OT - Christmas gifts

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from heatherv1211. Show heatherv1211's posts

    OT - Christmas gifts

    ETA: I'm sort of afraid of getting attacked for this, but here goes...

    Ok, this is not wedding-etiquette, but it is sort of etiquette.

    I am trying to figure out a way to do Christmas gifts differently within my family this year. 

    Scenario: My immediate family is my mom and her boyfriend, then there is her sister who is married with 4 kids aged 23-30.  This is the family that I spend Christmas with (now my DH and in-laws too, but that is separate). 

    My aunt is EXTREMELY generous with gifts.  I get coach bags (plural) just about every year, or similarly priced items.  My aunt pretty much is in charge of the gift-buying in her household (meaning everything is chosen/bought by her), but the "from" tags have all 6 names - her, my uncle, and the 4 "kids".  I don't know what their financial state is, but according to the gifts she gives, it seems to be better than mine and my mom's. 

    My mom and I have been trying to figure out how to curtail this kind of spending, considering she and I, separately, buy gifts for all 6 individuals in my aunt's family.  In the past, my aunt has not gone for spending caps ("let's spend only $10 per person") or secret santas or "home-made" gifts.  She ends up saying things like, "you don't have to get us presents" but we know full well that she will still go out and buy the most expensive stuff.  When we're sitting in a circle opening gifts, it could get awkward.

    Anyone have any creative ideas for gift-giving in this scenario?  I know this may sound terrible, but I also think it's odd that the 4 "kids" have never bought their own gifts for anyone.  Attack me for being judgemental about gifts, but there it is!!  I'd rather NOT have gifts at all than have these extravagant things that I know my aunt spent lots of time and money on, especially when my mom and I can't reciprocate equally for all the people in my aunt's family.

    Thoughts?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from trex509. Show trex509's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    My advice:  Just be honest.  Plan a time when you, your mom and her can sit down and just tell her truthfully that you cannot afford to spend as much on presents for her and her family that she is spending on you.  Tell her that it makes you very uncomfortable when she spends that kind of money on you and that though you appreciate her generosity, you would rather just enjoy her company than continue to exchange expensive presents.  Maybe you can suggest an alternative to expensive gifts such as exchanging home made presents or food.  Or just give up the present giving altogether.  Afterall, it sounds like you are all adults and isn't the present thing more for children?  I know I find it way harder to shop for adults.

    Anyway, it sounds like you've tried the subtle hint approach and it didn't work.  So I really think the best thing to do is just be honest about it.  We're all dealing with a tough economy and recession.  Hopefully she will understand and not want you to feel pressured to spend money on expensive gifts for her family if you cannot afford it. 
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    Tell her that in lieu of expensive gifts to please contribute to charity in your name.
    The only way to get her to stop giving such extravagant gifts is to tell her beforehand that you would rather something else specific. Specific is the key. Tell her charity, a dinner out with her and her family, gift passes to a museum, anything you'd feel more comfortable accepting than a Coach bag.

    *ETA it seems you have already tried telling her that her expensive gift giving makes you uncomfortable because you cannot reciprocate. I doubt telling her again will get the message home. She likes to spend money on her family, and that's not a bad thing. If you want things to change you're going to have to talk about what gifts you want, not what gifts you want to give, as she's already told you she doesn't care what you give her. She might very well mean that too.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    I agree with what Trex said.   The direct approach seems to be the only hope of changing things.

    Agree, be appreciative of her generosity (which we know you are), but explain that you feel that you have all gotten old enough that exchanging presents among everyone isn't necessary and you really can't afford it. 

    If she still persists in the "you don't have to give me anything" routine, then just drop it and get one gift for her whole family -- i.e. food, a couple of DVDs, a croquet set, or whatever.  Don't try to match $ for $, and don't worry about it.   She obviously enjoys going "overboard" no matter how you feel about it.  Chalk it up to luck that you have a very generous relative instead of one who regifts fruitcake.

    Good luck! 

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from June09. Show June09's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    In my family all the adults draw a name and buy a gift for that person, $50-$75. I'm the oldest "kid" and once I was 25 I was part of the "draw." We probably would have made it 21, but there aren't any little kids and my family really likes buying Christmas presents.

    It's a lot easier to just buy 1 present for more money than trying to find 15 small things, make 15 gifts, etc.

    Set the limit higher so your aunt can still feel like she's buying the same "quality" of gift, she just has to buy one (or she can buy her kid's gifts, too)
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from laryan. Show laryan's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    I would agree with Trex & Cosmo.  Being open, honest & up front is your best bet.  Explain that its a tough economy out there, and you, DH & your mom are going to be curtailing the amount you spend on gifts, and would appreciate it if she did the same.

