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ahelmers1

Changing Views of Holiday Giving

6 years ago

So maybe it's that I am getting older and at a stage of life in which I've not only cleared a couple of overstuffed houses but am pondering clearing my own. This year especially I am seeing the overwhelming stream of Christmas marketing as nothing more than noise. Maybe because of social media there's even more of it but wow, I"m already sick of lists of gifts for the [fill in the blank] and all the commercials and the frantic flip of the switch to the holiday season! and time to shop! and don't miss out! and so on and so on.

I am not at the point of ditching gifts for those I love. But I'm more and more inclined to try to find items that mean something to them, that don't cost a lot but will make the recipient smile, or bring them a memory or provide a useful 'thing' for them to use.

Anyone else evolving?

Comments (41)

  • 6 years ago

    I agree with you! The new thing this year seems to be "black Friday" starting in the middle of Thursday. I also saw lots of ads right after Halloween for "black Friday" sales at that time.

    My family knows that we donate to charities in honor of our families at Christmas time. A few gifts are still exchanged, but I'd much rather spend my money helping someone than buying something in holiday packaging that the recipient doesn't need or want.

    Donna

  • 6 years ago

    I also think that many of us reach a certain age - either mentally or physically- when you find you're content with what you have. We've been encouraging our children for a few years stop buying us gifts - especially since we've know for a few years that we were going to downsize. I know they want to give us something that we need or want so every year I try to jot down a few things that they could give us that fit that category.

    Now that we've been in the new house for a month I have a great list of items that would be useful - bath towels, dish towels, door mats, placemats, a magazine basket, an over the door ironing board, hangers etc. I know they won't find those items exciting but that's what we could use.


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  • 6 years ago

    I try to do experiences as much as possible, and also handmade/local gifts.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    As my extended family has aged, we have moved away from the focus on gift giving - that is NOT what the holiday season is all about - and I kind of resent the push to think about Christmas primarily in those terms. I no longer do any shopping other than something for the smallest or youngest members (and my SD, but that is really a birthday gift, as her B'day is 12/28). Any gifts to other family members are handmade items, often baked goods, candy or crafted items. And I do not expect or want any gifts in return, other than like items. None of us really need or want anything else or have already purchased it ourselves :-)

    In fact, I dislike the retail focus so much I avoid any retail activity or location (other than the grocery store) from the week before T'day until after the first of the year. There is nothing I need or want that badly that would ever make me participate in a Black Friday sale!! And normal folks just get weird at this time of year and become aggressive, ill-tempered and intolerant shoppers. Back when I was younger and the family was young, Christmas shopping used to be fun and a planned excursion........not any longer!! Or maybe I'm just showing my age :-) LOL!

    This year, for the third time, the entire extended family will be vacationing in Mexico for Christmas so gift giving (except for stockings for the littles) is a non-issue. We will celebrate by all being together, relaxing and having fun in the sun and a big family dinner on the beach, catered for us by the resort. I can't wait!!

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I've already been where you are now. We haven't done gifts in a number of years. No one in our family (with the exception of one) needs a thing including the two of us. Last gift I bought was golf lessons for DH probably five years ago. He never used them and this year we agreed to re-gift them to his brother who recently took up golf. This brother is the only person who has any material needs and usually we give him cash. Otherwise we now give the cash we would have spent on gifts for people who don't have any material needs to charities for the homeless and otherwise down and out who are greatly in need.

    The whole material gift giving thing is just not meaningful any more. I remember when I was a kid we didn't have much and getting and giving a few special gifts was a big deal. Now in our situation everyone has an overabundance of stuff and yet another material gift is not a valued treasure as used to be the case in my life.

  • 6 years ago

    I agree. Because we are a very small family, I tried to make

    Christmas big. (Although it's my DH that is Catholic)

    I felt the need to create all the hoopla since there wasn't anyone else to do it.

    Now that the kids are adults, I am trying to downsize the gift giving. I also don't need anything and certainly don't want anything for the house.

    Garden, I like your idea. A friend is of mine is having Christmas on a cruise this year.


