Too many birthdays!! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 30 Old 02-15-2012, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have at LEAST 2 birthdays each month except Sept and Dec. This is just for family and very close friends. I'm not even counting the parties my kids are invited to by classmate and teammates. We don't spend alot per person (about $20), but I find it frustrating as we're trying to pay off debt/save money for a house to have to buy gifts. In April we have 5 birthdays...that's about $100. I could really use that $100 on other things. It's a must in my husbands family to give gifts. We've not gotten my parents gifts in the past due to lack of money. The kids would make a card or something and we'd cook dinner. They're fine with that, but that wouldn't fly with the in-laws. What do you do with all the birthdays in your life? How much do you spend per person? Not give gifts? Make something? I feel like I'm missing something because it doesn't seem to be a problem for anyone else!

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#2 of 30 Old 02-15-2012, 06:55 PM
 
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I hear you on this.  I have no solutions, but it frustrates me to no end.  With my family, when someone starts having kids, I stop buying them presents for themselves.  It still hurts the wallet, though, because my husband's family really does up birthdays, and my family doesn't draw names for Christmas (dh's does.)  

 

Anyway, this does really rankle me.


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#3 of 30 Old 02-15-2012, 06:55 PM
 
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One thing I do is buy gifts after season. For example, I hit Target in January and buy several $20-$30 gifts for $5-$10 for birthday parties. For preschool and school aged children I often go to the bank and get crisp one dollar bills to put in a hand made card. I give the amount equal to the age. Money almost always gets the biggest reaction at a party! Other kid ideas - a small bouquet of flower or balloons.

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#4 of 30 Old 02-15-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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Oh we have the same problem, too.  Except we usually spend $50 on presents per person.  The standards for classmate parties here is about $25.  I suppose at least we don't do extended family members or have many friends.  You just gotta put that in your budget and save for them.  I do shop at clearance and after season sales to stock up on some gifts for next year.  I don't seem to save money that way though.  I just tend to give them more gifts which still add up to around $50 or so. :)  It's not too bad.  I know families that do $200 per person for birthdays.


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#5 of 30 Old 02-15-2012, 10:26 PM
 
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I grew a backbone and just said NO.  DS has a total limit of $10 (and spends less) for kids parties.  We don't do family b'days. He is the only grandchild and I don't send presents to adults- sorry.  If there were other kids they would be in the $10-20 range, again from the clearance department.

 

After while it just becomes a game of $$ switching back and forth... I gave cousin Sally a $20 game and now her parents are giving my kid a $20 game.  Kinda pointless if you ask me.

 

The same holds true for Christmas and other holidays around here.  I don't send things to adults.  Its NOT in my budget, I can NOT afford it and there is no more discussion.  I might make something (I do crochet and end up with many finished projects that I have no use for but are great for xmas gifts).

 

IDK how old the kids are you need gifts for but some small things like hair ties and chapstick for girls... little lego packs for boys, fun socks for both, crayons and paper, a book to read.  Just a little 'something' but you can be done for under $5.   My kiddo is 11 and many times uses those as gifts for his parties.  The other thing is we really don't wrap presents when going to a party.  We just use some ribbon and make a curly bow thats tied on.  No expensive gift bag, no wrapping paper etc.  Just curly ribbon.


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#6 of 30 Old 02-18-2012, 05:38 AM
 
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I agree with the pps. Stock up on gifts when you find a sale. I bought 5 new board games for $3 each recently. I also have several other great sale items in the closet, ready to go for the next party.
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#7 of 30 Old 02-18-2012, 04:52 PM
 
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This is annoying as heck, I agree. With 3 kids in school and friend/classmates birthdays, it gets insane. We stopped exchanging gifts among adults a long time ago (and my family has always been *big* on gifts- easily several $100 per person per gift) and while some people get miffed, so be it. Their budget is their budget, and ours is ours. Period. And I don't want my kids to grow up thinking that spending money on gifts equates to love for someone. For the kids' friends, I always shop the clearance sales on toys/craft supplies. I can get great gifts at Target on clearance, but it takes a couple really good sales to stock up my "present" shelf.