    However, I'm wondering why the 4 23-30 year old kids aren't out purchasing their own christmas gifts for others by now.  Makes me think "what's wrong w/this picture?"  
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from dkb6248. Show dkb6248's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    It is a bit weird that the adult children aren't participating. 

    I like everyone's suggestions.  We haven't been big on gifts since we hit our 20s and we have a large family so it is monetarily impossible to buy for everyone.  My mom has 7 siblings and they always do a Yankee swap.  We participate when we spend the holidays there and it's a lot of fun.  I have 3 sisters, so we either forgo buying for each other, or we all draw each others names and buy for one.  We'd personally rather spend the money on the actual children in the family than other adults.

    My husbands family are big on gifts and some of them will go into credit card debt to buy for each other, which I feel is complete ridiculous.  I've had to put my foot down in the past when we spend the holidays there.  I don't mind getting something for his dad who generally will host, but I'm not spending $100 on his dad's girlfriend who I have no relationship with.  But I will bake her a pie.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from heatherv1211. Show heatherv1211's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it odd that my cousins don't participate.  It makes it just feel kind of weird.  I also think my aunt may go overboard with gifts because I am an only child and therefore wants to be especially generous with me because my mom has been pretty generous with her 4 kids.  Which is actually very sweet, but I wish we could all just have fun with it - e.g., make it generous with FUN - as opposed to it being all about the generosity with money.


    I'll talk over your ideas with my mom, maybe we can find a successful way to broach the subject... :)


     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from laryan. Show laryan's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    We've had to radically change our christmas gift shopping habits over the past several years.  both DH & I come from good sized families, and we've experienced everything from unemployment, to illness, to siblings expanding their families to sending the nieces/nephews off to college.  It got way too expensive for all of us.   

    We now do a grab where we put the names of our nieces/nephews into a hat, and buy one gift for that niece/nephew.  We also buy one gift for the parents (usually a grocery store/walmart gift card thing..they're on a fixed income) and don't buy for our siblings & their spouses.  

    We also chose to gather one day around christmas and sit down to a pot luck type meal together that works well for us....    

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from booklover. Show booklover's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    This year my husband's siblings asked if we could curtail gifts and we were all in agreement - instead of all buying for each other, we are just buying for the kids and then the adults will all get together for one night out and have a nice dinner somewhere.  I'd much rather spend time with them and enjoy their company than see everyone go into hock to get me a gift and vice versa.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    Last year we made an agreement with all of my siblings and all of DH's siblings not to exchange gifts, since more than one of us was going through tough economic times.  Well, his sister still spent over $200 on a gift for us, so sometimes there is just nothing you can do!! 
    We'll probably do it again this year, or maybe suggest spending $20 or less.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from wendy98. Show wendy98's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    My Sister sets up a yearly rotating (god bless her) list so we are assigned birthday and Christmas people to buy for and our parents anniversary and Mother and Father's day (we don't do Mother's Day and Father's day presents for our siblings just our parents).  In the end it works out well with are decent sized family.

    I like it because I don't always have to think what I am I going to get my three sisters and their husbands. I only have one sister and their husband to buy for plus some nieces and a nephew (the kids are evenly divided amongst us).  And since she rotates who buys for whom each year you are not always stuck with someone that is hard to buy for (namely my baby sister's husband!).

    It is all about trial an error and finding out what works for you.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from ajuly09. Show ajuly09's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    I agree with many of your ideas you gave....so I won't repeat. 

    Just wanted to add that I'm sure buying a gift for family members is not necessary since their mom is spending the megabucks for them. haha!   (I don't agree with this and I wonder how long it will last..till they're 30?!) 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    I don't have any sage advice, but I can relate to the torture of Christmas gifts.  I wish Christmas were celebrated much like Thanksgiving with family, a nice meal, and traditions other than gift giving.

    Being a homemaker, I'm in charge of everything but yardwork and earning the $$.  So, yes, that includes being Santa for both sides of our family.  We draw names, thankfully, for the adults on my side and buy for the kids, but we buy for the parents, adult siblings, and kids on DH's side.  I managed to do it last year with a budget DH and I decided on, but I have to come up with creative and personal gifts for everyone again, and again, and again, and again...  It's overwhelming and not at all what I'd like to be focused on every Christmas.  But, his family is wonderful and loves me very much so I really shouldn't complain.  It's the overwhelming task of it that stresses me out.  And, this year I have the dog to take care of.  Last year I could just drive to Natick and spend all day at the mall.  Maybe I should start ordering things online right now.  In fact, I should have started already.

