Sick of self-perpetuating gifting - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-05-2010, 06:48 AM
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On Christmas Eve we have been getting together for dinner with the following family members:

Me
My parents
My brother
My grandmother (dad's mom)
My uncle and aunt (dad's brother and his wife)
My cousins (adult offspring of above)

Boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses have always been welcome. Last year the circle expanded to include:

My boyfriend
Female cousin's fiance (now husband)

This year it has expanded again to include:

Male cousin's fiancee
Her 2 kids from a prior marriage

My brother just told me that he was asked by our mother if he was going to buy a gift for my cousin's future stepchildren, i.e. his fiancee's children...whom we have NEVER met and would see at most...MOST...once a year.

My response: an emphatic, unequivocal NO!

This gift giving is getting out of control. I basically have to buy a gift for every single person present at dinner. I have never seen the point of buying little token gifts for people I hardly ever see. I don't want presents from them and I kind of resent having to give them gifts. Nobody in my family is needy, nobody is struggling to feed themselves...but we don't see each other often either and while we're all comfortable, we're not rich.

I'm tired of stressing over what to buy EVERYONE who's going to be there. It's wasteful, stressful, expensive, and stupid.

I'm going to propose a Secret Santa drawing to go into effect from 2011 onwards with a $25 limit. This has GOT to STOP. I feel like I'm being bled to death.
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#2 Old 12-05-2010, 06:59 AM
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You're right - that's a lot of gifts and a drawing would help ease the burden. However, buying a few small gifts for the new kids to open shouldn't be all that much of an effort - a couple of books, some Xmas candy, a new hat or gloves, earrings, etc. - just something fun for them to open while you all are opening would be the nice thing to do. At least for this year before you have the official gift exchange in place.

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#3 Old 12-05-2010, 07:04 AM
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For the first time I'm not giving anyone anything this christmas, so happy with that.
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#4 Old 12-05-2010, 07:08 AM
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I'd be more inclined to only buy presents for the kids. New kids in the family might feel insecure, or less than because they are step kids.
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#5 Old 12-05-2010, 07:15 AM
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I've already decided I'm not buying gifts for them. They'll be receiving gifts from my aunt and uncle anyway.

ETA: They aren't little kids either.
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#6 Old 12-05-2010, 10:30 AM
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I agree with the person who said you could get away with getting gifts for just the kids.

Your idea about a Secret Santa or gift exchange is a great idea. Or you could make the gathering a White Elephant party. Or, if others feel like the load is burdensome, maybe you could convince them that you shouldn't exchange gifts at all.

I thought my family was going to go giftless this year, but then my parents changed their minds. Alas
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#7 Old 12-05-2010, 10:49 AM
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In my family, we bypass this bull by only buying for the kids.

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#8 Old 12-05-2010, 12:40 PM
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My family (which is huge, btw) does a secret santa with the adults drawing kids' names. That way each family only has to buy one or 2 gifts, and the kids get to open a gift or 2. When new kids come into the family (via step/s.o.) the parents of the kids bring small gifts for them, until they are well known enough to be considered officially part of the family.
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#9 Old 12-05-2010, 08:44 PM
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Basically I do not want to set expectations with tween children that I will never see otherwise that they are going to receive a gift from me every year. Plus, tweens are impossible to shop for and they're old enough to understand how all this works. So, they're not getting squat from me. My aunt and uncle, who will become their stepgrandparents, are free to make sure that they are accommodated. I don't see how it's in any way my responsibility and Christmas is expensive enough as it is. It's getting ridiculous and out of control. This is where I draw the line.
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#10 Old 12-05-2010, 08:57 PM
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My family switched to Secret Santa a few years ago, so far so good. This year we're all too poor for even that though The SS is for the adults. Everyone buys the kids something (my nieces and nephews).
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#11 Old 12-05-2010, 09:39 PM
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We do a White Elephant type of thing instead of Secret Santa, but similar idea in that there's just one gift you have to buy. Kids are excluded, they get tons of gifts.
It's really helped cut back on the expense and stress of the holiday. But... the initial change was a little difficult for some family members to take. People whined. (I might have been one of those people.) It's really important to make sure it sounds like FUN and that it makes the holiday all about family instead of gifts. Make sure everyone understands it's not about you just being cheap or controlling or whatever; explain how this is the new thing and it's getting really popular.
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#12 Old 12-05-2010, 09:42 PM
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Luckily my family doesn't celebrate it.

