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No-Gifts Christmas - Page 2

post #21 of 40
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=Juvysen;14637184]We decided to go with all home-made or local goodies this year, so hopefully it's ok. [QUOTE]

Hey, if you've talked them down to home-made/locally-made then that's a HUGE step that I'd be proud of!
post #22 of 40
[QUOTE=The Hidden Life;14637213][QUOTE=Juvysen;14637184]We decided to go with all home-made or local goodies this year, so hopefully it's ok.
Quote:

Hey, if you've talked them down to home-made/locally-made then that's a HUGE step that I'd be proud of!
Hah... yeah... we didn't talk THEM down from it, that's just all *we're* doing this year, and they can take what they get

In other words... I sorta just gave up.
post #23 of 40
Thread Starter 

bumping this up

How are you all holding up with the pressure to buy more than is necessary? I have (so far) stuck to my promise to buy only for our kids this year and not the extended family or friends. Of the twelve households I sent my "no gifts Christmas" letter to I received 7 positive responses, three sort of negative ones and two non-responses. (The ones who didn't respond are those who are most likely to gift us with an excess of expensive stuff that we will never be allowed to get rid of.) My mother pulled out the "grandma is aging and sickly and won't see many more Christmases" card--true enough--it's not like I'm going to be rude and refuse her gifts--but Grandma also lived through the Great Depression and still remembers the virtue of thrift, I think.

Cleaning up the house after the Thanksgiving holiday I am already beginning to feel overwhelmed at the thought of new piles of stuff coming into the house. The kids' rooms are so cluttered, despite my efforts at paring down. There must be some name for this--preemptive stuffitis? LOL
post #24 of 40
So far, so good. I think. Dh has already told his kids not to expect as much this year. I've already finished with the grandkids presents which are down from almost $100 last year to about $50 each this time around. Last year there was one grandchild, this year two. Next year will be three!!! We also spent $100 each on my stepkids in previous years (I have five stepkids!) but this year we will keep it to about $50 each. We have no choice. There won't be any Christmas bonuses at work this year which is what we relied on previously.

We don't have many others who we exchange gifts with. It varies each year, sometimes a coworker or two, sometimes other relatives. This year our pared down list is the kids as usual (stepkids and grandkids), mother-in-law, my dad and my middle sister and her family who live out of state. We don't exchange with my brother and younger sister and they are fine with that. It's a good thing because they're families keep growing!
post #25 of 40
Thats a great letter!

A lot of people are struggling this year, people have gotten laid off, or are looking at layoffs... You would think that more people would be willing to do the no gift thing this year.
post #26 of 40
Thread Starter 

Making one exception...

...my mother. We're going to her house for Christmas dinner (yay! I don't have to do the bulk of the cooking after all) and she is one of the "sort of negative" responders to the No-Gifts Christmas letter. I've figured out something practical though to give her that I would have given her anyhow since she asked about it: a gluten-free baking cookbook and some gf flours/supplies. She said she wants to be the Grandma who bakes cookies for her grandkids, but doesn't know where to start with the gluten-intolerance issue. So, simple enough.

Resetting the kids' expectations is key! My 12yo is all onboard with the plan--she gets the idea of being frugal and having one nice gift rather than ten junky gifts. My 3yo and 6yo won't care or notice; it's the 10yo that is a little harder to gently convince that we aren't scrooging her Christmas! LOL

I find that it is just as much me that has to reset my notion of what is necessary, appropriate and realistic (for my budget). I went to Target Friday afternoon and dithered for over an hour over various things (blankets, long underwear, socks--can you tell it's cold here?), putting them into my cart for a while and eventually putting everything--except the items on my list--back on the shelf. I have to be willing to make a more modest Christmas happen as well, not just bulk up the gifts pile with things I would have bought them anyway for the sake of having a big pile of gifts.

So what I've ended up with is:
  • 1 small gift (little bendy doll each) for St. Nicholas day (along with the candy, fruit & nuts)
  • 2 small gifts in the stocking (also with candy)--it helps that we have smaller stockings!
  • 1 gift to open Christmas Eve after Mass if they are still awake!
  • 3 gifts (a book, a dvd and one wished-for item each) to open at Grandma's on Christmas Day
  • 1 shared gift (board game) to open Christmas Day

Looking at this list, it seems obvious that it's plenty! Hard to believe that I have always spent and bought more than that, but I also always used to use cc's which this year I am not!
post #27 of 40
LeeAnn, I'm getting better, too, at putting things back on shelves. I used to feel defeated whenever I did that but now it feels liberating. I also used cc's for Christmas in past years but haven't lately and I love the feeling of being in control of my finances even if it means we do with a little less.
post #28 of 40
I falted a bit... I was doing no gifts, then simple hand made gifts, then well... back to no gifts... I ended up doing RE-GIFTS.... the best of both worlds... I get stuff out of my house and the (snotty people who must recieve presents get them) lol.... My family is just so.... materialistic.... UGH.... espicially my sis.... SO sis and her hubby are getting bath and body works stuff (my bathroom is overstuffed with those products and im allergic to them) All regifts (or free wtih coupons this year) My mom got a regifted nightgown and my dad got an almost free Ralph lauren shirt ( i love dillards sales 85% off). Slammed it all in a flat rate box and off it went today. My mom can sort it out and wrap it up for them. LOL... Hey , I decluttered a bit, and I feel like I washed my hands of the whole non-sense.
They all live 2k miles from here. Good riddence

I feel better now... Time to focus on DS and his few wants...
post #29 of 40
We are doing pretty well. We decided to get photobooks for our parents (from Shutterfly) and I think that was a great compromise- they always want pics of DS and we aren't organized to send them off in the mail every few months, so for about 15$/book they each are getting a year's worth of pictures.

