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Old 11-26-2011, 02:47 PM   #21
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Mr. Money Mustache weighed in on the subject in a similar way with his usual low-key, laid-back, mellow, tactful, understated, non-confrontational manner:
Happy Thanksgiving And Buy Nothing Day! (and Month?) | Mr. Money Mustache
Amusingly enough, I had read that but did not mention or show it to DW until after she had told me she was sending out her email.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:05 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
Mr. Money Mustache weighed in on the subject in a similar way with his usual low-key, laid-back, mellow, tactful, understated, non-confrontational manner:
Happy Thanksgiving – And Buy Nothing Day! (and Month?) | Mr. Money Mustache
Makes perfect sense to me between adults say over 30+. Like Brewer, we enjoy giving gifts to all the children and young adults in the family, but the established adults don't exchange gifts any more - we make charitable contributions on behalf of each other. YMMV
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:25 PM   #23
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That video really had two subjects:

1. Describing how people have too much stuff.

2. Describing clever solutions for living in a small space.

Anyone know of a similar video that treats subject 1 in a non-preachy but entertaining way? If I could find that I could include it with an email to my family suggesting that we no longer exchange gifts.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:04 PM   #24
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Makes perfect sense to me between adults say over 30+. Like Brewer, we enjoy giving gifts to all the children and young adults in the family, but the established adults don't exchange gifts any more - we make charitable contributions on behalf of each other. YMMV
We did the same thing with our daughter for her 18th birthday.

I can remember that when I was her age I was constantly ambushed by my mother's parents' expectations of birthday/holiday gift-giving. So spouse and I made it easy on our daughter by explaining the rules as soon as she'd started to leave the nest.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:19 PM   #25
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I'm lucky that I only have to exchange gifts with DH. Our families exchange cards (if we're organized that year) but that's it.

But we both love opening presents on Christmas morning, after first cracking open a Terrys Chocolate Orange of course. After a few years of mad rushing around the week before Christmas trying to find "surprises" that would work, often ending up with stuff we didn't really want or need, now we have a simple solution for the Christmas stockings. As the year progresses, I add things to an Amazon wishlist and he does the same. Then we each pick items off it that top out at $200 total. Since we don't really know which items get picked, it's still a surprise! Takes the stress out of shopping but we get to upwrap lots of small surprises on Christmas morning. Then our business gives us both a nice Christmas "bonus" and we buy ourselves something special from that.

For the Christmas tree: I also got tired spending half a day hanging a tree. So now we wrap lights around the pine tree outside the dining-room window...

As for shopping, we also avoid Black Friday. Yesterday we bought some pottery at a craft show. This morning however, DH picked up an HDTV for the bedroom - gotta love Costco prices! I figured it would help me workout more as now the people on the exercise DVDs will be more my size!
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:41 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Nords
We did the same thing with our daughter for her 18th birthday.

I can remember that when I was her age I was constantly ambushed by my mother's parents' expectations of birthday/holiday gift-giving. So spouse and I made it easy on our daughter by explaining the rules as soon as she'd started to leave the nest.
Do you mean that you aren't giving a present to DD or expecting one from her? I think maybe we'll that with her also.

I'm really torn on presents for Jenny. Lena's going to knit something for her and also make earrings. We were going to make a photo book of our recent trip together, but discussed it with her, and she said she would really not want something like that.

So I was thinking that she would like a hand blender like the one we use a lot, but it's just the kind of present I don't like to give. Like the salad shooter we got but never used.

In any case, this thread has made me decide to try to stop the gift exchanging with siblings. 85% of the presents that they buy and ship is given away.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:20 AM   #27
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Here's the first draft of an email I might send to my sisters -- comments?
Please consider not giving us presents for Christmas (or birthdays). We appreciate the thought, but we really have everything we need, and we like to keep our house uncluttered. I have to honestly say that of presents that we receive, all but about 10% are given away. Lena and I decided that we would prefer just to get a card, or perhaps something simple that you created. The idea of presents is nice, but in practice it just doesn't work for us. We have a box with presents that we can't bear to throw away, and that box is full.

