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<p>Both sides of our family will not give up gift giving and we all live very spread out around the country.  We have no $$ to travel for the holidays, no one is coming to visit us, yet everyone wants to ship gifts to and fro.  My issues beyond the consumerist waste are that my DH's siblings always want to do gifts then few of them actually BUY any for others ("we dont have $$"- yeah, well neither do we).  They dont even buy for DS or send him a card/pics/phone call.  My family has $$ and loves to spend spend spend.  We tried to do charitable donations and xmas cookies last year with mixed results and much grumbling- no one was really pleased but us.  This year we are really tight on cash- really tight.  If we are going to spend $, I dont want to buy scarves, sweaters, gift cards, crap, etc. but I dont want an upset family.</p>
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<p>On a side note, we did buy DS a few gifts and do send cards/pics to everyone.  We are great about calling and Skyping and have already started our holiday cooking for gifts (caramels, cookies, cheese).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Please help!  I want to keep in the spirit of things so our families are not upset but I really dont want to waste anymore!</p>
 

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<p>your homemade treats, plus pics and cards, sound like PLENTY of awesome giving!  i would not spend additional money except to ship it all and call it good.</p>
 

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<p>Are you crafty at all?  When we've been really tight on cash before, besides making consumables (which I would love to be gifted by the way!), I also dip into my yarn and fabric stash to make gifts.  Knitting is fairly time-consuming (though something I love to do in the evening while watching a movie), but you can whip up a sewed project pretty quickly.  Or, if you know someone who is crafty, maybe you could offer to trade something (homemade cookies, babysitting services, etc) for them making you some small gift items for your relatives.</p>
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<p>I also shop in used toy and book stores, and on craigslist and kijiji (not sure if you have kijiji there?).  I won't gift something that's obviously beat-up, but I have discovered new-in-the-box, and barely-used stuff for really good prices.  I do some shopping on-line as well, and I a) do a lot of research to get the best deal, and b) always do a Google search for coupons for the store that I'm thinking of buying from.  I recently bought a big-ish Playmobil set for the kids for xmas and found a 20% off coupon (and free shipping over a certain price) which was the only reason I was able to afford it.</p>
 

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<p>Take what I say with a grain of salt....</p>
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<p>I totally get where you're coming from and normally I agree with you. However, Christmas is kind of THAT holiday, you know? It's the time for people to just buy things for the hell of it. Sometimes you just have to let that go...As</p>
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<p>As for getting things for others...can you do something that is centered around your DS? For example, last year all of the g-parents got a frame (similar to <a href="http://www.target.com/9-Opening-Collage-Frame-Black-Finish/dp/B000GJTE2U/ref=br_1_8?ie=UTF8&id=9-Opening%20Collage%20Frame%20Black%20Finish&node=12975841&searchSize=30&searchView=list&searchPage=1&sr=1-8&qid=1291760939&rh=price%3A1500-2499&searchBinNameList=target_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Clifestyle-bin%2Cprice%2Cnumber_of_pieces%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=salesrank&frombrowse=1" target="_blank">t</a><a href="http://www.target.com/9-Opening-Collage-Frame-Black-Finish/dp/B000GJTE2U/ref=br_1_8?ie=UTF8&id=9-Opening%20Collage%20Frame%20Black%20Finish&node=12975841&searchSize=30&searchView=list&searchPage=1&sr=1-8&qid=1291760939&rh=price%3A1500-2499&searchBinNameList=target_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Clifestyle-bin%2Cprice%2Cnumber_of_pieces%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin&searchRank=salesrank&frombrowse=1" target="_blank">his but cheaper)</a></p>
<p>we then did a handprint of DS's and put photos of him throughout the year. It was a HUGE success.</p>
 

