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AutumnKlassic
09-04-2008, 01:01 PM
Has anyone ever told their in-laws (boyfriend of 13 years) and extended family that they don't want to do christmas anymore? They have no idea who I am and want a list, like we are 5 of something. We end up spending a fortune and usually get crap in return. It's like we are just trading money. Now I LOVE christmas! I start buying gifts around July. I think about what they other person would want. I listen to conversations and hear what they say they like, but I am a size XXL girl and get Mediums for t-shirts. :confused3

My boyfriend and I haven't been on a vacation together since 1999 and really want to go to Disney World in January. If we don't do the usual Christmas gift swap that will save us around $600 this December. That will pay for our airfare and rental car.

The problem is I just don't know how to bring it up. I know I need to do it soon, because if we are still exchanging gifts I need to start now!

CajunDixie
09-04-2008, 01:07 PM
Are all of you adults? Try doing a hat draw with all the names in the hat then you only buy for the person whose name you draw and set a limit on what to spend.

Or if you have children in the family; ahead of time talk to the in-laws about everyone just buying for the children as you, as adults, don't really need anything.

mousetravel
09-04-2008, 01:09 PM
This is an idea that I've been trying to get my small family to do for the past few years. Instead of everybody spending $$ on others, let's just all go to Disney World together and have fun and not worry about getting gifts that will be unused, not needed, too costly, etc.

They haven't wanted to do this yet, and I probably will not be able to convince them to do it, so me & DD usually just go by ourselves through the year (usually Spring Break).

AutumnKlassic
09-04-2008, 01:10 PM
No kids! Everyone is over 25. They only kid is a cousins son and we always buy him something even when we draw names. I think kids should be spoiled rotten. Just kidding.

Crystal0608
09-04-2008, 01:23 PM
Maybe tell them you just want to do a card exchange this year, since you are planning a vacation. I'm a XXL girl myself, last year was the 1st year in 9 years that everything was the right size from IL, so I know how that is :).

hambirg
09-04-2008, 01:23 PM
All I can say is good luck! I've been trying to do this for years with no luck.:(

DawnM
09-04-2008, 01:27 PM
YUP! Same here! It just goes on year after year. And every year we wonder what exactly to get everyone that isn't too expensive and isn't wasting our money with something they don't want/can't use.

UGH!

Dawn

All I can say is good luck! I've been trying to do this for years with no luck.:(

AutumnKlassic
09-04-2008, 01:28 PM
Maybe tell them you just want to do a card exchange this year, since you are planning a vacation. I'm a XXL girl myself, last year was the 1st year in 9 years that everything was the right size from IL, so I know how that is :).

Doesn't this make you want to pull your hair out. I never buy clothes for anyone unless I am sooooo sure of what size they are. On are 4th christmas I got a medium knit sweater with a giant picture of Santa's face on it. My boyfriend laughed so hard he fell off the couch. I had to make something up for what he was laughing at.
I also don't eat cheese on anything! Every christmas is a lasagna! I haven't had christmas dinner for 13 years. I am thinking about brown bagging it this year if I have to exchange gifts. If they agree with me then I will suck it up and move food across the plate.

kayla87
09-04-2008, 01:29 PM
This is the season for my DH's families to hash out how Christmas gifts will be given. Maybe you don't want to suggest going from 60 to 0, because people may be uncomfortable with that. We've drawn names, but now that is old, particularly in a small family. We tried white elephant, but it's hard when you have to buy from ages 17-80, and for people who live in different areas of the country. We also do small stocking stuffers, a few 1 dollar gifts for each person. Make sure your boyfriend is on your side before you bring up anything. Also, I suggest email if you think it's appropriate, because it lets everyone fume and ponder in their own homes ;)

wickywinn
09-04-2008, 01:30 PM
If all else fails here's the "list" we sent everyone:

DISNEY DOLLARS!

GhostLady
09-04-2008, 01:30 PM
Before my siblings had children, we would all draw names so we each only bought one gift. Now that everyone has children, we just buy for them and don't buy for the adults at all. We do the same thing on my in-law side. Works out great for us and most of the time it's cheaper to buy for kids.

My Mother-in-law has 4 children, plus spouses, and 14 grandchildren. She is disabled and can't afford to buy that many gifts but she likes to give us all something. She usually buys for the little kids but makes the rest of our gifts. She gets great ideas online and makes some really cute stuff.

I'm sure if you explained your situation, your family will understand. They might even give you a Disney related gift like Disney Dollars, a Disney gift card, or maybe pay for a nice meal.

Good Luck

*pixie*dust*
09-04-2008, 01:35 PM
Good Luck. Chances are unless you get EVERYONE on board then you wont get anyone on board.

Kate and Pete
09-04-2008, 01:36 PM
We're going to tell my in-laws this year that we're not exchanging gifts. My in-laws (well, DH's step-mom, who I've really wanted to like!) has been very cruel about Christmas. We'll spend $ on very thoughtful gifts, and she'll buy us beef jerky and other crap at a store that buys remnants from other stores when they catch on fire/flood (for Mainers, that's Marden's!). 2 Christmases ago, she "canceled" Christmas altogether when DH and I had plans that wouldn't allow us to be at their home at a very specific time. Instead of rescheduling, she took the gifts back to the store (no beef jerky for us that year!) :rotfl: Last year they invited us over to open stockings, while my step brother in law and his girlfriend had piles of presents under the tree. (Girlfriend got $300 hiking boots from them!). If DH's father was in charge of presents, I know they'd be thoughtful, by he's not - MIL does all the shopping. (Oh, and trust me, they can afford it.)

I found last year to be embarrassing (as we opened a votive candle and had to ooh and ahh over it, while the others knew that as soon as we left there would be gifts) and since it's done with no thought, we're not doing that again.

Again, it is truly the thought behind a gift that we love, not the cost, but since there's none, we're done!

Oooh, sorry, that became a rant. Guess I needed to get that out.... ;)

AutumnKlassic
09-04-2008, 01:37 PM
. Make sure your boyfriend is on your side before you bring up anything. ;)


If it was up to him we would have no christmas, no birthdays, no anniversary's, no everything. He has wanted to do this for years. THe thing is I usually brought it up in November when he thought it was too close, and I was already done shopping.

I don't have any of their email addresses. He only has his parents and brother and sister in law. The extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins) already started doing the name drawing thing. I am still into this one because it will only be $50 and something for the only kid.

I just wonder how to bring it up!

RumpleMom
09-04-2008, 01:37 PM
How many families are you buying for?

How about a restaurant gift card for each family? Pick a restaurant you know they will like.

I hate to buy clothes for adults. I fear they usually end up unworn. Hint, hint that means don't buy me clothes either.

wickywinn
09-04-2008, 01:42 PM
We're going to tell my in-laws this year that we're not exchanging gifts. My in-laws (well, DH's step-mom, who I've really wanted to like!) has been very cruel about Christmas. We'll spend $ on very thoughtful gifts, and she'll buy us beef jerky and other crap at a store that buys remnants from other stores when they catch on fire/flood (for Mainers, that's Marden's!). 2 Christmases ago, she "canceled" Christmas altogether when DH and I had plans that wouldn't allow us to be at their home at a very specific time. Instead of rescheduling, she took the gifts back to the store (no beef jerky for us that year!) :rotfl: Last year they invited us over to open stockings, while my step brother in law and his girlfriend had piles of presents under the tree. (Girlfriend got $300 hiking boots from them!). If DH's father was in charge of presents, I know they'd be thoughtful, by he's not - MIL does all the shopping. (Oh, and trust me, they can afford it.)

I found last year to be embarrassing (as we opened a votive candle and had to ooh and ahh over it, while the others knew that as soon as we left there would be gifts) and since it's done with no thought, we're not doing that again.

Again, it is truly the thought behind a gift that we love, not the cost, but since there's none, we're done!

Oooh, sorry, that became a rant. Guess I needed to get that out.... ;)

I could have written this btw. She has a regift closet for us according to my sil. I received a sample hand lotion tube shorter than my index finger for Xmas last year. I should receive some sort of acting award for having to feign excitment for stuff she finds at garage sales or toiletries from their motel stays. They have Christmas with us separate for a reason. They're not stupid. ;)

But dang if that teeny tiny sample lotion wasn't the best present I've ever received for the fact we can laugh so much about it. It really is hilarious when you think about it.

BarbieGal457
09-04-2008, 01:44 PM
My family did this last winter when a family member got married in Naples, FL. We exchanged no gifts whatsoever, and instead got a few really nice condos and airfare, meals, spending $$, etc for a week out of it. I had just come back from Disney as well, so this made it a lot easier for me! (I didn't pay for anything but my spending $$, I was 19 at the time, now 20.) Maybe propose your idea and the reasoning behind it? I'm sure if they knew exactly why you felt this way, such as a vacation, etc, they'd understand, especially since you've been together so long!

budbeerlady
09-04-2008, 01:45 PM
We just stopped doing it. It didn't go over well, they are more than welcome to buy for each other but I am not spending the cash. We stopped last Christmas, I wont do it again this Christmas.