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#8 of 30 Old 02-18-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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With my in-laws, we have talked to MIL and FIL about taking them somewhere--a local concert, a museum--still same expense, but at least we know they like it, and I don't feel that it's wasting money on stuff. SIL's family has pulled back and we do gifts sometimes but not always.

 

For family, can do you photo calendars? Smaller but meaningful gifts (splurge on a fancier kind of smaller item, like really great coffee)? A book they'd love that ties in with a passion or upcoming trip? A symbolic item for one's parents makes sense to me in a way that lots of gifts for lots of family members doesn't necessarily.

 

And for friends, how about shared experiences? Small but meaningful gifts? Homemade, if you have the time and inclination?

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#9 of 30 Old 02-20-2012, 04:03 PM
 
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I agree with the poster who said she grew a backbone. smile.gif I have stopped giving gifts except when I want to AND can afford to. That means I mostly do gifts for my closest friends (we aren't as close to our family) and their kids. My family was always big on gifts and there were expected amounts to spend... well, I still gave gifts for a while (I no longer have contact with them) but they were more 'token' gifts... a box of their favorite chocolates, something like that, which would only cost me a couple of bucks & still show I cared. I've also done some homemade gifts. One person riled against it but seriously, I didn't care, my DH was unemployed and we just didn't have the funds, and the gift wasn't even for them!! I don't need that kind of pressure & I have largely stopped succumbing to it, though I'm still working on it. wink1.gif

For kids, I tend to pick up cool things still in the packages at the thrift store or on clearance. I've gotten some great kids' gifts, always keeping the recipient in mind, and rarely spend more than $3 for items originally in the $10-25 range. This requires buying ahead though, I have gifts for kids whose birthdays are almost half a year away....

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#10 of 30 Old 02-21-2012, 04:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turtlecouple View Post

We have at LEAST 2 birthdays each month except Sept and Dec. This is just for family and very close friends. I'm not even counting the parties my kids are invited to by classmate and teammates. We don't spend alot per person (about $20), but I find it frustrating as we're trying to pay off debt/save money for a house to have to buy gifts. In April we have 5 birthdays...that's about $100. I could really use that $100 on other things. It's a must in my husbands family to give gifts. We've not gotten my parents gifts in the past due to lack of money. The kids would make a card or something and we'd cook dinner. They're fine with that, but that wouldn't fly with the in-laws. What do you do with all the birthdays in your life? How much do you spend per person? Not give gifts? Make something? I feel like I'm missing something because it doesn't seem to be a problem for anyone else!


What does this mean, exactly?  What would their response be and why can't your DH talk to his parents about this?  If this extends to BIL/SIL relationships, I would have DH talk to them, too. 

 

As for your friends, I would either discuss it with them, hand make a simple, inexpensive gift, and/or send a card. 

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#11 of 30 Old 02-22-2012, 02:04 PM
 
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Like the other posters, I try to stock up on kids gifts when I can. I get craft supplies after the back-to-school sales, I get toys after Christmas and I stock up on books when we have a local warehouse book sale (1/10 of the price!!). If I don't have something appropriate, I'll purchase a gift, I always try to find something that is on clearance or on sale. I might spend $10-$15 for a birthday party the kids were invited to, more if it's a friends child. For holidays, we do name draws for the adults. I don't generally buy gifts for adults. I actually can't remember the last time I got a birthday present from anyone other than DP.


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#12 of 30 Old 02-22-2012, 10:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtlecouple View PostWhat do you do with all the birthdays in your life? How much do you spend per person? Not give gifts? Make something? I feel like I'm missing something because it doesn't seem to be a problem for anyone else!


When we were attending parties for kids we spent about $5-$10 for a gift. Handmade gifts were not appreciated by certain people but we could find a small toy or a book that fit our budget. If we didn't attend a party we would just send a card.