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<p>Consumables. Things they'd buy for themselves anyway, but fancier. Jars of gourmet mustard. Pasta from Italy shaped like cartwheels. Turkish Delight. Olives. Balsamic vinegar. Preserves. Seasoned nuts. Some of these can get pricey, but you can do up gift baskets and pad the expensive stuff - sundried tomatoes, fancy olive oil or whatever - with cheaper stuff like homemade dukkah, fancy crackers etc.</p>
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<p>I LOVE those kinds of gifts - in fact, DH usually fills up my stocking with stuff from the Mediterranean grocer. Jars of pesto and vanilla beans. Works for me. :) If they don't cook, you could tailor consumables to their hobbies. Knitting? A few balls of wool, some nice needles, stitch holders from Etsy. Gardening? Some fancy heirloom seeds (something unusual, like purple tomatoes), gardening gloves, even fertiliser! Art? Pens, pencils, scrapbooking supplies, whatever. Sewing? A French curve, nice glass-headed pins, Fray-Chek, tailor's chalk. And so on. Stuff people always use is generally appreciated, even if it isn't that exciting - and there's often a way to make it a bit fancy, something small but really top-of-the-line.</p>
 

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<p>Yup. My usual rule if I don't know (or can't afford) what someone really wants is Consumable, Combustible, or Compostable. That way no one is stuck with useless stuff.<br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Smokering</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284167/ideas-for-xmas-gifts-that-aren-t-just-consumerist-waste#post_16100530"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Consumables. Things they'd buy for themselves anyway, but fancier. Jars of gourmet mustard. Pasta from Italy shaped like cartwheels. Turkish Delight. Olives. Balsamic vinegar. Preserves. Seasoned nuts. Some of these can get pricey, but you can do up gift baskets and pad the expensive stuff - sundried tomatoes, fancy olive oil or whatever - with cheaper stuff like homemade dukkah, fancy crackers etc.</p>
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<p>I LOVE those kinds of gifts - in fact, DH usually fills up my stocking with stuff from the Mediterranean grocer. Jars of pesto and vanilla beans. Works for me. :) If they don't cook, you could tailor consumables to their hobbies. Knitting? A few balls of wool, some nice needles, stitch holders from Etsy. Gardening? Some fancy heirloom seeds (something unusual, like purple tomatoes), gardening gloves, even fertiliser! Art? Pens, pencils, scrapbooking supplies, whatever. Sewing? A French curve, nice glass-headed pins, Fray-Chek, tailor's chalk. And so on. Stuff people always use is generally appreciated, even if it isn't that exciting - and there's often a way to make it a bit fancy, something small but really top-of-the-line.</p>
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<p>Coming back to the thread because I had another thought....</p>
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<p>In my friend's family on her dh's side there are 3 siblings (him and his 2 brothers) and each of them is married.  Instead of everyone buying for everyone else they do a name draw, where each of the 6 of them draws the name of another of the 6 and that's the only one they need to give a gift to.  She said some years they've done it "secret santa" style, and sometimes everyone just knows who's buying for who.... either way works.  Maybe that would work for you and your dh's siblings as well? </p>
 

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<p>Smokering... love your thinking.  That's the way we've always done it in our family... tried to find really useful things (consumables are best!) that are still cool and or fancy enough to be an exciting gift.</p>
 

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<p>We started a name draw a few years ago on my mom's side of the family. LOVE IT. Couples are entered as a pair and usually receive one household style gift, like a new game or pan for the kitchen. Aunt B. randomly sends out the names after thanksgiving, and always includes the addresses so shipping is easy. I used to buy 1-2 gifts each for 6+ people, now I buy one gift from myself and DH (because we're entered as a couple), and one gift "from" DS.</p>
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<p>Locally, my dad's side of the family does a yankee swap for the adults with a $ limit of $25. Totally fun opening, swapping, and stealing gifts. Each child gets entered into a drawing. Children get individualized gifts, but they get only one (and buy for only one). Names are drawn at Thanksgiving.</p>
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<p>DH's side of the family is up to him. It's SO much easier this way. I used to stress about buying gifts for each of his relatives that I'd see during the holidays. Once we made it clear (between the 2 of us) that I was responsible for my family and he for his, things got so much easier.</p>
 