I can handle the drawing names thing but not the $50pp thing. I would rather go on family vacations that buy more crud that no one really needs.

So just send out an email if it is easier saying this year you are opting out of Christmas except for children. I told them in person and it wasnt a nice scene.

JonJor
09-04-2008, 01:53 PM
We instituted this last year...gave stuff to the kids only.

What made me bring it up to the family ????

I received Japanese Bettle Trap Bait as a gift!!!!! Not even the trap....just the BAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:rotfl2:

hambirg
09-04-2008, 02:07 PM
You all have just made me feel soooo much better! :lmao:

The crap I have gotten from my SIL is laughable. They are finacially well off too. But it's ok! I've just taken to giving her equally thoughtful gifts. . .meaning whatever I grab out of the re-gift closet. ;)

tinkarooni
09-04-2008, 02:18 PM
FaLaLaLaLa...Tis the season to try and figure out how to deal with the in-laws.

I think that everybody has this problem to some extent. Heres what we do. I'm married 13 years. When I married into this family they all bought for each other (adults) than everybody started having kids. I spread around that we should just buy for kids. Everybody accepted that. We set a $25.00 limit. per gift. We haven't raised it with inflation either. That's darn plenty in my opinion, there are 8 kids so far and than we always buy for parents. So a couple of years ago my SIL (whose husband ran off and left her with three kids so she moved in and mooches off of her widowed mother) decided that she was going to start an adult exchange picking names. Minimum of $50.00 per gift. :scared1: . That's each, so with DH and I it was costing us $100.00. The worst part is it was just a gift card exchange. I hate that. Everybody wrote down three places they wanted gift cards from. We did it two years and than said no more.

Here's my warning....they call us cheap all the time. And not necessarily behind our backs, sometimes right to our faces. I wouldn't start this unless you're able to deal with whatever their responses may be.

And someday I will be sending my kids to college. My SIL had better hope her widowed mother has some money stuffed in her mattress because with all I see her spending (three vacations this summer including a cruise) her THREE kids will never get there.

Oh my gosh....I guess I just let out a little rant myself. Sorry. :blush:

StillPinballFamily
09-04-2008, 02:29 PM
So just send out an email if it is easier saying this year you are opting out of Christmas except for children. I told them in person and it wasnt a nice scene.

This is my advice - but NOT to do it via email. (OP, you said you didn't have all the addresses anyway.) I'd have your boyfriend collaborate with you ASAP on a nice (real) note/letter/card that is mailed. Be firm, but polite... "We love sharing Christmas with all of you but no longer can afford to exchange so many gifts. So, this year, we won't be buying presents but hope to find other ways to share the holiday spirit with you..." No need to go into exhaustive detail or apologize.



Here's my warning....they call us cheap all the time. And not necessarily behind our backs, sometimes right to our faces. I wouldn't start this unless you're able to deal with whatever their responses may be.

Yeah. Excellent point! As the saying goes "put on your big girl panties" and deal with this as it comes. You know you're doing the right thing for your situation - how others handle it is their problem, not yours.

Hey - if you can't bring yourself to do it for this year...make your Xmas gifts to everyone *used* budgeting books...Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, etc. from ebay or half.com! That will cause a stir!!! The family will drop 'ya like a hot potato!!!! :laughing:

Good luck, OP!

DisneyMOM09
09-04-2008, 02:30 PM
With my in laws we have started doing one(big) or two(smaller) gifts per person ( they have a relatively small family just my husband , me, SIL BIL, mom and dad) then we buy for the kids, we have 3 and my SIL has two. This has worked well for us. It has alos made Christmas a more relaxed time focused on the important things instead of opening gifts for hours. On my side of the family, me, my sisters and brother draw names and we buy presents ( one or two) for my parents and we buy my nephew a gift. My sisters and brother also buy for my kids. We try not to go crazy and focus on buying a gift that is thoughtful and will be used and liked by the recipient. I think it would be great to just draw one person's name and get a good gift than to get a bunch of crappy thoughtless gifts.

lucigo
09-04-2008, 02:31 PM
You all have made me feel so glad that I live 900 miles from my closest relatives LOL We have 6 kids (2 steps live with their mom in same town), but for about the last 4 years instead of having big elaborate Christmas gifts we have gone on either a cruise or a trip to Disney. Last year my family in MO wanted me to come up, and I said I would have to wait and come after Christmas because we couldn't afford the trip AND presents. My mom said oh havent you heard we don't do that anymore! Turns out they all got tired of the silly presents so now they just each buy a $20 gift and all sit in a circle and read a story involving rights and lefts, and pass the presents around until the end of the story...whatever you get is yours. They are fun/silly/interesting gifts and no one gets their feelings hurt. I saw things from a fancy electric toothbrush to a bird feeder. We hit a Disney store sale and got a mickey serving platter and 4 mugs - so I was pretty proud of our $20 present...and you know I don't even remember what I got in return...it wasn't important, we all had fun and didn't break the bank.

We did buy for the little kids but still not over the top.:santa:

puffkin
09-04-2008, 02:34 PM
We gave up birthdays with DH's siblings in the last year, and we just decided to not do Xmas gifts either. There are 3 children (my son and two nieces) who everyone will still buy for, but not the adults.

At least for now, we will still buy for MIL (January) and FIL (December) birthdays. Birthdays have always been a big deal for their family though.

My family is just us (me, DH and DS) my single brother and my parents. We always had big Christmas's and continue to do so.

TheRatPack
09-04-2008, 02:38 PM
Been trying this for years....sadly I always get the "I'm a Grinch attitude" so I've stopped trying. We get nice gifts....and get everyone else something nice as well, but it's getting silly....just as you said, like we're just exchanging money LOL I enjoy gifts as much as the next person, but I'd rather spend that money on things I really need and not on something you might or might not can live without (like that DVD set, home nick nacks...etc).

Again, I've enjoyed 95% of everything I've been given over the years....my inlaws are great about really getting you something you can use or that fits my decor/sizes...etc but buying for everyone is expensive and we just adopted 3 more children so I tried to make it easier on them (not buying for us). It's just not going to work though.....so I've stopped trying.

Last year when I brought it up, my MIL stopped talking to me and cried to my husband that it was ruining her Christmas :(.....Great....just the feeling I was going for LOL

PelletierBears
09-04-2008, 02:43 PM
We had this same problem. Started out 15 years ago with everyone buying for each other and each kid (nieces/nephews - just 2 though), then we went to a grab for the adults and still gave to each kid (by then 5 kids total- this is just DH side). Now we don't give to anyone :thumbsup2
Every x-mas was stressful especially when we were dealing with financial difficulties after my husbands car accident and long recovery. For several yrs my husband and I wouldn't exchange gifts at all (at most maybe a book) because we had to make sure we had gifts for all the nieces/nephews. It wouldn't have been as bad if there weren't 12 kids for us to buy for on my side of the family! (we didn't exchange w/ adults at all).
As my husbands oldest niece reached 18 I wondered how long we were going to have to buy her something. I know that must sound so rude and that's why it went on for so many years I was just too sheepish to be honest. We only saw the kids once or twice a year...it just felt so forced and I was becoming resentful! I would much rather spend money on my own kids and husband! I'm more than happy to help those at the holidays that don't have much (one niece always appreciates anything we give her cause she doesn't get much otherwise) but the other kids don't need anything...my goodness they have everything!
It was so hard to tell everyone we wouldn't be exchanging but we finally did 2years ago (at this point oldest niece was 21!). My husband sent an email to his brother and sister and told them not to buy anything for our kids cause as much as we appreciate it they don't need anything and we wouldn't be sending gifts to the nieces. I know his brother understood cause he thinks like us but sister is ....nevermind :rotfl:
That first x-mas without the ridiculousness of "what do we get for... this year who we hardly know anymore" was wonderful and I wish we had made this decision years ago instead of worrying about what everyone would like of us.

