Job Loss and the Holidays... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The company dh has been consulting for looks like it may be folding. He's been given notice that his last paycheck will be Jan. 1st. Sigh. Hopefully, he will not sit by idle until then and will actually find some other work. But his field is very flat (real estate and development) and we live in the boondocks (moved here for a huge project that has been put on hold), so I'm a little nervous about his prospects.

But in the meantime...

We have a very small emergency fund that we will supplement the next two months by bringing the snowball to a screeching halt. That should give us a month or two extra in living expenses. So, if no work is forthcoming (and he doesn't qualify for unemployment) we are "ok" until March. But just barely.

How do we handle Christmas this year?? There are 11 nieces and nephews. In the past, gift have been focused on the kids. I try not to spend more than $10-$15 per child. That's still $110-$160. Plus one $50 gift for a gift exchange on each side. So there we are at $250. And that's not even thinking about my own family of three kids, 8,5, and 1 (she won't care, so she doesn't really count). Oh, and my oldest has a birthday in Dec, too. I've already told her 1 friend only. I was starting to go soft and thinking "well, maybe three max"...but hello?? What am I thinking??

SO do I simply opt out of the gift exchange this year? I know my dh will be mortified if I tried to do that...he already feels like he is the only one in both of our families that is always strapped for cash.

What would you do in this situation?
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#2 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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So sorry you are getting this news. I am in HR and it is always super hard to term anyone from mid november until the new year. It is just such a crummy thing to do.
But at least they gave you notice.

Honestly, in my opinion immediate family comes first. That means you and the kids. I love buying presents just as much as the next person but if it mean the difference between an extra weeks forth of living expenses then there is no question about what I will do.

I would be honest and who cares what they think. With this economy who is to say they are not next.

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#3 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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I would definitely opt out of the gift swapping. But if that doesn't work, how about baking each child's favorite dessert? Cheap yet definitely appreciated.
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#4 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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I'd say no gifts for anyone but your own children. In the face of loss of income, that could go on for who knows how long, I don't think it's a good idea to spend unnecessary money. Everyone will either understand, or they are jerks and who cares.

Stay strong!
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#5 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by PenelopeJune View Post
I'd say no gifts for anyone but your own children. In the face of loss of income, that could go on for who knows how long, I don't think it's a good idea to spend unnecessary money. Everyone will either understand, or they are jerks and who cares.

Stay strong!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#6 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 11:07 PM
 
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I am sure anyone (esp your family) will understand the situation, though you don't need to explain it necessarily.

Our families already know not to expect much beyond a card and maybe some homemade cookies. We've had them tell us not to gift them as well, just as reassurance that they won't be hurt when they gift us but we don't gift them. I feel a bit bad, but they understand how bad our situation is, which is nice.

I'd definitely opt out of gifting if I were you. If you really wanted, you could do some homemade baked goods for the adults (which will surely be shared w/ the children)? Yes, a lot of people do it, but it's a nice thing to do regardless.
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#7 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, all, for the encouragement. It's just so hard, bcs one brother in particular is always so generous. I'm so tired of their generosity. It's starting to make me feel bad. Like, I want to cry, bad. The big joke is, "Don't worry, when your dh strikes it rich, you can buy us a Lamborghini!" Except, that at this point, those comments really sting.

Nobody really knows how bad it is. But it's bad, and I know Dh's pride (and mine) don't matter in a situation like this, but it is a question of pride.

And the stupid thing is that in Christmases past, I've really sacrificed and gone over the top in the gift dept and then felt really stupid bcs nobody else was really making that big a deal out giving gifts...so why is it so hard for me to just opt out?? Lord knows I've threatened it in years past, bcs things have been hard for the past several years, but this year seems to be an all time low.
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#8 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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Job loss this time of year is really hard. I agree with the others that I wouldn't spend money you don't have or can't afford. Are you crafty and able to make things to give them from your stash? or can you give an experience for Christmas? Last year I swapped with a friend. She gave my daughter 4 weeks of cooking lessons with her daughter and I gave the girls 4 weeks of sewing lessons. The loved the gift. Can you offer them lessons of some sort? a trip someplace you have a pass for? An overnight with a makeover/movie/home made pizza extravaganza?

Good luck!
Karen

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#9 of 16 Old 11-23-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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If the nieces and nephews are nearby, you could do a "cousin camp" sort of spend the weekend for January (maybe MLK Day weekend). Movies to watch and pizza to make and brownies to bake sort of thing.

