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No gifts, please!
Old 04-03-2015, 06:30 PM   #1
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No gifts, please!

This decluttering thread made me think about how many Christmas GIFTS we're getting ready to sell in our downsizing garage sale #1.

I think I can appeal to the kids and explain that all we really want to have for the holidays is to spend time with us, so please, no more stuff!

But DH's family drives me nuts. Every year we all agree at Thanksgiving to not buy each other anything, and I'm the only one who ends up sticking to the bargain. I really want to send them an email and explain what we're doing, why, and beg them to get us no more stuff!
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Old 04-03-2015, 06:34 PM   #2
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The volume of junk we hauled to goowill after the kids grew up was about 75% crap they got from their birthday parties. And I'm sure similar loads were taken by the parents of our kids' buddies.
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Old 04-03-2015, 06:35 PM   #3
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Best thing ever happened is when DW FINALLY agreed to talk to her brother and his wife about NOT doing gifts to their now 30's children, nor them giving to ours. Half ended up being gift cards for crying' out loud! It's not the money, it's just the hassle and the presenting of gifts that are really not wanted. Someone needs to develop a set of rules for this and get it out there. I think it's just that people are afraid to bring it up as they may appear "cheap." No, it's just wasteful expenditures.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:39 PM   #4
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I always felt gifts were for children, but my MIL and DF both have gifts as their language of love. It is their nature and a darned cluttered hassle.

I have to be very careful about how long I have received a gift before I donate or regift it. Don't want to risk the old man asking how I'm enjoying some trinket or other and I can't produce it to show how awesome/lovely/useful it is.

On a similar note: I spent the first 15 years of my adult life with nary a blender. Never missed having one; I don't even remember using one as a child. But My fiancée moves in and all of a sudden I have four! We very wisely setup a gift registry where gifts would help pay for our honeymoon and explained we already had a stocked kitchen and a bunch of blenders, so please no physical gifts.
It worked! On our wedding day we only got one more blender, a vase, a fourth water pitcher, some linens, and maybe six more items of junk I don't specifically remember. Generational habits die hard.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:41 PM   #5
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A few years back I addressed this with my brothers. In the e-mail to them I stated that I did not need anything (clothes, jewelry, books, etc.) and that it was time that we let go of this. It really hit home with all of us after we had to clean out the parent's house and move them to assisted living.


I do continue to purchase for them a fruit basket or some other type of food item that I know will be consumed. Have received in exchange gift cards to a restaurant. This satisfies a need to purchase some kind of gift. However, it has eliminated the useless stuff that we used to buy for each other.
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:49 PM   #6
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My siblings and I agreed that our gifts would be experiences rather than things. So we'll get tickets to a play, go to a concert or restaurant, or do some other activity together. That way we spend some time together, have a fun experience and don't add to the stuff in our houses.
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:08 PM   #7
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I do continue to purchase for them a fruit basket or some other type of food item that I know will be consumed. Have received in exchange gift cards to a restaurant. This satisfies a need to purchase some kind of gift. However, it has eliminated the useless stuff that we used to buy for each other.
Gift giving seems unavoidable with my wife's family but I have also started asking for food items instead (they insist on coming up with detailed lists). But it seems they don't know the difference between smoked salmon and canned salmon.

I think this year I will ask for a fruitcake.
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:49 PM   #8
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"I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? 'Consumables.'"
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:15 PM   #9
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After 15 years of trying, 2 years ago I finally convinced the 10 adults in the family to stop buying each other useless $50 gifts every Christmas. We all agreed to pull names and just buy 1 gift. It worked so well that the very next year we stopped buying gifts all together.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SumDay View Post
This decluttering thread made me think about how many Christmas GIFTS we're getting ready to sell in our downsizing garage sale #1.

I think I can appeal to the kids and explain that all we really want to have for the holidays is to spend time with us, so please, no more stuff!

But DH's family drives me nuts. Every year we all agree at Thanksgiving to not buy each other anything, and I'm the only one who ends up sticking to the bargain. I really want to send them an email and explain what we're doing, why, and beg them to get us no more stuff!
One way we solved this when we moved into a motorhome was tell family they could buy us wine or chocolate- that's it! That actually worked. We emphasized that we didn't have room for anything but consumables.

We're no longer in the motorhome. Now everyone gives each other e-gift certificates. (Well, except for Dad - it's usually a book)
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Old 04-04-2015, 05:33 AM   #11
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When cleaning out my Aunt's things I couldn't help but notice how many Christmas gifts were tossed.

I've tried without success to get our kids to stop giving us holiday gifts, but we all have moved completely into gift cards, subscriptions, and such. Restaurant gifts are especially popular, as are museum memberships.
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Old 04-04-2015, 06:27 AM   #12
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We've been minimizing gifts for years. At my retirement I received a ridiculous knickknack that I would never display. It had my name on it so it couldn't be sold. It went to landfill, I'm afraid.

For holidays we usually give each other a new sweater or sweatshirt, or something useful for DS as he gets ready to launch his own household.

In my family we all agree we have too much stuff, so it's easy.

I have a friend who works at Walmart and insisted on giving me Christmas gifts. I told her no gifts and last year she finally complied after 3 years of junk from Walmart. I have never given her gifts. It was very uncomfortable for me since she is poor.

Gift giving and receiving causes too much anxiety. I think it's a ploy by retailers anyway.


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Old 04-04-2015, 07:39 AM   #13
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Fortunately, DH and I both come from families where gift-giving is minimal. All of us are doing well, we buy what we want, we don't need more Stuff. Even with consumables, I'm pretty picky. We do send a few cartons of cigarettes to his poor-as-a-church mouse brother because he lives in CA and the taxes on cigarettes are high. BIL is 80, so we don't worry too much about shortening his life.


And now we have a granddaughter. I'm happy to say that we haven't gone crazy on baby stuff. I bought her two books (one used because a favorite of her Daddy's is out of print) and I always bring up a case of diapers in her current size since we have a Costco membership. Her first birthday is this week and I'm getting her a CD of children's songs (also one my son enjoyed when he was little) and a pair of sunglasses because it's that time of year. I'm also adding to her college fund.


We did splurge on them last month- we rented a big SUV and all 5 of us drove to TX for a family wedding. DH and I picked up the cost of the rental car, the hotel rooms and most meals. That was absolutely worth it- lots of shared experiences and family time and my parents got to meet their latest great-grandchild. I'd much rather do that than send gift cards at Christmas and birthdays. Gift cards drive me crazy.
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Old 04-04-2015, 04:56 PM   #14
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Both sides of the family long ago recognized the waste of it all and quit with the gift-giving, except for the occasional gag gift. We only buy for smaller children, and even then the parents have now requested experiences, not things. So we'll spring for a day in a glazed pottery class or something like that.
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