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Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 06:17 AM   #1
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Christmas presents

Instead of hyjacking the topic on Christmas lights, I thought I would start one on gift giving. I reallly, really dislike Christmas shopping and I hardly want to leave the house this time of year. However, somewhat inconsistently, I usually end up spending way more than I would like on Christmas presents.
Having no children, I have tended to dote on nieces and nephews. I would like to simplify shopping and not spend as much. I haven't even started Christmas shopping. Any hints? To bring this appropriately to an early retirement board, I have told the relatives that I am part time now, am looking at retirement, and thus I will be living on a stricter budget and not able to be as generous as I have been in the past.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 06:54 AM   #2
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Re: Christmas presents

Gift cards seem to be all the rage this year, and are likely to increase in years to come. Although clearly unoriginal, I find them to be convenient, since I absolutely dread having to deal with the malls during the Christmas season.

Most people I know, if they're actually buying something, are going with inexpensive electronics, such as low-end digital cameras, computer peripherals, inexpensive PDAs, etc... On the other hand, you might try buying people watches, semi-precious jewelry that looks really nice, or other things that are practical but inexpensive.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 07:58 AM   #3
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Re: Christmas presents

We've been rebelling against this gift giving thing for a while. Not only does everybody end up spending a lot of money, but the people on the receiving end usually end up with stuff they don't want, and almost everybody in our family is at the point when they don't want anymore stuff -- we're trying to get rid of stuff.

So, my wife's side of the family is fairly organized, and they do a gift exchange. Value capped at $50. Names picked out of a hat. Wish lists exchanged. No cash gifts (doesn't make sense to simply exchange $50 bills, I guess).

My side of the family is less organized, but we usually get to the point of sending out wish lists, and we're slowing reducing the amounts spent, but haven't instituted a formal cap yet.

Gift cards are becoming the norm on wish lists.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 08:07 AM   #4
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Re: Christmas presents

I normally give gift cards to everybody except my Lyn.
It is the safe thing to do as the recipients can get
what they want at the after Christmas sales. Even so,
I feel a little guilty about the impersonality of it all.
For Lyn, on the other hand, I will brave the malls for
that special gift.

Cheers,

Charlie l
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 08:50 AM   #5
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Re: Christmas presents

I am not much of a gift-giving person either. Actually on my list this year I only have: my parents, my fiance and my fiance's parents. My bros and I have agreed long time ago not to exchange gift. Many young cousins of mine will receive piles of gifts from their parents/other relatives that I am not about to start giving them yet another gift.

My fiance: electronic/computer stuff or gift card to electronic/computer store. This year I have purchased a couple of new computer games he would like to have. I will throw in a gift card to Best Buy and I am done.

My fiance's parents: a bottle of wine ($15-20). We don't exchange expensive gifts (my MIL to be is actually the most frugal woman I have ever met). In return they'll give me something small too (box of chocolate or a pair of slippers etc).

My parents: this used to be quite a hand wringing ordeal. I would walk hours in the mall thinking of something to buy, then I graduated to gift cards and then in the past couple of years, I started giving them cash.

One more gift actually: my closest friends and I are doing a gift exchange every year at our xmas dinner. The gift usually capped at $10. Over the years, I am looking forward to this occasion the most because people can get quite creative with little money.

Jane
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 09:29 AM   #6
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Re: Christmas presents

I am torn by the gift thing. I am really tempted to go the gift card route but in the past I have carefully tried to shop for things that would be "just right" for the recipient. Now I am feeling like it is too much work.

My inlaws for years would give me a check for Christmas. One year they gave me a bag from LL Bean. I love that bag. There is no sentimental value in cash.

Whatever I do, I am sure it won't be until the last minute.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 09:37 AM   #7
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Re: Christmas presents

Jane's sounds like our situation. We stopped giving gifts in our family several years ago in large part because we were overwhelmed with "stuff". My boyfriend and I exchange small gifts (books, clothing, or splurge on a weekend out of town).

If you're still in giving mode, gift certificates are the way to go, although some people find them impersonal (I like their practicality).

We've also bought MCI phone cards for people at Costco (about $20 for something like 600 minutes), bottles of good wine (no more than $15/16), or even beer (Costco stocks a "beers of the world" box that if you can lift it makes a nice gift for a beer lover).

Magazine subscriptions are usually inexpensive. "Vanity Fair" is less than $15 for 12 issues.

If you're handy you can always make or bake something--a birdhouse, potholders, cookies, bread, jams/jellies.

Of course, if you want to be good to yourself and help others at the same time, you can always give a (tax-deductible) charitable contribution in someone's name.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 10:27 AM   #8
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Re: Christmas presents

I like to give dining gift certificates to my siblings and their spouces. I'm always careful to select a resturaunt that I know they like, (or would like to try) and enjoy knowing that they are going to have a nice (and probably needed) night out on me....

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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 10:51 AM   #9
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Re: Christmas presents

We bailed on all of the sibling/cousin exchanges years ago. I can recall the day. We had been shopping most of the day and were almost done. I was tired and irritated. We had three more worthless $5 -$10 gifts to find for some of our sibling's kids ("from" our kids). We found two of them, but we couldn't find anything suitable for the third. He just happened to be a complete sh*thead nobody could stand - he still is. Eventually I blew a fuse and went into a rant about the insanity of it. My wife started laughing, and I did too. We decided then and there to bail next year. That was over 20 years ago. I know almost everyone else feels the same way, but they are all still doing it. There are always one or two strong-willed people in every family who drive this stuff, so dropping out isn't easy. But we have absolutely no regrets.

