Author Topic: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.  (Read 9061 times)

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Ceallach

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2012, 07:11:58 PM »
With my immediate family, we still do lists, and I love them!  We don't always follow them to a "T" and some of the best gifts I have ever received were complete surprises.  I'll admit, my list this year is 4 pages long.  I know extremely well that I will not receive all of it, but my parents and sister love that there are a variety of options and price points.  I used to write a much smaller list (half a page), and my parents would whine that they didn't know what to get me.  For me though, if I think of something I would like to have, I just write it down so I remember it and it just ends up on the same list.  If there are a couple of items that I really want, I put a star next to it.  I've already started Christmas shopping (not sure that I should be proud of that) for my Dad, who is the hardest person to shop for, and I bought him something that I know will not be on his list.  I'm really excited to see him open it because I know that he will love it!

As for extended family, we no longer exchange lists.  We just give everyone something simple (pumpkin rolls, candy, popcorn, crafts).  Its easy and never goes to waste.  This is something you might want to consider OP.

See, with a list that long, it's not even a wish list - it's just narrowing down the options at the shops for them!  ;)    I can imagine there's still a very strong element of surprise for you as to what you'll ultimately get! And lots of discretion for the buyer.     

I don't think there's many people who are utterly opposed to wish lists altogether.  It's similar to wedding gift registries IMHO - I don't mind people having them, and it makes sense seeing there are people who are really, really bad at gift buying and would prefer some guidance.  It's just when it crosses the line into demands, assumptions, or expectations that people will buy to a person's specifications that I dislike it.   At that point it seems we should just cancel out the monetary difference and hand over the difference in cash, then go get whatever we want for ourselves.
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TootsNYC

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2012, 01:47:37 AM »
I totally get why you don't like the request (especially this far out, and unrequested by you!) for a contribution to this one specific thing.

It feels covetous. As though she's thinking of some piece of your money as "hers to dispose of," before it's even been offered.

I wonder sometimes if there's any way to say to someone like her, "Listen, please don't ask me for a specific Christmas present until AFTER I have asked. It makes me feel really targeted to think that you are sitting around deciding what I should do with my money, as if my money is yours to spend just because I usually get you a Christmas present. Yeah, yeah, we both know I'm going to buy you a present, but I don't like how it feels, even so. So please don't do it. I promise you, I'll ask for idea. Just don't bring it up first."

Mymom sort of trained us to do a combo of "wish list" and "shopping list"--but it's mostly "wish list" w/ general guidelines (or a specific list of the books we DO have, so you won't get a duplicate).

CakeEater

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #32 on: September 26, 2012, 07:52:23 AM »
I totally get why you don't like the request (especially this far out, and unrequested by you!) for a contribution to this one specific thing.

It feels covetous. As though she's thinking of some piece of your money as "hers to dispose of," before it's even been offered.

I wonder sometimes if there's any way to say to someone like her, "Listen, please don't ask me for a specific Christmas present until AFTER I have asked. It makes me feel really targeted to think that you are sitting around deciding what I should do with my money, as if my money is yours to spend just because I usually get you a Christmas present. Yeah, yeah, we both know I'm going to buy you a present, but I don't like how it feels, even so. So please don't do it. I promise you, I'll ask for idea. Just don't bring it up first."

Mymom sort of trained us to do a combo of "wish list" and "shopping list"--but it's mostly "wish list" w/ general guidelines (or a specific list of the books we DO have, so you won't get a duplicate).

I think the idea of the bolded is exactly how many people feel, but I can't see anyone taking well to that sentiment.

Snooks

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #33 on: September 26, 2012, 09:21:35 AM »
I'm firmly in the camp of wishlists, specific or otherwise. I hate the idea that people are wasting their hard-earned money buying me stuff I don't want, like or need. And likewise, I hate wasting my money in the same way.

And I find it interesting that people here have suggeted that when they buy presents tht are off people's lists, that the recipients always like them. I would hope that everyone who has bought me a gift I've found completely useless or awful would think that I loved them. I try hard to be excited and grateful about receiving anything, even if I dislike it for whatever reason. I suspect that it must be similar for others.

I've probably told this story a dozen times on here but I once received a message from someone berating me for buying them something they didn't want and didn't like instead of what they'd told me they wanted.  As it happened I'd bought them something similar to what they'd asked for and had bought it before I received the (unprompted) message telling me what to get them, but because it wasn't exactly what they told me they wanted they threw a tantrum.

As I said upthread I think of it as the push/pull of information, if someone asks me to do them a list I will but if they don't I'm not about to write a list and send it over to them which is effectively what the OP's brother and SIL have done.

philliesphan

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #34 on: September 26, 2012, 01:35:32 PM »
I totally get why you don't like the request (especially this far out, and unrequested by you!) for a contribution to this one specific thing.