  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I totally agree. For me, it’s been coming on for several years now, culminating with (also) having to help my siblings pack up and dispose of years and years of our parents’ accumulated “stuff”. We found Christmas and birthday gifts still in their original boxes! Suddenly, it hit us that they hadn’t needed more stuff; being with their kids and grandkids, spending quality time was more than enough. Thankfully, we are a big, close, affectionate family and they did get plenty of that. They just got a lot of things they didn’t want or need, but still out of guilt, had to find places for, as well.

    This year we talked with our close friends and DH’s 2 siblings that we still had been exchanging gifts with, and agreed to instead meet for dinner out together sometime during the holidays, or (with his sibs who live across country), a call to chat on the 26th. We’ll still buy gifts for our two adult kids and wonderful DIL, because they’re still at that life stage where they need things for their homes and themselves. But, I told them all that we don’t need any more “stuff”. I gave them each one thing I still want/need that I will use. So did DH. For me it’s the boxed DVD miniseries “John Adams” (my very favorite) and a couple lingerie organizers for my dresser. That’s it. I’d rather them spend any extra money on themselves.

    I now feel a huge relief because of these decisions /changes. Getting back to the real, most important reasons for this beautiful holiday, and just enjoying special time with family and dear friends. Ahhhh!

  • 6 years ago

    I'm inundated with stuff and cant' even think about shopping. Even the only grandson has asked for "no toys" this year as he has enough. And the stuff I do need, can't really be purchased, since it is clothes and shoes, and I have to try those on. I don't even have the wherewithall to make any gifts this year. And most of my older friends can't eat treats anyway, so I guess " fruit of the month" club would be about all that would work for them and I can't afford that. The floral industry might get a big boon from me this year! Some of my friends can't even drink anymore, including me! I'd rather give to local charities and just spend time with friends and family. I wish everyone in my circle was on board with this and wouldn't be offended when I show up empty handed.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I agree with you!

    I shopped my local Art Walk and Holiday Market last weekend and did 95% of my shopping -- supporting art, and buying unique, rather than mass-marketed gifts:

    • A kids' book -- local author, so I bought her book and she wrote a note inside to my grandchildren.
    • Kids' jewelry -- my granddaughter is making fun jewelry and she loves for me to tell stories of Paris and build an Eiffel Tower out of Duploes, so I bought a rectangular Paris Eiffel Tower vintage stamp decoupaged onto a pendant, made by a local artist. She can put it on a necklace.
    • Hand-woven shawl/scarf -- this was pricey, but the weaving is superb, by a local artisan. I'm giving it to my DIL, in her favorite colors. The weave is modern, so it will suit her style. She wears a lot of shawls/scarves.
    • Custom painting -- for my son, I'm having a local artist paint a scene of his children, from a photo, running through the dunes at the beach. Reasonably priced.
    • Hand-bound notebooks -- I'm giving my DIL's parents each one of these as they're always at the holiday breakfast and we're friends. I know they like notebooks as they still write things down by hand.

    For everyone, I always bake biscotti, and they've come to expect it.

    I'll make a donation to the Duke Lemur Center for the kids in the Adopt-A-Lemur fund raiser. They'll get a photo and info on a specific lemur. I can add on tickets to a child-oriented tour, since I'm local. I did this last year.

    I make chainmaille bracelets that are loved by friends and family. I've already gotten specific color requests from several people.

    When I was in the UK, I purchased holiday tree ornaments for the grandkids. Those are already at their house for when they decorate.

    Anyway -- I don't know if these ideas will work for any of you. I'll see how well these are received! These are gifts for people who can afford to buy what they want, so it's difficult to figure out!

    For myself, I suggest something we can do together, or a treat for me, like a pedicure gift certificate.

    Cameron


    Edited to add -- I forgot that I ordered a set of 4 photo coasters of kids for my son/DIL and DIL's parents. They all need coasters and have casual TV rooms for these. From Shutterfly.

  • 6 years ago

    We are also cutting down on the gift giving this year. Except for stockings no gifts for the adult children. We will do small gifts for the grands. Their major gifts are additional funds in the college accounts we have for them. We've asked the kids for no gifts to us except for a recent photo of them with their children. The part of Christmas that we all enjoy is going to a movie on Christmas Eve afternoon & the brunch we host on Christmas. Even those traditions will be changing as the grands are too little for movies & they all need to have time on Christmas to make their own traditions.