PelletierBears
09-04-2008, 02:50 PM
We had this same problem. Started out 15 years ago with everyone buying for each other and each kid (nieces/nephews - just 2 though), then we went to a grab for the adults and still gave to each kid (by then 5 kids total- this is just DH side). Now we don't give to anyone :thumbsup2
Every x-mas was stressful especially when we were dealing with financial difficulties after my husbands car accident and long recovery. For several yrs my husband and I wouldn't exchange gifts at all (at most maybe a book) because we had to make sure we had gifts for all the nieces/nephews. It wouldn't have been as bad if there weren't 12 kids for us to buy for on my side of the family! (we didn't exchange w/ adults at all).
As my husbands oldest niece reached 18 I wondered how long we were going to have to buy her something. I know that must sound so rude and that's why it went on for so many years I was just too sheepish to be honest. We only saw the kids once or twice a year...it just felt so forced and I was becoming resentful! I would much rather spend money on my own kids and husband! I'm more than happy to help those at the holidays that don't have much (one niece always appreciates anything we give her cause she doesn't get much otherwise) but the other kids don't need anything...my goodness they have everything!
It was so hard to tell everyone we wouldn't be exchanging but we finally did 2years ago (at this point oldest niece was 21!). My husband sent an email to his brother and sister and told them not to buy anything for our kids cause as much as we appreciate it they don't need anything and we wouldn't be sending gifts to the nieces. I know his brother understood cause he thinks like us but sister is ....nevermind :rotfl:
That first x-mas without the ridiculousness of "what do we get for... this year who we hardly know anymore" was wonderful and I wish we had made this decision years ago instead of worrying about what everyone would like of us.

Should have ended with "..instead of worrying about what everyone would THINK of us! LOL

bunny213
09-04-2008, 03:01 PM
wow...what a timely thread!!
I was just thinking the same thing last night. My family is huge...and scattered all over the country. I've always loved Christmas and when I worked I sent out things to everyone. Now...many many years later....we are now retired and barely making it end to end. Every year I try to cut down a little more...but even that's making me a wreck.
I have 4 children, their spouses and 15 grandchildren...I try to remember my brother, his son and daughter and their children, my sister, her hubby and their 4 children and their 2 grandchildren - the shipping alone is expensive.
I need another plan or something...but when I think about it...I wind up being my own worse enemy!
I've tried to talk to my family...and they buy us things anyway...making me feel just terrible...so what do I do?
It's making me sad just writing this - but I know that this year I need to do more adjusting and don't know how or where to start. Even with 15 grandchildren (who all but 2 live in another state) if I spend $10 - that's 150.00.....add to that the postage.
Does anyone have a nice email or letter that could be used to explain things to my family? I would like to explain to them why this year it may be different, ahead of time. I love Christmas so much...but this is all making me so sad. And it makes me even sadder when they do and buy things for us - I would so rather have their calls and cards during the year.
Thanks for listening.... Barb

StillPinballFamily
09-04-2008, 03:15 PM
wow...what a timely thread!!
I was just thinking the same thing last night. My family is huge...and scattered all over the country. I've always loved Christmas and when I worked I sent out things to everyone. Now...many many years later....we are now retired and barely making it end to end. Every year I try to cut down a little more...but even that's making me a wreck.
I have 4 children, their spouses and 15 grandchildren...I try to remember my brother, his son and daughter and their children, my sister, her hubby and their 4 children and their 2 grandchildren - the shipping alone is expensive.
I need another plan or something...but when I think about it...I wind up being my own worse enemy!
I've tried to talk to my family...and they buy us things anyway...making me feel just terrible...so what do I do?
It's making me sad just writing this - but I know that this year I need to do more adjusting and don't know how or where to start. Even with 15 grandchildren (who all but 2 live in another state) if I spend $10 - that's 150.00.....add to that the postage.
Does anyone have a nice email or letter that could be used to explain things to my family? I would like to explain to them why this year it may be different, ahead of time. I love Christmas so much...but this is all making me so sad. And it makes me even sadder when they do and buy things for us - I would so rather have their calls and cards during the year.
Thanks for listening.... Barb

So, maybe I'm dense, but can't you tell them exactly what you've just told us? Your post above is beautifully worded, sensitive, and to the point.

This thread got me to thinking and I just found www.buynothingchristmas.org. It seems there are a few suggestions there folks may find helpful...

bucket o' butter
09-04-2008, 03:27 PM
We have done the family draw thing for almost 30 years (since I was 13) and it works magically. It saves on soooo much money. Everyone spends between $35 and $45 per gift which in the long run, is much cheaper than buying a "cheap" gift for everyone. When my family started it, I was 13 so that was the magic age to be an adult. Anyone under 13 got presents from everyone. :santa: :santa:

When I got married, I casually brought it up in conversation to my in-laws and they loved the idea. (DH thought they wouldn't go for it, but as usual I won that argument!!!) In that drawing, we spend $50 per person and you aren't adult until you are 18. I would really try to convince your family to do the drawing. It is a lot of fun and takes out the stress of shopping for everyone at holiday time.

Good luck!

kayla87
09-04-2008, 03:40 PM
I have 4 children, their spouses and 15 grandchildren...I try to remember my brother, his son and daughter and their children, my sister, her hubby and their 4 children and their 2 grandchildren - the shipping alone is expensive.

I am one of 13 grandchildren, and if my grandparents ever said that they weren't able to give gifts to everyone, I would understand. My grandparents often made homemade gifts (for example, a wooden coin bank my grandpa cut and my grandma painted). You don't need to spend much money to send something meaningful.

Also, if your children still give you gifts, look at it in a different light. I doubt they do it expecting something in return. They are probably just returning the favor you did by raising them. :goodvibes

englishteacha
09-04-2008, 03:55 PM
I'm trying to figure this out myself for this year. I am the youngest of 8 children. DH has 1 sister. We have over 20 nieces and nephews. We just can't buy for everyone! Since I started buying presents for my family when I reached adulthood, I've done family gifts. Maybe it's tacky, but each family (sibling, spouse, and children) get the same thing. One year I did a breakfast set and asked them to open it on Christmas Eve. Another year everyone got giant candles, Christmas decorations, and homemade goodies. Last year, everyone got a nice mixing bowl, cake pan, spatula, and a homemade mix for my mom's famous chocolate cake with a laminated recipe card. (hey Kate...I bought the bowls and cake pans at Mardens!) Even keeping it under $15 per family, some years (like this one) is tough. I think this year everyone will get something edible. I thought I'd do a "death by chocolate" theme-homemade fudge and truffles. It can't cost $200 to buy the ingredients! I can make them ahead of time and freeze them. We do buy for the nieces and nephews we're closest to. Usually it's just a token-a favorite candy, or a McDonald's gift card, a pretty pair of earrings for my niece-but something I know they'll like. We also buy for our parents. My FIL and his wife get the same family gift all my family gets. We get something more for my mom, though always found on sale.

I'd love to suggest a name swap (or a family swap), but as the youngest NO ONE takes me seriously. We're all adults-anything we really want we have, anything we really need we'll get ourselves. There are 8 of us, and I know we all will get stuff for mom. We all told Mom (on a very fixed income) that if she insists on getting us something, we want her famous chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting! (except my sister who prefers white frosting...there's always ONE who's difficult!!) :)

starann
09-04-2008, 04:00 PM
For the poster who has 13 grandchildren...have you ever considered a $25 savings bond? They used to only cost you half of what they wwould be worth at maturity (which would be $12.50 and you saving on shipping, cause htey would be mailed to each person) I know they aren't as 'good' as they used to be, but if each kid gets say 2 a year (one for B-day and one for Xmas) from the time they are little until they are 21, that is a nice chunk of change for someone who is 'just starting out'. I know family who did this for me and it was great, when I starting living on my own it got me a table set and some other things for my house. Did I miss those 'gifts' growing up...no waym, cause I got so much other stuff. DO I knwo where that stuff is now? In a landfill, I'm sure, but I still ahve my table.



For the OP.....if your BF's family does say 'no' to your idea...... When I was single and still exchanging with my cousins (we started just doing kids) I would get them as a family a 'theme' gift (it was single me, to married them with kids, so I would have ended up buying them 2 gc, the kids a gift and getting 1 in return..I was gonig broke) One year it was a $10 or $15 gc to blockbuster, in a big bowl, with candy and micro popcorn so they could have a movie night. Another year it was a Pampered Chef Garlic press, parm cheese, pasta, fancy oil. You get the idea. Each year their gift cost me less than what I would have spent on GC for each person and was a nice thoughtful gift that promoted family time that wasn't junk to be regifted.

Good Luck!

Darcy03231
09-04-2008, 04:00 PM
I'm trying to figure this out myself for this year. I am the youngest of 8 children. DH has 1 sister. We have over 20 nieces and nephews. We just can't buy for everyone! Since I started buying presents for my family when I reached adulthood, I've done family gifts. Maybe it's tacky, but each family (sibling, spouse, and children) get the same thing. One year I did a breakfast set and asked them to open it on Christmas Eve. Another year everyone got giant candles, Christmas decorations, and homemade goodies. Last year, everyone got a nice mixing bowl, cake pan, spatula, and a homemade mix for my mom's famous chocolate cake with a laminated recipe card. (hey Kate...I bought the bowls and cake pans at Mardens!) Even keeping it under $15 per family, some years (like this one) is tough. I think this year everyone will get something edible. I thought I'd do a "death by chocolate" theme-homemade fudge and truffles. It can't cost $200 to buy the ingredients! I can make them ahead of time and freeze them. We do buy for the nieces and nephews we're closest to. Usually it's just a token-a favorite candy, or a McDonald's gift card, a pretty pair of earrings for my niece-but something I know they'll like. We also buy for our parents. My FIL and his wife get the same family gift all my family gets. We get something more for my mom, though always found on sale.

