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Presents for Presents Sake, and Buying for Buyings sake

(26 Posts)
Anne58 Tue 16-Oct-12 19:39:17

Evening all, I was inspired by nanapug and her post re. what to get for her Aunts 100th birthday, and I do hope that this doesn't offend.

I posted a suggestion on that thread, but then got to thinking, what on earth could a lady of 100 either want or need, other than a visit from her friends and family, along with perhaps a cake or tin of biscuits to share around?

I have some similar thoughts about the dreaded C thing too! I will see people dashing around, all harrassed, looking for things to buy to give to friends and relatives, just because it's a certain time of year. They are possibly spending money they can't really aford, to buy things for other people that they probably don't want!

I used to be in this situation when with ex dh. The gifts we received from his mother were so eye wateringly tasteless, that we used to toss a coin to see who had to open them! Similarly, I seem to remember seeing the shopping list of one of his sisters, and it appeared that she was planning to buy almost everyone on her list a "cuddly toy". I hasten to add that she was a grown woman in her early twenties at the time.

One year I decided I could stand it no more, and said that we would NOT be buying presents for any adults, and neither did we want any. There was a bit of face pulling and muttering, but I stuck to my guns.

Even then it wasn't easy, as both grandmas seemed determined to give their DGC's a mountain of stuff. I think a lot of it was for the pleasure of seeing them open the presents, but the amount of plastic tat that never really got played with, and yet had to be accommodated in the toy cupboards really rankled.

I do hope that doesn't seem to be a bit "Bah humbug", I do look forward to Christmas and enjoy it, but I feel that the present buying has not only got out of hand, but has put the wrong slant on the whole thing.

Ella46 Tue 16-Oct-12 19:46:14

I haven't bought gifts for anyone for a few years now. I give my grandchildren money, as do others, which they save and then buy something they really want and couldn't afford out of their pocket money.

My friends all agreed to stop buying silly little gifts for each other unless it's a big birthday,when we club together and give tokens, usually John Lewis.

It is much better, no hassle,no shopping and everyone is

glitabo Tue 16-Oct-12 19:50:51

I always consult with DSs and DiLs before I buy presents for GC whether it is for birthdays or Christmas. I tell them my budget and then we decide between us what I will buy. It works very well. I don't waste my money and everyone is happy.

Ana Tue 16-Oct-12 19:54:02

Oh, such a good idea, both of you - I do wish I could get DH to agree! We have two grown up daughters between us and although one would be quite happy about it, I don't think the other one would be able to resist the urge to splash out on 'just one or two' presents for her dad and me, which would defeat the object of the exercise.

Ana Tue 16-Oct-12 19:55:56

Sorry, glitabo, your post wasn't there when I wrote my reply.
I have suggested to DH that we just pass around a £20 note between the adults - the end result would be the same!

Anne58 Tue 16-Oct-12 19:57:05

Ana , you could always compromise and do a sort of "Secret Santa" ?

Ana Tue 16-Oct-12 20:11:37 would that work, phoenix? I know in theory, DD and her colleagues do it at work, but is it just that you buy one present which would suit anyone?
(Obviously the GCs wouldn't be included - they're usually easy to buy for!)

crimson Tue 16-Oct-12 20:15:21

I always rather like gift vouchers. There's something nice about going to,say, Boots and having to buy yourself something nice. Some people [my son is one] love going shopping for presents for people. But, unless you know someone really well it's difficult to buy them something they'll really like; we all have such different taste in things. I buy my children National trust membership each year for their birthday, and buy presents for the grandchildren at Christmas but not their parents [I always tell them what I intend to buy in case they don't agree with it]. Christmas is so stressful given that it's only one day. I agree totally with you, phoenix. I've got a bah humbug sign floating around somewhere [my Christmas decorations sometimes don't get put away], but I still 'love' Christmas. As someone once said, it's the one time in the year when we all make the effort to get in touch with people that we've been meaning to visit/call/write to all year. And that's important. As for bah humbug; can you imagine Christmas without A Christmas Carol? I can't.

annodomini Tue 16-Oct-12 20:19:42

My DiL gives me tips about what to buy for the GC - even sends me the link to Ebay or Amazon. This means that I give them something they really want - but I think they will soon be plumping for money.

NfkDumpling Tue 16-Oct-12 20:33:03

We buy small token presents for our adult children, easy for girls - pamper stuff or tokens, but for blokes often results in an exchange of bottles. The little ones get a small present to open and money towards swimming lessons or similar. Only direct descendants - and my mother. Everyone else just gets a card, but at Christmas I do spend time writing in the ones where we don't keep in touch much. To that person - NO ROUND ROBINS!

vampirequeen Tue 16-Oct-12 20:36:17

I talk to my daughters about the grandchildren's christmas and birthday presents. My daughters are getting a gift voucher each for Toni and Guy because if I buy for anywhere else they'll spend them on the children. I also buy them socks, knickers, smellies and sweets. It's a bit of a family joke and they'd be disappointed if they didn't get them lol. The SILs get a gift voucher each.

