I offer two solutions, both of which I’ve learned from years in customer service fields.
1. Be a Communist from November 1st to December 26th – Communism doesn’t have spoiled idiots screaming about the price of a sweater at 2 am on the day after Thanksgiving. Ergo, it’s the better system.
2. Don’t give tangible gifts – A few years back, I started telling my family to pick a charity, because that is what they’re getting for Christmas: a donation in their name. I made it very clear that I wanted the same treatment, and any tangible gifts would be returned to enforce that. (The one caveat is that I wouldn’t deny a child a Christmas gift, so anyone under the age of 18 is still safe). It took some doing, but Christmas is so much easier for everyone I deal with now. Without gifts, it’s time spent with family and everyone gets the fun of picking a charity that they agree with (Personally, I use “Doctors Without Borders”). Gifts just seem tacky and stressful at this point.
Whooooo! Good job on picking Doctors Without Boarders!
My family over the age of 18 like to exchange gifts of kiva gift cards. It’s one of those micro loaning type websites.
So much less stress and frankly my family just doesn’t have the money. I am always so baffled by those who casually go “oh, I got some gift cards, an ipod, a new bike, blah blah blah”
I would hate to have you in my family. For christmas I want to get things I actually want and not donate a goat to some poor sod in africa
Is there is a reason WHY you want them? Do they have purpose?
One thing to say “I want an MP3 player because I don’t have one and I like to use it at the gym” cool.
BUT if they want an ipod simply because everyone else has one, or you want the newer one when you already have 3, well it’s just silly in my opinion.
But hey, each to your own.
“I want to get things I actually want and not donate a goat to some poor sod in africa”
Ah, the true spirit of Christmas, ladies and gentlemen.
Is this some kind of joke? Some sort of barb at the self-absorption and materialism that has come to define this holiday?
I sincerely hope so. If it’s not … Well, I’ll at least give you props for being honest, I suppose.
C’mon, Val! Just be happy that someone is actually questioning our obsession with consumerism!
While it’s better than a customer screaming about having to get something that instant or Christmas is ruined forever, customers having philosophical crises in line are rather awkward. You feel bad for them…but at the same time you want to tell them to just step aside before the eighteen people behind them have much more violent breakdowns.
Peh, since I started working Retail and had Christmas ruined for me, I haven’t bought a gift for anybody else, and have never expected a gift in return (and have made that abundantly clear to those who WOULD buy me gifts.
You’d be surprised how much brighter the “Season of giving” becomes when you get rid of the giving and just focus on being together with those you love… unfortunately some of my family STILL buy me gifts, saying “It just wouldn’t be right” if they didn’t.
I feel legit bad for the dude (and Val too, but). He’s clearly having some issues and is kinda breaking down in public ahah
He’s talking to the wrong person. He needs to bring this up to the family members who are all locked into the gift giving thing. I like the suggestion above about giving it to the person’s favourite charity, IF you can afford to, but if you can’t afford gifts, tell the family so.
The thing is a price for a small donation compared to ipod or tshirt etc is much cheaper. Even if you don’t have much, saying you will spend 10 bucks on each person on a charity is doable. Unless you have a VERY large family.
Am I the only one here who actually likes buying gifts for others?
Sure it’s consumerism, but noone says that you have to buy extremely expensive gifts. As long as you put time into finding the right gift for that person, the price is unimportant. I find it a great way to tell someone ”hey, I care for you and would like to give you a little something, simply for being you”.
Personal gifts > expensive gifts
Any gift > no gift
At least that’s what I think. Anyone?
That said, if you can’t afford to buy gifts, you don’t have to. I just happen to not see gift giving as pure evil destroying the idea of Christmas.
I’m with you, Helene. I love buying gifts for people, and getting gifts in return. It would really hurt me to be denied that part of Christmas.
It’s not necessary gift giving that I (and I am amusing most people on here) are against, it’s the fact that media is implying that to have a happy Christmas, you must get lots of gifts and it must be crap you don’t really need.
I like giving gifts but a lot of times I like to give something rare and/or personalized OR make something. Example – One year my mother really wanted a slow cooker. I bought her one and a gift card for the local groceries store. Hey, a weeks worth of groceries paid is awesome, practical and the slow cooker is something she still uses today.
I am a practical person, I like to buy and get practical gifts. Things I will use.
That’s the issue with today, we are encouraged to buy buy buy things we don’t need or use. We are told that to be happy we need more stuff? what happens to the stuff? Sits somewhere, gatherers dust, then gets thrown out.
I am actually thinking of spending my holiday de-cluttering my room and believe it or not, I don’t have much as it is.
A branch of my family, with over a dozen siblings (each with multiple children), limited the gift load by drawing for one recipient each. With fewer people in her brood, my Mom just set a price limit per gift.
We do that too. It’s way easier and I feel like I can give a gift that really counts.
That’s what is done in the Netherlands. Each person picks a name from a hat or whatever then buys them a gift. Often warp the gift in a custom box that fits the persons interest. It’s a lot of fun.