I'd love to suggest a name swap (or a family swap), but as the youngest NO ONE takes me seriously. We're all adults-anything we really want we have, anything we really need we'll get ourselves. There are 8 of us, and I know we all will get stuff for mom. We all told Mom (on a very fixed income) that if she insists on getting us something, we want her famous chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting! (except my sister who prefers white frosting...there's always ONE who's difficult!!) :)

Another good family gift is a blockbuster gift card, microwave popcorn and a big bag of m & m's. We got that one year from my SIL and the whole family enjoyed it. We had a nice family movie night.

EthansMom
09-04-2008, 04:12 PM
Right about now (before most folks have started their serious shopping), tell them that the two of you are saving for a trip will be cutting back on your Christmas spending this year. Tell them, "Please don't get us any gifts." If anyone has a heartache, tell them, "Okay, but please don't spend a lot on gifts for us because we won't be spending as much on gifts." Then, give yourselves a much smaller budget than you have in the past. Believe it or not, when I give myself a tighter budget (and try to stick with it), I am able to find something decent for $25, $20, or even $15.

We've dramatically reduced how much we spend on extended family members for holidays and birthdays.

Marla Hellwig
09-04-2008, 04:12 PM
Several years ago, I suggested that all the adults stop giving gifts among the adults - just for the kids - 6 so far. Both the sister in laws loved the idea and most of the aunts and uncles also agreed. However, mil didn't

It has worked pretty well - but as the kids are getting older and they all live out of state - hard to know what they want or need now

Steelersfan4life
09-04-2008, 04:16 PM
So many hurtful words here..

The holiday should be about the blessing of family. Not the size or amount of gifts that you receive..

Ricky's Girl
09-04-2008, 04:34 PM
We had been thinking of going the "no gifts" route for years. We finally brought the subject up at a family get together in July 07. We all agreed, no gifts for adults, just something for the children in the family and we would keep that under $50 per child. In our case that came to $200 total for Christmas 2007.

I must say that was one of our best, stress free Christmas' ever!

EthansMom
09-04-2008, 04:54 PM
So many hurtful words here..

The holiday should be about the blessing of family. Not the size or amount of gifts that you receive..

I think most of the people posting to this thread would agree with you that the Holiday Season should be about spending time with family and not about the giving or getting of gifts.

There are a lot of good reasons to consider making changes to the way you've exchanged gifts in the past, however. For some of us, our family membership has grown over the years and it is no longer as affordable to spend $50 per person on children and grandchildren as it was to spend $50 on just children. Others may have had financial setbacks and need to trim expenses. Still others may choose to focus more on the "reason for the season" than on the gift bonanza aspect of winter holidays.

For my family, we enjoy a Christmas morning that is done with some thought toward a budget. Our Holiday Season has become more about the "things we do" than "the things we get". We make cookies, visit with family, see a show, go to a Christmas tree lighting.... :santa:

terri01p
09-04-2008, 04:57 PM
Last year was our first time not doing Christmas with my dh family in 26 years, it was just getting way out of control and the money we spent was crazy.

So last September my dh and I called every single person in his family and gave them a heads up that we weren't going to do the Christmas thing, at first people were taken aback but then it sunk in, and I made sure I sent everyone a Christmas card that December...it went over rather well and I don't regret it..it saved me $$$ in gift buying.

ColoradoMom!!
09-04-2008, 05:15 PM
We don't exchange gifts with any cousins or adult brothers sisters and in-laws. Both my hubby and I are youngest kids in our families, and I think everyone was pretty over it by the time we starting having kids. We also don't live anywhere near anyone, so that helps.

I am just too practical to not suggest the positive (obvious) benefits to not exchanging across the miles - trying to figure out what to get, etc. Even if you do giftcards, what's the point? You send them one for $25, and they send you one for $25 - for heaven's sake - spare the stamp. :rotfl:

I am not a Humbug, and i LOVE Christmas, but I would rather spend the extra $$ on my kids on what I know they want then send and receive 10 smaller things they will never use.

Kate and Pete
09-04-2008, 05:23 PM
So many hurtful words here..

The holiday should be about the blessing of family. Not the size or amount of gifts that you receive..

Well, yes, and that's the point of this thread. We all love our families but don't love the fact that they, and we, spend money for "things." This thread is about saving people money, but still celebrating with their families. I think the sad thing about this thread is that it is clear that some other family members still equate gifts with Christmas and balk at our idea of not exchanging gifts (or elaborate gifts!).

zachsmomie
09-04-2008, 06:03 PM
Well...I guess I am against the majority here. I love Christmas. I really enjoy finding the perfect gift. In my family, siblings don't exchange gifts. We only buy for children. At this point, I have one child, one brother has 2 kids and one brother has 3 kids. We also have a $25 limit and we try to shy away from toys since they get so many from "Santa". It's a pretty good bet that my 15 yr old will get gift cards but that makes him happy!:goodvibes

My brother suggested drawing names but there is no way I am not going to buy my parents and my grandmother a gift. My grandmother is 83 and I don't know how many more Christmases I will have to buy her a gift. I wish my other grandparetns were still here so I could buy them a gift. I know love is not about gifts. I just enjoy looking for something special for them. I did suggest, and it was received well, that my brothers and I combine resources and buy 1 big thing for each parent and grandma. For example, we buy an airline ticket for my grandmother to go to Florida to see her sister or a collectible M&M figurine for mom.

For my brother's families, who are older and spread throughout the U.S., we send 1 family gift. One year we sent Berger Cookie tins, another year Utz chocolate covered potato chips and yet another year movie packs (popcorn bowls and microwave popcorn and chocolate, etc.) You get the idea.

So, I am for the gifts. Maybe you could reach a comprimise and ask for airline credits or disney dollars. In my family, they appreciate knowing what you really want. We've gotten Disney dollars before trips and it's like bonus money!

Grumpy's Gal
09-04-2008, 06:15 PM
good luck. I have a sister in law one year gave me a sweater that was size XXL (I wear a medium/large) and it had no tag so I could not exchange it.

I do think after Christmas every year that we don't need more "stuff." And more "stuff" that we don't use. And how much money was spent on the "stuff" we don't use......and how nice it would have been if they had donated that money instead to families in need........

rentayenta
09-04-2008, 06:20 PM
How about setting a gift price limit? I find I have to be more creative but I can still give. :goodvibes



DH and I did a no-more-than-$25 one year and it was one of the best holiday seasons ever. :teeth:

tonilea
09-04-2008, 06:25 PM
In DH's family we do an ornament exchange. Cheap and something the will use!

Narnia
09-04-2008, 06:28 PM
My family give the kids money to help buy season passes to amusement parks. My DH's family now does draw the name but this year I think they goofed. My MIL gave out the kids names but the kids don't have names. I haven't talked to her about it but it seems odd. I try to keep christmas gifts cheap I just when to a liquidation world and bought my candle loving sister candle holders which were .50 each because everything was reduced then reduced again ( they were $20 each) I bought my mom a craft stand to keep her scrapbook stuff in which is really nice and was only $5. I bought my dad a sweater in the summer that was regularly $45 for $6. I find gifts that are small for my side that won't break the bank but are useful. My best friend last year got a bonsi tree( ok that's a bit strange but so is she!).

PelletierBears
09-04-2008, 06:34 PM
Well, yes, and that's the point of this thread. We all love our families but don't love the fact that they, and we, spend money for "things." This thread is about saving people money, but still celebrating with their families. I think the sad thing about this thread is that it is clear that some other family members still equate gifts with Christmas and balk at our idea of not exchanging gifts (or elaborate gifts!).

Very well said!
Too much emphasis is placed on gifts especially with kids who these days have so much! It really started to bother me that each year I'd have to rack my brain trying to figure out what to get all the nieces and nephews when I knew the gift would not be appreciate (you have to know the family- they're spoiled believe me when I say they have everything the day it hits the store! and their mom is my sister who I love dearly).
One year one of my nephews opened our gift to him, yelled "I already have this" tossed it aside and proceeded to whine and sulk to his mom who (did I say I love her dearly?) went to her closet and got one of his x-mas gifts from her and let him open it just to shut him up :sad2:
Can you imagine how my husband and I felt sitting there watching this. Embarrasment quickly turned to disgust. So can you understand why we don't want to exchange gifts any longer? I'd much rather give to toys for tots and spend time with our extended family enjoying a good meal and each others company. That's invaluable!