We have three kids - all adults now (one a freshman in college) and we spend roughly $80 per kid. We do most of our shopping online. My wife and I have agreed to nix gifts to each other this year - but that varies from year to year. We spend about $50 per parent. And finally, an elderly high school teacher, who was very good to me, lives in a retirement facility. All her basic needs are met, but she has no spending money. So we give her $500 per year and will continue that as long as she lives. That's it.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 10:57 AM   #10
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Re: Christmas presents

Quote:
And finally, an elderly high school teacher, who was very good to me, lives in a retirement facility. All her basic needs are met, but she has no spending money. So we give her $500 per year and will continue that as long as she lives. That's it.
Now that's a gift worth giving. I'm sure she gave you the seemingly priceless gift of an education. I commend you for your thoughtfulness and generosity.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: Christmas presents

I second the gift cards. I even give them to my own kids. I find that kids want to be able to pick what they want and we always don't know what that is.

My kids (17 and 18) are giving me a list of where they want the giftcards for this Xmas. Otherwise my oldest gives me a really detailed list and then states he wants to pick it out anyway.

I only exchange gifts with my kids, cards for parents and sister and money for niece and nephew. Most of what I buy will be for my kids stockings. And maybe 1 or 2 real presents also.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 11:38 AM   #12
 
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Re: Christmas presents

I bake cookies and make fudge and knit something and then send that....and I could probably afford to buy the gifts, but I believe it is better for me to spend my time thinking of them as I make this stuff versus frustrating myself at the mall. Bonus is that my Xmas budget is usually quite low. In fact my largest exspense, like Bob Smith is a charitable contribution.

I do send out Xmas cards and an Xmas note--best part of Xmas for me is going to hear Handel's Messiah or some other beautiful Xmas music - don't really care about the gifts - in fact my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving - no gifts expected/needed, just a nice meal and family get together.

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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 11:51 AM   #13
 
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Re: Christmas presents

My favorite holiday is Guy Fawkes Day. Not only is nothing required of me, but I have a hunch that
Guy and I would have gotten along famously. After all,
anyone who tried to blow up the houses of
parliament can't be all bad

JG
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 11:58 AM   #14
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Re: Christmas presents

[quote- in fact my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving - no gifts expected/needed, just a nice meal and family get together.

Bridget aka Deserat[/quote]


We had the "favorite holiday is Thanksgiving" conversation last year and decided to make it so. None of our kids are married, no grandbabies, and it is difficult for 2 of them to get here. We give to grandmother, a charity, decorate, feast, and enjoy the season.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 12:04 PM   #15
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Re: Christmas presents

The gift giving between my wife and I with my siblings and their spouses stopped a number of years ago but it was tough. *I couldn't propose it because I'm the most financially well off and it might have been interpreted as "being cheap". *My siblings didn't want to suggest it either. *It ended up being "brokered" through our mum who was kind of a neutral third party. *It was good to stop because we all were desperately trying to make up XMas lists of things that we wanted, that were in the budgets of the other person, and that they could understand (as you get older you get all the simple stuff and your hobbies need more exotic to the lay-person things). *We'd still end up with stuff that we'd never use.

Quote:
best part of Xmas for me is going to hear Handel's Messiah or some other beautiful Xmas music
Yes, every year we take our nieces and nephews out at XMas. *This year we've got tickets to the matinée of the Nutcracker and we'll take them to lunch before hand. *The last time it was to a British style XMas play - a pantomime (yeah they speak - it's not the same as the Marcel Marceaux "man stuck in a box" stuff but the name is the same).
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 12:07 PM   #16
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Re: Christmas presents

Still can't get that quote thingy to work.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-03-2004, 02:42 PM   #17
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Re: Christmas presents

I personally get very tired of all of the hoopla that goes into selecting "just" the right gift. It's just exhausting. My one daughter gives me a detailed list of what she would like, and granted, she really wants to get me something special, too. But honest to God, when did it all change?

Last year was the first Christmas without my dad. It was very depressing for me. I didn't want a thing. My husband and I gave to charity instead of spending for each other. When I received money from relatives I quietly gave it away.

But I want to share something with you guys that just touched my heart to the core. When I was a little girl I wrote a letter to Santa and my parents held on to it for all those years. It said: Dear Santa, I really really want a SPIROGRAPH for Christmas. ect. My dear sweet husband found that letter and was inspired by a little girl's request. He had my daughter go on EBAY, (he doesn't know diddly sqaut about computers) and find a genuine 1969 SPIROGRAPH. I know this because I mistakenly opened the box But I was floored. At first I thought "How did my SPIROGRAPH get here?" Anyway, considering how stressful Christmas shopping usually is and compound with the fact that both my parents are gone, I was overwhelmed with love and thoughtfulness that went into my Christmas present.

Just wanted to share.

LovesLife
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-04-2004, 04:01 PM   #18
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Re: Christmas presents

Loveslife, you have a good man. What a thoughtful gift.
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-05-2004, 03:56 AM   #19
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Re: Christmas presents

Quote:
Still can't get that quote thingy to work.

Hi Indymom

Click the quote button to the right of the title and your quote should appear in a box. The entire text of the post will be in the quote. You can edit it if you want only a part. Then start typing below the quoted text.

Bruce
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Re: Christmas presents
Old 12-05-2004, 08:51 AM   #20
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Re: Christmas presents

Indymom, also be sure not to delete the second [/quote] when you are deleting part of the language from the post you are trying to quote.
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