The only adults we ever gave gifts to were our parents and that has fallen off over the years. The amount spent on those gifts varied.

My parents gave gifts to everyone. The inlaws don't really give us birthday gifts.

We do not exchange gifts with our adult friends on birthdays usually- maybe share some cake or dinner at the most.

 


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#13 of 30 Old 02-25-2012, 10:13 AM
 
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My son is almost 11 YO, and we have A LOT of kids to buy gifts for. He has no less than 15 first cousins, ranging from 1,5 YO and up to 17 YO. 12 of them are girls, 3 boys. In April/May there are more than 10 birthdays in our family. Some kids, some adults, but all of them are our closest family... So needless to say, gifts take up quite a bit of my budget some months. (Not to mention Christmas, when ALL of these kids are getting gifts... dizzy.gif Most of them are between 8 and 15 YO, so toys are not very useful, unfortunately. (Why do they grow up so fast??!?)

 

What I do, is always buy on sale. Always. That way I can find great stuff, a lot cheaper. I live in Norway, and everything is extremely expencive. (I actually live in what is the most expenive city in THE WORLD.. Yay..lol.gif ) I have talked to our family, and told them that I can`t buy the expensive gifts they sometimes buys for my son. I`m a single mother, and it just isn`t in my budget. Luckily, they all understand this.

 

 


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#14 of 30 Old 02-29-2012, 02:10 AM
 
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I hear ya! Birthday's and other social occasions are great but having to buy presents time after time can be difficult. I only buy 'proper' gifts if there occasion is a special one (wedding's, significant birthdays). My brother has a few children of his own and what he's done is let them have a party every second year. The other years, he only lets them invite 2 friends and they have something special at home or at a restaurant. That has cut costs for them a little bit.

 

I've resorted to upping my baking skills and crafting skills. There are tonnes of easy projects that you can try out online, if that tickles your fancy. Otherwise a box of chocolates or flowers (or herbs and pot plants) are also very nice.

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#15 of 30 Old 03-11-2012, 08:57 AM
 
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I coupon and stock up on gifts for parties.  For example last year there were tons of Hasbro high dollar coupons and I scored a bunch of travel memory and battleships games for free, plus card games for just over $1. Also I use back to school sales to get art supplies for kids.  For example I got a "free with rebate" ream of printer paper from Staples and paired with a really cheap box of 64 crayons that is a perfect gift for a toddler.  I also shop yard sales for nice hardcover kids books that don't look like they were ever read.  I make homemade gifts too.  If I get a skein of $5 wool yarn I can make a beautiful felted purse for a teenager or adult.  I also crochet dish cloths for adults.


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#16 of 30 Old 03-11-2012, 02:05 PM
 
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I have several approaches. 

 

One of the first things we did as a couple was stop celebrating Christmas.  We don't exchange gifts (amongst ourselves) on any "holiday" except birthdays in our house.  Doing that really reduced a lot of the expectations other people were imposing on us.  If I'm not giving my DH a gift, why would I give one to XY or Z person?  It took some time for other people to adapt, but most have. 

 

Now that we have a kid (and another on the way), there are people who want to give our kid(s) gifts on holidays.  I reciprocate or not depending on the person.  For grandparents (and godparents), pictures work great, and they're cheap.  Burn a CD of the best shots I've taken over the last few months.  Might cost me $1 for the CD.  Some of them don't even get a CD, I ask for the laptop, hook up an external drive and just do a data dump.  For the one that is stuck in the 19th century (no computer), I print off a few of the best/most candid shots, which might cost me $2-3 with postage.  Everyone else goes without - they can pass the CD around if they like, but I don't "give gifts" to anyone else in the extended family. 