C.Ann
09-04-2008, 06:45 PM
Yes.. We did this when my late DH's medical bills kept climbing higher and higher.. However, that is not the reason that we gave.. None of the givers or receivers were really in a position where they could throw a lot of money around so we all just agreed "immediate family only".. No one had a problem with it and Christmas is no longer the dreaded "what-should-we-buy-this-is-going-to-cost-us-a-fortune" holiday.. :)

Unfortunately, no one would allow me to "slide" on my Christmas cookies - LOL - but that's no big deal because it's a fun (and now a traditional) activity that my DGD and I do together every year..:lovestruc

LovePug
09-04-2008, 06:51 PM
My family started exchanging names years ago (except for the children) and then, in '05, we went to WDW instead.

After that year, somebody (probably my mom) came up with the idea to "adopt" a needy family through her church. Rather than spend money on things none of us actually need, gifts are given to families that would otherwise not have a Christmas at all. It's fun to do!

Buckleigh
09-04-2008, 08:04 PM
My family decided years ago that you only buy presents for your own kids. Coming from a big family, when sibs started getting married and having kids it was getting ridiculous. (8 sibs + SO + kids = MANY PRESENTS). Now that I'm in a relationship, 7 years, we decided we don't need anything, present-wise. We like paying off our CCs more than another piece of clothing. Saying this, I do con't my tradition of a Xmas ornament for all my sisters and Mother.

jrasmom
09-04-2008, 08:33 PM
A few years ago we decide no gifts between the adults between us & the in-laws. My hubby still has 4 sisters at home & 3 nephews, those kids and our three we have a name swap some years, other years just the Grandparents buy for the kids.

Last year we began doing the same thing in my family, I have one nephew. When he was born they began to understand that we couldn't really afford all the gift giving so we all agreed to just keep it between the kids.

It's nice this way, they still get stuff (NOT that they need more some years LOL!)but we're not all going broke to spoil them.

Just tell them if they want to do a gift draw you're in but if not you prefer just saving all that money and taking a family vacation with it.

Good luck!

Crystal0608
09-04-2008, 08:35 PM
In DH's family we do an ornament exchange. Cheap and something the will use!

That sounds fun. I love ornaments & have no theme, the more the merrier :). This sounds like a nice budget gift too.

Bunny- I would have no problems if my grandparents didn't get us anything and I'm sure most grandkids would understand. They give all the kids equal & all the grandkids equal cash + a small gift to open & we multiply every few years which adds up, I ask them to cut back every year, but they never listen. A card would be fine with me. My mawmaw gave me a picture to copy last year of her as a teen, pretty black & white that I made copies of for everyone that everyone loved. Maybe you could dig up some pics of you and applicable family members from back in the day that they don't have & make 4x6 or 5x7 copies & add to a Christmas card. Who doesn't like pictures? Walgreens always has coupons for this & the clerks are nice to help-less than $5 per family. (G-parents & immediate relatives get years worth of 5x7's of my kids every year-or a calendar- snapfish, winkflash, etc has good coupon codes.) If a free shipping code came out, you could do multiple orders & save on shipping.

AutumnKlassic
09-04-2008, 10:25 PM
The drawing of the names wouldn't be so bad but there is just 6 of us (Boyfriend and I, Mom and Dad, Brother and Sister in law). We used to just spend $50 a person. now it's up to $100-$150. Last year I bought each couple a RCI certificate (timeshare) on skyauction. They talked bad about it at first when they didn't know I could hear, but after taking the trip they always want to know if I know of any other good deals like this. It just seems like at Thanksgiving his mom starts asking for a list then she stresses out about getting these things. His dad keeps saying the perfect present is green (MONEY) but this is just like getting a gift to get one. I actually love to shop. I love thinking about what to get everyone. I start early and get really good deals. I happen to buy toooooo much because I go by a money limit and not a present limit. (EX: two christmas's ago I had to make 5 trips to the car to get everyone's presents and there was only 4 people I was giving presents too. and I still didn't go over my budget)

I just don't want the stress of having to think of things for them to get. The stress of wrapping so many presents. And honestly I don't want to spend between $400 and $600 on people I only see a few times a year and don't really ever take the time to get to know me. If I felt they appreciated the things I do then maybe the money wouldn't be such a problem but with the way I have been treated for the last 13 years. I am over it! My boyfriend works really hard and he deserves a vacation and I really want to give him one. I think he is tired of the calls from his mom asking "what do you think Becca would want?". Believe me he don't know either.

If i am flamed for not being very Christian and not living the meaning of the season then so be it. I think it means more to be there for the people who are there for me. For me to spend time enjoying the holiday get togethers that lead up to christmas and not be worried about the material things.

believe
09-05-2008, 06:51 AM
What do you do for your family? I wouldn't cut out the in-laws and still do something for my family, even if I didn't care for their gifts.

My family does name exchange for adults (siblings and nieces/nephews 18 and over). You have to opt in, no one is forced. We draw at Thanksgiving. The kids 13-17 get a gift card (siblings each put in $15 towards it). Those under 13 still get a gift from everyone, $15 gift. We all still buy for my Dad and he still buys for everyone. I get to do all his shopping:rolleyes1 We also do an ornament exchange where you can steal, etc. That is the best part of the day.

For DH's family, the adults do not exchange. His parents do give each of us money as well as the grandkids, no shopping. The nieces/nephews get gifts, only 5 on that side total. This side of the family is not close so we give a list for the kids. What aggravates me is one nephew goes around saying who is giving him what. His Mom tells him. Last year we were tempted to get him something not on his list. If he does it this year I think he is getting socks and underwear;)

garydeb
09-05-2008, 07:20 AM
We also had problems with buying christmas gift for both families. It was difficult becuase we both come from a family of five. One year we at 4th of July picnic we just stated to both families that we will not be exchanging gifts because if has gotten too expensive for us. We said we will give to the kids (5) and parents only. They didn't like it and some gave us gifts at Christmas and we just said "Thanks for the gift but we are not exchanging so if you want it back that's okay". They got the picture and we don't gift exchange anymore. The first Christmas was tough but we stood our ground. Two Christmas's later they talked about how Christmas was less stressful and expensive because they weren't buying for everyone. Good Luck and stick to your plan...

-Debbie

Louisianafive
09-05-2008, 07:51 AM
I always try to convince Dh to go away to the mountains somewhere and have Christmas in a log cabin in the middle of the snow and just have Christmas for our family!

We have sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much drama and his family acts like we only give crap for gifts and they try to spend WAY TOO MUCH on our kids - poor Santa can't keep up!

Do want YOU want to do ~ They will get over it!:thumbsup2

tinkarooni
09-05-2008, 07:51 AM
So many hurtful words here..

The holiday should be about the blessing of family. Not the size or amount of gifts that you receive..

Well hello, and welcome to the DIS. I completely agree with you. However, when some of us are looking at the spiritual side of Christmas and willing to forgo gifts to achieve it our families have the "Gimmies". I would be happy to adopt another child from the Angel Tree (we do one now) and bring some happiness to a child that has very little instead of giving to my nephews who toss this years gift on a pile of plenty and don't even mutter a thanks.

Let's be honest, most kids (mine included) just don't need more stuff. It frustrates me to no end that our families don't see that. Why can't we eat a ham dinner and sing Christmas Carols? Why do the holidays have to include at least one member (or more) going into ridiculous credit card debt, they don't tell us but we all know they do. It's just silly and frustrating.

Steelersfan4life
09-05-2008, 08:00 AM
nevermind...

thomas998
09-05-2008, 08:21 AM
I shared your pain for years... nothing chapped my hide more than putting thought into getting something for someone and then having them give me something that was clearly just in the bargin gift section of a store and had zero thought in it (pretty certain then you are given fishing stuff and you don't fish).

In my case we found the best way of doing it was to plan a trip to Disney during Christmas, we told everyone at thanksgiving that we weren't going to be around for Christmas... it pretty much solved the problem that year and the next year others started opting out of Christmas... I think it was something a lot of people wanted to do but no one knew how to do it.

Good luck, and if all else fails... start giving crappy gifts... nothing says I don't give a damn like a Hickory Farms gift pack.

fairykin
09-05-2008, 08:22 AM
*hugs*
That is suckarama to get too little clothes for christmas!

I would call a person from each family you give to and let them know that this year, you will be giving homemade baked goods for christmas as you and your partner are giving each other a vacation for christmas.

Let them know how happy you are to be making things and that you have been collecting recipes. Make it seem like a good thing.... because... it IS.

Here is an easy and pretty holiday thing i make to give.

Buy red plastic plates like 20 for a couple of dollars. Plastic wrap and some pretty holiday ribbon from the dollar store.

Pick up a couple of packages of oreos and some bags of the curled pretzles. Then one bag of generic peppermints.

I'd get 4 packages of white bark. It comes in trays like ice cubes and looks like white chocolate.

Spread out wax paper over your counter with a light spray of pam.
Follow the directions to melt the almond bark, then dip one at a time the oreos and pretzles. They will dry pretty quick so have some of the peppermints broken up to sprinkle over the top.