    I'm in a panic, now...
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from wendy98. Show wendy98's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    In Response to Re: OT - Christmas gifts:
    [QUOTE]I don't have any sage advice, but I can relate to the torture of Christmas gifts.  I wish Christmas were celebrated much like Thanksgiving with family, a nice meal, and traditions other than gift giving. Being a homemaker, I'm in charge of everything but yardwork and earning the $$.  So, yes, that includes being Santa for both sides of our family.  We draw names, thankfully, for the adults on my side and buy for the kids, but we buy for the parents, adult siblings, and kids on DH's side.  I managed to do it last year with a budget DH and I decided on, but I have to come up with creative and personal gifts for everyone again, and again, and again, and again...  It's overwhelming and not at all what I'd like to be focused on every Christmas.  But, his family is wonderful and loves me very much so I really shouldn't complain.  It's the overwhelming task of it that stresses me out.  And, this year I have the dog to take care of.  Last year I could just drive to Natick and spend all day at the mall.  Maybe I should start ordering things online right now.  In fact, I should have started already. I'm in a panic, now...
    Posted by kargiver[/QUOTE]

    Don't order yet, just find the stuff, wait for sales.  My Mom will start putting stuff in her cart for Amazon but she won't actually submit it until there is a sale and she has free shipping.  Or if you would rather just create a text file and cut and past the URLs from the various sites you may use so that you have all the URLs together and you can order at your leisure without forgetting someone.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    In Response to Re: OT - Christmas gifts:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: OT - Christmas gifts : Don't order yet, just find the stuff, wait for sales.  My Mom will start putting stuff in her cart for Amazon but she won't actually submit it until there is a sale and she has free shipping.  Or if you would rather just create a text file and cut and past the URLs from the various sites you may use so that you have all the URLs together and you can order at your leisure without forgetting someone.
    Posted by wendy98[/QUOTE]

    Great idea, Wendy, thanks!
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from heatherv1211. Show heatherv1211's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    DH and I were having lunch today and were talking about this.  Then it dawned on me - wedding photos!  Is it narcessistic to get pertinent photos framed for everyone?  (pertinent meaning not just photos of DH and me, but of the recipient and others having fun at the wedding)  Tacky?
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    Hi Heather, I think that's what a LOT of recently married people do.  Not tacky at all.  I do think it's important not to go crazy though.  Everyone and their mother doesn't want photos from your wedding, but I will give them to our parents and DH's grandmother... not sure about others yet.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    we gave photo books to my mom and to DH's mom. we figured they were the only ones who would really appreciate them.

    It's kind of an unspoken rule in my family that once you turn 18, you don't have to buy gifts for your aunts and uncles and they don't have to get anything for you. I used to buy gifts for my cousins, but they're 12, 14 and 16 now, so I'm off the hook. Teenagers are almost impossible to shop for, so it's not required.
    So, for xmas I just have my brother, mom, stepdad, stepsister, MIL, FIL, SIL, BIL and niece and nephew. Oh, and DH of course, who is definately the hardest person to shop for.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    To give someone what they really want is always a nice gift.  Your dear friends and family would appreciate it, I'm sure.  And, as others have said, you aren't the first or the last to do this!
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    Heather as far as framed pictures from your wedding  - it is a nice idea, just be careful, to whom you give them to. Like another poster said, not everyone would appreciate this - even if they are in the photo.
    Just go and visit whoever you want to give your framed picture to. If they have family photos plastered all over their wall and on their shelving, they would probably LOVE to have one of you. But if you don't see any family pictures - they would probebly just end up putting it away. I have to admit, I am guilty of that. I have several framed pix of friends and family, I only take out, when I know, they will be visiting.
    Parents and grandparents would probably like to have them, the rest of your family and friends - not so much. Just my two cents.

    In Response to Re: OT - Christmas gifts:
    [QUOTE]DH and I were having lunch today and were talking about this.  Then it dawned on me - wedding photos!  Is it narcessistic to get pertinent photos framed for everyone?  (pertinent meaning not just photos of DH and me, but of the recipient and others having fun at the wedding)  Tacky?
    Posted by heatherv1211[/QUOTE]
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    For the extended family, like aunts and uncles, I was thinking of giving them the family group photos in a magnet frame for the refrigerator or something like that.  It's not too often that you have occasion for a big group photo like that, but some people don't have framed photos all over the joint.  But who doesn't have a refrigerator?  :o)

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from heatherv1211. Show heatherv1211's posts

    Re: OT - Christmas gifts

    When I said "everyone" in regard to my framed photo idea, I only meant everyone I mentioned in my original post.  Not friends and extended family.  However I agree with Fram - how often do you get group photos?  As we get older, it's less and less often, and they are special to have.  I have one huge group photo of my high school girlfriends (yes, still my best friends almost 20 years later) and spouses and I'm going to give one to everyone.  Same with DH and his friends.  So my mom and my aunt would probably love photos, not sure though about the 4 cousins (ages 23-30).  Will keep thinking.
     

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