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<p>Until this year, my sibs & their spouses always did a name draw. That way instead of spending $ on 8 gifts we'd spend a bit more on one person. So, we'd spend about $40-$50 on one person, instead of trying to get 8 gifts. $50 is kind of high, so you could set a lower amount.</p>
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<p>This year we're going to donate what we would have spent on gifts to a charity. We've set it up so that the oldest sibling chooses first, and then on down the line. My mom's family does this and I like it. So, this year my sister has chosen a local charity that works with the homeless. I'm going to write a $100 check, feel good about it and be done.</p>
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<p>I'd suggested the charity last year, but my brother wasn't quite ready for it. (He and his wife had had a tough year as his MIL was dying.) This year he said he was ready. Sometimes it just takes time for change to take hold.</p>
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<p>You could always make a donation to a charity you like and then send everyone a card saying "In these tough economic times, we wanted to help others who needed help more than we need stuff. We've made a donation to XX charity in your name." You can donate however much you can afford ($10, $20, whatever) and have it cover everyone. They might not be happy, but you'd be living up to your values and you might start somethning.</p>
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<p>This year I ended up ordering for 2 family member online. I was able to get free shipping, didnt have to worry about packing, mailing etc.  I usually dont exchange holiday gifts but this year was an exception for this one group of family members.</p>
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<p>What I've found is after I buy something, pack it and ship it things just get too expensive.  On line is def. the way to go if you can.</p>
 

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<p>The problem with this though is that the charity YOU (general you) like might not be one that I like.  I would be really upset if someone donated to PETA in my name.  That's not a gift, IMO, that's offensive.  If you are going to donate to a charity in someone's name as their gift, at least make it a charity that they support.   </p>
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<p>You could always make a donation to a charity you like and then send everyone a card saying "In these tough economic times, we wanted to help others who needed help more than we need stuff. We've made a donation to XX charity in your name." You can donate however much you can afford ($10, $20, whatever) and have it cover everyone. They might not be happy, but you'd be living up to your values and you might start somethning.</p>
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This is not in anyway helpful to the op, but I really, really wish that we would all stop buying presents for adults. I get that Christmas is fun for the kids, but it just seem so silly to buy other adults gifts as well. When I was a kid my parents bought us presents and that was it. Adults can buy their own stuff.
 

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<p>I can't believe op's family didn't like the cookies.  WHO DOESN'T LIKE THE COOKIES??  They're the best part of Christmas, IMHO <span><img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/smile.gif"></span></p>
 
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<p>The first year we switched to charitable donations instead of gifts my husband's family kind of turned their noses up at my cookies and fudge.</p>
<p><br>
So now, since I love to bake for others, my lawn guy gets a huge tin of cookies and fudge and DH's family gets Christmas cards with a note detailing which charities we supported that year.</p>
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<p>Works for me.<br><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>penstamon</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284167/ideas-for-xmas-gifts-that-aren-t-just-consumerist-waste#post_16100475"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Both sides of our family will not give up gift giving and we all live very spread out around the country.  We have no $$ to travel for the holidays, no one is coming to visit us, yet everyone wants to ship gifts to and fro.  My issues beyond the consumerist waste are that my DH's siblings always want to do gifts then few of them actually BUY any for others ("we dont have $$"- yeah, well neither do we).  They dont even buy for DS or send him a card/pics/phone call.  My family has $$ and loves to spend spend spend.  We tried to do charitable donations and xmas cookies last year with mixed results and much grumbling- no one was really pleased but us.  This year we are really tight on cash- really tight.  If we are going to spend $, I dont want to buy scarves, sweaters, gift cards, crap, etc. but I dont want an upset family.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>On a side note, we did buy DS a few gifts and do send cards/pics to everyone.  We are great about calling and Skyping and have already started our holiday cooking for gifts (caramels, cookies, cheese).</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Please help!  I want to keep in the spirit of things so our families are not upset but I really dont want to waste anymore!</p>
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I'm surprised to be the first one to say it, but if they were crass enough to "grumble" about a gift last year, they wouldnt be getting one this year.<br><br>
And as to who doesnt like the cookies, i can honestly say that in most instances, I dont, and i'm a sugar fiend. We got a box of cookies from nana last year and not a single one of them was worth the calories. I guess i'm just picky about home-baked cookies. Not sure what the problem is, whether it's quality of ingredients, mediocre recipes, or the fact that they tend to sit around for days or weeks going stale, but most Xmas cookies i've ever had have been extremely dissapointing. Not that I would ever tell the giver that.
 

