Author Topic: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.  (Read 9104 times)

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philliesphan

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I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« on: September 23, 2012, 11:16:04 PM »
My family, with the exception of my wonderful niece (who both understands the joy of giving and receiving a gift especially picked out by the giver for the recipient), pretty much considers the giving of holiday gifts (birthdays, too) to be an exchange of shopping lists. I hate this. I can't avoid giving them a wish list for what they get me -- if I don't, they'll just hand me cash; even if I do, they sometimes just get me a gift card, claiming it was too much trouble to find the gifts I requested. (Gee, who wouldn't love a gift with that message behind it?) But I do try to avoid asking for wish lists from them, and I try hard to find something that will please each of them.

Well, it's only September and SIL has texted me saying she and my brother want an iPad for Christmas, and that maybe I could go in with my parents to get it for them.

I can't think of anything that makes me want to buy her an iPad LESS than her flat out asking for one. Half the price of an iPad is a bit more than what I was planning to spend on the two of them together, and half the price of an iPad is probably more than my parents can really afford. Plus being asked for it just makes buying the present feel like a completely joyless exercise. On the other hand, if I get her and my brother something else, I will be complained at -- "but all we really wanted was an iPad." I can't cry poor, because DH and I spoil the crap out of my niece (because she APPRECIATES it, and doesn't act the least bit presumptuous or entitled about the trips we've taken her on or the gifts we give her). But boy, do I not want to give her what she wants!

I'm thinking they get a gift card to an electronics store, for considerably less than half the value of an iPad. What say you, e-Hellions?

violinp

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 11:26:48 PM »
My family does wish lists all the time. I don't always remember what I want, so it's helpful to be able to give my family a list of things I want for Christmas/my birthday. Our gifts are a mixture of what was asked for and surprise gifts, and we are grateful for both. Just because a gift isn't a surprise doesn't mean that it's a bad gift, or that the recipient is entitled and doesn't appreciate gifts.

You are certainly free to give as you wish, however, and if you don't want to contribute toward an iPad, then don't.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


katycoo

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 11:28:10 PM »
You're always going to have 2 sides on this debate.  Not everyone finds gift shopping easy, or enjoyable.  I am one of those people.  As a result, I LOVE lists.  I know I'm giving something which is wanted.  I also personally hate getting things which fall into the category of my interests, because it is rarely something I actually want.  I am comfortable enough that when I want someone, I go and buy it.  Anything so expensive that it falls out of this assumption is too expensive to ever expect as a gift.  And I feel guilty getting rid of things when I know the giver has put a lot of time and effort in.

I guess I'm saying, save your energies for those who appreciate your efforts.

Ultimately, I think your solution is fine.  Don't let them guilt you into spending more than your budget, but you're still helping them achieve the item they desire.


Sharnita

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 11:31:32 PM »
I think there canbe a fine line with a wish list.  It can give people help and direction but if it becomes absolute expectation then it is a burden.

snowdragon

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2012, 11:41:35 PM »
Get her a gift card to the apple store for what you can afford. have your parents do the same. Then when they whine about it. tell them that you want them to pick things out for themselves to "make sure it's right" anything more than what you and your parents want to spend they are on the hook for.

Talley

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 01:33:34 AM »
I actually love wish lists, but this kind of blatant asking for something would also make me want to not buy it for them. To me a wishlist should contain a few different items in somewhat different price ranges because I don't believe you can dictate how much anyone spends on a gift for you (all 'yous' general). And that, to my mind, is exactly what SIL is doing. She is telling the OP and her parents, you have to spend *this* much on us because this is what we want, regardless of what the OP and her parents can afford/wish to spend.

I would go with the gift card for the amount you want to spend on a present for them. And maybe ask your parents if they would consider doing the same - but the parents are in no way obligated to do this or give the same amount or make up the difference.


AustenFan

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 02:27:59 AM »
Get her a gift card to the apple store for what you can afford. have your parents do the same. Then when they whine about it. tell them that you want them to pick things out for themselves to "make sure it's right" anything more than what you and your parents want to spend they are on the hook for.

I was going to suggest this as well, or an iTunes card if they don't already own an iPhone/iPod.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 07:18:10 AM »
There's a difference between a wish list ('list' implying more than one thing) and a wish. She wishes for an IPad. Yeah, well, I wanted a pony.

A good wish list has a range of items in a range of prices - and allows for a little flexibility and surprise. The King always asks me for a list, because he'd like ideas (and sizes) - he rarely sticks to it, but it always points him in the right direction.

You can buy them a gift card to the Apple Store in whatever amount you find appropriate, or you can give them something else entirely. And the fact that you spoil your niece is irrelevant, to me - Christmas is more about kids anyway.

Ceallach

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 07:22:46 AM »
Ugh I hate this too!

Obviously gift buying can be hard, and sometimes it makes sense to consult the person to get suggestions.   But when it turns into an assumed situation of asking for whatever they want, it becomes an obligation instead of a gift, and that's no fun.    Your idea of the gift voucher makes sense to me. Unless you did have something else in mind that you particularly wanted to purchase, although even then I understand it can feel pointless if you know they won't appreciate it. 
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


JenJay

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 07:38:18 AM »
The past few years DH and I have referred to Christmas as "The annual exchange of equally valued gift cards." I hate it. My kids love it (they get wrapped gifts from DH and I but cards from everyone else).

