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Old 11-19-2010, 11:33 AM   #21
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:41 AM   #22
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We give gifts to teenage children and I love receiving gifts and want to continue even after kids are grown. They don't have to be large gifts just something to show the thought is there. I don't have a need to do gifts much beyond that. Still exchange gifts with my 86 year old mom though.

About a year ago I proposed to DH that he and I not exchange gifts since we can, indeed, just buy what we want and there isn't much surprise there. We had moved from picking out a gift to asking the other what was wanted to, in recent years, gift card to Amazon or Itunes or whatever.

So we went a year with no gifts except a very small token (and filling a Christmas stocking). I found that I hated this. It is true that we can just buy what we want but when DH gives me a gift card to amazon I can just spend that gift card with no care or concern and no impact on the budget. It allows me to buy totally frivolous things that I probably wouldn't buy if I was buying it myself. Yes, I realize that this may seem irrational but that it is. So this year we are back to giving gifts to one another (although we do have a sense of budget there. I know that DH is not -- alas -- going to give me $5000 in gift cards for Amazon).
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:46 AM   #23
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Several years ago I was able to get both sides of the family to agree to buy presents only for the kids.

Everyone then donates to a favorite cause in the family's name. In-laws take gifts to their local nursing home, we adopt kids via the Angel Tree, and sometimes there is a special giving like the year my dad had cancer we donated to the American Cancer Society in his name.
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:17 PM   #24
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We still do gifts for the grand kids and I shop for my Mom & sisters . Otherwise we draw names so we only have to buy one present for the adults . Gary & I exchange gifts . Sometimes big gifts sometimes small gifts . He always sends me a mushy card which I like . We also do the tree & lights and the whole enchilada .
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:33 PM   #25
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We stopped gift giving among adults in our families in 1987 when we came to the USA. Apparently all the folks we left behind thought this was a great idea and stopped gift giving among themselves.

We continued to send gifts to our nieces and nephews until they reached age 18. (we have 3 left under age 12 so we have a few years to go). Their parents are always good enough to email a list of possible gifts and we buy them online.

We still do gift giving between ourselves and our 2 kids, and again we circulate wish-lists to avoid buying things that won't be used. My supplies of single malt are running low (how many days 'til Christmas?)
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:39 PM   #26
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Gifts in my family are limited to mainly just cash gifts for the younger generation. Why buy someone something that they don't want or need, just give them cash and they can buy what they want.
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Old 11-19-2010, 02:57 PM   #27
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I know I'm going to come off as a Scrooge but I just don't get this whole gift giving.... in this case during Christmas time.

Holiday Greetings to ya...
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:02 PM   #28
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Gifts in my family are limited to mainly just cash gifts for the younger generation. Why buy someone something that they don't want or need, just give them cash and they can buy what they want.
Same here. We are so widespread all over the world, that we have no way of knowing what someone wants or what they already have. A check is always the right size and the right color, needs no extra shipping effort and expense, and never needs to be returned.
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:19 PM   #29
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Reading this thread makes me wonder if the "consumer-driven economic engine" in the US is really dead. OTOH, when you consider the typical mindset of those who post here, maybe there is still hope.
The engine has moved onto the internet track. A successful holiday season usually means economic success for the concerned business in the coming year.
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Old 11-19-2010, 04:12 PM   #30
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I know it's the thought that counts but how much thought was put into expired chocolate and I know it was re gifted since the person that gave it to me is allergic to chocolate and was probably last year Christmas gift.
Oh, expired chocolate...that is naughty...

IMO, Christmas is a time for children...a magical time that hopefully will be remembered for many years.
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Old 11-19-2010, 04:32 PM   #31
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Oh, expired chocolate...that is naughty...

IMO, Christmas is a time for children...
slow roasted with candied yams on the side.
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Old 11-19-2010, 04:53 PM   #32
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slow roasted with candied yams on the side.


Ahhhh yesss.....


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Old 11-19-2010, 05:00 PM   #33
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When we were young, DW and I budgeted $600 each to give to each other and all respective family members. In time, and as nieces/nephews etc. grew up, we scaled it back. A few years ago DW and I were down to $50 each for each other, all had to fit in a Christmas stocking.

Finally broke my parents of exchanging gifts, at their age of 87, after years of gifts that we gave away or sold on eBay after a few years in a closet. They eventually just sent money, what is the point of that - neither household is short of cash?

Sister and I exchange gifts to charity.

Now we don't exchange gifts at all, but we treat ourselves to a great dinner out on New Years each year (Jan 1 anniv). And if we want to buy something at Christmas or any time of the year, we just buy it anyway. So gift giving has very little appeal to us finally...
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:01 PM   #34
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We give gifts to teenage children and I love receiving gifts and want to continue even after kids are grown. They don't have to be large gifts just something to show the thought is there. I don't have a need to do gifts much beyond that. Still exchange gifts with my 86 year old mom though.

About a year ago I proposed to DH that he and I not exchange gifts since we can, indeed, just buy what we want and there isn't much surprise there. We had moved from picking out a gift to asking the other what was wanted to, in recent years, gift card to Amazon or Itunes or whatever.

