gift than anything else.

I personally really enjoy giving gifts, but we've simplified it slowly over the years, and the gifts we do give are 90% homemade. I'd recommend easing into it with family members, and maybe single out those that you know will be more receptive to it than others.

kkbmustang

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2013, 08:16:27 AM »
We told our families, and kids, a couple of Christmases ago that we were scaling back because Christmas had gotten ridiculous. We did it really because I didn't want our kids growing up thinking that getting 30 plus gifts at a holiday was normal. I mean, come on now.

So, the Hubs' family listened and agreed. They were also nearing retirement and wanted to scale back as well. Now the grandkids get one big gift from them and a deposit to their 529 accounts.

My side of the family? Not so much. Still big into gifts. And there's no changing it. So, we just control our gift giving and hope that come Christmas Day it's not obscene.

I'm not anti-gift, but I am against a child receiving $800 worth of stuff from their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles on Christmas Day. I mean, really?

oldtoyota

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2013, 08:24:15 AM »
After reading "The 5 Love Languages", I now understand why some people's feelings may be hurt if you don't want them to give you a gift, or if you don't give them a gift. In those situations, some sort of compromise may be warranted.


That is a good point. Maybe the one person who seems the most resistant is the "gift giver." I do intend to give some gifts, but they will be homemade (fudge, cookies, relish, knitted hats, etc).


Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2013, 09:08:05 AM »
A few years ago, my adult family (6 of us) started to do a gift exchange where you draw names and get that person 1 big gift, and everyone else a small gift. Although still expensive, it did cut back on how much we spent on each other and it was nice how, if I wasn't sure what to get my person, I could get ideas from everyone else because they weren't getting him anything big.

Last year, we cut it back and I asked if we could step out of the exchange. I filled stockings for my parents, because they spend Christmas morning with us and I could fill them with freebies I got couponing. My sister sent us a gift, which was really nice of her, but she said that she knew she wasn't getting one back and that was OK with her. We do give to the kids, but kids at young ages can be happy with a low-cost gift.

I did a really good job at finding awesome gifts for the kids in our lives at low prices last year, by keeping my eyes peeled for them from August to December. The problem last year was that I spent the entire amount budgeted -- instead of stopping at the awesome deal (say, buying a $25 toy for $10), I then spent $15 more. This year, when I get an awesome deal, I'm stopping and not spending the rest of the budgeted amount. Or, you could look at it from the perspective that I'm budgeting less $$ per kid.

My dad loves used books, so I can usually find something good for him at a library booksale ($1 each!) or on paperback swap. On Paperback Swap, I ask the sender if the book is in "gifting condition."

If you're going to buy gifts for the holidays, it's best to start your list now and keep you eyes peeled for the fabulous deals, or go to the booksales / consignment sales / etc. that happen in the fall. 

MrsPete

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2013, 02:01:42 PM »
Going from full-Christmas to no presents probably isn't going to happen, so go for something more realistic.  Two good options:

- At Thanksgiving, have the adults draw names.  Set a dollar figure.  Everyone brings one gift, everyone goes home with one gift.  Simplifies shopping.  Less clutter.

- Everyone brings a generic gift, and you do a gift swap.  Again, easier and fewer gifts to buy /receive. 

oldtoyota

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2013, 02:35:00 PM »
Going from full-Christmas to no presents probably isn't going to happen, so go for something more realistic.  Two good options:

- At Thanksgiving, have the adults draw names.  Set a dollar figure.  Everyone brings one gift, everyone goes home with one gift.  Simplifies shopping.  Less clutter.

- Everyone brings a generic gift, and you do a gift swap.  Again, easier and fewer gifts to buy /receive.

Hm. We celebrate Tgiving with the family that is more inclined to cut back while we spend Xmas with the family more inclined to spend more. So, I will ask DH about giving this idea a go at Tgiving to see if we can at least reduce Xmas somewhere.

The more I think about this, the more I think there's only one person who would be opposed to this idea of cutting back. I keep cutting back (a bit every year) and am embarrassed with the gifts I get from that person sometimes (embarrassed by their expense).


Villanelle

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2013, 02:58:40 PM »
We told BIL and his wife that we are trying to save and we wanted to just get gifts for their kids (we have none) and not exchange with them.  Though they are not frugal--quite the opposite-- they agreed.

I've also worked on homemade gifts so that no one even notices I've cut back.  I'm not super crafty by any means, but there are enough projects out there than there's something for any skill level.  I bought hoop earring hoops at a craft store and assorted beads in bulk, and used them to make wine charms, for example.  Put beads in on the hoop, use pliers to fold a small hook onto one end which slides into the provided loop, and it's a wine charm.  I just sorted the beads so that I made charms in various colors (a red charm, and orange charm, etc.)  It costs about $2 per set of 12 charms, and they were great gifts for so many people.  I put them in tins and pretty jewelry boxes that I'd collected from other gifts and purchases. 

For people I thought might get snippy about it, I didn't even mention I made them.  They could have easily been purchased at a craft fair or boutique store. 

So there are ways to cut back without anyone even realizing you've done so.   

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2013, 03:13:39 PM »
This year we are going to try something different. I'm going to the farmers market to stock up on some homemade jams, soaps and stuff and will give those to adults. Kids will get nothing and like it.

Just kidding. I have a Disney obsessed side of the family. I really hate this time of year, and it has nothing to do with Jesus being born. I think its sort of dislike for all this material waste and dealing with certain family. Remember it's about the kids. Who doesn't have a good memory of opening up something awesome for Christmas?

RMD

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2013, 03:49:14 PM »
I enjoy gifting.  I expect nothing in return.  That said, I usually make gifts.  Typically, one person gets a big gift and the rest smaller gifts.  I can't make quilts for everyone for Christmas, so brother will get a quilt this year and everyone esle gets ornaments and food goodies. I do rotate so it stays pretty even...next year it'll something for someone else.

MrsPete

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2013, 01:11:03 PM »
I enjoy gifting.  I expect nothing in return.  That said, I usually make gifts.  Typically, one person gets a big gift and the rest smaller gifts.  I can't make quilts for everyone for Christmas, so brother will get a quilt this year and everyone esle gets ornaments and food goodies. I do rotate so it stays pretty even...next year it'll something for someone else.
I completely understand your comment that you enjoy giving gifts to loved ones and genuinely don't expect anything in return . . . but the problem is that some people -- not all -- are uncomfortable with receiving and not giving back something somewhat "equal".  So they may feel pressure to reciprocate, even if you don't intend them to feel that way. 

RMD

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Re: Cutting Back on Holiday Spending
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2013, 01:19:29 PM »
I enjoy gifting.  I expect nothing in return.  That said, I usually make gifts.  Typically, one person gets a big gift and the rest smaller gifts.  I can't make quilts for everyone for Christmas, so brother will get a quilt this year and everyone esle gets ornaments and food goodies. I do rotate so it stays pretty even...next year it'll something for someone else.
I completely understand your comment that you enjoy giving gifts to loved ones and genuinely don't expect anything in return . . . but the problem is that some people -- not all -- are uncomfortable with receiving and not giving back something somewhat "equal".  So they may feel pressure to reciprocate, even if you don't intend them to feel that way.

I do understand that some may feel pressure to reciprocate...but I've come to the conclusion that I can't control how anyone feels or responds.  I can just as easily piss off someone by not giving a gift at all or by giving one of lesser "value".  I can only do what works best for me and make my intentions very clear.  Gifts, to me, are just that...gifts. I have no attached expectations. (Although being thanked is nice.)