 

Some of the family is fine with just gifting the kiddo, and some of them get gifts for us too... I know who's going to do that, and I plan accordingly (1 set of grandparents does it).  I pack up a gift basket of random things from my pantry that I've accumulated throughout the year - I make pickles, jams, dry fruit, etc throughout the year, so I have lots to choose from.  If I see something that makes me think of them during the year, I buy it and set it aside for that time/purpose.  This last Xmas their gift basket had a few sampler jars of unusual jams, a bottle of mead, and a pack of pirate playing cards (one of those random finds), along with a few random things that I had laying around to regift.  The basket was reused, the stuffing was reused.  All told I think I spent about $15 on the bottle of mead and the cards. 

 

For kids stuff, I only give gifts to a few people.  Some of them I'll actually go out and buy for.  I also shop second hand and pick up anything that seems like it might make a good present at some point - books, puzzles, games, newer toys.  I also go through all of DS' new toys (when he's given gifts) and weed out the ones that are "too much" or duplicates, and put them away where they can be regifted (like when he receives 2 6-packs of mini cars, or 2 sets of tools, 1 will go for regifting).  Periodically I'll go through and pull out the things he doesn't play with that are still in good shape and do the same.  None of these things really cost me much of anything, but I can still feel like I'm giving a good gift. 

 

The other big gift-giving occasion that's been coming up the last few years are new babies.  I keep an eye on sites like babysteals and babyhalfoff, and when something comes up that I think would be a good gift and comes in a multi-pack, I'll buy it.  Babylegs are the big one that comes to mind.  I also buy a multi-pack of swaddling blankets (on sale or at co-op prices) and break up the pack, so a new mom will get a swaddling blanket, a set of babylegs, and I might knit/crochet/sew something from my stash to round it out.  And since I'm stash-busting and shopping ahead at great deals, I don't feel put out by the cost. 

 

On the few occasions I'm buying something new for DS, I'll often buy 2 if I can get a good deal (particularly books).  The spare goes in my gift stash for those last-minute gift occasions. 

 

And honestly, if all else fails, I bake.  A plate of cookies, a loaf of bread, a pie, a cake... those are all perfectly acceptable gifts in my book (gifts of time/effort).  And if anyone dared to complain about it, it's the last gift they'd ever be getting from me. 

 

Oh, and as far as wrapping is concerned, I go to the after Christmas sales and pick up a roll or two of the non-holiday paper that's on clearance if I feel I'm running low.  There's usually at least 1 print that could be used for non-holiday things (stripes, solids, polka dots, etc.), and it's often about $1/roll.  That's also when/where I'll buy a spool of curly ribbon if I'm running low.  I also keep for reuse all gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons and bows.  Since we use cloth in our family, the paper ones get used on others, and there never seems to be a lack.  We don't do cards. 


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#17 of 30 Old 03-23-2012, 03:46 PM
 
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I just don't do it hide.gif unless I have time to make something for them. Its just not possible with all the members of my husband's family (4 siblings, 9 uncles/aunts, more cousins than I can count, 1 niece and 1 nephew, 2 of his four siblings are in long term relationships, 2 grandmas and a grandfather.. It REALLY adds up). For Christmas I gave everyone framed pictures because I didn't have time to craft. This year Im not sure WHAT Ill be doing. It totally depends on time and how much I can get done while Im pregnant. I always make sure I have nice items to give to the children (which I define as anyone under 18) since to me birthday/Christmas is most important to children.


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#18 of 30 Old 04-19-2012, 12:57 AM
 
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We have had such a hard time meeting gift obligations over the years, hundreds of dollars spent on gifts for others not in our immediate family is the norm.  I would love to be able to just call it off and tried but it didn't work.  I love gifting to others so much too but it gets excessive.  


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#19 of 30 Old 04-19-2012, 07:28 AM
 
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In our house we give Christmas gifts to our parents if we find something they'd really like or need and if we can afford it. This usually means something in the $20 range. Last Christmas dc were set on getting fil a pair of slippers. They weren't expensive, $10 at Target, and I made sure we got him the kind he wears anyway. The kids were so excited when he opened his gift. We spent $20 on mil and got her a creme brulee set, her favorite dessert, and now fil can make it for her any time he wants. They do the Sunday dinner thang with sil and bil.