It feels covetous. As though she's thinking of some piece of your money as "hers to dispose of," before it's even been offered.

I wonder sometimes if there's any way to say to someone like her, "Listen, please don't ask me for a specific Christmas present until AFTER I have asked. It makes me feel really targeted to think that you are sitting around deciding what I should do with my money, as if my money is yours to spend just because I usually get you a Christmas present. Yeah, yeah, we both know I'm going to buy you a present, but I don't like how it feels, even so. So please don't do it. I promise you, I'll ask for idea. Just don't bring it up first."

Mymom sort of trained us to do a combo of "wish list" and "shopping list"--but it's mostly "wish list" w/ general guidelines (or a specific list of the books we DO have, so you won't get a duplicate).

I think the idea of the bolded is exactly how many people feel, but I can't see anyone taking well to that sentiment.

WORD. That is 100% how I feel, and I am also 100% uninterested in dealing with the hissy SIL is sure to throw if I actually say that out loud.  ;D

Hence, lesser-value gift card it is. I think...I hope...that SIL is at least clueful enough to realize that she ought not complain if what parents and I end up giving them is not enough to pay for an entire iPad.

TootsNYC

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #35 on: September 26, 2012, 01:49:51 PM »
What those covetous people don't realize is that if they WAITED, or even if they dropped HINTS, they might receive a far more generous gift.

If she just mentioned a couple of times how they wished they could get an iPad, but that it's really too much, and even too much for any one person to buy, and that's why she and hubby haven't bought one, but maybe they'll save up. . . you and the parents might figure it out on your own! And then you might even splurge!

CakeEater

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #36 on: September 26, 2012, 05:44:24 PM »
I'm firmly in the camp of wishlists, specific or otherwise. I hate the idea that people are wasting their hard-earned money buying me stuff I don't want, like or need. And likewise, I hate wasting my money in the same way.

And I find it interesting that people here have suggeted that when they buy presents tht are off people's lists, that the recipients always like them. I would hope that everyone who has bought me a gift I've found completely useless or awful would think that I loved them. I try hard to be excited and grateful about receiving anything, even if I dislike it for whatever reason. I suspect that it must be similar for others.

I've probably told this story a dozen times on here but I once received a message from someone berating me for buying them something they didn't want and didn't like instead of what they'd told me they wanted.  As it happened I'd bought them something similar to what they'd asked for and had bought it before I received the (unprompted) message telling me what to get them, but because it wasn't exactly what they told me they wanted they threw a tantrum.

As I said upthread I think of it as the push/pull of information, if someone asks me to do them a list I will but if they don't I'm not about to write a list and send it over to them which is effectively what the OP's brother and SIL have done.

I'm flabbergasted that anyone would actually throw a fit over receiving a gift - that is, of course, ridiculously rude.

However, I do understand the disappointment that comes from receiving something not quite what you were wanting. My Mum gave me a camera for Christmas one year, and I received it gratefully, and have used it for years. But it wasn't quite the thing I wanted, and was planning to buy for myself. However, once I had a camera, I couldn't really justify spending the money to buy another, similar one with slightly different features.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it's hardly a blip on the radar, but it makes me all for specific wishlists. For context, I'm actually not a big fan of gifts at all, and my family have decided to give each other nothing at all this year.

Bexx27

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #37 on: September 26, 2012, 06:04:17 PM »
I definitely agree that a gift card to an electronics store is the way to go. However, I would worry that since they are expecting such an expensive gift, they are planning to spend an equivalent amount on gifts for you. For that reason, I would want to have a discussion about gift expectations. Something like: "Hey, I'm a little surprised by the request for an ipad. We're happy to contribute toward the cost of an ipad as your gift this year, but I was hoping we could stay within the $xx range with the gifts we (the adults) purchase for each other. I know we all have limited funds and I prefer to keep most of the focus on the kids."

I don't see anything rude about saying you'd like to set a spending limit. Establishing expectations beforehand could prevent some misunderstandings and unpleasantness.
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philliesphan

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #38 on: September 26, 2012, 06:22:39 PM »
I definitely agree that a gift card to an electronics store is the way to go. However, I would worry that since they are expecting such an expensive gift, they are planning to spend an equivalent amount on gifts for you. For that reason, I would want to have a discussion about gift expectations. Something like: "Hey, I'm a little surprised by the request for an ipad. We're happy to contribute toward the cost of an ipad as your gift this year, but I was hoping we could stay within the $xx range with the gifts we (the adults) purchase for each other. I know we all have limited funds and I prefer to keep most of the focus on the kids."

I don't see anything rude about saying you'd like to set a spending limit. Establishing expectations beforehand could prevent some misunderstandings and unpleasantness.

