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(71 Posts)
Anne58 Sat 16-Nov-13 00:23:30

Evening all.

Is there anyone with me on this campaign?

Many years ago, after suffering years of horrid tacky presents from those that were my MIL & Sisters in law,(it got so bad that exdh and I would draw lots as to who had to unwrap them) while I was still with now exdh, I plucked up courage to suggest that we only bought presents for the children.

Went down like a lead balloon the first year, but thank god it put a stop to the awful jumpers and cuddly toys/stupid novelty items.

Why is it that some of us spend time (and money) looking for and buying things for our nearest and dearest that they neither want or need?

I was talking to a friend this evening who was all of a doo dah over what to buy for her sisters, who are 48 and 46 years old!

Please, can't we all just cut the crap and make Christmas a time for relaxing, enjoying what we have and leave it there?

The pressure to have the "perfect" Christmas is ridiculous, and I feel truly sorry for those (especially those doing it for the first time) that see all the adverts.

Sorry, have ranted.

harrigran Sat 16-Nov-13 00:28:52

I am phoenix, I asked adults to stop buying gifts for us and just to buy for GC. I take the whole family out for lunch on Christmas Day and we have a stress free day.

Tegan Sat 16-Nov-13 00:32:26

Years ago my ex had to drive to Sheffield to buy something for his nieces son even though his niece could have bought it and we could have given her the money at Christmas and then given him the present. I've never understood things like that. I often wonder how much richer we'd all be if we had the money for all the unwanted gifts we've bought throughout the years.

Anne58 Sat 16-Nov-13 00:38:12


So glad that you see my point, although I must admit I am not in a position to take all the family out for lunch.

I have no problem with getting everyone together, although DS and DIL always end up having DIL's extended (and I do mean extended, but that's a story for another day)

It's just the present thing that I have a problem with.

Why is it, just because it's a certain time of the year, we spend money we cant afford, buying things for people that they do not want?

Agus Sat 16-Nov-13 01:05:10

I'll gladly join your campaign Phoenix

We have all decided to opt out of the stress and complete waste of money.
Presents for children only and not OTT

Not cooking turkey lunch affair just a nice meal of our choice.

Anne58 Sat 16-Nov-13 01:17:58

I'm ok with the making it a special meal thing (for the last 2 years, the lunch/dinner has been the slam it in the oven good old Lidl 3 bird roast, £9.99) And we always have the Smoked Fish Creams (a Delia recipe, comes out a bit like a soufflé) for brunch, around 11.30, yum!

It's the damn present thing that pisses me off gets me cross!

If Mr P and I choose to have foodstuffs that we wouldn't have on an "ordinary" day, then so be it. But as to buying presents that falls into my previously mentioned category.

Flowerofthewest Sat 16-Nov-13 02:33:43

My two uncles (partners) used to swap a ten pound note every Christmas as their Gift to each other!!!??? confused

Bellasnana Sat 16-Nov-13 06:14:30

Agree with you 100%.

FlicketyB Sat 16-Nov-13 07:17:18

Well, I LOVE the present giving at Christmas. In our family everybody produces a list of suggestions of things they would like a month or two in advance. No guarantee you will get anything on it, but it is a guide. This tradition goes back to my childhood. Most of the presents we give are small, but we know each other and our tastes. Yes, of course there are occasional disasters. I was given a cookery book last year, where having gone through it, I haven't found a single recipe I want to try but, never mind, in a few years a charity shop shopper will benefit.

The one person I do not do a present exchange with is my DS. She and BiL dislike Christmas and do not bother to celebrate it in any way, no cards, presents, decorations, turkey or other Christmas food. I have no problem with that, but I love it and everything that goes with it - including presents.

NfkDumpling Sat 16-Nov-13 07:21:38

With you all the way. We stopped exchanging presents for over 21s when our children were little but we're now facing the challenge of bringing in the 21 rule for our kids. (I think it should be age 18 now) They don't want to as apparently it isn't fair when their in-laws want to carry on. DiL's parents have a £10 rule which sounds good but ends up meaning exchanging bottles of wine, while DD2 has to buy stuff for SiL's cousins who they've never met - and their children! (She's latched on to my beloved grandmother's idea - mark who unwanted presents are from and put them away for redistribution next year) DD1's in-laws have split and regrouped which adds even more to her problems!