For DS he is getting an mp3 player loaded with kid music (free- it is my brother's old one) and some playdoh, and a pair of mittens that I knitted. I think that is plenty for a 2yo but at the same time it is really hard to resist buying more stuff!
post #30 of 40
i like the letter and the idea of being up-front about it, but i guess no one has high expectations of big, fantastic presents from me & dh so i don't really even have to tell them. we've always done one small gift or home-made.

over the years, my extended family has done home-made, adopted another family, limited it to one gift (for kids only and from my parents to adult children, but no other exchange among adults), drawing names, etc. this year we're doing a white elephant party, but my mom will still get gifts for each adult and the grandchildren. i will make something for my parents, niece, nephew and teenage brother.

on dh's side, it's pretty much just his mom. we usually buy a small present (a book, bath stuff, grandchild photos). she goes out of control, buying tons of junk that we don't need and she can't afford. dh has talked and talked to her, and it's never going to change. we just get rid of everything we don't want. the kids don't notice or care. dh also has a sister and two nieces, but doesn't really have a relationship with them. in the past, we've given his sister gifts and then his older niece when she was born, but haven't even really seen them at all since the younger one was born. i'd like to make something for the girls - at least i could give it to mil to give to them, if we're not going to see them.

i have a recipe for a yummy (very popular!) vegan treat i've made for the past 3 or 4 years. equal parts dried sour cherries, dark chocolate chips, cashews, and tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds. you just mix it all up and put it in jars. no cooking! it's kind of expensive, but worth it.

eta: friends! dh has one friend he must buy a present for, a CD or book so under $20. i don't really exchange with my friends. if i do give something to a girlfriend, it's just because i happened to see a fancy little treasure at the thrift store with her name on it. we really on spend money on supplies/ingredients and those couple of small items, so like $100 total.
post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
I falted a bit... I was doing no gifts, then simple hand made gifts, then well... back to no gifts... I ended up doing RE-GIFTS.... the best of both worlds... I get stuff out of my house and the (snotty people who must recieve presents get them) lol.... My family is just so.... materialistic.... UGH.... espicially my sis.... SO sis and her hubby are getting bath and body works stuff (my bathroom is overstuffed with those products and im allergic to them) All regifts (or free wtih coupons this year) My mom got a regifted nightgown and my dad got an almost free Ralph lauren shirt ( i love dillards sales 85% off). Slammed it all in a flat rate box and off it went today. My mom can sort it out and wrap it up for them. LOL... Hey , I decluttered a bit, and I feel like I washed my hands of the whole non-sense.
They all live 2k miles from here. Good riddence

I feel better now... Time to focus on DS and his few wants...
LOL!! Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
post #32 of 40

Ok, it is no secret that I'm not xtian... but I have deal with my xmas side of the family every year. I did point many of them to this cool video.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtbbbK5QH8Q

It brings tears to my agnostic eyes every time.

 

 

 

Edited to put in a link that works!


Edited by philomom - 12/25/12 at 12:15pm
post #33 of 40
Thread Starter 
I wasn't able to get the YouTube video to play, but I've heard of the Advent Conspiracy before. Seems like a good program! There are a couple Lutheran churches in my town that are participating in it. It's sort of a return to Advent's earlier spirit as a season of spiritual preparation and penance: prayer, fasting, giving alms. Those things we do during Lent were also/still are part of Advent too. Advent Conspiracy seems to have a focus on bringing clean drinking water to remote areas, if I gleaned the information correctly.

Which reminds me that I've got four Giving Tree presents to buy. This year they really kept the wishes moderate--a lot of requests for sweaters, coats and jeans and not a single game system. Whew!
post #34 of 40