My parents received no gifts last Christmas but we did have them over for a lovely dinner.

We have 3 nieces we buy for, one is a baby and two older's, the older's each received a waldorf inspired wooden play-set made by me that cost about $20 each. I crocheted a ugly doll for the baby using yarn from my scrap stash so it was almost free.

We don't feel birthday's are something to celebrate unless you're a child so adults usually don't even get a phone call. lol I know, we're awful horrible monsters. We've been known to have my parents over for dinner for their combined birthday's and we'd do the same for the il's if they lived closer. My sil makes birthday gift lists for our nieces and we usually follow that, she's pretty good about sticking to reasonably priced items. Next month dd is getting her cousin a hula hoop and because they live far away we'll be ordering online and shipping to them, looks like it's going to be right around $20.

 

 

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#20 of 30 Old 04-19-2012, 09:05 PM
 
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The adults in our family don't exchange birthday gifts - just phone calls and/or cards.  I really pushed for that years ago.  I probably offended some people, but I explained that it makes way more sense for us all to be looking to live within our means than to buy each other things that will simply clutter-up our homes.  The one family member I knew this was going to be especially difficult with, I sat down individually and talked to her a long time about our financial goals and what's really important to us, then explained that a lack of gift was not some slight or indication that we didn't care about her; we just didn't think it would be very smart to run up charges on our credit card, buying things we simply couldn't afford.  I even pointed out to her that this way, she could be reasonably sure we'd never be calling her up and asking for money to pay our bills.  Hee.  Instead, I made it clear that we were available to help her whenever she needed.  (For instance, my husband regularly checks her car to make sure no repairs are needed, and does the minor work on it himself.)  After that conversation, she became one of the biggest supporters of the "Let's just do cards." idea.

 

Twice a year, I host a big dinner for family and friends, as my way of showing them that they are important to me, even if I can't afford to lavish expensive gifts on them. The first is in the summer and has a New Orleans theme, because my husband and I lived there for years.  I decorate my den and dining room with old Mardi Gras beads and doubloons, plus some paper/cardboard Mardi Gras decorations I got years ago at a party store.  I serve several Cajun and Creole dishes and send everyone home with little gift bags that have homemade pecan pralines in them.  (These gift bags are just paper lunch sacks I decorate myself by painting simple Mardi Gras masks on them and gluing a few feathers and adding glitter to the masks.  I wrap the pralines in wax paper and put them in plastic baggies before putting them in the paper bags.)  When my guests arrive, I give them a few cheap beaded necklaces from the dollar store to wear.  We play card games or charades or Win, Lose, or Draw for entertainment.  I usually don't spend more than about $100 total, for all the supplies, food and drinks for the party.  Years ago, it was less, but food prices have risen a good bit.

 

The second dinner is in December.  The first time I did this was out of sheer desperation, because I knew I couldn't afford to buy everyone Christmas gifts, but it was such a (totally unexpected, at least on my part) huge hit, now we do an adapted version of my original idea every year.  I make "faux party crackers" by putting three or four Hershey kisses in a toilet tissue roll and wrapping them with colored tissue paper.  I also include in them a piece of paper with the title of a Christmas carol/song.  I make bags (using the same plain, brown lunch sacks I use for gift bags) that I decorate by using construction paper to make a collaged image or scene that relates to the carols.  For instance, "Frosty, the Snowman" would be a snowman with a black hat, or "We Three Kings" would be the three wise men.  I put labels on the crackers with everyone's name, and use them as place settings for dinner.  After dinner, my guests open their crackers and then get to go to the Christmas tree and find their bag, based on the song title.  In the bags there are random collections of bits and ends of craft supplies - yarn, buttons, feathers, ribbons and the like.  I have tables with glue, paint, glitter and Styrofoam balls set up in the den.  Once everyone has their bag, we have a contest to see who can make the weirdest, wildest Christmas tree ornament out of whatever is in their bag, plus the supplies on the tables, and the winner is awarded a gift basket I've put together.  Everyone else goes home with fudge or spiced nuts in plastic bags tied with curly ribbon.  By saving craft supplies year-round, and setting aside a little bit of money here and there throughout the year, I can pull off this party without breaking our December budget.  I probably spend around $200 total, including the food costs.  And that's it for Christmas gifts for the adults.  My husband and I simply exchange cards.