And you're not going to like this, but if you want to give money to a charity, please do it on your own, and not "in our name." To me, when someone gives to a charity in my name, what they are saying is "Look at me. Aren't I good to give money to this charity?" It's as if I wrote a note to you saying "Today I gave $25 to help with hunger in Africa."



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Old 11-27-2011, 12:30 AM   #28
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Another thing I thought we could get Jenny, since she's a bit of a "foodie," is one of those food clubs, like "cheese of the month." But I checked out those things, and they are ridiculously expensive (look here). Get three cheeses every month for a year, and the cost is $515.40 -- $14 for each hunk of cheese! Over $1,000 for sirloin of the month.
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:03 AM   #29
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I would send the first paragraph, but not the second one. Keep the message short.

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Here's the first draft of an email I might send to my sisters -- comments?
Please consider not giving us presents for Christmas (or birthdays). We appreciate the thought, but we really have everything we need, and we like to keep our house uncluttered. I have to honestly say that of presents that we receive, all but about 10% are given away. Lena and I decided that we would prefer just to get a card, or perhaps something simple that you created. The idea of presents is nice, but in practice it just doesn't work for us. We have a box with presents that we can't bear to throw away, and that box is full.

And you're not going to like this, but if you want to give money to a charity, please do it on your own, and not "in our name." To me, when someone gives to a charity in my name, what they are saying is "Look at me. Aren't I good to give money to this charity?" It's as if I wrote a note to you saying "Today I gave $25 to help with hunger in Africa."



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Old 11-27-2011, 02:21 AM   #30
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Here's the first draft of an email I might send to my sisters -- comments?
Please consider not giving us presents for Christmas (or birthdays). We appreciate the thought, but we really have everything we need, and we like to keep our house uncluttered. I have to honestly say that of presents that we receive, all but about 10% are given away. Lena and I decided that we would prefer just to get a card, or perhaps something simple that you created. The idea of presents is nice, but in practice it just doesn't work for us. We have a box with presents that we can't bear to throw away, and that box is full.

And you're not going to like this, but if you want to give money to a charity, please do it on your own, and not "in our name." To me, when someone gives to a charity in my name, what they are saying is "Look at me. Aren't I good to give money to this charity?" It's as if I wrote a note to you saying "Today I gave $25 to help with hunger in Africa."



I think that there might be less risk of possibly being hurtful, if you made it shorter and more friendly sounding. Heavy on the love, light on the "we can't stand the stinkin' presents you buy". Something like, "Lena and I love you dearly, but we are trying to cut back and find the true meaning of Christmas. So this year, and on in the future, we aren't exchanging Christmas presents any more with any of our relatives. We'd love to continue exchanging cards at Christmas and birthdays, but not presents so thanks in advance for understanding and not sending any."
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:40 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Here's the first draft of an email I might send to my sisters -- comments?
Please consider not giving us presents for Christmas (or birthdays). We appreciate the thought, but we really have everything we need, and we like to keep our house uncluttered. I have to honestly say that of presents that we receive, all but about 10% are given away. Lena and I decided that we would prefer just to get a card, or perhaps something simple that you created. The idea of presents is nice, but in practice it just doesn't work for us. We have a box with presents that we can't bear to throw away, and that box is full.

And you're not going to like this, but if you want to give money to a charity, please do it on your own, and not "in our name." To me, when someone gives to a charity in my name, what they are saying is "Look at me. Aren't I good to give money to this charity?" It's as if I wrote a note to you saying "Today I gave $25 to help with hunger in Africa."
Delete the bolded sentence (I have to...10% are given away). It could possibly offend someone.

Throw away is a bit harsh. Maybe we haven't had a chance to enjoy or something a little more gentle.

Second paragraph needs toning down or removal. I understand where you are coming from, and agree, but it could rile some folks.