  • 6 years ago

    My lowest scoring love language is gifts, they aren't important to me, and I don't come from a big gift giving family so it's never been a significant part my life. My husband also scores the lowest in gifts so we're a good match.

    Honestly, the threads here about gifts make me uncomfortable. I can't help but think of the others who feel like I do being handed all those mulitple, expensive gifts that they don't want but its important to the gift-giver to give so you accept them. And feel sad about it (speaking for myself).

    In a way, gifts are important to my SIL & MIL. The exchange is important, the actual gift less so. They definitely check a box 'gift for hhireno' - check, gift for son/brother - check, with little thought to if we want or need it. I've been given the same decor item two years in a row, I think because once it's handed over, and the box is checked, they forget about it and rebuy it the next year.

    We don't put up a tree and it took 15-18 years for them to stop buying us tree ornaments.

    Last year, after asking for and receiving my husband's shirt size, SIL bought him a boxed shirt & tie set in the wrong size because she couldn't find the size I told her. So why buy it? Because she decided that's what she wanted to give him. Then we had an errand to return it. How thoughtful.

    I've also been handed a gift card with the comment "this isn't such a great place but it was convenient for me." Thanks?

    The gift experiences with these people would make anyone a Scrooge.

    His parents have downsized, it was a big trauma to get rid of stuff, their apartment is overfilled, and my SIL is still buying them more stuff. Just tell them you love them, for crying out loud, and skip the stuff.

    We tried encouraging experiences, or making donations, or buying for a less fortunate family but all suggestions are ignored. So we end up exchanging gift cards and dreading traditional gift giving holidays.

  • 6 years ago

    I give checks to the grands and we do a Yankee swap between each other. None of us need anything and, if we do, we buy it.

  • 6 years ago

    My sister is still into it. She was a single mother with 3 kids and she and our mom made sure the kids always had a wonderful holiday. Their father left after the 3rd was born and that was that. So I think they both imbued the gift giving with too much meaning.

    I thought we had an agreement last year. Then she brought us all these gifts and we just had cards and trifles for her. Oh well...it's hard to change.

    My task for this year will be to unbox last year's gifts and try to integrate them into the house at least temporarily.

    My Jewish inlaws love Christmas lol. The love the tree and the music and people running around, etc. They think I should get busy with the tree earlier...haha. They love the gift giving but they are easy to please with little things.

    I'm getting ready to talk to my sister. Again! We shall see.


  • 6 years ago

    My thoughts about gift giving haven't changed-- but my approach has changed as my family has changed-- growing and growing up. The older nieces and nephews get fewer gifts and more practical gifts. When they were younger, my gifts tended to support their interests or talents.. not always, but often. In recent years, I picked up doing the shopping for my parents-- my mom doesn't get around as well, money is tighter for them and they are not as "up" on the things the grandkids want and need.

    I get that gift giving in general.. and extended family gifts aren't as important to others. It makes me sad that the threads addressing gifts make some of you uncomfortable, sad or mad or any other negative kind of feeling. I don't believe in giving gifts out of obligation-- and while I am (I think) a good gift giver, I RARELY give out of obligation. I put thought into the recipient and gift and it's not just a pile of "stuff" I picked up because I had to. I know that the majority of my family and friends recognize this and value it. Gift giving occasions mean different things to different people and there is no one size fits all approach. I won't judge you for not giving gifts.. I only ask the same in return!

    I think what we all want to convey to loved ones is that we've thought of them specially. There are many ways to share our love.. preparing a meal, offering a place to gather, making time for an extended phone call.. and/or buying a gift. No matter how you look at it, of course it's the thought that goes into it over the $$.. at least for many/most of us. I value the time and planning that goes into hosting a holiday event.. preparing a meal.. and selecting or making a gift. For gifts, I would much rather a book (even second hand) selected for me personally.. or something handmade with me in mind over an expensive sweater in a color I don't wear or a size I can't stuff into. But I won't scoff at the expensive sweater that was chosen for me-- even if the wrong color or size. What I absolutely don't want is for someone to stress about whether a sweater or a book.. or whether the pink or the yellow.

    I guess I will stop there. I have a lot of emotions on this topic and I recognize this is a thread more for those out of the gift giving circles. I just want to voice that not all gift giving is from a "give just to give" game.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and aunt in law are all very big gift givers. Gifting must be their number one love language. I actually really enjoy receiving gifts so it works out well, but I find it very hard to select gifts for them! They do put thought into it and try to select nice items.