Our children get toys to the value of £100 give or take a few pounds. No more. After all how many toys can a child play with?

We limit our gifts to each other to £50. Last year we had no money and limited it to £10.

Anne58 Tue 16-Oct-12 21:02:21

Ana , you put the name of each person taking part into a hat (or similar!) you each draw out a slip without saying which name you have drawn. You then buy a gift for that person within the pre-agreed spending limit.

Bags Tue 16-Oct-12 21:07:38

My mother always used to ring up and ask me what I wanted for my birthday and xmas. Although there usually are things I want, I don't want to ask other people to buy them, so some years ago I asked her to buy something useful for someone else instead each time she wanted to give me a present. There are special charities through which you can give someone a donkey or a place to store their harvest so it doesn't get ruined before they can get a decent proce for it, and so on. Smaller things too.

She liked that idea.

Bags Tue 16-Oct-12 21:07:58

price not proce

Anne58 Tue 16-Oct-12 21:10:06

See, told you on your thread that we need an edit function!

tanith Tue 16-Oct-12 21:10:26

We decided as a family not to buy for the adults anymore just the under 18's, this year OH and I have each said that there is nothing that either of us need so we will probably just exchange a token gift to each other.

numberplease Tue 16-Oct-12 21:50:54

Last Christmas, we gave everyone money, albeit not a lot, we`re not well off, but the youngest grandchild we bought presents for, as he was only 3, the other grandchildren are growing up now. We`ll probably do the same again this year.

nanaej Tue 16-Oct-12 22:54:33

We are in the habit of buying gifts for a set of some close friends. We are all in a similar, lucky, position of having reasonable pensions, homes and everything we need to have a 'comfortable' retirement. I have not broached the subject of gifts with them but do feel we should stop or nominate a charity and donate to that instead. As a compromise this year I am buying them all bottles of olive oil and some olives and then sponsoring new olive trees for a Palestinian family farm in the West Bank or Gaza. Similar idea to Bags suggestion.

OH has a birthday close to Christmas so last year I bought him (us!) tickets for the theatre and 2 nights in a great hotel in Soho. We spent 2 days catching up on exhibitions etc we had not got round to seeing!! Might do a repeat this year!

Deedaa Tue 16-Oct-12 23:02:03

We always ask each other if there's anything we particularly want first. we tend to stick to relatively inexpensive gifts and if I have any money spare I add something from the Good Gifts charity catalogue. You can usually find something in there that will have a connection for the recipient.

FlicketyB Wed 17-Oct-12 11:55:01

I confess I love giving presents to my family, particularly at Christmas, but in our family we have a system of consulting about birthdays and people providing lists at Christmas. There is no guarantee they will get everything, or anything, on the list, sometimes you see something you know people want/would like but it hasnt occurred to them to put it on their list.

Of course there is the occasional disaster, but on my birthday in August, DH gave me a new camera as my previous one had just died, DS gave me a book I had said I wanted and DD bought a book of vintage embroidery patterns that she found at a boot sale, she knew I would like it because I have a sewing project on using vintage fabrics and embroidery and I wanted to add some new hand embroidery and had been looking for patterns. All hit the spot and I am already noting ideas for my Christmas list.

crimson Wed 17-Oct-12 12:10:42

The book of embroidery patterns sounds like a very special present, in that it means that your DD remembered what you'd said and thought about you when she saw them. Literaly priceless. You must have been delighted smile.

FlicketyB Wed 17-Oct-12 16:40:14

Crimson, I suspect that she was also looking forward to using it herself! She is very good needlewoman and makes all kinds of items using vintage materials. She got me started on doing similar projects, so I suspect said book is going to go back and forth between us like a tennis ball. Having said that, yes, I did appreciate the thought. She is a very kind and thoughtful person

tattynan Wed 17-Oct-12 21:31:26

I don't like the secret santa tradition much. I don't take part with the one at my place of work anymore because of past bad experiences of tacky pressies. (I would always buy a nice present at the agreed amount but others don't)
At my workplace you are given the name of a work mate and you buy them something but no one knows who is buying for who. The boss gives out the labelled presents but last year there was a bit of a do when he gave out a present intended for someone else of the same name and one of them wouldn't swop! Not sure we will have one next year after that!

Ana Wed 17-Oct-12 21:36:25

Isn't that the same as 'secret santa' tattygran? confused I thought it was, but perhaps I'm wrong, never having been involved in it myself.

Anne58 Wed 17-Oct-12 21:41:03

Ana my thoughts exactly!