Let dry well then peel off the wax paper.. lay on a red plastic plate.. 1/2 with the white chocolate dipped oreos..and 1/2 with the white chocolate dipped pretzles.

Wrap in plastic well, tie off with a pretty bow from the holiday ribbon and put a tag with your names on it.

OoooOOohh make some extra for Your trip to Disney...as these are so delicious!

AlleyKat
09-05-2008, 08:23 AM
This is my advice - but NOT to do it via email. (OP, you said you didn't have all the addresses anyway.) I'd have your boyfriend collaborate with you ASAP on a nice (real) note/letter/card that is mailed. Be firm, but polite... "We love sharing Christmas with all of you but no longer can afford to exchange so many gifts. So, this year, we won't be buying presents but hope to find other ways to share the holiday spirit with you..." No need to go into exhaustive detail or apologize.

:thumbsup2

eeyorethegreat
09-05-2008, 08:32 AM
Christmas Gift giving is always difficult for us trying to find something affordable yet something that the recipient will enjoy. I think the whole gift giving idea at Christmas is way overdone especially if you are celebrating the Christian reason for Christmas. In the past few years we have made donations to some charities instead of giving a physical gift to the person. This way the money we "spend" is put to good use it isn't regifted or thrown away and we feel like we have done something worthwhile. Most chraities will send a card to the person you donated for to. Check out your charities some are better than others.

Ephany
09-05-2008, 08:41 AM
Last year (and the year before actually) I sent out a nice handwritten letter to all of DH's and my siblings saying we weren't going to be buying Christmas gifts for the adults anymore. Of course we certainly didn't expect presents in return, we felt that Christmas should be for the nieces and nephews (all of the kids in our family are 5 and under). None of us adult children live anywhere remotely close to each other, (6 kids, 6 different states), so it's not like we see each other more than once every couple of years anyway.

My sister and brother were totally fine with it, kind of relieved actually. One of DH's brothers thought it was a great idea, the other one and his wife were not happy. They still sent us something (along with veiled barbs about our frugality) even though we had reminded them and my MIL had reminded them that we weren't going to be exchanging gifts anymore. With that pair of in-laws, everything we do is wrong, so it's not like we expected them to be happy.

If they want to complain and moan how cheap we are that's fine. DH and I were very tired of trying to find nice affordable gifts for people that were always ungrateful no matter how hard we tried. Giftcards to their favorite stores and restaurants didn't have enough thought put into them, however if we made something homemade, we were being cheap. We couldn't win. I'd rather spend my time, energy and money into shopping for the babies, they're still little enough I know that whatever DD picks out for her cousins, they'll love.

AlleyKat
09-05-2008, 08:46 AM
nothing chapped my hide more than putting thought into getting something for someone and then having them give me something that was clearly just in the bargin gift section of a store and had zero thought in it

I've experienced this scenario more times than I care to remember!

nothing says I don't give a damn like a Hickory Farms gift pack.

Lots of folks like Hickory Farms "goodies".

My favorite "I want it all" edible gifts catalog is "The Swiss Colony". They have cornered the market on extravagant delights!

cajunpeach
09-05-2008, 08:57 AM
We started several years ago doing a name draw with my family between the siblings, although 1 sister wasn't too happy with the idea. Luckily she only pouted but no big fuss. We have a $35.00 limit. We still buy for the kids (2).

Around the same time, with my inlaws, we just did the kids (high school age and younger)

The past 2 years we've added a white elephant gift exchange between my family & DH family. That's been pretty fun, we have age ranges from college kids to 78 year olds. Our "rules" were 1) buy something you would like to receive (no junk-hopefully) & 2) spend around $20-25. Some of DH family (not MrsBert!!!) is cheap and their gifts are usually regifts or from a 5 & dime type store. :lmao: It's still fun though!

Good luck. I hope there aren't any hard feelings and you get the trip you want! :santa:

Jordans_Mommie
09-05-2008, 09:05 AM
Also, if your children still give you gifts, look at it in a different light. I doubt they do it expecting something in return. They are probably just returning the favor you did by raising them. :goodvibes

:thumbsup2 I agree. It brings me joy to give my Mom and Granny nice gifts and it really is about acknowledging how much I love and appreciate them. You should not feel bad that your children still give you gifts, it is a gesture of respect and I am sure that your children will understand if you can't give any gifts. I am an only child and only granchild, my son is the only great-grandchild and I still don't expect a gift from my Granny. To me the gift is spending time with her.

diesel
09-05-2008, 09:09 AM
I come from a big family and we have the nieces/nephews draw names and for the adults we do a Yankee Swap. You don't have to participate if you don't want to. This has worked out great. We have one present from the Yankee Swap that gets reused every year. It's a pair of pink fuzzy slippers with lottery tickets in it. And every year who ever gets it must use it for the next years yankee swap with new lottery tickets in there. It's a fun tradition. My family is roothless with the Yankee Swap. My husbands family is way to nice with their Yankee Swap. Every one usually keeps the gift the got and is very polite.

wickywinn
09-05-2008, 09:20 AM
In DH's family we do an ornament exchange. Cheap and something the will use!

we do this too on my mom's side. on dad's we have chinese Christmas where each person brings a $20 gift and marks the tag "Boy" or "Girl". You put numbers in a bowl and whatever number you get is your turn to pick. You can either pick an unopened gift or steal one that's been opened. A gift is closed after 3 steals. It's alot of fun!

mrsbert
09-10-2008, 07:41 PM
We started several years ago doing a name draw with my family between the siblings, although 1 sister wasn't too happy with the idea. Luckily she only pouted but no big fuss. We have a $35.00 limit. We still buy for the kids (2).

Around the same time, with my inlaws, we just did the kids (high school age and younger)

The past 2 years we've added a white elephant gift exchange between my family & DH family. That's been pretty fun, we have age ranges from college kids to 78 year olds. Our "rules" were 1) buy something you would like to receive (no junk-hopefully) & 2) spend around $20-25. Some of DH family (not MrsBert!!!) is cheap and their gifts are usually regifts or from a 5 & dime type store. :lmao: It's still fun though!

Good luck. I hope there aren't any hard feelings and you get the trip you want! :santa:

Thanks for making sure my name is in the clear.

merekc
09-10-2008, 09:49 PM
Bunny - one of my treasured items is an album my Grandma made for each family a couple Christmas ago. She made copies of her wedding photos and copies of her, grandpa's and her kids' baby photos. This could be done inexpensively by sending them photos without albums. I'm sure they would appreciate the thought.

Another idea is to to send everyone favorite family recipes that they may not have. We started asking for family recipes from Grandma over the years (not too many at once we didn't want to scare her:lmao: ) We have all her recipes now except one which we didn't get before she passed away. For us, these recipes are priceless. Holidays would not be the same without some of these items.

I see nothing wrong with tellling your kids that you can't afford gifts this year. Times are very tough for a lot of people and they should understand. They may even be relieved. If they still give you gifts, don't be upset. They are doing it because they love you (and you raised them right :goodvibes ).

I don't remember seeing anyone mention a gift exchange for the kids. Growing up, there became so many young ones, that we held a gift exchange for the kids, separate from the one for the adults. It was draw a name. The kids got plenty of gifts at home separate from the extended family gathering. Everyone agreed to get rid of the gift exchange several years ago when it started turning into a gift card exchange. Everyone was happy with getting rid of it. We now only give to the new generation of young ones.

Hannahsmom
09-10-2008, 10:02 PM
I shared your pain for years... nothing chapped my hide more than putting thought into getting something for someone and then having them give me something that was clearly just in the bargin gift section of a store and had zero thought in it (pretty certain then you are given fishing stuff and you don't fish).

In my case we found the best way of doing it was to plan a trip to Disney during Christmas, we told everyone at thanksgiving that we weren't going to be around for Christmas... it pretty much solved the problem that year and the next year others started opting out of Christmas... I think it was something a lot of people wanted to do but no one knew how to do it.

Good luck, and if all else fails... start giving crappy gifts... nothing says I don't give a damn like a Hickory Farms gift pack.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

My husband and I joke every year that I get the "Christmas Shaft" from his family. Some of the highlights from over the years;

*The Ghiradelli Chocolate from TJMAXX with clearance price tag attached. I don't eat chocolate.

*The collapsable, nylon laundry basket.

*The year his mom gave me a coffee mug, two separate sets of note cards, dish towels and candy.

*The carrying case for my husbands video gaming system.

I keep threatening to just get them a bunch of McDonald's gift certificates and call it Christmas. Last year, his whole family went on a cruise over Christmas week (without us:rolleyes: ), so we used that as an exit from exchanging gifts. It was a much nicer December, not having to run around like a madwoman.

MoniqueU
09-10-2008, 10:51 PM
I guess there is an upside to my DH and I being only children. We only buy for our moms and sometimes pictures for my grandparents. DH's grandparents have passed. We get together with our moms and none of the other cousins or something due to my grandparents age.