    Just an example, my sister-in-law came to see me in the hospital and asked if I needed anything. I know how she is so I specified a small Tupperware of berries, a small Tupperware of pineapple and three Clementine oranges. So she brought me a giant cooler bag absolutely stuffed full of fruit, baked goods, drinks and more! It was very thoughtful but I had 104° fever so I wasn’t eating very much and didn’t have a fridge in the room. I think the nurses enjoyed her muffins though!

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I've been giving more books lately. My kids really appreciate them. Also, years ago I started asking for things I NEED but aren't traditional gifts. Like one year I asked for a Pyrex 2 cup measuring cup. Everyone laughed but I said that was what i really, really wanted. DD got it for me and I was thrilled. So now we do more of that type of giving-eldest DD and her DH get their AAA membership renewed, and one small personal gift each. DS gets household supplies, laundry detergent, cleaners, etc. He never thinks to buy them for himself, and he loves getting them. DS also gets me 6 bars of my favorite soap each year-that lasts me till my birthday when he gets me 6 more. He knows me well!

    We no longer exchange with extended family, just a card and sometimes a home made baked goodie. My friend tries to get every one gifts but I tell her not to get me anything, I hope she listens this year! I'd much rather have time with her than some other thing I'll just hand off to Goodwill.

  • 6 years ago

    It is frustrating for me because DH and MIL have early December birthdays, so figuring out gifts is hard. Luckily, for my birthday in June I am usually at a conference and we get to do something interesting. This year was Denver, and we had a good dinner at a gastropub and saw Roger Waters.

    In preparation for company this fall, we took a lot of things to Goodwill, had bags of trash for the stuff too far gone, and filled the recycle bin. We donated some extra pajamas last year (Mattress Firm was taking pajama donations for foster kids), and we had a lot of business casual clothing like sweater vests NWT that DH will never wear that we donated to the clothes closet at my campus business school.

    Here is an article I saw today that says stop buying gifts. I don't mind buying gifts but we want to keep it to a minimum.


    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/11/20/why-you-shouldnt-give-gifts-grown-adults/841516001/


  • 6 years ago

    I love listening to what people say all year long and then giving them a gift that they have mentioned. Because most of those with whom I exchange gifts live far away from me, the gift exchange is another way of keeping in touch and showing affection. However, I don't think any of us would be upset if we just received a visit or a card. Certainly, our budgets have been tighter in some years than others, even though we are never extravagant.

    I agree with others that obligatory gift giving is burdensome and unwanted. I do have a few relations that show up at Christmas just to gather up some cash with no contribution on their part...no thank you either. I used to resent that, but then I told myself to think of their gifts as charity because the people truly are somewhat needy. As a result, I put no thought or effort into gifts for them. They just receive money in an envelope.

  • 6 years ago

    Funkyart, your attitude is similar to mine--I don't necessarily want to stop gift giving altogether, it's just that the push to sellsellsell more stuff seems to have gotten so much more intense during the holidays, perhaps because I'm moving away from more stuff in my life at the same time :).

    What I love to do is give someone something that, as you say, tells them you truly know them and you want to make them happy. Example-at the vacation house this weekend our DIL was talking about a beach cruiser bike she had in Bahrain when she was stationed there with the Coast Guard. She described it in great detail and mentioned she had sold it when she left because she couldn't take it with her but that she still misses that bike. Well, I got home, logged onto Target and searched for beach cruiser bikes and I found one that looks almost exactly like what she described! Guess what she's getting this year? And I have several other ideas for things I hope will bring joy to the recipient.

    But at the same time I am so turned off by the commercialization, and the mindless spirit of gotta-get-that back n forth for the holidays. Bah humbug to being manipulated by those who just want the gift of my money for the holidays!

  • 6 years ago

    Fun2BHere - you sound a lot like me. I've come to avoid those things that assault me with advertisements.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Funky - I like your philosophy - probably because it is so like my own. I loved your comment "I think all we want to convey to loved ones is that we thought of them specially" - how true.