For your son, how old is he? You could offer him the option of one person over for dinner/cake on his birthday or waiting until summer, then having 5 people to do insert some great summertime treat here. Who knows? He might be happy with either one, and either one would ease your cash flow right now.
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#10 of 16 Old 11-24-2009, 12:32 AM
 
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If you can't get out of gift giving entirely maybe you could do family gifts for the nieces and nephews. For a family with 3 kids instead of spending $45 on 3 gifts you could spend $15 or so and get a movie or board game for them to enjoy together.

Edit: I probably wouldn't do much of anything for the 1 year old this year. She won't know the difference and she'll probably get stuff from the family anyway.
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#11 of 16 Old 11-24-2009, 01:18 AM
 
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I say skip it and foucs on your kids and DH. So sorry you DH got this news... I know how difficult the job market is... try to enjoy the holidays none the less....

Mom to J and never-ending , 0/2014 items decluttered, 0/52 crafts crafts completed  crochetsmilie.gif homeschool.gif  reading.gif  modifiedartist.gif

Seeking zen in 2014.  Working on journaling and finding peace this year.  Spending my free time taking J to swimteam

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#12 of 16 Old 11-24-2009, 02:58 AM
 
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I'm so sorry to hear that about your husband.
I think that I would try to scrape up some money somehow to buy your nieces and nephews small gifts (and set a limit with your brothers and sisters). Just because I wouldn't want my kids to have to sit and watch their cousins open presents while they didn't have anything to open. Can you sell some things on Craigslist or ebay, like the kids old toys? Or maybe spend a little less on your kids since they'll then be recieving gifts from their aunts and uncles? If you do opt out of the gift exchange maybe you could show up a little later or leave early and ask that they give the kids their present while you're not there.
Money is so tight for us this year as well so I've been selling the kids old toys and buying used toys off of craigslist. I hope things work out for you guys.

~Amy~ Mama to A (6) : and N (3) and wife to Ron ~INCREASE THE PEACE~:
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#13 of 16 Old 11-24-2009, 10:22 AM
 
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Skip the extended gift exchange.

There's no reason to go into debt or spend money you really need for other things just to keep up with family. They are your family. They will (should) understand and would not want you to do something that would put you in a bad financial position.

The first year we stopped it was a bit odd but ... well it was what we needed to do. We haven't done gifts for anyone but us in a few years and it is wonderful! We do a donation to charity instead which makes so much more sense.

You could always bake a batch of cookies or fudge for each family.

I hope your DH finds a new position shortly.
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#14 of 16 Old 11-24-2009, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess the issue is all the kids (nieces/nephews)...they don't understand the hardships of this economy. On one hand, they usu get SO MANY things, that they may not notice at all. But on the other hand...? I like the idea of the cousins camp, but only one set is nearby enough to do this. The family gift idea is good too...a board game or a movie. I could squeak it down to $15 a family. I have some unfinished crafts that the grown ups might be okay with...photo refrigerator magnets, painted trays...I doubt anyone ele is really keeping track, but I am HYPERSENSITIVE to it, so it's painful.
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#15 of 16 Old 11-24-2009, 12:37 PM
 
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Good luck for your dh. I hope he finds something soon!

I would bake and that would be it. Or bean soup in a jar or hot cocoa mix in a jar....Something like that.

I love, love, love giving gifts, but we've had a couple of people ask us to please not get them anything this year. They don't want to feel obligated to get us something too. I wish they would understand that I WANT to get them something, and don't care if they get us anything. But I will respect their wishes. I think it makes them feel bad, and I don't want to make it worse. They are all having a really hard time right now. I AM going to give gift baskets, though, and already told them I would. I will buy for the kids, and then do a family gift basket of home made goodies.

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#16 of 16 Old 11-24-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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I would opt out.

We frequently opt out of DH's family exchange (we only participate if we will actually be in town). It really isn't a big deal. That said, if he feels you must participate, you do not have to spend the full 50$. Make or bake something, or otherwise bargain hunt so taht you spend drastically less.

For all the neices/nephews, I would either skip gifts, or spend under 5$ per kid. Or for that matter, give each kid a 5$ bill and take them all shopping for candy! They will love it! Other ideas: cook up some batches of play dough for them. Or buy them each a fun notepad and a box of crayons. Or take them all to a matinee movie depending on how much that costs in your town (dollar theater maybe????).

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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