But if i had a family where everyuthing was child centered and only those nasty ****s would get gifts i would ignore it and just send the children the worst gifts that would ruin their night
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#13 Old 12-05-2010, 09:46 PM
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#14 Old 12-06-2010, 07:10 AM
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I'm sticking to my guns on this one. I haven't even been "officially" notified that these children will be attending so I am choosing to ignore that fact for now.

Everyone else is getting the small, homemade gifts I had planned to give out. And we are doing the Secret Santa thing next year or I am bowing out of gift-giving (and receiving...I will refuse gifts) altogether. I am sick sick sick sick of this materialistic BS.
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#15 Old 12-06-2010, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by RabbitLuvr View Post

I've slowly been scaling back my Christmas gift-giving for a few years now. I also repeat every year that I don't want anything from anyone for Christmas. It had gotten to a ridiculous level where my SIL gives out a list of what she wants, and everyone is expected to choose something from the list. She would sometimes even specify dollar amounts for gift cards. (My MIL did similar, but was less obvious about it.)



Omg, how cheeky is that!

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#16 Old 12-06-2010, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Nishani View Post



Omg, how cheeky is that!

Very much so! I remember my ex-sister-in-law complaining bitterly to my ex-husband (her brother) that we had not spent enough on her one Christmas. Ugh.
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#17 Old 12-06-2010, 10:48 AM
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I am all for homemade gift and especially food items. If it was me (which is not), I would just get a whole bunch of dollar store tin cans and bake lots of delish cookies, many different kinds, and fill the tins with cookies. Easy, cheap, and everyone gets the same thing. Kids and adults alike like sweets and they get to open a gift. But I know baking isn't for everyone.

I am sorry you have to deal with all that...

ÂNothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. - Oscar Wilde
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#18 Old 12-06-2010, 12:09 PM
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Perhaps if you make the decision to only buy for those closest to you and/or kids, you may find it a relief. You are not obligated to buy for every person. Maybe you feel you are, but you're not.

I only send money to my nieces anymore and it is a relief. While I have little family, which has it's own challenges, it's sometimes better I think.

I think you sentence ending in "and stupid" sums it up. I hope your secret santa idea is well received.
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#19 Old 12-06-2010, 12:37 PM
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My family has gotten a little bit ridiculous this year also. I would much prefer secret santa. Here is what we have to do this year: We each come up with a few categories (collectables, cookies, scarves, calendars, etc) and put those into a hat. Then we each pull one out and thats what we have to buy everybody. I got scarves. This is the first year I was able to spoil my hubby and kids and I won't take that away from us for everybody else. The rest of our family is getting dollar store scarves. I have nieces and nephews that likely won't even show up, and certainly not with anything (they are street kids). The idea was to send the gifts of anybody who doesn't participate to the Salvation Army (local church charity). Now my Mom has decided that she doesn't want to be responsible for these guys thinking that they need to steal in order to give gifts, so that they can have stuff too. So instead we'll just give it to them anyway, and do something different next year. This is who will be there:

Hubby
My two preschoolers
My sister and her girlfriend (40's)
My niece and her husband (24 + 26)
My niece and her girlfriend (22)
My nephews (19 and 21)
My parents (50 and 65)

So it's 11 people. The point is, if I spent over $10 on everybody, I wouldn't have been able to spoil my own family this year. For the past four years we have been scraping by to get everybody nice stuff, and giving eachother dollar store items that end up tossed after a while because we don't know what to do with them. This is going to be our first really good holiday. Birthdays end up like any other day, even for the little ones. We don't celebrate easter and barely halloween, etc. Christmas is our only big holiday and I don't see the people listed above (those who don't live with me haha) more than a few times a year anyway.

