I wish we could stop giving gifts altogether, but that would feel too strange to suggest that to my parents and inlaws. And I would feel bad announcing to my grandma that she won't be receiving anymore gifts. Although she doesn't give us gifts anymore, which is fine with us!
homeschooling mother to 4 (!) living in western Massachusetts
Momma to K ('01), E ('03) and A ('07)
Proud Gestational Surrogate to N (15/01/15)
We are also cutting out a lot of gift giving to friends - telling them let's just all go out to eat/have them over for supper and enjoy a night together. So far the response has been good. They are all in the same boat we are.
Originally Posted by Emmama
This year I want to ask my family members to give what they would have spent on me to a charity in my name. I don't know how that will go over though......my family has issues with Gift Certificates: too impersonal and "Everybody need's to open something".
Originally Posted by Lisa_and_Sarah
We started choosing names a few years ago in both my family and with my in-laws. All of the adults (me, DH, my siblings, their spouses, mother, and grandmother for my family) each buy for just one other person. This has worked really well for us--we buy a lot less, but nobody is left out.... If you think your family might be interested in that, it could be an in-between step on the way to eventually getting rid of the gift exchange entirely (though of course you wouldn't have to say that now).
Thats what we do and it works great!!!!!! plus, i live in colorado and everyone lives in minnesota (i miss everyone) so it saves me on shipping cost!!!!!!!!
and if planned far enough head you can skip the wholechristmas rush thing. Ilove buying, giving and recieving gifts but I hate stuff randomly choses for the sake of choosing and hate waiting until the last minute and doing it in stress. I also have very limited funds.
consumable - someone already mentioned.
theme exchage- you could do kitchen towel, socks, bookmark, homemade somethin, etc. . . . and everyone is limited to just one item. one pair of socks, one candle, one towel, one game whatever. it will take the stress of "oh what do I get her" and add a little fun of picking out the best little cheap whatever you can find.
we used to do the drawing names but we spent more time and energy on that one person than we ever did on finding little things for everyone.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
I went thru a declutter phase a few years back and donated about 13 boxes of stuff that was stuffed into my house. After looking over it, 75% was some sort of gift. This made me think- I hardly ever see the gifts I also give so they are also stuffed into someones home as well. I decided that year, we are not exchanging anymore. It was tough for my sil because she loves to spend money and buy things and its still tough dealing with her- last year she handed us almost a crate of gifts on xmas even after saying we do not want to exchange even with the kids.
We did do the adapt a child at church. They have ornaments on a tree and you pick one. I always try to pick dd's age. Last year we spent $120 and bought everything on the list- incl a new coat and all the toys that were listed. This year we will pick a 3-4 yr old girl. I would rather do that, help someone and then take the tax deduction. We now tell family and friends etc starting around now- we are adopting a few charities to give to this year and we are NOT participating in any gift exchange. We also say we try to stick to the real meaning of christmas- Christ mass and its a holy holiday for us.
Also we started this w dd's first xmas- Jesus received 3 gifts, so she will receive 3 gifts on Xmas morning. The first christmas it was stuff she already needed and we just wrapped them up for the pictures. But since we have already started this, I do not see her missing out on anything. She will recieve stuff from both sets of grandparents and I will not try to stop them - its usually a check for her savings and a small gift from my inlaws and my parents, my mom and dad will find a bunch of stuff that I will make them give over a few weeks time so not to overwelm.
I have already gotten 2 of the 3 gifts. Both on sale that I know she would like and I just stuck them in the closet. One is already wrapped too!
If need be just say to all family- we are not particpiating and be gentle but ask that everyone respect your position on this.
We draw names--that way we only need to buy a gift for one person. The adults still like to buy the children gifts, but we limit them and it's OK to give yard sale finds etc. Works out really well. My MIL gives me money to buy the children what they want/need and then tell them it's from her. She's a saint. She herself has never wanted gifts. The kids usually give her drawings or art and I have given her photo albums (not scrapbooks-- just albums with pictures).
For other folks (college friends, for instance), we agree to one family gift. A book, A DVD, nice coffee, games, things like that. Nothing extravagant.
ETA-- I forgot that lat year we did a Yankee Swap, which we joked and decided to call Red Sox swap (after years of having picked names). :LOL (Yes, we know the game is not named after the team--but it was a World Series win year!) It was *so* much fun! My then 5 yr old loved it. She mentioned it the other day how fun it was. She got the one gift, but loved the game. She ended up with a little basket of $3 and $4 GC to various places. Dunkin Donuts, Panera, the video rental place etc. She still has the Dunkin Donuts card. She is savoring it and keeps changing her mind about what she'll get with it.
My family started it first. We have ten adults and five kids, so each adult draws one other adult and two kids (of course not their own kids). That way each kid gets two presents. We set $ limits (I think it was $25 for kids and $60 for adults last year) and everybody writes down suggestions of what they'd like.
We suggested starting an exchange to dh's family, and they were receptive. The only difference is that kids aren't included in the drawing, but that's no big deal since there are only two cousins we need to buy for.
It really makes our lives easier, and cuts down on the expense and the clutter. People are pretty good about following the "wish lists," which helps a lot. It definitely takes a lot of the surprise of gifts away, which would be an issue for some, but for most adults it's really hard to know what they could use or would like if you don't see them often. I have found myself thinking, "hmm, I don't want to spend money on that, but I'd really like it... Maybe I'll save it for my Christmas list." Now if only I can remember those things when the time comes!
Originally Posted by Bearsmama
Yeah, I sort of hate the Christmas gift x-change, too. I don't mind giving to kids in family. In fact, I enjoy choosing gifts for them at other times of the year. But it seems to forced and weird at Christmas. DH and I don't even give each other gifts. Blech. I really dread it. I would LOVE to just go away for the Christmas holiday. In fact, I would love for everyone in the extended family to plan a trip and spend the $$$ that way. Hmmmm???
I decided last year to make note cards or general occassion cards for gifts. I know I like to give cards but they are expenisve and not very nice, so this year I have stocked up at sles of scrapbooking supplies and started my cards. This gift will work for most people and it is fun for me.
I also try and make things i know people can use. I made cookie jar mixes (the ones you put in a canning jar) for gifts two years ago and everyone who recieved one used it and enjoyed it. My oldest is 3 1/2 and can help me make them this year. I also save baskets and things from yard sales to use towards making gifts.
Dh, Me , DD 10 , DD 7 , DD 4
We , , , , not in that order
We (dh and I) are at the point that we don't want any gifts for ourselves or our kids. We need for nothing, and the boys have more than enough toys to keep them busy (and more than I care to have to begin with). My parents have already said, when I've mentioned it in passing, "You can't take all their fun away ... ." : (We - dh and I - also don't celebrate christmas either so they're really bent out of shape about that.) It's like all our children's (and our) fun is wrapped into one day and a bunch of stuff. (Pun intended) Has anyone out there stopped exchanging gifts for the kids too? Maybe suggesting a "family" gift would be cool ... I know we'd love some unit blocks or a nice globe ... maybe (because on my side we have a lot of kids - 11 currently) everyone would go for that.
and dd born 11/21/10 - our T21 SuperBaby