I have grown to hate the holiday gift-giving as well. My husband and I are 300 miles from any family, so not only do we shoulder the cost of travel but we are also expected to buy gifts, too. The rest of our families like to go overboard on gifts so we feel obligated to spend more money than we can afford to on gifts just to “keep up” with them.
I prefer to give meaningful gifts, like a family cookbook (my project this year) or a piece of art I’ve made myself. It’s cost-effective, and it means much more in my opinion because it’s something no one else has, something I spent time making instead of something I spent money on.
My family did the “meaningful homemade gifts” thing one year, and I spent at least twice as much money on those as I would have on regular gifts. If there’s some kind of art/craft that you already have supplies and know-how for, that’s one thing, but starting from scratch IS NOT any less expensive or stressful — especially when you’re doing different things for each family member, because after all they’re supposed to be *meaningful,* not just the same thing everyone else is getting… Yeah, tons of money, tons of stress, and I got at least two IOUs from mortified family members who couldn’t get their offerings finished in time. Never again.
I think your family took the home made gift a little too literal.
Gifts should be small, thoughtful and not a chore. Like the original post, she collected family recipes to make a little cook book. Yes, trying to find a few recipes may be a pain but overall I bet you she enjoys collecting and forming them into a book. They must bring back memories and make her go “hey I should make that, haven’t made that in months/years!”
Once I made a little coupon book for my sister. I used markers and printing paper I had laying around. One was like “1 free afternoon of baby sitting” type things. She had a laugh.
This year I plan on writing poems (I do a lot creative writing). Each poem focuses on the person I am giving it to. How thankful I am, etc etc. I am not great with poems but honestly a quick look up a poem structure on google and a basic idea on what I want to say won’t take me much time.
Those small personal home make gifts are not about art projects but creative ideas and putting your own personal touch.
When I was growing up, we once did the “coupon” thing for our mother. It was a collection of coupons for various chores around the house, that sort of thing.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, but she never actually used any of them.
In hindsight, we realized that our mother didn’t need coupons. If she wanted us to do a chore, she’d just tell us to do it.
Oh, well. The best laid plans …
I was not talking about full-blown projects for each family member. For instance, this year the cookbooks will serve as gifts for each family group to be shared. One cookbook for each pair of grandparents, one cookbook for each pair of parents, and one cookbook for each sibling (that actually cooks). I already had my recipes in digital form, so I copy-pasted them into a template from Blurb and will have them printed at a cost of less than $10 per book.
Other meaningful gifts I plan to give: a small basket of gluten-free foodstuffs for a sister who can no longer eat gluten, accompanied by my own gluten-free recipes; three paintings of silhouettes of pets my mother has lost recently ($6 for the three canvases, on sale, I already had paint); mason jars of BBQ rub for my dad and grandfather, who go hunting and like to grill often; and handmade jersey bracelets for my sister-in-law who likes that style…made from a thirst store t-shirt.
It’s not hard to find meaningful gifts that don’t break the bank. I would never endeavor to hand-make a gift for each family member. I’d have to start in January just to get it all done!
Thrift, not thirst. Dang auto-correct.
Hahaha, a gluten free food basket. I am gluten intolerant so that would be a great gift.
I garden and can various goodies. My gifts are baskets of some of them. My family loves them.
Yum! Can I be part of your family?
For my family, I just buy gift cards. Instead of having me spend $200 on gifts, just to find out that they already have the same thing on gifts or they complain about me getting the wrong size or brand of crap, they can go to the store after Christmas and pick out their OWN gifts. And who wouldn’t like FREE MONEY from a store anyway?
My family gives each other a price point and asks for a list of 3 or 4 things from each person they’d like thats at or under that price point (usually $30 or so). That way no one feels the need to over spend, and people get things they want. We also do ‘santa bags’ instead of stockings, and its a medium sized gift bag filled with little inexpensive goodies catered to the person’s tastes. Like mine usually has small scented candles, knick knack things (paperweights, bookends, etc).. my one cousin will get a 5-pack of her favorite gum, another cousin will get a giant bag of Twizzlers, etc. It keeps it fun cause we still choose what to buy someone, but we also know we’re gonna get something we like. My aunt actually made a form to fill out this year, with lines for clothes sizes, favorite colors, ‘don’t even think about’ colors, what color small kitchen appliances you prefer, the size of your bed, etc. She’s awesome like that LOL
Times are getting tough all over, and no one should be putting themselves into debt just to look good or assuage a misguided sense of guilt over not buying gifts for everyone. This year is tough. Do the kids have presents under the tree? Yes? All good then. Were I in a better physical place, sure I’d have made some gifts for the odd person here or there, but adding that extra stress to myself this year is going to get me nowhere fast. I refuse to let society stress me out with expectations that are clearly out of my ability to conform to. I expect no less out of friends and family, some of which I know are in a tough spot as well. One should be guided by their own internal sense of spirit and desire to give gifts, and within the limits of their physical condition. I love my family and friends, I trust that they know this. I trust that they know I would do anything in my power to support and assist them on any day of the year. I choose to be thankful for what we do have, the roof over our head, the food in the refrigerator, the comforts of home, and not worry about the rest of it.
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