Hubbys family is the same, only I think they are just buying for the little ones. We see them at Christmas only, and sometimes not even then. I don't have the money to buy for them all. Our kids don't even know their Nanna and Pappa because we only visit on Christmas and they never visit us. She lets us use her vehicle once in a while when we really need it but thats all. I got his parents each something nice from the thrift store for $10. They'll hate it, because they are all fancy pants spend over $100 on everybody. It's too much pressure.

"Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, think, and speak as you...
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#20 Old 12-06-2010, 12:50 PM
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So it's 11 people. The point is, if I spent over $10 on everybody, I wouldn't have been able to spoil my own family this year.

THIS. +1,000,000. People are like "Oh, just get them a little something." Those little somethings really add up over the season. I'm sick of looking down the barrel of the Christmas gun.

If I'm going to come up with $10 for a little something for a complete stranger, it's going to be for a needy child or a needy senior, not some spoiled punks (so I hear) that I've never met. That's how I roll.
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#21 Old 12-06-2010, 12:50 PM
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My husband and I only buy gifts for the children in the family. Right now that's only his neice and nephew, so that's nice. Everyone else gets homemade gifts and/or donations to charity in their name. I really don't like the materialism of the holidays either.
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#22 Old 12-10-2010, 04:20 PM
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I haven't been around because I been stressing about the Holidays since a few weeks before Thanksgiving. It caused me some health issues and also on top of that the flu bug. Anyhow, I and my husband two years ago and also last year went to my parents and also sister's house for Christmas up north. We spend the money that we could've used for extra stuff we needed to get the kids of my one sister and other other sister's son to say we still cared for them and it was 5 Christmas since we had with my side. Anyhow after two years of spending on the brats yes I am saying brats I have the shaft this year. I know its little too early but, my one sister with the three kids removed all of her side including my parents off her facebook list and being a scrooge.
My gifting is from my heart and inspirational and I don't go get expensive things. Last year I did Christmas baskets, a few items they would like and candles and mugs ECT and they are unThankful for that.
I am hurt because my parents are the only ones that seemed to give us anything. We will see in a few weeks what others have planned around me. I am hurt and I want this season to over pass.
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#23 Old 12-12-2010, 04:09 PM
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i'm with whoever it was who said a small token gift would help the kids feel welcomed into the family and included in the celebrations. ESPECIALLY if they're tweens, that is the age where they start to feel super self-conscious and have an intense need to belong. getting gifts for everyone but them would make them feel unwanted and unwelcome and totally left out. may as well slap them in the face right when they walk in the door.
christmas is all about kids anyway, forgo a few of the adults' gifts and get something for the kids instead. even if it's just a little chocolate santa or silly bandz or something cheap like that. or if you're giving handmade gifts make them each a little something too with materials you already have. when i was a kid we always popped into my mom's friend's place on boxing day to wish them a merry christmas and whatnot, and they always gave me a little something, usually handmade since she crochets. slippers or a toque etc. i suspect she always just made a few extra gifts just in case someone stopped by that she didn't buy anything for.

am i the only crazy one who likes giftgiving around here lol. i can't afford to buy for everyone and i'm glad we started doing secret santa with my husband's family but we still buy for the kids, only the adults do SS, the kids still get a boatload of gifts from everyone, including santa of course. i usually can't afford to get much for the kids but they don't understand yet if i spend less on them than someone else etc they don't care, they're just happy to get gifts. and you can get some really cheap toys these days at walmart, dollar stores, etc. i have a knack for spending the least amount of money possible but making it look like i spent a ton
the xmas before we got married money was really tight because of planning the trip and stuff so i bought dollar store candles and holders and tied them together in pretty ribbon to give to all the women, it makes a nice cheap and useful gift. i also made some beaded jewellery for all the girls to wear to the wedding, and jars of hot chocolate mix

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#24 Old 12-12-2010, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Nishani View Post

In my family, we bypass this bull by only buying for the kids.

Same here! Holidays are a lot less stressful now. Sometimes I'll get an unexpected present. Or I'll get my mom something special (usually handmade) but there's no *expectation* of gift-giving.