 

For children, I keep my eyes open all the time for sales and specials.  I keep things in Rubbermaid trunks in my closet so there's always something available for when my kids get invited to birthday parties.  We have a policy in our family that our children get three gifts for Christmas.  It's not *their* birthdays, after all.  The gifts cannot go over $125 total (for each of them), either.  When they were small, my husband and I chose the gifts, but once they reached elementary age, we let them decide.  They have gotten pretty savvy over the years, figuring out what they really want and how to get it within budget.  For their birthdays, we are a little more liberal in spending, depending on what they want, and there's no set gift number limit, but they understand we can't afford to go completely crazy.  They also get to choose everything we eat for the day, even if it's not typically "acceptable" for meals.  My daughter always has us eating enormous banana splits for dinner! I bake whatever kind of cake they want, too.  Every other year, they each have a birthday party with friends.  Last year was my daughter's turn and this year it will be my son's.  As they have the same circle of friends, we always invite the same group of kids to the parties each year in any case.  Now that they're teens, this has gotten much easier.  The kids come over, we let them make their own personal pizzas for dinner, topping them with whatever they want, then they play some video games.  While they're off playing, I set the kitchen counter up to look like a movie theater concession stand, with soda, candy and popcorn I pop on the stove, then the kids grab what they want and gather in the den for a movie.  For decorations, we just use balloons, streamers, and a "Happy Birthday!" banner I made years ago.  The parties usually cost around $50.

 

Every child born into our family since I got married has received a crocheted baby layette from me.  For new babies outside the family - (friends, church members, and co-workers' babies) -  I make a blanket by crocheting a border on flannel or fleece fabric, then make matching booties.  I have made prayer shawls for several friends and family members for various reasons, as well.

 

My husband and I both lost our fathers years ago, so we don't do much by way of Father's Day, except that I make a nice dinner for him.  For Mother's Day, each spring we go to a local park and take pictures of our children.  We choose the best one and print and frame it.  Our moms both have a wall of photos in which you can really see how our children have grown through the years.  We also put together small gift baskets with homemade bath items (like bath salts and sugar scrubs), candles, and chocolates.

 

We do host a cook-out/block party every Halloween, too, but this is potluck.  My husband and a neighbor spend most of the afternoon grilling.  We supply chicken, burgers and hot dogs.  He always brings ribs.  Someone gathers all the younger children and takes them around to trick-or-treat, then everybody comes back to our house to hang out in the front yard/driveway and eat dinner.  People bring condiments and fixings for the burgers and hot dogs, side dishes, desserts, and drinks. 

 

Whew.  This is a long post, eh?  LOL!  I think I covered everything.

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#21 of 30 Old 04-25-2012, 12:18 PM
 
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I always get children gifts, but not adults. If adults are going to throw a fit over not getting a gift, well, too bad so sad! 


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#22 of 30 Old 04-25-2012, 07:37 PM
 
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I so hear you on this. A couple of months ago (I think it was February) there was one or two kid birthday parties every weekend except for one... where there was a baby shower and a birthday party. The only adults we buy gifts for are mom, dad, mil, sdail, bil, gmil, and god mother and god father. This seems like a lot, but it's also a lot in August -- four of them are in August. It seems like the birthdays in my life just come in bunches.