So we went a year with no gifts except a very small token (and filling a Christmas stocking). I found that I hated this. It is true that we can just buy what we want but when DH gives me a gift card to amazon I can just spend that gift card with no care or concern and no impact on the budget. It allows me to buy totally frivolous things that I probably wouldn't buy if I was buying it myself. Yes, I realize that this may seem irrational but that it is. So this year we are back to giving gifts to one another (although we do have a sense of budget there. I know that DH is not -- alas -- going to give me $5000 in gift cards for Amazon).
I don't comprehend this. How does spending money not impact the budget?

I stopped doing gifts and cards for holidays many years ago.

I give much of my annual stuff to charities in December.

Throughout the year I give money or stuff to people or causes if I want to.

If A gives $50 to B and B gives $50 to A, what has been accomplished?

Back in February, I sent a couple $30 for a pizza and tip.

I recall a female coworker mentioning that she had taken her husband to the jewelry store and pointed out what she wanted; I asked her why she didn't just buy it herself if she wanted it that badly.
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Old 11-19-2010, 06:50 PM   #35
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Sometimes a good gift for me is something would be nice, but is too extravagant. Right now I'm wearing a Patagonia long underwear shirt that is remarkably warm and cozy. It cost $49!

Lena got it for me as a present.

But that's a pretty dangerous thing, luckily it worked out.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:01 PM   #36
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Great thread! All this time, I thought we were just odd. We haven't exchanged presents with family for years, but I think that was more because DH was an only child and my family has been more than a little dysfunctional over the years.

When the kids were little - we had a lot of fun at Xmas. I think we enjoyed giving the kids presents as much, if not more, than the kids had getting them. They each got one large present and then a bunch of smaller ones and were always very appreciative of what they got.

But now we are older, kids are grown and it is just the 4 of us. DH and I stopped exchanging presents on Xmas day 2 years ago. Like many of you, we got to the point where we could buy whatever we wanted - even though we are fairly selective on what we buy. So we both come up with something "special" we would like and would not normally buy for ourselves. Then we go out together and buy it.

DS hates Xmas. He struggled with depression for a few years and the holidays were the worst. He almost didn't come over one year, because "he couldn't handle the stress of going out and buying presents". And that made him feel even worse. He was going to stay alone in his apartment all day. We had a long talk about how unimportant presents were and that the only thing we truly wanted or needed was to know he was okay....and we wanted him to be with us. From that year on, we agreed that Xmas would be a day we would spend together - without much fanfare or presents. We do get him some practical items (new sneakers, jeans.....) but we dont wrap anything. We just lay them out by the tree. Last year we talked about that year he almost didnt come over. He said "You were a lifesaver. I simply couldnt cope at that time." That was the best present I could have ever had.

DD lives in another state, so we still buy and wrap presents for her and then go visit her after Xmas. She loves Xmas and I love shopping for her, because she is so easy to shop for....and one of her presents is a mother/daughter shopping trip. We have a lot a fun together. She is very tight with her money and thrilled when I buy her something she wants - but is too cheap to buy for herself.

I agree with my son, there is way too much stress trying to figure out what to get that person who has everything. I hated shopping for my in-laws who had everything and needed nothing. I finally made DH take on that chore. I find more fun shopping for Giving Trees and try to do a few of those each year.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:57 PM   #37
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We have a fairly easy time. If you are 2 degrees of consanguinity from DW or I or less, you get $20 cash. Sometimes in an envelope, sometimes handed over with a handshake and/or hug. Unless we can find something neat for you that you will like or need.

I usually don't give my parents or grandparents any cash, so it is gift or nothing. I know my parents want to pass a small bit of wealth down, not get it back in cash format. And grandma's are the same way - taking money from us would be painful. Lately we have done photo calendars or photo books for parents/grandparents and these are very well received I think. DW is in charge of that, and I think she enjoys making them (all digital).

I don't really know how to succinctly define "the spirit of Christmas" but it surely isn't having a nervous breakdown stressing over all the worthless crap you need to buy to make everyone happy. That is an unattainable goal unless you are an omnipotent, omniscient being.
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:57 PM   #38
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I'm laughing at My Dream's gifts because anybody who is a self-proclaimed Scrooge is gonna get expired chocolates. It's the perfect gift for a Scrooge. The givers probably went out of their way, "She hates gifts, so let's give her these old chocolates and a mustache trimmer." They are sending you a message. Read it.
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Old 11-20-2010, 08:53 AM   #39
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The normal distribution in my family is: we send a floral arrangement to each adult couple (my mother and father and each of their spouses, and my brother and sister and each of their spouses). Nephews/great nephews under the age of 13 get three hardcover books. Nephews 13 and older get $50 cash.

For the inlaws: we always buy MIL a specific gift. The adults in our generation (there are 10 of us) exchange names at Thanksgiving so everyone buys one other person a gift. Nephews follow the same rules as above.

The young wife and I usually get each other a token gift or two. I often get her a new pair of pajamas and a little piece of jewelry.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:17 AM   #40
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We're against getting gifts, but OTOH sometimes at a garage sale we find something that would be perfect for someone. As an example, this homemade lathe-turned bowl and cover was $4:



It's just the kind of thing one of my sisters likes. But it's also just the kind of clutter up the house thing that we would not want to get.

Is that bird's eye maple?
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