I brought the gifting idea up with Mr B, with regards to his family. He always gives his Mom money and we take her out to dinner, both of which are appreciated. I chip in on the dinner part.
His widowed cousin can ill afford to spend any money, yet she insists on spending on us and her daughter, SIL, and their 2 kids. Her money management skills are lacking overall. I suggested we either tell her to skip presents for us, or set a dollar limit. He will gently broach the subject with her on the next phone call. She is very touchy about everything.
For us, we are "expected" to buy something on the 2 kids' wish lists. I pointed out that we are spending a lot just to come out there for 4 days, between the gas, eating out, and boarding the dogs. Plus these kids make no effort to have contact with us except when we visit.
He agreed, but he also said it would cause ripples if we extended the "no purchased gift" thing to the daughter, husband, and 2 kids. Argh...
My idea of a gift for family is some homemade cookies or bread, or a nice box of chocolates.
I'm going to let him open his wallet for whatever he wants to do.
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:31 AM   #32
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We did similar, and instead of sending an e-mail I called each person personally on the phone and explained that things were getting out of hand now that there were spouses, kids, etc and I felt the pressure was too much on all of us. It gives those that are resistant a chance to voice their concerns or objections. For those that did object I advised that it was very kind of them but we felt so much more comfortable giving to those who had little and left it at that. It is much harder to call everyone but much more personal.
The first year was the hardest. By the second and third year everybody calmed down. Now we don't sweat it. A few people give to each other but not to us. Fine with me.

one of my DIL's draws names in her family, and a sister of mine gets together with her husbands big family. They have a white elephant or used gift exchange. It is usually hilarious but it could become a hassle I suppose. I've never been but it sounds like it is fun for them.

I agree about the Craigslist comment, and sometimes I fill in working with Special Ed kids as a job coach when they really need someone. I have been in the backroom of our regional Goodwill sorting center. Let me tell you, the brand new stuff people give away is astonishing.
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:01 AM   #33
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DW has already told me what she wants to see under the tree.

Socks. Lots of socks. White cotton socks. We all have our weird traits endearing characteristics and she goes through about six pair of socks a day around the house. If she steps on a drop of water in the kitchen she has to put on a fresh pair of socks.

Would that all women were so easy to please.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:36 AM   #34
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Here's the first draft of an email I might send to my sisters -- comments?
Please consider not giving us presents for Christmas (or birthdays). We appreciate the thought, but we really have everything we need, and we like to keep our house uncluttered. I have to honestly say that of presents that we receive, all but about 10% are given away. Lena and I decided that we would prefer just to get a card, or perhaps something simple that you created. The idea of presents is nice, but in practice it just doesn't work for us. We have a box with presents that we can't bear to throw away, and that box is full.

And you're not going to like this, but if you want to give money to a charity, please do it on your own, and not "in our name." To me, when someone gives to a charity in my name, what they are saying is "Look at me. Aren't I good to give money to this charity?" It's as if I wrote a note to you saying "Today I gave $25 to help with hunger in Africa."



You know your sibs and I don't. But if I got this note I might feel that it was perhaps a bit preachy.

I of course see my sons and their families frequently, so it was easy for me. I told them that as they knew I had such a small apartment that I had no room for anything, not even a book. I also told them that they were so much better dressers than I, and better informed about electronics, that I could never hope to hit the bullseye with a gift for any of them. So let's just enjoy our mutual love and respect. I also did this when I was treating them to a drink. If inlaws might be present at Christmas, I asked kids to negotiate a cease fire on this front too.

With sibs, I said "you know better than I what you want (if anything), and I don't want anything, so let's stop paying the shippers to send stuff back and forth across the country".

My brothers felt fine about this, and so did my bil as my sister suddenly had to look for another way to waste his earnings.

Any other Christmas obligations had been peeled off at my divorce, when DEW had custody of the gift and card list.

I enjoy going downtown during Holidays. It is nicely decorated, people at Happy Hours are feeling festive, I don't need to bother with a car or parking, and best of all I don't have to buy anything.

I do get something for GF, and usually I do this by taking her shopping and out for a dinner in the after Christmas sale period. She dresses really nicely and likes clothes. She also wears perfumes that turn me on, so when she is getting low and wants to continue with that scent she might tell me and I'll pick it up for Christmas or some other occasion. For for her giving to me, I'm like the Big Bopper.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:37 AM   #35
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By mutual agreement we stopped gifts to and from my parents years ago. With DH's family we eliminated holiday gifts among the siblings and then later the nieces and nephews but we still send birthday checks to the nieces and nephews up to age 18.