Oh, I'm not worried about that in the least. DH and I make considerably more than they do, plus my niece just started college so they're not exactly flush with cash right now. Historically, I have always spent more money on gifts for them than they have for me. So I find it extra presumptuous that SIL* has asked for something that costs a) more than I have spent on her in the past, and b) considerably more than she and bro will be spending on me.

*My brother may or may not even know that SIL has made this request, and is far too easygoing and polite to make that kind of demand himself (although he doesn't stop HER from doing this kind of thing), so I do mostly blame SIL for asking.

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #39 on: September 26, 2012, 06:48:41 PM »
I like lists, mostly because sometimes I really don't know what to get certain family members or friends and giving them gift cards to their favorite places to eat or shop doesn't always do the trick. I prefer that someone give me a generic list, they may not get the exact item on their list but at least it's something to go by.

JaneJensen

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #40 on: September 27, 2012, 03:26:07 PM »
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!"  ;)

Podding, agreeing and laughing, because you are so right, and really funny about it at the same time!

siamesecat2965

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #41 on: September 27, 2012, 03:58:11 PM »
That would make me mad too, even though my mom and I do have “wish lists” for each other.  We keep a running list, and update them periodically.  That being said, neither one of us expects everything on the list, and we also give and get things that aren’t on it, but we know each other would like. 

She and I are the type who would rather have a list, as a starting point, and suggestion, then get stuff we don’t need, want or use. Not that we’d ever tell each other that.  Each of us will sometimes include a link to a website with the item on the list, but more for convenience than anything else.  there’s an item my mom wants, and she included the website. But if I find it for less elsewhere, she won’t care where I get it from, if it’s the same thing, if it ends up being something I do get her.

My list is usally a mix of stuff and gift cards, but the gift cards are for things like getting my hair done, or the spa I like.  Fun stuff that I wouldn't normally spend $$ on, but might like.  And while a facial might run me $120, a $25 gc to the spa would be as appreciated as one for the full amount! 

I’d go with a GC say to the Apple store, in the amount YOU choose to spend, and let them take it from there. I’d be put off too, if someone told me I want this and that and I knew they’d pout if they got something else, well, that might be the last time they get a gift from me.


taffywduck

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #42 on: September 29, 2012, 05:42:36 PM »
When it comes to gift giving, I prefer to get something that was carefully chosen with me in mind. I truly loath receiving bath products/beauty baskets and such because I don't use any and just end up gifting them to my mother who actually loves the stuff (any stuff really).

I put a lot of thought in the gifts I give and for me it really is the thought that counts.

My mother is terrible and sadly she's getting worst and worst with age. It used to be that she would ask for ideas or a list then pick from that. Then she was asking for specific items and she would get that. Now she asks for specific ideas and asks me to get them and she gives me a check for the amount. Oh and she's not old, she's in her mid fifties and healthy to boot, she just hates shopping or having to put any thought into gift giving.

Last year I made a knitpick wishlist and she picked from that, it was the first Christmas for YEARS that I didn't know in advance what I was getting (or had to buy it myself). So I made one this year too, carefully including a wide range of items... and now she wants me to go through my wishlist and pick my favorite items so she doesn't "buy me carp I won't like"... nevermind that anything on that list is something I picked because I would enjoy!

She's just as bad with the gifts for the kids, I have to lie about what I am getting them or she'll jump on that and I end up giving "filler" gifts. Made her an Internet wishlist for the kids this year and I just left off the specific items I prefer to get them myself.

For anyone else on her list she pull the most random stuff off the shelf and calls it a day. She'll then want me to congratulate her on her awesome gift giving... but really, you can't have more random, thoughtless, generic gifts.

dietcokeofevil

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Re: I hate this kind of Christmas gift-giving.
« Reply #43 on: September 30, 2012, 11:09:04 AM »
My MIL is very frustrating when it comes to gift giving.  She starts hassling you months in advance for what you'd like, but unless you email it to her, she'll forget anyway and keep asking.  You can't give her general ideas like I'd like some new candles.  You have to give her I'd like brand X, in scent Y and here's where you can buy it.  Giving her one item is not sufficient, even if that's the one thing you do want and it's in the price range she'd spend, you have to give her a whole list.  Then she turns around and wants you to tell her what on the list you want the most. 

To top it off, even though we've gave her the list 2 months in advance, she'll wait until the day before to go shopping, won't be able to find the item, and instead of buying something different will just tell us oh I'm going to get you this whenever it comes in.  It bugs me a little for DH and myself, but it really upsets me for the kids.  Especially when it's Christmas and the nephews are opening up 10 different gifts and DS and DD only have a couple because the rest of theirs is still coming.