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Old 11-27-2011, 02:38 PM   #41
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T-Al, I have been asking family not to give me presents for years. I invite them to spend their time looking for unusual birthday cards but it is to no avail. Even when I say whoever gives a present won't get one. The custom, family peer pressure, one-upsmanship. I tell them the truth - what I need they can't give me and what they give me I don't need - but that doesn't stop anyone. Between themselves they say I'm just turning into an old curmudgeon. It's a losing battle and not worth it.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:44 PM   #42
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We spoke to all our siblings and our parents just before we moved from England and they all quickly agreed that it was a good idea to stop exchanging presents, with the exception of young nieces and nephews.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:59 PM   #43
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We spoke to all our siblings and our parents just before we moved from England and they all quickly agreed that it was a good idea to stop exchanging presents, with the exception of young nieces and nephews.
Same here, when I moved from Hawaii. One of my brothers lived in Switzerland for a decade or so, and so we had already stopped exchanging presents with him. Having that precedent probably helped.
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:59 PM   #44
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I am glad that you have decided not to send that email. I think that it might have hurt some feelings.

We do not exchange gifts with siblings any more either. We stopped that years ago. I buy for my Aunt that I lived with from 11 to 18 yrs old. Lately, I either give her gift certificates or a check. We give checks to our DD, SIL, DS, his live-in girlfriend and her son. It is too hard to buy for them and they would rather have the money. The only fun gifts that I get to buy are for my DGD. She is only 3 and my DD told me that she has too many toys and I could buy her something like a pair of Ugg boots. She asked her if she would like that and my DGD said yes she would like a pair of ugly boots. My DD said they did not need to be Ugg boots, but something like them. I had already decided to get her a Leapster Explorer, a charger for it and some games. I don't want to make my DD angry, but I really would like to buy this for my DGD. I will look for a pair of boots for her also, but think this is a really impractical gift, since they live in San Diego CA.

I can remember years ago, when I did so much Christmas shopping and wrapping. We would buy for both sets of parents, my aunt and uncle, my 4 siblings and their spouses, 11 nieces and nephews on my side and I don't remember how many on his side of the family. I do not like to shop. Boy oh boy am I glad those years are behind us.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:25 PM   #45
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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.
Al, I'll start a separate thread on the e-mail we sent to her for her 18th birthday. It's epic. But you've met her and you've seen how we get along.

Our e-mail to our daughter was inspired by the minefields that spouse and I were navigating with our own parents during our own college years...
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:13 AM   #46
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I love this video and approach to life in general. In October 2010 we sold everything we owned (house, cars, dishes, furniture, artwork, etc) in order to follow our dream. Now we each own whatever we can carry in our 65L backpacks and are happier than we have ever been in our lives.

While I realize this is a rather drastic example, the truth is that by freeing up the stuff we did not need we could open our lives up to new opportunities. Plus, by shifting our money from things to experiences we led a far richer life even before we left. We are not immune to advertisers but now simply ask ourselves if we would rather have our dream or whatever thing is being sold to us. It turns out to be an easy answer each time.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:02 AM   #47
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DW and I have not yet progressed to the stage of sending a note to all saying, "No presents please.". But, we do have a very limited list of folks we send gifts (now checks) to.

However, the coolest thing we do, DW started years ago. We (DW with me in tow) love to decorate the house and tree for the holidays. It marks the season for us. And of course, no tree is complete without lots of nicely decorated boxes of presents under it. Well, nobody said those boxes had to have "stuff" in them. So, DW saves boxes of various sizes throughout the year, and we wrap those empty boxes and put them under the tree. It looks the same and, believe it or not, we get as much more satisfaction looking at our non-purchases ($ saved) under the tree than if the boxes were full. Gotta love the DW!
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:11 PM   #48
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Here's the email I sent:
Gail, Carol, and Linda,

Please consider not giving us presents for Christmas (or birthdays). We appreciate the thought, but we really have everything we need. I hate to have you purchase, wrap, and ship something to us, only to have it be something we already have or can't use.