Bottom line, don't be pressured into gifting someone over what you have budgeted for them. You can give your bro and SIL whatever you like, including a gift card toward an iPad.

I have a wish list on amazon for DH's sake, because I'm one of those people who doesn't have a hobby, doesn't enjoy knic-knacs, doesn't collect anything in particular, doesn't go starry-eyed over bags or shoes, etc. I can appreciate that I'm hard to buy for so I try to help the guy out. lol. What you describe, being told what to buy under threat of being grumped at if you don't produce said item, is not a wish list. That's a ransom note! "Give us an iPad or you'll never enjoy Christmas again!"  ;)

SleepyKitty

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2012, 08:17:50 AM »
Could you set up a tradition of Amazon wish lists for next Christmas? I honestly don't really like wish lists, but what I do is all year round I add stuff to my Amazon one, and I just make it available for people to see around my birthday/xmas. I make sure that there's something for every price level, and from a wide range of stuff that interests me - there's usually at least 40-50 things on it (most of them books  :) ). I can even add things from outside websites. Since I usually forget that I've added something in June by xmas, I still get gifts that are a lovely surprise for me, while the person shopping has a much easier experience of it.

That won't help you for this xmas, though, and I agree with others that you should just give her an Apple gift card in the amount you are comfortable with. You might want to give your parents a head's up, though, since it seems likely to me that your sister has already talked to them, telling them that they're going in on an ipad with you.

camlan

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2012, 08:30:11 AM »
I have this dilemma with certain relatives, too. Do I stand by my principles and get them the gifts I want to give them, or bow down to their wishes and buy something off their shopping list (I find it difficult to call it a wish list, when it is presented as a list of demands).

My sister will give me a "wish list." She'll tell me she'd like a sweater. Maybe a specific book. Mention that she likes warm socks for walking around the house. But it's just suggestions. She's always happy with whatever she gets.

My brother will hand over a printed list, with exact model numbers, colors, sizes and frequently the website where the items can be purchased at the best price. That's a shopping list. And he really doesn't want anything but what's on that list.

I have given up with the demanders. I will buy them something off their list. They are happy. I am less so. But I figure the ultimate point of a gift is to make the recipient happy, so that's what I do. I also usually include a smaller gift that I think they will like, that bears no resemblance to anything on their shopping list. Guess what? They usually do like it. But they never seem to make the connection between the fact that they like it and the fact that it wasn't on their list.

In the OP's case, only she knows her SIL and brother well enough to know how a gift completely unrelated to an iPad would go over. I have to admit I'm a bit surprised they are asking for an iPad--they are expensive. Even half the cost is well over what I would spend on two family members for Christmas.

I'd probably talk things over with the parents, and then go for two Apple gift cards, one from the parents for however much they want to give and one from me, with whatever amount of money I was planning on spending on the two of them for Christmas. And that's all they'd get from me.

The SIL and brother might want an iPad (heck, so do I), but they are not owed an iPad. For the sake of family harmony, I'd contribute towards their getting one, but I would feel absolutely no need to ensure that they didn't have to spend any of their own money on it.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


SPuck

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 08:34:29 AM »
I suggest you get her a gift card (in my personal opinion if you get it for the right store you know this person enough on where they shop, but that is just me) in whatever amount they feel like giving. If they complain about the gift, just cross your arms, look them in the eye, and go "Really, your complaining about my gift?" or "A gift is not a matter of discussion." Remember, strong body language, if you respond with a titanium spine of steel it will probably cause them to back down. There is nothing wrong with responding to a faux pass whine with an etiquette truth.

On a side note I cannot imagine getting an electronic device for a sibling that expensive. In my family the only people who get expensive items are those who need it for school, and gift certificates to Home Depo or Lowes for home construction.

buvezdevin

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 08:39:53 AM »
Assuming she didn't tell you which IPad and features she wants, I think a gift card in whatever amount you want to give as a joint gift *towards* an IPad is a great way to go.  Aside from color, memory and other options - there are often refurbished IPads available at less than full MSRP, your gift card could mention that you hope they will enjoy choosing their IPad.

Like you, I prefer to give personally chosen gifts, and like others, I also enjoy having lists provided they include some range of items and price points.  I agree with SleepyKitty that an Amazon wish list can be a wonderful way to share items as suggestions.  You could mention that to SIL, but she may consider that too much effort herself, and think it "easier" to specify one big item and let others figure out how to fund it.  Which would put me off, as it has done you.
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O'Dell

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 10:24:33 AM »
You know she won't appreciate anything you give her, so why put yourself out? Concentrate on the people you enjoy shopping for.

Go with the gift card to put toward an iPad in the amount that you had budgeted. If she comments on it, something neutral like "That's what I was able to give you this year." I've been known to add "Is that a problem?" to make them come out and say what they really want to or to get them to shut up, but that might be rude.
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