Honestly I would just say we need our money for a vacation.
We did exchange gifts with my aunt but she is in bad fanancial shape this year due to the mortgage industry. So we called and told her WE couldn't afford it to take the pressure off her in a way that wouldn't make her feel bad.

mkaccountant
09-11-2008, 12:17 AM
You all have just made me feel soooo much better! :lmao:

The crap I have gotten from my SIL is laughable. They are finacially well off too. But it's ok! I've just taken to giving her equally thoughtful gifts. . .meaning whatever I grab out of the re-gift closet. ;)

I am so glad I am not the only one with this problem. DH's brother and his wife are not wealthy but could definitely do better. Oh heck, what am I talking about, last year was the first year I was even given a gift!!! BTW DH and I are going to have our third Christmas married this year and ninth as a couple. My gift last year, two of the teeny bottles from Bath & Body Works. What's better, DH got a gift card to Goody's (a clothing store which carries average sizes not sizes for a 6'5" 280lb man!!!). The gift card was $10. :scared1:

I have told DH he needs to tell them we are not exchanging this year, I spent over $80 between them and their daughter last year for either regifts or the cheapest thing she could think of the day before Christmas! He has not said anything yet, but I am holding my ground this year unlike the last couple when I have caved. :mad:

It's not just the money issue, as I mentioned, I never received a gift until last year. It's the fact that I am thoughtful and try to get them something they can use or want. No more wasting my time. Of course DH's parents aren't/weren't too much better. Last year was horrible for several reasons, his mom had come up with an idea for us and was going to get it the first week of December but we had no idea what it was, however, she had a fatal car accident before her plan could pan out. I wanted to boycott all Christmas festivities since she was gone (the only one of his family who gave a crap about me). As it turned out, DH's brother's family was showered with gifts, I received a small dollar gift card, so did DH and some cheap tools. I know last year was tough for everyone, but previous years, DH's brother's family has always gotten more and better gifts than us not to mention things they would actually use.

This year I plan on buying for my sister and her kids and that is it. DH and I are going on vacation for Christmas, so only a few stocking stuffers for him!

Okay sorry for the rant, but I am glad I am not the only one.

Jaycey'smom
09-11-2008, 12:54 AM
We also do a name "draw" for the adults as well as the kids. Our family has many kids so we let them draw names and they get to buy for who they pick. It works out well and i do not go broke.:cool1: It has worked well.

disykat
09-11-2008, 12:58 AM
Whatever you do, don't say you can't afford to buy gifts. That opens your finances and anything you buy in the next year up for scrutiny. Say you want to simplify, focus on the real meaning of Christmas, take away the stress from your holiday, go green, give the money to charity, whatever you want. Just DON'T say you can't afford to buy them presents and then take a vacation!

disykat
09-11-2008, 01:24 AM
We're big into simple. We don't exchange with my brother and his wife since they are of the same mind. We give to our parents, my sister, and a family gift to his sister and her family. I don't think we've ever spent more than about $40 on each person or couple. (Fortunately all the family members think the same on the budget!) DH and I give to our kids, but generally prefer not to exchange gifts with each other. We do stockings sometimes for each other, but I'd really rather not.

The only reason we give any gifts at all is because we have some family members that really value the gift exchange. If it were up to us, we'd skip it altogether. I do think it's funny though that the family member who totally freaked at the idea of not exchanging and went on and on about how I was ruining Christmas for even suggesting it, is the family member who calls me every other day starting in November whining about how she doesn't know what to buy anyone, doesn't have time to shop, etc. - and She wants ME to decide what she should give to my kids. So basically, despite being the one who dislikes the whole gift thing, I practically have to do HER shopping too! I hate shopping.

LaurieG
09-11-2008, 06:05 AM
Yes, I have done this. My boyfriend and I of 10+ years no longer exchange gifts and also we do not exchange gifts with the adults in his family. We all buy for the kids and call it good. We do exchange with my family mom/dad and brother, not sure how much long that will be though.

WendyisDarling
09-11-2008, 07:04 AM
I didn't read all the replies, but seems I will be in the minority with a few exceptions in my explanation.

I have my first IL on "my" side of the family. She said last year that on her side they only buy gifts for the kids in her family. (She met my brother in May and they were married in Oct. and she told my Mom this in Nov.).
Our family has great joy giving each other gifts (however, my side doesn't buy junk just for the sake of buy junk). We don't want to lose one of our few family traditions because this "outsider" (yes, that seems terrible but remember we knew her only months) came in and said we have to stop. BTW, I am the only one with kids. My sis and I both said we don't care if they want to only buy for the kids or not buy at all that is their choice. But, we aren't going to stop doing what we want to do. We won't be mad or upset with them and that was a very true feeling. We aren't all together at Christmas anyway. They went ahead and bought gifts for everyone. Likely they felt they had to, but really they didn't.

Her family is very different than ours. There are a couple of divorces and she and my brother ended up going to three other homes before my parents late Christmas night. They received plenty of gifts along the way (SIL is a very odd bird, she likes to tell the value of everything she gets. Her mom and step-dad gave them $1000. Her dad gave them each $500 GC's. Etc.) Our gifts aren't that extravaggent.

We send BD gifts too. They have said a couple of times, a card would be enough. I explicitly told them "please do not feel like you have to reciprocate". This is just something I WANT to do. They did send me a gift for my BD. I really don't want them to, if they would rather just exchange cards. I am not giving gifts to get a gift.

That being said...previously, the shoe was on the other foot. DH is the baby and he has a grown brother and sis with kids. Oh my, the junk we would get. I wanted to stop the gifts. I wanted to say something. But, I didn't. After having gone through the experience with MY family, I am glad I didn't. A few years ago, DH's sis just stopped sending gifts. She didn't announce it. She just stopped. (We don't have a get together.) We didn't care. We continued to send gifts. Eventually, we started sending a nice family gift. DH's mom now doesn't send gifts (also no announcement; just stopped). Oh well. My kids get enough that they don't even notice. We don't care. We still send her gifts, of course. DH's brother and wife send gifts and talk about bargain bin junk! Everything I unwrap I know is going straight to Goodwill. They send so many presents too. If I could, I would love to say "I would rather have one nice $10 item than 5 bargain bin items" but of course, I can't. We continue to send gifts.

My suggestions to the OP are 1. Let your DH ( or is it DB) handle it. He should tell them and you should stay out of it. 2. Do it soon before shopping is in full force 3. If they want to continue, allow them without issue but let your SO explain you have chosen not to participate. He can state your case, but then let it go. You certainly have a right to do what you want, but so do they.

Good luck.