    I have always been able to come up with great gifts - as Fun2B and Running mentioned they pick up gift ideas by listening. From all the posts you've written here over the years I know you do the same. I 'm overjoyed when I see someone open that special gift that I discovered for them.

    And I have been so successful over the years that I think I've just about run out of ideas. This is partly due to the fact that my gift recipients are all in the 30's and for the most part if they really want something they buy it. So I'm finally forced this year to ask them for ideas. I hate doing it since it diminishes the fun of my gift giving.

    They'll be here tomorrow for the annual feast of the turkey and I hope the topic of Christmas comes up - maybe I'll be able to glean some useful info. DH always give them a check which of course they enjoy but they have always looked forward to the traditional unwrapping ceremony. We all gather in the family room after breakfast and take turns opening presents - it takes a long time because I wrap everything - even the items in their stockings.

    I'd love to plan a vacation and take the whole family but none of their schedules ever works out. I'm lucky to get them together a few times a year for dinners as it is. So tomorrow I'll definitely have my feelers out to see if I can get some good ideas.

  • 6 years ago

    We've stopped gift giving except for two teenage nieces, a young nephew, and my in-laws. The kids are easy. The in-laws enjoy jigsaw puzzles, so I had one made with three pictures that I took from our boat. MIL enjoys fancy coffee and silly socks. FIL is usually a little challenge.

    We used to draw names with the adult siblings, but it came down to an exchange of gift cards. We agreed to stop. The sisters usually all make something from the kitchen to swap around. All of my siblings are out of state, so we just phone. My brother used to send some fancy/expensive food item, but I think he's a little short on money, so hopefully that has stopped.

    DH and I haven't exchanged gifts for any occasion in years. We'll go out for a nice meal for birthday or anniversary. Otherwise, no more stuff!!

  • 6 years ago

    "No more stuff" for me too. I got over the gift thing years ago. DH and I haven't given gifts to each other in many years. We will occasionally buy something for each other but it is given when purchased: I saw this and thought you would like it. My family is into gifts. It ruins Christmas day for me. I'm not a christian so it's not "reason for the season" annoyance but rather that the gift unwrapping time (not to mention the wrappings) is a waste to me. DH and I had Christmas on our own last year. I think we'll do the same this year.

  • 6 years ago

    I love to give gifts (and I love to wrap them). But I do feel that some of our gift-giving "obligations" have become just that; they can feel like a relationship tax. It gets tricky when you establish a gift-giving precedent. I am guilty of being overly generous but have no one but myself to blame.


  • 6 years ago

    I have tendencies toward minimalism and always have, I've always disliked the commercialism and gift giving side of Christmas. However, recently my family has ditched gift giving except for the kids, and I have to say it feels a little bit less festive. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but it does leave a bit of a hole in the holiday so far. Change takes some getting used to, of course. I think it's a good move overall.

  • 6 years ago

    I personally could go without gifts mighty fine, but certain people in my life are really into it, so that's my dilemma, they will be hurt if I don't get them a nice gift they like. Also, Christmas shopping used to be fun, in my small hometown filled with a variety of stores with lots of selection--a department stores, men and women's and children's clothing, shoes, jewelry, a five and dime, books, gift shops, office supplies, and art supplies, a music store, drugstore, camera shop, candy store, bakery, diner, ice cream shop, furniture store, appliance store, florist, fabric and craft store . . It was fun to go downtown, Santa had a little house in front of the bank and handed out candy canes, and you would see all of your friends and neighbors who either worked at the stores or were out shopping too, and they piped Christmas songs along the street. Sometimes me and my friends would carol or play in little instrumental combos downtown . . . Almost ALL of that is gone, and to shop one must mull around with all the other sheep rummaging through the same shoddy merchandise at almost every mart mart, or wear out your back and wrist scrolling through vague Web sites trying to find anything that might be genuine and viable. Bah humbug! A local community center tried to put together a merchant fair and holiday event, (with demonstrations, music, food, drinks, booths, etc.) and it was nice, but there were so few viable shopping places in town to participate that it was a tad sad/hollow.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Here there are lovely craft fairs and makers’ markets that can really get you to open your wallet, but aren’t necessarily always for the budget minded. My family has set a fairly modest dollar amount for gift giving amongst the adults. For about one person per year we will band together to get a larger gift, So that person only gets one gift but it is a big one. My parents have stated that all bets are off when it comes to the grandchildren so I’ll be interested to see what happens for the boys this year!