MIL sends us a box every year. It used to be gifts, now it's gift cards or checks or some small gift (I regift all the scented candles and soap and knicknacks that need to be dusted). Last few years she's been sending gourmet popcorn or something similar. Way overpriced if I had to buy it but we will certainly enjoy it as a gift!

For MIL we put together a calendar with family pictures from throughout the year. Each family with grandkids contributes pictures. We get duplicates for 2 of DH's single sisters. We've done this for over 12 years and it's a very nice personalized gift. Sometimes we contribute to a group gift for MIL from DH and his 4 siblings.

Al, I understand wanting to stop the gifting but don't tell your people that you only kept 10% of what you received in the past, that means you unloaded most things and even though you say "gave away", that could mean it was lovingly regifted or it could mean it was dropped in a bin for Goodwill or Salvation Army.

As for the food club gift, we were given a "Fruit of The Month" for a year and it was fantastic! That was years ago when we were broke college students and high quality fruit was a real delight.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:50 AM   #36
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Many years ago siblings realized things were getting out of hand for the adults so we agreed to do the white elephant gift exchange, no more than $20 and then we all donated whatever we thought was appropriate and went and bought gifts for needy families through the local family assistance agency.

We still gifted the little ones, nieces, nephews and grand kids with toys.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:42 PM   #37
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Here's the first draft of an email I might send to my sisters -- comments?
Please consider not giving us presents for Christmas (or birthdays). We appreciate the thought, but we really have everything we need, and we like to keep our house uncluttered. I have to honestly say that of presents that we receive, all but about 10% are given away. Lena and I decided that we would prefer just to get a card, or perhaps something simple that you created. The idea of presents is nice, but in practice it just doesn't work for us. We have a box with presents that we can't bear to throw away, and that box is full.

And you're not going to like this, but if you want to give money to a charity, please do it on your own, and not "in our name." To me, when someone gives to a charity in my name, what they are saying is "Look at me. Aren't I good to give money to this charity?" It's as if I wrote a note to you saying "Today I gave $25 to help with hunger in Africa."
IMO, too negative. Saying that you give away most presents could be hurtful.

And the charity comment sounds judgmental.

I totally agree with you about cutting out presents if it can be made agreeable to both sides, but I think you need to state it positively.

A few years back, I spoke with my brother about not getting gifts for each other's kids when they reached 21 (18?) and that was no problem. It was just silly to try to guess what they may want, when we rarely see them (they are on the coast). We did the 'charity' in your name thing for each other for that year, but I think we both realized it was silly for us to each do that, rather than just do it ourselves ( here's $50 in your name to heifer.org, and your doing $50 in my name to heifer.org? What's the point?), and we just dropped that the next year.

Something more along the lines of "while we've always appreciated the sentiment behind your gifts, bla, bla, we know how difficult it is to find gifts that will always be put to good use, and we have the same problem. A card or letter and your friendship is what we treasure the most. Maybe something about using the $ they would spend on us to buy something for themselves that they know they need or want, or donate it directly to a charity of their choice (and specify there is no need to donate it in 'your name').

Something to that effect.


edit - ooops, didn't see the other posts before I submitted this, oh well


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Old 11-27-2011, 02:16 PM   #38
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As much as I deplore the hectic consumerism and totally extreme panic to get the 'best deal', I would object to shutting down the retail business for the season. That is the last thing our economy needs at the moment.

What I would suggest is some thoughtful shopping, buying things that are really useful and will last, and putting people and experiences ahead of more 'stuff'.

If you need a gift suggestion, try this book: Cheap: The High Cost of the Discount Culture by Ellen Shell

I checked it out from the public library rather than buy it for myself. Talk about cheap!!!!
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:16 PM   #39
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Yes, all of you are right about making the email more positive and loving (and politically correct). I will try that (or may just forget the whole thing).

The problem is that the response to "We love you but we don't need presents." is "Well, we want to give you presents anyway." The response to "We love you but your presents are crap and we just throw away." is "OK, you won't get any damn presents from us."
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:20 PM   #40
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Al, it's a no-win situation. Send the message and you'll still get crap from your family - just not in the form of presents.
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