LizG Sat 16-Nov-13 07:40:24

We spend £10 per household plus gifts for the children which are not OTT. This year we are going to DD3 for lunch and will probably do a meal for everyone on boxing day. This pattern is quite good and works for us. I have suggested that OH and I don't bother for each other but he is not keen.

Soupy Sat 16-Nov-13 08:03:32

This Christmas we have already decided that we are spending max £20 per person. That means that we have to put our thinking caps on but I have already dropped a couple of hints!

There will only be the four of us anyway so that's £60 per person, which we feel is quite acceptable.

Christmas dinner has been discussed and a request made for duck(!), which I've never cooked before. Puddings will be as usual and then it will be pressie opening and card games in front of the fire.

Gagagran Sat 16-Nov-13 08:10:45

I do agree with all you say Phoenix. It is hard to break established patterns of presents.

DH and I transfer money to our 4 DGC's bank accounts for Christmas and birthdays and they each get a couple of parcels to unwrap - nothing excessive. For example our 12-year old DGD is having a nail art set and some re-cycled bath bombs. We gave up buying presents for grown ups years ago, apart from DD who loves parcels (but we have a £10 limit). Despite my trying to stop presents coming to us, the DGC all give us something and I can see that they are being taught to give as well as receive so we thank them and appreciate the thinking.

I dislike the gross commercialisation of Christmas though I love the traditions and music and special foods so we keep it simple and enjoy the festival which lightens the darkest days of winter. Cheers everyone! wine

JessM Sat 16-Nov-13 08:30:33

Absolutely with you phoenix - we are going to my DS this year in Ireland and it will be just be a family meal and get together. For the first time DH has extricated himself from his own families gift fest in which all the adults give and expect expensive presents (tat - you must be joking) and I even get gifts from my SIL's teenaged offspring! DH being an impoverished student has given him the acceptable excuse. MIL used to buy about 60 presents (gifts for the grown up children of friends etc - I've started and i don't know how to stop syndrome) I think this has decreased somewhat now she has to get others to do the shopping for her...

gratefulgran54 Sat 16-Nov-13 08:34:43

Pheonix, couldn't agree with you more! I, however have taken it one step further.

Partly due to financial constraints (well, mainly actually) and partly on principle, I do neither cards or presents for anyone, whether birthday, christmas, anniversary, whatever. My only concession being the ex's parents (flowers for mum, puzzle books/sweets for dad) as a token of appreciation for all they have done for me and mine over the years, like be there, unlike their son!

My DSs got used to it when they were younger, as they understood that my money just didn't stretch that far...but they had presents from other family members so didn't miss out.

My DGCs also get plenty from their extended family, too much in my humble opinion, to go with the inordinate amount of things they have already.

My 'presents' to all of them is, and always has been, my time, my love and my support. I always see them on their birthdays, and go to their parties....with everything else going on they don't notice that I have come empty-handed, they just notice I am there, that is all they need from me.

At Christmas, they all have Christmas Day at home with their piles of stuff, and everyone, including M&DiL come to me on Boxing Day for fun, cuddles, love, laughter and a bit of grub!

I might add that my DSs are all happy with this, and don't 'do' cards much either, but they always ring or call round on Mothers Day and my birthday, and afford the same courtesy to their Grandparents (M&DiL), on their birthdays/Mothers Day/Fathers Day!

Slightly unconventional maybe, but it works for us, and means that we mark these days with each other through love and appreciation, not a sense of duty and for what we can get out of it.

sunseeker Sat 16-Nov-13 08:39:25

My DH was one of 11 so it was easy to suggest only buying for children (we even had one sister suggest that as we didn't have children we shouldn't buy for theirs!). Now the children are grown with families of their own I do buy for a couple of the adults as they have been so supportive to me since DH died.

I do love Christmas but used to wake up in a panic about 3 weeks before having had my recurring dream that it is Christmas morning and I had bought nothing! I only relaxed after all the shops had closed on Christmas Eve.