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    You are singing my song. As I said in another thread, I am thoroughly fed up with the BUY BUY message we are bombarded with.

    What happened to the Real Reason for the Season? Even though I am a religious person, I dread Christmas. The point is lost among the rush and stress, tinsel, wrapping paper, and Santa Claus. The excesses upset me. I was born and raised into a very, very poor family, and now as a member of the middle class I see, have, and experience things I never could have imagined as a child. So much time and money spent when others have so little!

    This year I will not buy gifts for my adult children and their spouses. They are in their child-bearing-and-raising years and can use cash so that's what I'll give. The only gifts I will buy are a very few for my grandchildren. I don't ask for any gifts - the most meaningful one I received last year was my long-deceased grandmother's sugar cookie recipe burned onto a carving board. It made me cry.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    In our extended family we have simplified and have a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner-a Polish feast- for all 30 people at the home of my BIL/SiL. We give only to the children under 18. Some give toys, while others (us included) give a check for the college fund. DH and I donate to my MIL's church and buy her a personal gift that she would not otherwise buy for herself. Last year it was a nice winter coat.

    In our little family of five, we give our daughters a couple of gifts to open and a check to do with as they please. And I still do stockings! Despite our attempts to request "no gifts" other than a gift to a charity in our name (we provide them with options), they also tend to give us a gift certificate to a restaurant in/or around where we own a vacation home.

    We feel blessed to be able to give gifts to the "Giving Tree" at our church. That is really where we get the most satisfaction.

  • 6 years ago

    i've actually enlarged the number of people (families) we're giving to....i've added mostly friends and i make small (2 or so servings) of casseroles, white chili, broccoli cheese or chicken noodle soup and freeze it and deliver it to them a few days before Christmas. It seems that everyone is really enjoying their dishes, i've been asked for recipes for the dishes numerous times. this is so much easier than finding a gift and we're all over 60 so we have enough stuff. I'm still spoiling the grandkids (14 and 15) as much as we can afford, but we plan to start slowing down on that ..next year(?)

  • 6 years ago

    My sister and I have been giving each other the gift of not having to shop for each other for years now. My brother and his wife seem onboard with that, and spending money on a destination Christmas instead. But my mom still enjoys giving gifts, and we don't want her to be the only one giving and getting. Plus, at her age, the idea of a destination Christmas as an alternative is not appealing.

    So the gift-giving will persist until she's gone, and then the adults, at least, will give it up.

  • 6 years ago

    Just happened to see this topic when I logged into Garden Web and am so glad I did. I feel relieved to know that there are numerous others with the same feelings I have about the gift giving ritual and the commercialization of Christmas. Enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I don't enjoy getting gifts. I am far too picky and imagine the same pickiness in others... so unless I am CERTAIN the receiver will "love" the item, I am terrified of giving the burden of more stuff. I even usually buy gift cards for my children's friends when they attend parties. I prefer to let people choose their own things.

    That being said, I want to make this year's Christmas season special for my children and plan to celebrate every day starting in December with a simple activity... for example, write a card to a distant older family member, bake cookies for our neighbors, or help my children make a gift for a sibling. Do a winter photo shoot with my kids and dogs. Or, just write a few lines to each other about what we appreciate in each person in the family.

    We are not religious, but I do believe in the magic of Christmas-- a reminder of putting others first, and being present with each other.

  • 6 years ago

    Gifts have been a concept that I have struggled with for some time. There are some people on my list that receive a gift out of obligation. Those people are family and thus far I see no way around it. It is drudgery but I do what has to be done. On the other hand, there are definitely people within our sphere that it is very easy to assume that they are well off and need nothing and they can get lost in the shuffle. For those family members, we try to make a point of sending baked goods or homemade jam. It is a way of making sure they know we have not forgotten them and they are still important to us.

