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The Christmas pre-nupp

(37 Posts)
Anne58 Thu 27-Nov-14 16:09:31

This means a "no unnecessary presents pact", according to the Money Saving Expert newsletter, and I think that there is often a good case for it.

Yesterday evening I had to listen to a friend complaining about how hard it is for her to find presents for her grown up sisters, especially sister XXX, whose name is always followed by the phrase "the one who's a barrister" (always makes me think of Hyacinth Bucket with her sister Violet, the one with a Mercedes and room for a pony).

We have this conversation every year, and every year I suggest that they all agree to stop it, or at least keep it to a token present with a pre-agreed limit. This conversation has been going on annually for at least the last 10 years that I can remember, and my friend and her husband are on a pretty tight income.

She then said how she had no idea what to get her children, who both live away (although very nearby) and are aged 25 and 23. She had got them a couple of silly little bits, but was then stuck. I suggested she ask them to make a list of 4 or 5 things, then choose something from that, so it would still be a surprise but at least would be something they wanted. She did say that she might get her daughters favourite perfume (which is not a cheap one) but then stagggered me by saying "I could get them each a jacket or a coat because at least it's something big to unwrap" shock

Is it me? I truly don't get it!

I do remember the feeling of doom as my mother would arrive on Christmas Day with bulging sacks, where she had bought things for the boys but then got more and more things "for the pleasure of seeing them unwrap lots of presents" but it was me that was left with trying to find space to store all the extra stuff that would rarely be played with.

I'm truly not a "bah humbug" person, but I struggle to understand my friends attitude.

What are your thoughts?

Lona Thu 27-Nov-14 16:15:00

I totally agree phoenix, it really spoils Christmas I think. There's so much angst about the 'shopping' when giving is supposed to be a pleasure.
Now it's more about the cost.

whitewave Thu 27-Nov-14 16:16:37

My sister and I have agreed no more than £10 each - works quite well.

soontobe Thu 27-Nov-14 16:21:19

I think that each family is different. With different rules and expectations and unwritten angst in there somewhere as well.
I keep out of how other families run things.

Ana Thu 27-Nov-14 16:23:29

I agree wholeheartedly! It's one thing buying presents for the GC, but then I remember all the adults and usually fall back on gift vouchers (boring!) and some sort of panic-buy from Boots and/or jokey present for the men which they probably find cringeworthy...confused

See, it's sneaked up on me again this year!

merlotgran Thu 27-Nov-14 16:25:44

My older brother and his wife have always had their Christmas Days back to front with Boxing Day. Nothing must interrupt the present unwrapping - which goes on for ever - so they have a simple buffet and the main Christmas Dinner on Boxing Day. hmm

They have carried on the tradition even though two of their grandsons are now adults. It makes me laugh that their younger son and his wife, who have a six year old, don't turn up until Boxing Day because they don't want their little boy to think it's all a 'gift orgy.'

NfkDumpling Thu 27-Nov-14 16:31:55

After his parents died we came to a mutual agreement with DH's side of the family not to buy for each other as it had deteriorated into swopping bottles of wine for the blokes and scarves for the girls. It's easy on my side as there's just me and now I'm an ophan.

This year we're cutting down more and going over to a Secret Santa between us and the DC. That way, is each person gets a reasonable present (limit £50) and it'll save money. Only the DGC will get presents from all of us. But even there we only give a token present for each GC and money to their parents towards riding and swimming lessons.

(I expect though that Father Christmas will still leave something for us two!)

shysal Thu 27-Nov-14 16:42:02

We have a rule that only the children in the family receive gifts. It works well, and saves the agonizing over what to buy for those who have all they need.

J52 Thu 27-Nov-14 16:42:28

To DH's two brothers and their grown up off spring we send something they can all share, chocolate hampers, wine etc. usually the company include delivery just before Christmas. The cost, when divided by the members of each family can be quite economical. X

Eloethan Thu 27-Nov-14 16:56:20

Some years ago, when I was still working, I got fed up with traipsing around the shops looking for presents in a flurry of indecision. We decided to stop giving Christmas presents and asked our children and mum and dad to do likewise. (In actual fact, both our children's birthdays are around Christmas, so we just spent more on them then). Everybody was relieved and it made the build up to Christmas much less stressful.

My son's partner's family has a much more traditional approach to Christmas and we therefore introduced a "Secret Santa" system, mainly for her benefit. So now each person buys - and receives - just one present. Of course, this doesn't apply to children who receive presents as normal.

I prefer to buy things that I know someone needs or would like at random times in the year.

I saw it suggested somewhere that it is our "patriotic duty" to spend at Christmas time. If our economy depends on everybody rushing out and buying a lot of stuff that others don't want or need and which may put the purchaser into debt, then there is something very wrong with the way the economic system works.

FlicketyB Thu 27-Nov-14 17:29:54

I enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts for adults and children. However in our family, for several generations now, people are expected to produce a 'wish list' about six weeks before Christmas, listing items from trivial (£1.00) to more expensive that they would like.

They is no guarantee that they will get anything from the list because sometimes one thinks of things you know people will enjoy, but it hasn't occurred to them to ask for (the Kindle I gave DH last year is an example, he has used everyday since he got it.) Gift giving is limited to immediate family, which is small, and god children, who generally get cash. We are not into competitive giving and it is only on rare occasions (like DH's Kindle) that more than about £25 is spent on any individual item.