 

Luckily almost all of the adults have a "collection" that I can add to. Mom collects faces (sun masks, jack in the greens, and the like) and Dad collects eagles. Usually I try to just get one of their "things" and only get what I can afford, but try to make sure it's unique and something they'll like. Like last year Mom got a 10 dollar sun mask made from an oil drum by people in Haiti. She was super pleased with it, and immediately put it up next to the hundred dollar stone flower face in her breakfast nook. Some of my best finds for the family tends to be the inexpensive items at expensive artsy stores. Most of the things in a shop may be ridiculously out of my price range, but I can usually find something "fancy" and personal in my budget if I look around. My other "go-to" present for adults are the jams and jellies I make. Everyone has a favorite flavor, so if I feel like whatever I got them isn't enough then I throw in a couple of jars of jam and feel good about it.

 

Kids tend to be more difficult to buy for. (For me.) I just want to get them the coolest thing. One thing that sucks in my circle is people will put the kid's "interests" at the bottom of the card. Yeah, try finding a cheap "batman" toy that doesn't look cheap. Recently though, I have found that books, movies, and educational stuff is a super big hit. One thing that helps me with this is that my mom has what I have termed "gift amnesia." I swear, she has bought DD the SAME educational bug movie 4 times now, and we currently have 3 copies of Dr. Seuss' Sleep Book. She (mom) always gets hurt when I tell her that DD already has that one, so I've just started putting them back and using them for gifts. DD learned at Thanksgiving last year what a "horn of plenty" was, so now she likes to gift her friends a "bag of plenty." So, usually a re-gifted book or movie, and some small items from the clearance aisles are usually what we get the kids. Grocery stores tend to be good for this, as they usually have a big bin full of books for super low prices. Also, as of Christmas I've started knitting baby hats, so for baby showers and 1st birthdays they get a hat now too.

 

Oh yeah, for my and DH's friends, we never really get them birthday presents or anything throughout the year.. maybe an occasional reciprocation gift at Christmas time, or pitch ins if they're throwing a party, but nothing really significant. However, the weekend after Thanksgiving we have a big party, invite everyone to bring their leftovers, and have "Thankful for Friends Day." The invitations always state somehow that we're so thankful to have their family in our lives and we really appreciate them.


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#23 of 30 Old 04-26-2012, 09:14 PM
 
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Oh yeah, for my and DH's friends, we never really get them birthday presents or anything throughout the year.. maybe an occasional reciprocation gift at Christmas time, or pitch ins if they're throwing a party, but nothing really significant. However, the weekend after Thanksgiving we have a big party, invite everyone to bring their leftovers, and have "Thankful for Friends Day." The invitations always state somehow that we're so thankful to have their family in our lives and we really appreciate them.

 

I really love this! Good for you for making your friends feel so loved.

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#24 of 30 Old 04-27-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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Oh yeah, for my and DH's friends, we never really get them birthday presents or anything throughout the year.. maybe an occasional reciprocation gift at Christmas time, or pitch ins if they're throwing a party, but nothing really significant. However, the weekend after Thanksgiving we have a big party, invite everyone to bring their leftovers, and have "Thankful for Friends Day." The invitations always state somehow that we're so thankful to have their family in our lives and we really appreciate them.

 

I really love this! Good for you for making your friends feel so loved.

 


Right on. It was DH's "thing" before we got together as a way to see friends amongst the craziness of the holidays, and to give a couple of friends a real Thanksgiving when they didn't have family in town. It started off one year because a guy got a free turkey from one of the churches... but it came frozen, at noon, ON Thanksgiving. So, DH, guy and his roommate moved Thanksgiving to the weekend, and turned it into a party by inviting over all their friends. It was such a big hit, they did it again the next year and the next. It's kind of evolved and changed a little bit over the years, but "Thankful for Friends Day" is now one of my favorite holidays.


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#25 of 30 Old 04-30-2012, 08:19 AM
 
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Books! Everyone gets books from me. This started years ago when I owned a bookstore. Now it is expected.smile.gif My town has a great used bookstore where things are around halfprice. The thriftstores often have great deals on books in good condition. But even at full price, a well chosen book is my preference for most every occassion. For myself, I rarely buy books any more ( I have a Kindle or use the library), but $3-20 is a great price for gifts in my family.
 