Thanks,

Love

Al & Lena
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:26 PM   #49
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I've never been a fan of accumulating knick-knacks and other stuff that just sits there and looks pretty on a coffee table or in a china cabinet. If something doesn't have a useful purpose, it's generally useless to me.

When I was growing up, my dad used to glue and re-glue shoes until they literally fell apart. He could certainly afford new sneakers, dress shoes, etc..., but he figured that a cent or two's worth of glue and a little shoe polish (along with the time to fix things) was better than spending $50+ on a new pair. That said, when he wanted to buy quality, he spent the money... only after shopping around for the best price. :-)
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:56 PM   #50
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Here's the email I sent:
Gail, Carol, and Linda,

Please consider not giving us presents for Christmas (or birthdays). We appreciate the thought, but we really have everything we need. I hate to have you purchase, wrap, and ship something to us, only to have it be something we already have or can't use.

Thanks,

Love

Al & Lena
Nicely done. Went thru the same thing with our families. Once they saw us happily selling (lots of) things on eBay, they knew we were serious about decluttering. Everyone is comfortable with no gifts now (other than modest charitable contributions). I will confess that DW and I still spend $50 on each others Christmas stockings, but everything has to literally fit in the stockings...
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:36 PM   #51
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That's a nice letter, T-Al. I am telling people to please consider gifts to others who may be less fortunate than us, instead of giving us gifts. When people do feel like they have to give us something, I hint that we enjoy wine (at least it won't clutter our house after drinking). I was recently invited to a wedding where the couple asked only for favorite recipes, which i thought was a great idea.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:13 PM   #52
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Response from Sister #1:
That is fine. It is great that you have everything you need. Most of us do. It's not a bad idea for all of us this Christmas. What do you think? Maybe just the kids get presents this year. One of the hard things is sending big packages off that cost more than what is in box. Something to think about. What do you all think about this idea?

Love you!!


Carol
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:29 PM   #53
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I got (verbal) crap over DW's email this morning from one of my sisters. Guilt trips are not what the season is about, sis.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:35 PM   #54
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Response from Sister 2:

what about Jenny?

to which my reply was "That's between you and Jenny."
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:40 PM   #55
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Response from Sister #1:
That is fine. It is great that you have everything you need. Most of us do. It's not a bad idea for all of us this Christmas. What do you think? Maybe just the kids get presents this year. One of the hard things is sending big packages off that cost more than what is in box. Something to think about. What do you all think about this idea?

Love you!!


Carol
Great response, Al - - she sounds almost relieved that you brought this up.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:48 PM   #56
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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."
After a neutral statement, I have found that not sending gifts/cards eventually leads to not receiving such.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:52 PM   #57
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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."

What she said

I'm not sure I'd like to get a letter that describes my previous gifts as a) clutter and b) probably re-gifts
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:13 PM   #58
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I've given a ton of stuff to Goodwill this year and continue to get rid of things. I've also done this for my hobby and annual vacations that I take on my bike.
Here's my transportation and everything that I need to live on the road indefinitely; sleeping bag, pad, tent, cooking equipment, clothes etc. I can get my needs down to a total weight of 48lbs and it will be even less with a new bike, I'm still accumulating those.



Also I own a 2 family, but I live in the bigger apartment. So, I'll be swapping when the current tenants move out. Smaller space, lower utilities and at least $600 more a month in rent.
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:21 PM   #59
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I am mom's who "downsized" from 1900' house to 1680' 2bdr and den apartment in there retirement. However, with a garage a storage unit it doesn't feel like much of downsize.

I love the idea of house cooling party, something which I will do for mom and myself some day.

On the other hand reading this board and the anti consumerism always makes me want to sell all consumer stocks I own. Luckily I remind myself that this is a weird group.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:33 PM   #60
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I am mom's who "downsized" from 1900' house to 1680' 2bdr and den apartment in there retirement. However, with a garage a storage unit it doesn't feel like much of downsize.

I love the idea of house cooling party, something which I will do for mom and myself some day.

On the other hand reading this board and the anti consumerism always makes me want to sell all consumer stocks I own. Luckily I remind myself that this is a weird group.
Relax, many of us do not practice what we preach. Anticonsumerism is like any other religion. It is mostly honored in the breach.

Ha
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