Moeluv4u7
09-11-2008, 09:34 AM
I had to post to this- As I too, Looooove Christmas- but not for the gifts received rather than the ones we give- to each other and our 5 children but also any we give to others- family, friends and otherwise... That being said, I don'- t feel "obligated" to give gifts to anyone! I love to see my kids faces when they open a particular item- It is "magic"! & my kids now range from 17 to 7 - We get for my mom usually and my youngest brother (who lives with her and working very hard to start his career as he has just graduated from engineering school, btw, he is 13 yrs younger than I am) If we don't buy for certain family members it is usually because we will not see them and don't usually KIT throughout the year- Others whom we do KIT with, it is just, they are having Christmas at their house and we, at ours- or at mom's, etc- If my other brother comes in w/ his girlfriend I may or may not have picked up something for them (usually a home type item) Our Christmas is always really nice but I know my mom even has had her financial bouts since her & my Dad split about 5 years ago (and Yes, he still shows up for Christmas at her house 400 miles away from his :confused: ) But, she doesn't ever tell him he isn't welcome and she also always gets him a few gifts... We have told my mom not to get us gifts as well as our kids (she will always get the kids and us gifts) We got gifts for my sis and bil one year and I will never again! My sis is "different" in that if it isn't name brand and $100- it is "less than" and she could care less- so be it... My lil' sis, all grown up, and snooty as heXX- No worries,- It doesn't phase us a bit! Oh! & she doesn't give gifts to "our" side either- just to mom and that's it- (not even our little brothers) she does give gifts to all of her in-laws though...So, we are cool w/ that- we also hardly ever spend Christmas with her & her fam & I usually will not make a point of seeing mom when I know my sis will be there- I send whatever it is for my mom & brother and we get together before or after Christmas if we can get together at all-
All in all if you feel obligated to give or are concerned w/ not giving... too much to stress about IMO but if so... do jar mix gifts that you make up yourself, attach a ribbon and print off a computer made label w/ Christmassy motif, have calendars made up for everyone w/ pics of family members such as grandparents, grandkids, etc- depending on who recipient is or the same for everyone- Those can be done by yourselves as well by computer, you don't have to go to photo store and spend $30- each on them-
The family recipe book is another one that is great! Dishes that you always had as a kid that grandma made or mom... your own that your kids nowlove, etc- If someone is not appreciative to the love, thought and time that goes into those type of gifts- Don't do anything and why do you feel th eneed to "announce" that you won't be doing gift exchange?- Just don't! & if you want to relieve them of "obligation" of buying for you as well then just let them know- This year we will be doing something different for Christmas, please don't get us anything- If they ask what you are doing instead or why? (which you do not have to respond to- but if you do, tell them you are celebrating Christmas old fashioned style- If you are not religious and don't celebrate Him during the season (no judgements from me on that here, this is strictly speaking budget minded) Let them know...
**You are going to enjoy each other this Christmas since throughout the year it seems w/ day to day lifestyles and goings ons that you take each other for granted
** You are having a great time coming up with homemade ideas to decorate and bake, make, just like when your grandmother was young
**You would like to start your own family traditions w/ your own kids (or if a childless couple, yourselves) rather than carry your DH's family tradition and your family tradition from when you were young into your traditions now- You want your kids to carry different values than what has been taught to them throughout the last few years
**You will be giving gifts that are homemade goods
** Or suggest a home made Christmas from everyone- If they want to do store bought gifts themselves that's fine but you won't be going that route this year
-many more ideas, and for crafted items- check out the ever so many free craft boards around the internet as well as this one- many great ideas and so many free directions to make- T-shirts w/ kids pics on them, photo album scrapped up yourself, recipe books w/ family tradition recipes, old jeans outgrown turned into a tote bag, a quilt made from all of your kids old T-shirts or JEANS-, pillows from jeans w/ the pocket side still on it- (some of these will still need various items bought to fully complete (pillow forms, thread, craft/fabric glue, scrap items that can't be obtained from free stuff on internet, But they are all so fun to do and so inexpensive w/ so much thought and love- BUT, my biggest thing, I will not spend time, money and energy on something that will not be appreciated! I have never been materialistic and if my family members are... they just miss out! My DH's fam is oh so a whole long different story- but same end result- We don't feel obligated- I do what I do out of my own feelings and if we don't exchange gifts- so be it- I don't feel the need to explain anything-
Done w/ my rant- LOL :rolleyes1
Hope everyone has a beautiful Christmas season & attains the goal you have attempted to acheive- Ours this year is savings for our Disney trip next year- Gifts for our kids will be one very nice item they have asked for and possibly a few "filler" gifts since we do have the younger ones- BUT- filler gifts will be items to take w/ us to Disney along with things that they need or have asked for that are everyday use items- like a new carry all for my DD- she can use for whatever but great for carrying pool items and park items- My oldest son will need another thumb drive and will get a prepaid gift card to get itunes music for his ipod, guiter strings, music, maybe a game caddy for his game system and such to be put on so it is neater in his room, my 2nd oldest - game caddy as well for his room, cologne gift set, some "gear" as he calls it- LOL (new clothes) Our younger ones will get a new bank (looking to get the huge bubble gum one or the traffic light that the lights actually work on, a couple toys/games and that's it all of them w/ their large item will also get a gift card to use at Disney along w/ any money they have saved theirselves- I am still contemplating the smaller, less expensive type gifts but all in all it won't be another $5K Christmas! Yeah w/ 5 kids and all the age ranges it starts to add up pretty darn quick! Also, throughout the year this past I have not been buying "things" as we go places- They have to add it to their items wanted for Christmas- so this has helped to break down spending and actually looking forward to Christmas- Plus 2 of mine have B-days right before Christmas- one in October and the other in November- That will be one gift and having their friends over or a get together away from home w/ friends (skate rink, bowling, movies, whatever)
Wow, this was intended to just give some ideas and suggestions- Very long post - apologies for the novella!- :surfweb: :scared:

CrzyforPiglet
09-11-2008, 10:34 AM
It's definitely not all I can say but good luck and best wishes on your situation. My one sister and I tried to suggest that last year and our older sister went off on such a tantrum about it (and we heard about it for months) that we caved and bought gifts for everyone instead of just the kids. This year DH and I are in a situation where there is a strict budget for Christmas gifts so all of the adults will be getting less than usual from us. I'm thinking and hoping that I can gradually phase out getting anything for the adults at all (except my mom) and just focus on the kids. Believe me I love Christmas and it is by far my favorite time and holiday of the year but there just isn't a whole lot my family "needs" other than time with all of our family. I'd love to tell my sisters not to spend any money on gifts and just plan a trip to see us (we're in Michigan they're in New England) but as demonstrated last year that isn't going to happen. For me the bottom line is Christmas should be about family not the presents and when we decide to stop giving to the adults I'm sticking with my decision no matter how much my sister protests.

Again good luck!

mookie
09-11-2008, 10:53 AM
Haven't looked at the thread, but just wanted to let OP know that I have been through this....as well as many others.

Here's a thread that might help! Good luck!

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1647278

Misty89
09-11-2008, 11:46 AM
:rotfl:
plan your WDW trip at Christmas and then you would not have to worry about it :thumbsup2

budbeerlady
09-12-2008, 07:47 AM
:rotfl:
plan your WDW trip at Christmas and then you would not have to worry about it :thumbsup2

So true! We have considered checking our little family into a hotel for the Christmas holiday to avoid the run around and gift fiasco! I love Christmas but its gotten so out of hand.... I want to spend it just hanging out with family and friends.

I will admit to taking DD to Disney for her Birthday last year to get out of having to do the whole family party thing. :rolleyes1 Now I figure we didn't do it last year, I don't have to do it this year either. She just wants to play at a bounce house with her friends anyway!

Mickeypooh99
09-12-2008, 08:51 AM
I haven't read every response so I apologize if this was already suggested. What we do each year with my in-laws is buy gifts for all the children. There are 6. Then for the adults we play a game. It goes something like this:

Each adult brings 1 generic present worth $10 to $20. It can be anything. Last year I brought scratch off lottery tickets, and DH brought a box of candy. Then we put all the wrapped presents in a pile. We take a deck of cards and pull out ace through 10 (there are 10 of us) in one suit. They are shuffled and we each pick a number. Then we pull out ace through 10 in another suit. These are shuffled and the dealer picks cards from the top. When he picks your number you pick a gift from the pile. Once everyone has a gift, we open. Then we do a second round. When your number is called you have the option of trading your gift with anyone else or keeping your gift. We do three rounds and when the third round is over you keep the gift you have.

It is a really fun game and we usually end up :rotfl: Some of the gifts are gag gifts, some are really nice. Its just about having fun together. We used to buy for all the adults and with 10 adults and 6 kids it was getting expensive.

I hope I explained it okay. Its really easy and fun once you get the hang of it. I've heard people play a version with dice too, but we use cards.

S'sMom
09-14-2008, 04:50 PM
Hi,
I say just explain the issues with your upcoming trip, and I am sure they will understand (hopefully) :)

Personally, we only buy gifts for my immediate family (CHILDREN only about 5 in all - ages ranging from 14 down to 1). So that makes it cheaper and easier. Its all about the kids because, as you know, you give so much and get little in return sometimes.

I am sure you will make the right decision. :)

disneynuts777
09-14-2008, 05:19 PM
wow...what a timely thread!!
I was just thinking the same thing last night. My family is huge...and scattered all over the country. I've always loved Christmas and when I worked I sent out things to everyone. Now...many many years later....we are now retired and barely making it end to end. Every year I try to cut down a little more...but even that's making me a wreck.
I have 4 children, their spouses and 15 grandchildren...I try to remember my brother, his son and daughter and their children, my sister, her hubby and their 4 children and their 2 grandchildren - the shipping alone is expensive.
I need another plan or something...but when I think about it...I wind up being my own worse enemy!
I've tried to talk to my family...and they buy us things anyway...making me feel just terrible...so what do I do?
It's making me sad just writing this - but I know that this year I need to do more adjusting and don't know how or where to start. Even with 15 grandchildren (who all but 2 live in another state) if I spend $10 - that's 150.00.....add to that the postage.
Does anyone have a nice email or letter that could be used to explain things to my family? I would like to explain to them why this year it may be different, ahead of time. I love Christmas so much...but this is all making me so sad. And it makes me even sadder when they do and buy things for us - I would so rather have their calls and cards during the year.
Thanks for listening.... Barb

I would tell them just what you have said here. I know that my Mom appreciates our phone calls and just the times we drop by to spend time with her. I would much rather save the money on a yearly gift and have someone I care about call me and give me ten minutes of there time a few times a year. The gifts and the spending are truly out of control and most people have lost what the purpose is to Christmas.;)

MsStinkerBelle
09-14-2008, 06:07 PM
:rotfl:
plan your WDW trip at Christmas and then you would not have to worry about it :thumbsup2

That's what we've done the past two years and it's worked out great! :goodvibes

I only buy gifts for the kids. Everyone else gets handmade gifts (handcrafted soaps, candles, photo gifts) that don't cost a lot. It's the sentiment that counts for us. :thumbsup2