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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>cristeen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284167/ideas-for-xmas-gifts-that-aren-t-just-consumerist-waste#post_16101959"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
I'm surprised to be the first one to say it, but if they were crass enough to "grumble" about a gift last year, they wouldnt be getting one this year.<br>
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<p><span>You beat me to it!  My thoughts exactly. </span></p>
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<p><span>We do the donation thing but I will say, I do try to keep the organization as non-potentially-offensive as possible.  For a long time, we did Heifer, which has a good reputation.</span></p>
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<p><span>Quote:</span></p>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>cristeen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1284167/ideas-for-xmas-gifts-that-aren-t-just-consumerist-waste#post_16101959"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br>
And as to who doesnt like the cookies, i can honestly say that in most instances, I dont, and i'm a sugar fiend. We got a box of cookies from nana last year and not a single one of them was worth the calories. I guess i'm just picky about home-baked cookies. Not sure what the problem is, whether it's quality of ingredients, mediocre recipes, or the fact that they tend to sit around for days or weeks going stale, but most Xmas cookies i've ever had have been extremely dissapointing. Not that I would ever tell the giver that.</div>
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 Mom?  Is that you?  Just kidding, my mom is super-selective about how she "spends" her calories and the above is sooo something she would say to me.</p>
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<p>What about homemade nut mixes?  I keep seeing all these great recipes for mixed nuts with spicy bourbon glazes, lime pepper and such.  The ingredients may be spendy though.<br>
 </p>
 

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Well, after saying i dont like the cookues, figured i should come back and clarify that there are tons of other goodies i do like. Caramels, toffees, brittles, pretty much all the candies, popcorn balls, profiteroles, pastries, even quick breads. I'd rather have any of those over cookies. And many of them are quicker and simpler to make, too. A nice selection of handmade candies (caramel, brittle, fudge usually) is always a hit around here.
 

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<p>Thanks for all the great ideas- I love some of the consumable ideas Smokering.  We have done consumables in the past since I make so much stuff (usually soap, lotions, foods, baskets, etc) but this year I just don't have the time.  We spoke with DH's family last night and some members were into the donations, some weren't.  I think we will seriously limit the amount of stuff bought for those who want gifts and hope to phase it out soon.  My biggest problem with these people who grumble about donations or no gifts: they are the ones who "forget" gifts, "don't have $", or end up giving us cheap thoughtless junk.  So I have a hard time feeling sorry for them and wanting to splurge with $ we don't have.  (I am speaking about specific family members, not you grumbling posters <span><img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif">)</span></p>
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<p><span>I love the Yankee and that it what we have done for local friends, but there really is no way to do it long distance.  The name exchange would be great but frankly it is hard to trust that the aforementioned siblings would remember/bother to get a gift so someone may be left out- which I guess happens anyway!</span></p>
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<p><span>I understand the cookie thing from both sides- I love cookies and treats but have received bad ones before.  I guess it didn't bother me cuz I understand what went into making them.  DH and I do make caramels, candies & cheese in addition to the cookies and we overnight ship.  Also any cookies/candy that are finished earlier are immediately frozen when finished so they are fresh to ship.  We eat them ourselves for weeks after Xmas.</span></p>
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<p><span>Anyway, fantastic ideas!</span></p>
 
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