Shopping to a list is so less stressful and now it can all be done online it is stress free (except when Amazon send the wrong item, but that is another thread.).

Wheniwasyourage Thu 27-Nov-14 18:20:25

For the last couple of years DH and I have gone out to the local bigger town with £20 each and gone round the charity shops (separately) for presents for each other. We end up with books we will read, DVDs we will watch, jigsaws we will do and CDs we will listen to. If something is not as good as we thought, it can go back to the charity shops in the New Year. The £20 is a strict limit. It works well and is much more fun than trying to think of something new, now that we are lucky enough to have reached the stage when we have everything we need.

Ana Thu 27-Nov-14 18:26:21

That is such a good idea, WhenIwasyourage! smile

harrigran Thu 27-Nov-14 18:38:55

We do not give or receive gifts at Christmas except for the GC and I buy a gift for my friend and she buys for me, we exchange gifts at a restaurant where we have a special meal.

rockgran Thu 27-Nov-14 18:45:08

I have gradually whittled it down to just the son and his wife and grandchildren. What a relief! I still enjoy going "Christmas Shopping" as we have a nice day out with coffee and cake, window shopping then lunch - the only things I buy are little odds and ends for us. When I have broached the subject of stopping gifts (not easy to suggest as it seems a bit mean) I have always been met with enthusiastic agreement. I think most people are fed up with it.
A couple of years ago I did the same with card giving - I wrote a thoughtful email to all those online and said I was giving the saved money to charity. Again everyone was quite happy to do the same - I have never lost a friend over this. I still exchange cards with close family but save a lot on postage to far flung acquaintances.

Anne58 Thu 27-Nov-14 20:13:37

The postage costs on cards are far too high, IMO. Perhaps Royal Mail might think of actually making stamps cheaper at Christmas?

The only Christmas decorations we have are the tree and a garland over the mantlepiece. Plus when we move the very lifelike 4.5ft fake ficus doo dah to the hall (to make room for the tree) and put plain lights on it and across the mirror.

I rely on the cards to provide the rest, although year by year they seem to get fewer sad

I'm tempted to put up some of last years to fill the gaps, just so that people don't think we are "Billy no mates" !!

rosesarered Thu 27-Nov-14 20:35:37

That's the sort of thing Hyacinth would do phoenix ! grin
We also do just a tree and a lighted garland across the mantel, with maybe some holly and the Christmas cards [only ones from close family put up, the rest in a big dish to look at now and then.]We only buy gifts these days for the immediate family, which are our children and grandchildren, just a card to everyone else.This ensures that shopping isn't too expensive or a nightmare.

annodomini Thu 27-Nov-14 20:41:03

Now that it costs £1 to send two cards, I'm intending to send e-cards to the people whose email addresses I have. You can't put these up on the mantelpiece, but I hope my friends will understand. The postage I'm saving will go to charity, or rather, it has already gone to charity.

Ana Thu 27-Nov-14 20:43:00

I like the idea of cards in a big dish, roses! grin

Teetime Thu 27-Nov-14 20:52:59

Well I love Christmas and love giving my family presents( its not a large family) that I know they will like. I set a budget limit and keep to it and we have a pre Xmas swap with those we wont see over the holiday but on Xmas day we don't have presents until after breakfast when we have washed and dressed in something nice and equipped with a glass of bubbly (any children present have been excused this and able to open their gifts the minute their eyes open). I don't think we are excessive and we certainly don't use credit or spend money we haven't got.

kiligran Fri 28-Nov-14 06:14:14

The grown ups do a secret Santa ( all names in a hat and draw a name out ) a certain amount of money to be spent is decided and we all buy " our secret " a gift. No stress no hassle. We don't include the Grandchildren in this ...... It is, after all, a magical time for them. Merry Christmas to all!

thatbags Fri 28-Nov-14 07:01:30

My mum calls your NUPP "a non-aggression treaty".

I've never understood this thing about "the pleasure of watching people open presents". I don't like watching people opening presents.

Gagagran Fri 28-Nov-14 07:13:42

Oh I do Bags but I don't like opening them myself. In fact I don't like getting presents as I always feel obliged to gush and I am not a gusher !

shysal Fri 28-Nov-14 07:16:29

Phoenix, Since I left work I am a Billy-no-Mates too! I have a large box of same-size blank cards which I use each year to supplement my display. I blu-tac them in the shape of Christmas trees on the doors, and I like symetry! Of course there will always be left over odd shaped or extra large ones, but they will stand on the dresser.

TwiceAsNice Fri 28-Nov-14 07:30:05

I don't necessarily subscribe to spending enormous amounts of money but do like family to have several presents each. I buy small presents for 4 friends, spend more on my closest friend who is more like a sister to me and buy shared present for close friends who are a couple. Next is family I buy for 2 daughters and their partners and we all make a wish list which is too long to have everything on it. We all then buy presents off it, they vary in cost to hardly anything like a bar of chocolate to more expensive treats. Everyone then spends what they can afford and everyone's presents are things they love. I am more indulgent with 5 year old DGD but am curbed by their mother!! Their Aunty my younger daughter is as bad as me. My daughters also still have a stocking off me which they love and I buy this as I see things way before Christmas. I go out for a meal with a large group of long term friends and we do a secret Santa present for £5 and a £10 secret Santa for work. We give to charity and don't give either presents or cards for my other work (I have 2 part time jobs ) . So it all varies I know exactly what I am doing, I do a mixture of shops and on line shopping and I love it.