Thinking about not exchanging gifts this year..

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by Oliviaxxx, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. dakotix

    dakotix DIS Dad #852 from Central Massachusetts

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    Ah Christmas gift-guilt. This is why I have a love/ hate relationship with this holiday. We have done gift-less Christmas's before and they are soooo liberating. Of course now we have a toddler so we can't go 100% gift-free but we try to limit the amount of gifts to just a few. We tell our extended family to only send one small gift. One year we got 3-4 per extended family member for our DS and it was absolute chaos Christmas morning. Never again.
     
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  2. Mariearistocat

    Mariearistocat Earning My Ears

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    I don't think you're wrong and maybe we can make a pact to get this done this year! Our extended family lives all over the country and I tried the 'let's not send gifts ' thing I believe two years ago. It fell very flat! My husband (it's mainly his family) told me to just stop sending gifts when they still send. I always end up feeling bad and just sending things last minute (usually a flower arrangement or something from wine.com). I'm really going to try to be strong this year!
     
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  4. kimblebee

    kimblebee now my thoughts will be worth 5 cents

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    For our family, we draw a name and just buy for them. You can’t pick your spouse because you’re already buying for them. The limit is $100 and all children under 18 get gifts as usual. I was against it at first but now I’m totally on board. We post lists and I just go to the Amazon link and buy it lol
     
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  5. Gr8t Fan

    Gr8t Fan DIS Veteran

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    We tried this with extended family for years with varying degrees of success. What has FINALLY worked for us is that we go to WDW for Christmas and everyone knows we'll be gone. The first few years, some still bought gifts for our kids and dropped them off at our house when we got home, but the past few years have been gift free. We don't even really exchange gifts amongst each other, treating our trip as our family present.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  6. TipsyTraveler

    TipsyTraveler DIS Veteran

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    Ugh, why does gift-giving always have to ruin a perfectly good holiday season? :laughing: I hear you, OP. Over the years, I’ve all but eliminated myself from the gift exchanges. My DH and I don’t even exchange gifts with each other anymore. It’s so liberating. The only person I buy for is my DS, which I’m happy to do because kids are about the only people who are fun to buy for and who really appreciate the gifts anyway.

    I do still carry some gifting stress though, and that’s because my DH’s family still gives gifts. My DH and I used to shop for everyone individually but at some point we just couldn’t come up with ideas anymore, so we started putting together gift baskets of homemade goodies. Those were good for a few years but it was a ton of work and expense, so we tried to simplify it by including pre-made items that fit changing themes. But soon we ran out of theme ideas and the whole basket thing was getting stale, so I handed the reigns to my DH for him to figure out since it was his family. So now, every Christmas right before walking out the door to go see them, he prints off Amazon gift cards for everybody. Real inspired, right? :rolleyes:

    I sit there opening gifts while my DH hands out gift cards from “us” for the whatever-year-in-a-row. It makes me uncomfortable but I’m not about to take on the responsibility of shopping for his family, and they haven’t seemed open to the idea of eliminating gifts when I’ve mentioned it it the past, so....:confused3
     
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  7. WebmasterMaryJo

    WebmasterMaryJo Techarita Staff Member Administrator

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    My family has shrunk quite a bit, and I don't really exchange with extended family. It's so nice! My adult kids and I focus on doing things together, so it's really nice, although we do get fun little things for each other.
     
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  8. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    WE stopped the whole Christmas gift thing a while back. We do a secret santa kind of thig for anyone who wants to participate. WE made specific rules: It either must be home made, or a locally made or sold item, and we try to keep it to about $25 to $30. WE put numbers in a hat and draw the numbers, and then do exchange thing where you pick or take from the already opened gifts. We have a blast! The only ones I buy for are my three granddaughters, the kid down the street and one couple we are friendly with.