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#26 of 30 Old 05-01-2012, 06:31 AM
 
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How does your dh feel about it since it's mostly his family? I wanted very much to just say we won't do gifts anymore - end of story. He felt very different about it. It actually caused a bit of strife in my marriage for a while. I finally had to decide to back down. We have drastically cut back what we spend and on whom but we do give small gifts for birthdays and Christmas again. I wouldn't say it's a small price to pay for peace but it is worth it for me to not have to fight about it anymore. 

I don't know what your budget is, but $20 per person does seem pretty reasonable. I can't imagine what you can really get for much less than that - well, that wouldn't be total junk. Although, you could always stock up when things are on sale and/or buy at thrift and consignment to save a little more. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I think this sucks in general and sooooo many people have this problem. I'd love a world where we don't feel pressured/obligated to buy gifts but I don't live in a place like that. In the end, you just need to decide if saving that money is worth the aggravation it may bring. For some people it is and for some people not so much. 


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#27 of 30 Old 05-01-2012, 07:16 AM
 
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I hate the feeling I get when I know someone expects a gift or expects a fancy one.

 

SIL texted that she was sending dd's birthday gift and she "just wanted to get my niece her present." I responded, "gifts are not important to us. she (dd) just loves you all so much." DD just received that gift and it's something she won't use, isn't her interest, and appears to have been a re-gift as it came from the Amazon returns department. lol Don't get me wrong, re-gifting is fine by me IF it's something the person receiving the gift would actually want. DD opened the box excitedly and looked at me with a sad face, she was very disappointed. What's the point in giving a gift if you're doing it just to give a gift? I much prefer to give gifts that are meaningful and serve a purpose otherwise I think it's a waste of time and money.

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#28 of 30 Old 05-01-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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SIL texted that she was sending dd's birthday gift and she "just wanted to get my niece her present." I responded, "gifts are not important to us. she (dd) just loves you all so much." DD just received that gift and it's something she won't use, isn't her interest, and appears to have been a re-gift as it came from the Amazon returns department. lol Don't get me wrong, re-gifting is fine by me IF it's something the person receiving the gift would actually want. DD opened the box excitedly and looked at me with a sad face, she was very disappointed. What's the point in giving a gift if you're doing it just to give a gift? I much prefer to give gifts that are meaningful and serve a purpose otherwise I think it's a waste of time and money.

I wouldn't assume that means it's a re-gift... Maybe she ordered the item specifically for your DD & opened it to discover there was a problem with it. Or maybe she exchanged something she had bought for herself so she could get something your DD might like.

I think because there are SO many gift options out there (especially for kids!) that it's hard, if not impossible, to find something the recipient will love, and that he/she doesn't already own, AND is in the giver's price range, the 'cool' brand, etc. I don't think that most people give a gift just to give a gift, I think most people do genuinely have the recipient in mind & try to choose something that will be enjoyed. I'd give SIL the benefit of the doubt that she thought the gift she'd chosen would be meaningful & fun.

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#29 of 30 Old 05-01-2012, 02:44 PM
 
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Crunchy_mommy, I appreciate your perspective and appreciate your saying it. I assume it was a re-gift because the same set of books was on my niece's list just two weeks ago. lol It's cool, don't get me wrong. I'm totally fine with it, just wish sil (who is a very superficial person, another story for another thread) wouldn't get dd a gift for the sake of a gift.

Example: On dd's birthday and Christmas list was a model of a pregnant human. DD is very interested in anatomy and was very involved when we were expecting ds and helped in preparing for his birth so she's interested in the process. Mil and sil both said they would never get her something like that. lol Well, ok just get her a set of books she isn't going to read.

And, honestly, I feel for the gift giver because they've spent their money on something that wasn't what dd wanted. DH and I are frugal people and it really makes us feel bad when someone's money goes to waste. DD is saving for a horse and she has quite a bit of money in her piggy bank. She's also asked for contributions towards that but I can see how someone would prefer to give a gift that's more fun to open.

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#30 of 30 Old 05-01-2012, 06:57 PM
 
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freecycle


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