    I can say I am trying to fight the apathy that I feel coming on with gift giving. In my view, gift giving is about sacrifice. I am sacrificing my resources (time, money, etc) for those who are important to me. It is important to me to continue that but to find the balance to where my gift is not a burden to the recipient and also not to waste time on those who do not appreciate it. I used to make pastry and deliver it to my sister's families Christmas Eve so that they could have something special Christmas morning. It was a lot of work and would have been worth it if they seemed to derive pleasure from it. Since the perceived pleasure derived did not equal the work I put into it, I stopped. DH's parents requested that we do not gift them food this year as they are trying to lose weight. That definitely adds a wrinkle to the gift giving for them. I do know many people give gifts to check a box and I know the burden that causes to the recipient. I also know how wonderful it feels on the rare occasion when I receive a gift that shows that the person understands who I am, what I like and is accepting of that (versus giving me something that they think I should value).

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I learnt people very roughly fall in two groups..the ones that are gift givers, and the ones that are not. I was born group one..I dedicate huge amount of time and energy and thoughts into gifts..more than that, throughout my life I knew if I start thinking "oh X or Y would be so perfect for A or B", it pretty much means A or B are very important to me. Or getting important to me if they appeared in my life recently.

    Gifts are my way to show love. Season or not(we do not celebrate Christmas). And I have friends and family who are born gift gifters like me, and others, who struggle with it, and sometimes suffer since it's hard for them to choose gifts, they often don't see a point, they feel they can't reciprocate..they want to, they just have different mindset, and their language of love(c) is different. Takes time to figure that all out.

    I'm okay with folks all being different..I just want them to accept me for how I am. I don't want to make them suffer:) It's my way to feel connected, especially with friends and family who are far away. I do accept them for how they are and don't expect anything in return. They have other great ways to show how they care.

    Kids are the easiest..even parents who abhore gifts really appreciate when their kids get gifts:) Suddenly all the attitude brightens tremendously:)

    It really helps to know people though-and I usually do. Of course if it had to be something obligatory with people I don't know well-I'd feel differently. If it's impersonal I'd dislike it too, very much. It would take all the real connection out of it.

    I do help to choose gifts if others ask me to but then they guide me.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My grown niece told me she always loved the present I sent her because somehow I knew just what to get for her. That was the best gift she could have given me.

    I love giving people I love a present and I look for just the right gift all year. I don't just buy at Christmas, I usually have all my shopping done before Thanksgiving. The children are grown and make good livings, need nothing...but they always have at least one present to open and a stocking. They have the most fun with the stockings.

    I do not feel obligated or consider it a chore. We don't spend a lot on any gift but will if it seems to be just the right thing. It's a tradition to open presents and stockings together and we all enjoy it. It should be something done with thought and love and if you can't do that, then, of course you shouldn't.

  • 6 years ago

    I try to keep gifts practical.

    I have a "consumables only" truce with my inlaws which is easy and actually fun. They like to try weird things.

    My mom is getting a proper meat thermometer and a vegetable peeler. (Guess where I had Thanksgiving?)

    I have no-gift arrangements with some siblings, but have a sister in law who loves gifts. And I never have any idea what to get her.

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    At my age, and being an only child, there is one SIL law and my children and grandchildren and that's all that are left. I send my SIL a quart of maple syrup from a place in ME where my late DH bought it and sent it to her for Christmas for the 10 years he was teaching up there; I have continued the tradition. She is the ultimate "re-gifter" so I leaned a LONG time ago not to spend much time and effort on finding anything "special" for her or her now-grown children (I don't send them anything).

    I used to exchange small gifts (often something homemade like lemon curd etc) with a few friends and my neighbors. I no longer do this - too expensive, too much bother, and my friends, like me, do not need another set of "holiday cocktail paper napkins" or such.

  • 6 years ago

    I think a lot of the problem with gift giving, is we get all the time and don't wait for Christmas or birthdays. I see so many families on Monday with new shirts, shoes, a new toy. Everyone shops and buys what they want. Plus as we get older we don't need more stuff in our house.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My mom always stumps me. After listening to her complain about her silverware for months, I once stretched my college-age budget and got her and my dad a nice set of silverware amongst other things for Christmas (with gift receipt), and then heard her say the same day that she doesn’t like to get practical presents. One year we got her an iPad that she didn’t touch for two years, although she uses it now. She never wears jewellery and clothing is a real crapshoot. I can never predict her taste in art either. I don’t know if we are so similar that I just can’t see her objectively or if she really is a mystery.

    Our family does exchange lists (although we often go off list) which I know horrifies people but with my mom it’s a survival tactic!

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