Gift giving vs values - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 11-03-2013, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was wondering how other Mamas handle holiday gift giving vs personal values.  The past few years I've tried to give very practical gifts to the couples in my & dh's family.  I enjoy sewing so the types of gifts I've given...embroidered flour sack towels, scarves, little zipper pouches.  I really value giving/receiving practical gifts...things that are beautiful and are also useful.  We've also given some food gifts....last year dh and I made some of our favorite soups and froze them in containers as gifts.  I sometimes get the feeling that the time/thought I put into gifts isn't really appreciated.  The gifts I tend to give are somewhat labor intensive as I have more time than money.  :)   I have some ideas of gifts I could make this year, but I am already having 2nd thoughts.  I know it is a lot of work and I don't want to feel like that time went to waste.  Most of the people we give to have enough money to buy the things they want/need, so homemade gifts seem more special.

 

So here's my question...Do you give gifts that are in line with your values.....(handmade, locally purchased, practical...whatever is important to you) or do you just go ahead an buy what you know for sure they would already like?

 

I'm not trying to convert anyone into having the same values as I do, but at the same time I want to feel good about what I am giving.     


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#2 of 12 Old 11-03-2013, 06:18 PM
 
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It depends?

 

I do a lot of holiday baking and candy making, and I will knit socks for some specific people.  I do the baking because I enjoy it and it saves me money, but the point is to participate in this exchange in a way that leaves my targets assured that I care about them.  If I'm going to put the hours in to produce a gift, I want some assurance that the recipient is actually going to be pleased.  If the things I can make aren't pleasing, Amazon delivers.

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#3 of 12 Old 11-03-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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I think the idea of a gift is that it is something the person you are giving it to wants or needs, not what you think they should have. I really try to do both, something in line with my values (last year it was local honey) but something I thought they would enjoy. Now if there is something they would like but is TOTALLY against my ideals, I won't do it. I had  15 and 17 year old cousins who wanted Victoria Secret or Abacrombie (sp) gift cards which I will not do. 

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#4 of 12 Old 11-04-2013, 08:11 AM
 
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IMO, the sweet spot in gift giving is finding that thing that reflects your tastes/values AND the recipient's tastes/preferences/lifestyle. That way the gift symbolizes the commonality/relationship between both people.

 

I've heard people say never give something you like as a gift. I disagree, although I think it's true that some people aren't good at considering other people's tastes and they should think twice about why they picked something as a gift if they really love it themselves. Maybe they should keep that thing because they will really appreciate it and be sad if they gift it and the other person doesn't. 


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#5 of 12 Old 11-04-2013, 08:28 AM
 
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Also, some people really don't view Christmas as a time for practical gifts. Personally, I love the practical. And I'd love to receive food. But I remember a friend scoffing that my husband bought me a sauce pan for Christmas. She said that was something for the household, not something you'd give as a gift to your spouse. Dishtowels would have been viewed the same way. 

 

People who have enough money to buy food and are a little particular about their food won't appreciate food gifts unless you really nail it (like if you give them a specialty item they've admired in the past, like that sand plum jelly from my friend's family farm. Mmmm...)

 

Some people like getting consumable gifts so those gifts don't add to their possesions. Others feel like it isn't a real gift if it can be used up because how will it remind them of you?

 

So the trick is figuring out other people's priorities, preferences, and needs. Then figure out what sorts of things you'd like to give them that fit those.


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#6 of 12 Old 11-04-2013, 10:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepypeanutsmom View Post
 

I was wondering how other Mamas handle holiday gift giving vs personal values.  The past few years I've tried to give very practical gifts to the couples in my & dh's family.  I enjoy sewing so the types of gifts I've given...embroidered flour sack towels, scarves, little zipper pouches.  I really value giving/receiving practical gifts...things that are beautiful and are also useful.

 

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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
 

Also, some people really don't view Christmas as a time for practical gifts. Personally, I love the practical. And I'd love to receive food. But I remember a friend scoffing that my husband bought me a sauce pan for Christmas. She said that was something for the household, not something you'd give as a gift to your spouse. Dishtowels would have been viewed the same way.

 

I also love the practical.    DH and I have been together long enough that he knows when I say I want a pan, vacuum, water softener, etc. more than jewelry, he knows I mean it.  In fact, for years we didn't give gifts to each other.  We started back up because I feel it is important for our son to see good gift giving and gift receiving manners.  Based on all the wackiness associated with giving/receiving, it is probably important that he has some experience in this area in the event he pairs up with a gift-y person.