So glad I found this thread.  We've been trying to take the lead on this with our families too.  I think this year will go pretty well.   DH's extended family does a Secret Santa exchange, so you only buy for 1 person in the extended family. This is a massive improvement from the crazy buy-for-everyone deal that was going on for many years.  We drew names of 2 folks that are really tight on money right now so we're able to give them something we think they'll really enjoy for themselves and have asked that whoever drew our names donate what they would have spent on us to the local food bank.  DH and I aren't really doing gifts for each other--DH is Christian and I am Buddhist and he asked that we all go to church together on Christmas as our gift to him, I asked him to take me out for a date at the movies while my mom is in town and can babysit.  Our parents will put some money in DDs college fund and DH's parents will do an additional food bank donation for us.  For our folks, we're doing photo calendars of our DD.  Great grandmothers are getting framed family pictures.  DD is 3 and has asked for 1 gift from Santa--a fairy doll.  So we'll get her that and some small stocking stuff, though I know there will be more from grandparents (esp mine--they are trying to calm it down but it's a work in progress and we still have a little ways to go). Everyone else is getting homemade jam and apple butter that I made (DD and I picked all the fruit).  I saved the cardboard boxes that some of our produce came in from the farmers' markets this summer and I'll put the jars in there with some straw-like filler.  We've been working at this for a few years now and it's finally starting to feel "right"--we're starting to be able to cut out the craziness and just give and receive gifts with meaning. 

post #35 of 40
Good for you op!

I feel that secret santa is really working for our family. We have a 15 dollar limit, which, I think is less than we would have spent on individual gifts (there are 6 adults participating, so it cuts dh's and my spending down from 150 to 30). we still get to participate in anticipating a gift, discussing what to get behind everyone's back and a little piece of the stress and drama of holiday shopping without it becoming too overwhelming.

My son wasn't included in the draw this year though, which means that everyone will give him a gift (only grand child). I'd like for him to be included from now on.
post #36 of 40

I like the letter, well said!

 

We have been working on paring down the gift giving forever here.  In dh's family it was tradition that ever adult buy multiple gifts for each other- there was like 17 people total, seriously.  I tried homemade gifts for a while- they didn't like them and I was stressed doing them.  I tried to just stick to a certain small budget per person, well then with that many people it was too cheap and they didn't like the gifts.  So, finally a few yrs ago it was really tight around here and we told them no more gifts- we are only buying for kids.  That leaves 2 to buy for on dh's side and 2 on my side.  On dh's side there is also the get together with his dad's family thankfully they switched to doing a drawing names thing which pared it down considerably.  Dh always wants to participate in this so we have but I have decided that come this year we are not putting our names in the hat.  Too much stress for me picking out gifts. 

 

The big problem with it all is that dh's family likes to have a big production of gift opening- spending literally hrs opening all the gifts, which is of course awkward when you don't buy gifts for others.  People have still bought us gifts although it has certainly been greatly reduced they still spend a lot on others but have gone to smaller token gifts for us. 

 

I do like buying gifts for people if it is someone I care for and know they will appreciate it.  However, as laohaire said it just seems like a stupid exchange of money for the most part.  I did however buy some books for friends, just one per family- all bought used $5 or less, just because I wanted to, not out of any obligation.  Selfishly I would like to buy dh a present, we never exchange them.  With the kids we are actually buying more than usual this year, just because I wanted to, although the baby is getting little- a bunting(needed), used book, and some wood blocks from Good will.  DS' main gift is actually a handme down from dh- so free, dd1 main gift was from the flea market- a wooden kitchen for $22.  Other than that they are getting some books(used), games, and mostly some educational things.

post #37 of 40

While we aren't doing "no gifts" next year, we are doing a basket for each family unit.  I'm going to make handmade goodies, probably the edible variety but also perhaps ornaments or bath products depending on the family.  I'm also going to try to add coloring books for the kids, maybe a Christmas dvd/game/cd for the family to share.  I'm going to focus much more on my own immediate family-dh, dd, and now ds.  When I was single, or even married without children, buying presents and visiting everyones homes for the holidays was great fun.  But now I just need to slow down.  I feel like this whole year I have done nothing but bought for Christmas, then I spend so much time and energy wrapping things for Christmas, and going to everyone's events, etc.  that there is no time for our own little family.  At this point I have to upset my inlaws and say, no we can't come to your home first thing on Christmas morning.  My own children are going to be getting gifts from Santa now, and they don't want to have to get up crazy early to get stuffed into a car after rushing through their gifts here-NOR DO I.  I cannot, nor do I want to, continue to compete with parents, grandparents, santa and the like when getting presents.  So yeah.  People now get one simple gift for their birthdays, and they get a basket for their family around the holidays. 

 

 

Honestly, if people don't buy me or mine gifts I'm not offended at all.  I haven't outright told people NO GIFTS, but I have said they are unnecessary and not to feel guilty if they choose to/cannot get our family gifts.  We're together to be together, not to get a present.  It would have to be an obvious snub for me to care if my children didn't get a gift,etc. 

post #38 of 40

We do a no gift policy unless you are under the age of 15 or over the age of seventy and in the somewhat immediate family.  It cuts our list down big time.  For everyone else we meet for potlucks or dinner out.  We also adopt a family.  Most have been very positive about it.  I never sent a letter, but told everyone.  The first year we received presents from some who did not think we were serious, but never had that problem after the first year. 

post #39 of 40

we dont even celebrate xmas lol bah humbug!
 

post #40 of 40

I'm a huge fan of the no-gift Christmas!! It is so relaxed. My family did this for years until we had my son, and then they went crazy with gifts for the GRANDCHILD. Ugh. I wish we could go back to no gifts. I really just like having dinner and chilling together.

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