    This year they are all competing to "win Christmas" with my DH. Their gifts are home made, and are designed to pull on his heartstrings. The three girls are really trying to see if they can make Pa get teary! LOL! My Kady has made a photo book of "Kady and Pa" through the years. The two little ones had help from their mom and have used tobacco leaves from the farm to make a plaster bowl type thing. Apparently they gave up on me because I was no challenge. I cried at the Mary Poppins mug, and the Nana bracelet, so I am out of the "contest"
     
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  9. Lilacs4Me

    Lilacs4Me DIS Veteran

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    I have a big family, and it just keeps getting bigger! (adding a new baby in early Jan and 4 new family members to it this year, yay!!) Immediate family consisting of just my brothers and sisters, their spouses and children, and my mom number 33 people. 4 grandkids 18-20 years old, 14 grandkids age newborn-14, and 13 adults :)

    When the first 4 grandkids were little, we bought for them. As we started adding a new grandkid every year (yes, we have added one almost every year for the past 14 years!), it got to be too much. We were spending $10-15 on junky gifts just so each kid would get something, and it was becoming more of a race to the finish instead of a meaningful thought. So we decided to draw names instead. I have three kids, so I picked three names. My brother has two kids, so he picked two names, etc etc. We set a limit of $30-50 for each gift, so now instead of buying 12 $10 gifts, I was buying 3 $40-50 gifts that I could take time to really think about and pick out something that the kids would love!

    For the adults, and now we have 4 brand new "adults" with DS18 and his three oldest cousins, we were starting to run into that gift-card exchange problem, too, so we decided that each family will make a gift basket, and we would do a White Elephant exchange with them. It's been so fun to come up with a theme for our baskets over the years, and there have been some hilarious ones like the "Getting Lucky" basket which played on both the "gambling" side of getting lucky with lotto tickets, and magic 8-ball, a dice game, etc, plus a pink feather boa, a pair of lacy panties, whipped cream vodka, and other "getting lucky" novelties for the other play on words lol I think that was my favorite one ever!

    This year, I went with a patriotic theme, so I have a red white and blue tote as my basket, and have been filling it with different flag/America themed stuff. The clearance sales after the summer holidays were amazing! I will usually spend between $75 and $100 on the basket. It's one of the most fun parts of our Christmas Party!
     
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  10. Disneyluvr

    Disneyluvr DIS Veteran

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    oops, duplicate
     
  11. Disneyluvr

    Disneyluvr DIS Veteran

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    I love this idea! How do you play to exchange the baskets?
     
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  12. tzolkin

    tzolkin DIS Veteran

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    This is what we have done for several years when we all get together. (We now live in different states so don't travel every year.) It gives everyone the "fun" of opening presents but eliminates the stress and obligation of having to buy gifts for everyone.

    We also even cut back for the kids some years and agreed to do stockings instead. I bought the stockings and the adults brought "stocking-sized" gifts to fill them with. This allowed the kids to open a whole pile of gifts, but everything was easy to travel home with because it fit in a stocking. This plan worked out well for those on a tighter budget because they could buy a few dollar store items but if someone wanted to spend more, they could purchase something more expensive (but still small) or toss in a gift card.

    Yeah, I'm a weirdo who has hated gifts since I was a small child. I love everything else about the Christmas season, but just the thought of presents fills me with dread and anxiety. It took years to get my extended family to agree to no gifts (and sometimes it's still a struggle). DH even took a while to come around because his co-workers freak out when they hear that he hasn't bought something for Christmas, Valentines, anniversary, whatever.
     
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  13. TipsyTraveler

    TipsyTraveler DIS Veteran

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    I’m fully aware that I’ve got hang ups in regards to gift-giving, and when I look back at my childhood it’s clear as day how those developed. But, even aside from that “baggage” I carry, I’m sure I would’ve come to prefer to opt out of obligatory gift exchanges anyway. Even under the best circumstances, having to buy gifts for a list of people by a certain date can be mentally and financially straining, and it really is nice to take that pressure off the already busy holiday season.