Nelliemoser Sat 16-Nov-13 08:43:03

I am with you 100% Pheonix we will do about £10. In M&S I was looking in horror at some biscuits in a fancy tin. The packaging must have cost more than the few biscuits. DGS might get something nice though, he is still too young too understand.

gillybob Sat 16-Nov-13 09:02:02

We are a very small family consisting of ; My husband, me, my mum, my dad, my gran, my sister, son, daughter, DiL, 3 grandchildren. That's it !

I do Christmas lunch. We all live within a few miles of each other so my husband picks everyone up (in relays) although I insist it's taxis home.

We all exchange presents. We don't go mad, (it's just smallish things for the adults) but I have to admit it is part of the fun choosing presents for my family.

Now what to buy my 97 year old grandma this year? smile

ffinnochio Sat 16-Nov-13 09:14:04

Sounds like a very nice Christmas to look forward to, gillybob.

Eloethan Sat 16-Nov-13 09:24:53

Phoenix I agree with you completely. For several years we stopped buying presents for adults. Unfortunately, the buying presents for adults thing has crept back, although we operate a "Secret Santa" system where only one present is bought for one person, rather than everybody buying presents for everybody else.

glammanana Sat 16-Nov-13 09:30:37

I'm with you 100% phoenix and have for the past few years really cut down on the presents given as they children have got older,I have never bought for my sisters or brother (he who has everything) since we got married so no problems there and stopped with nephews & nieces when they where 16 just cards sent after that.
mr.glamma & I don't bother with presents just a token gift on the tree such as perfume or aftershave but always a favourite one that I know will be used.
This year all DGSs will be getting socks & boxers with an envelope containing £s except youngest who is 9 and he will open a cycling helmet as DD has treated him to a new bike.I have even cut out all the stocking filler stuff as all you get is junk stuff which is more often than not binned before the day is out and is tat anyway.

Iam64 Sat 16-Nov-13 09:33:16

Like everyone else, I find Christmas expensive but I love the family getting together. We have nibbles around 11, open presents, lunch around 2.30 - 3.00 dog. We've been 17 at times in the past, and I miss the huge get togethers, despite the difficulties involved in squeezing us all in to our small home, the stress involved in remembering not to burn, overcook, or forget to cook the sprouts. Before mum died, and when there were to be 17 of us, I did suggest we pool £10 each for every adult, who could then buy themselves something they wanted. This was instantly vetoed by my mother, who worried I'd be suggesting we buy each other a goat in an african village next. (she did know me well) So, we continue her tradition of getting as many of the family as possible together, for a traditional feast and games. Currently, we have no small children in the family but to compensate, we'll have 5 dogs and 8 adults - swop anyone?

Agus Sat 16-Nov-13 09:41:50

One thing I do like about Christmas is the excuse to decorate the house and make it a magical time for GDs who love getting involved with making new things and hanging previous pieces they have made.

I will celebrate anything that cheers us up and is fun,especially at this time of year with darker nights. Did this with my own DDs and now GDs so, we celebrate Halloween, St Andrew's Day, Christmas, New Year and Burn's Night.
Appropriate decorations go up in the kitchen and we have dinner together.

Like yourself greatful we do what works for us and that's what matters.

Charleygirl Sat 16-Nov-13 09:48:17

I used to find it stressful starting to think in June what to buy for friends who have everything. I then decided to cut out this nonsense so I no longer give presents to friends and I send a cheque to my SiL by marriage as I cannot cope with the number of children. My ex has long gone. I would rather that they had a decent meal than silly presents they neither like nor want.

I can no longer drive in dusk or dark so I spend a very pleasant Christmas day on my own.

gillybob Sat 16-Nov-13 09:53:18

My DH and I always talk about that Christmas when we could fly off to somewhere exotic and be waited on hand and foot. No cooking, No washing up, no keeping everyone happy........ But the truth is even if we could afford to do that we probably wouldn't as I would spend my time missing the children. I am very close to my small family and couldn't really imagine spending Christmas without them. even if they are a pain in the bloody neck most of the time. grin