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#7 of 12 Old 11-06-2013, 09:59 PM
 
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I will only give handmade gifts to people I know would appreciate them.  We basically exchange wish lists with family every year and use that as a reference.  So, usually I don't make things.  I do try to shop sales and clearance a lot.  I'd say if your gifts are well thought out and suit the people (that they use such things and are not allergic to your food ingredients), most well mannered people should appreciate them.  There are always those who don't appreciate them but that's just their nature, store bought things won't do either.   Last year my mom re-gifted me something a friend gave her.  When I opened it I almost cried for her friend.  It's highly personalized and well put together, with sweet little notes and treats and a card written to her.  She obviously never opened the box.  DH was shaking his head about that.  I didn't say anything. 


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#8 of 12 Old 11-27-2013, 03:05 AM
 
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I used to make gifts but felt the same way--it wasn't appreciated. Now I just try to find things that won't break the bank but I know they'll enjoy. For instance, I'm getting my mom in law and grandma in law each a painting from a friend of mine. Both paintings will be something they like and I am supporting a friend.

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#9 of 12 Old 11-28-2013, 06:41 PM
 
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I would love to give hand made gifts and food stuff to everyone each year, but my in law family just doesn't appreciate it. They're all fairly well off and can just buy what they want when they want it, so handmade just doesn't have the same ring to it for them. Years ago I sewed a gardening apron for my MIL (who loves to garden and have her tools handy) and after she opened it I never saw it again. I don't think she ever used it. So I took the hint and haven't sewn anything since. And I used to make home made schnapps for them too (they're fairly big drinkers) and I found a bottle of it from several years ago in the very back of their liquor cabinet a few months ago when she asked me to look for something else in there for her. Oh well... the funny thing is, I think if I clipped a fancy tag to this stuff and stuck it in an Anthropologie box, my MIL would be all over it. Sigh. 

 

So now we just do photo gifts for my in laws with prints of our son, and they seem to actually love that. And everyone else we tend to buy what they'd like (shopping sales and clearance throughout the year), or default to gift cards if I don't feel comfortable purchasing what they're asking for.


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#10 of 12 Old 11-29-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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It's hard when there is so much difference between peoples' values...I won't spend money, time, and energy shopping/buying gifts that I know someone won't appreciate or use- it's wasteful. My mom is an incredibly talented crafter/seamstress and I feel fortunate to get handmade gifts from her. I know people who would scoff at anything she made because it wasn't storebought. I guess I'm lucky that I can't craft or sew well enough to gift my creations, so I don't have to make that decision. For other people, I buy what I know they want and will actually enjoy/use. It's a gift- that means it's about *them*, not me. I try to remember that. Sometimes it's easier than others.


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#11 of 12 Old 11-29-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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It's hard when there is so much difference between peoples' values...I won't spend money, time, and energy shopping/buying gifts that I know someone won't appreciate or use- it's wasteful. 

 

That's the other thing too - we've really cut our list down. Not because we don't want to be generous, but because what's the point of passing the same tchotchke's back and forth year after year because of the obligation of the tradition? So we don't do adult gift exchanges anymore at all, and it's reduced the stress and wastefulness all around. I will do cookie gift boxes for people if I know they like to eat them and don't bake themselves, and that seems to work out. That's actually what I'm doing for the coworkers in my area this year - and they're actually super excited about it (as I'm the only cook/domestically inclined one in our group). 


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#12 of 12 Old 11-29-2013, 11:01 AM
 
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That's the other thing too - we've really cut our list down. Not because we don't want to be generous, but because what's the point of passing the same tchotchke's back and forth year after year because of the obligation of the tradition? So we don't do adult gift exchanges anymore at all, and it's reduced the stress and wastefulness all around. I will do cookie gift boxes for people if I know they like to eat them and don't bake themselves, and that seems to work out. That's actually what I'm doing for the coworkers in my area this year - and they're actually super excited about it (as I'm the only cook/domestically inclined one in our group). 


That's exactly why the adults in our family don't exchange gifts anymore. It turned into just a tradition of buying "stuff" for each other- we all get along really well and love to give one another gifts, but instead, we pick things up during the year when we see something that they would like- it sort of spreads the good feeling over 12 months instead of feeling pressured to have things to give on Dec 25. And none of us need the clutter that comes from traditional seasonal gift-giving. If my mom needs a new wheelbarrow for her yard, I buy it in the spring. If she sees that I need new running socks, she will give me $ for them when I need them. It cuts WAY down on the waste that can accompany traditional holiday gifting, IMO.


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