My boyfriend has this same issue with his family. He refuses to buy for everyone and he's getting to the point where he doesn't even want to buy for his parents because of the higher and higher expectations every year. He doesn't mind giving gifts at all, it's the constant feeling he has to live up to everyone else's standards. It's gotten to the point he doesn't even want to exchange gifts with ME and I resent that since I NEVER put him on the spot about it.
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#25 Old 12-12-2010, 05:30 PM
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I had a huge family and we all drew one name.

Now that my parents are gone, I buy what I want to for who I want to. I do it because it makes me happy or I think it might bring a smile to their face. I never expect anything in return... I have more "stuff" than I can possibly ever do anything with.

Gifts should be just that. A gift. Something given unconditionally. If you don't feel that, don't fake it.
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#26 Old 12-12-2010, 05:42 PM
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ITA and have a similar experience with my in-laws.

We used to gift to every.single.person. Totally out of control if you ask me.

Then we started choosing names, but MIL still bought for everyone (expecting gifts in return). MIL obviously rolls her eyes and pouts when she opens my gift--doesn't matter how pricey or elegant it is (with gift receipt enclosed so she could exchange it). She refuses to answer when we ask what she wants. So now I just spend very little. (Only reason she gets anything at all is b/c my husband wants to.) She gives me really odd gifts that I always donate to charity (and I am easy to buy for since my hobbies are well known).

Back to choosing names--BIL would ensure my husband chose his name. 1st yr he asked for a certain item which was twice the max amount the group decided upon. Also I went out in a blizzard to buy his infant a gift, and BIL didn't open it b/c he said the baby won't know the difference. 2nd yr he again ensured my husband got his name & made a rule they were going to gift to each other. He happily opened his gift and then did not reciprocate. I was so insulted. I quietly confronted him about it and he said nothing. BIL will be getting a tiny packet of homemade treats leftover from Xmas Eve, tied with a bow.

For the children in the family, we used to spend $50 apiece. (We don't have kids so it's not like anyone was reciprocating, but I guess that's a side issue.) I've been paring that down each year. This yr I spent $6 each on marker sets, and actually $1 each on two of them (picked up some brand new books at a library book sale).

Whew, I feel better having said all that.

Beanitarian.
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#27 Old 12-12-2010, 05:55 PM
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The gifting in my family is out of control.

They love the idea of drawing a name out of a hat but are not doing it this year because "people have already bought gifts." I guess nobody could take them back to the store? Ugh.

So I am sticking to my guns and am refusing to purchase extra gifts for people that may or may not be coming to dinner. Hell I might not even be going. Our plans are so fluid this year.
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#28 Old 12-13-2010, 08:26 AM
 
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One of my uncles has 8 kids, all grown, most of them married with their own kids. I heard they started doing a Secret Santa thing a few years ago, each picking a sibling to buy for. My grandmother, who will be 91 in January, has discouraged us from buying anything for her for a number of years now. Instead, we pool some money together and donate it to her favourite Haitian charity. One of my cousins, who is pretty good around the kitchen, usually makes a bunch of cookie/bread mixes in Mason jars or something similar, and gives one to each family. So there are definitely ways of simplifying things so that gift giving doesn't have to be totally removed from the equation.
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#29 Old 12-13-2010, 08:33 AM
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One of my uncles has 8 kids, all grown, most of them married with their own kids. I heard they started doing a Secret Santa thing a few years ago, each picking a sibling to buy for. My grandmother, who will be 91 in January, has discouraged us from buying anything for her for a number of years now. Instead, we pool some money together and donate it to her favourite Haitian charity. One of my cousins, who is pretty good around the kitchen, usually makes a bunch of cookie/bread mixes in Mason jars or something similar, and gives one to each family. So there are definitely ways of simplifying things so that gift giving doesn't have to be totally removed from the equation.

I'm doing the homemade thing this year....baked a whole bunch of dog treats over the weekend with more to come. I am also going to make sea salt caramels today.
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#30 Old 12-17-2010, 03:41 PM
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We have 19 people to shop for each year. That is IMMEDIATE family and their significant others. (parents & grandparents, brother, brother's GF, sister, sister's BF, etc) If I had to include everyone who would be at dinner, or friends, I would probably go absolutely broke.

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