    The fabulous news is that last night I mentioned this thread to my DH, Amazon gift-card giver extraordinaire, and he said he has a different plan for this year. He wants to set our toddler loose in Homegoods to “do the shopping” for his family and whatever the kid picks out is what they get. :laughing: That might mean Auntie is getting three mismatched plates and grandma gets a new end table, but hey, it came from their beloved nephew/grandson so :love::confused3. In any case, it’s bound to save us a good amount of money and provide a bit of humor to Christmas Day as people unwrap these toddler-chosen treasures. I’m actually looking forward to Christmas shopping this year.

    (Lest anyone think this new plan is unfair to the people who so lovingly shop to find just the right gift for us at great expense, it’s not. The gifts exchanged among his family aren’t particularly personalized or expensive and often multiple people are receiving the same item — socks, scarves, quirky housewares, etc. This will probably bring our gift-giving more in line with everyone else’s, actually.)
     
  14. disneychrista

    disneychrista DIS Veteran

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    We stopped exchanging gifts a few years ago. It makes is so less stressful.

    Christmas is/should be about spending time with family or if you are religious that other reason.
     
  15. Mariearistocat

    Mariearistocat Earning My Ears

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    I would appreciate the knit gifts! My grandmother used to make gorgeous blankets for our families each year and I still have two, which I cherish. And I would LOVE the knit scarves and shawls (so much prettier than store bought)--your family is missing out! My grandmother also made beautiful ceramics for us. I remember Christmas Eve you would go over to the shelf and find her creation for you. I regret how many I either lost or cast off over the years. The last one she made me before she passed away was an intricately painted jewel box that I still have. The detail is unbelievable! I couldn't believe it was mine. She always favored my cousin so I was certain the single color one was mine instead of that one.
     
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  16. NYCgrrl

    NYCgrrl DIS Veteran

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    For at least the last 15 years only the very young or very old receive gifts during the December holidays on our end. My gift to the rest of the peoples is I cleaned, cooked and sent them home with leftovers.

    One year we had more "orphans" (people that can't get home to their own families) than family members so as a concession we did a form of Secret Santa with everyone. Don't recall what the dollar amt was set to but guess it was $20.00-30.00 (there were a lot of college students and newly employed). There are some nice items you can get at the NYC museum shops at that price point. When it's just family we don't play games just reminisce, play music (turn that TV off you, man, you!) eat, drink and be merry. 6 hours later the house says "Get.Out.!.!" and they all go home except maybe my mother who would make up her mind at the last minute what daughters' home she was spending the night at. Good way to be sure your guest room was already set up, LOL.
     
  17. Boardwalk Jedi

    Boardwalk Jedi Mouseketeer

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    We have four kids as do both of DH's siblings. My sister and brother have three each. We called off the gift swapping when the oldest kids were in preschool or early elementary age. It was expensive and when we tried to keep the prices at a minimum, we just ended up buying useless crap. We were fortunate that everybody was on board.

    OP, just go for it and make the suggestion/call. If it's becoming a burden, then you have to do it.
     
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  18. Disney_Alli

    Disney_Alli DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! I so hope my in-laws feel the same. Knitting for knitters is easy - they know what went into a gift. Knitting for non-knitters (especially 20-something boys) is harder lol
     
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  19. Cannot_Wait_4Disney

    Cannot_Wait_4Disney Ok all you A cattle, get in ...

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  20. MamaLema

    MamaLema DIS Veteran

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    We haven’t exchanged gifts for years and I love it!

    I don’t even exchange gifts with my own husband or kids. One Christmas we took a nice vacation instead and we’ve never looked back.
     
  21. Disney  Doll

    Disney Doll DIS Security Matron

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    Instead of suggesting “no gifts”, suggest doing something fun with gift giving this year and dona Yankee Swap.

    Everybody buys 1 gift. Put a dollar limit on what the gift can cost. Wrap the gift. Everybody picks a gift and unwraps it. Then everybody picks a number. #1 gets to swap their gift with someone else or keep it. And so on until all the numbers have been called. It’s very fun. And you’ve only got the possibility for 1 gift that you don’t need instead of several.
     
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