General Etiquette > Holidays

Should I opt out of gift exchange or just get over it?

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BG this year all the parents in my family decided to save money by starting a gift exchange for the kids instead of everyone buying for all the kids. several years ago most people stopped buying for the adults.
There was a lot of heated "discussions" over whether to do this and how it should be done. I made it clear that I was voting against the gift exchange. I liked the idea that no one had to buy for anyone, everyone should only give what they can afford, and that no one should expect any gifts. I also said I would happily do whatever everyone decides and then said nothing else in the discussion.

With this said it is common knowledge that we are doing the best financially and traditionally we give gifts to adults and children and usually spend more than others. We enjoy doing it, and don't make a big deal of it.
Part of the discussion involved family A asking for a monetary range on gifts that was higher than most people wanted. This was odd because family A is doing financially the worst. For most holidays family A "forgets" their contribution/presents/eggs for the egg hunt, etc. we suspected that Niece A gets most of her presents because of the extended family. Instead a compromise was done and a range with a $10 between high amount and a low amount.

Instead of drawing names grandfather picks who gets who, he does this so siblings don't get each other and so niece A buys for my youngest child. If family A "forgets" the gift my child is too little to notice and this way no child will have feelings hurt. End of background

Family doesn't forget the gift. However the box shows that the gift was packaged to be sold at a particular drug store and I know that the gift in question was sold at that drug store for 1/3 of the lowest amount that people agreed to, and was on sale for most of December as buy 2 toys get one free. In addition the age limit on the gift is obviously not appropriate for the child.

I am considering talking to the family about not doing the exchange next year. If they want to continue I may take my family out of it. It just seems unfair when we all agreed on a price range range for one family to not do it. Some of this may simply be that I am sick of this one family always taking advantage of the rest of us.

However I could just put this behind me and say nothing, but this will likely mean another child will have this happen next year, and family A again gets no repercussions for their actions again. I am sick of getting taken advantage of again and again and again.

I am sorry the gift exchange went bad for you :(

First off you can't control what others do. But you can let whoever organizes the gift exchange that you will not be participating in the gift exchange again. Also let them know why. Personally I believe if you agree to the terms of the exchange you should abide by them. If money was a factor and the family in question couldn't swing the cash for a gift then they should have bowed out. It isn't fair to say they will participate and then not come through. There is too much potential for hurt feelings with this arrangement if everyone doesn't' play fair.

Maybe as a compromise do some sort of home made card exchange????

So family A tries to set the price very high, ensuring they receive expensive gifts, and then they either buy something way below the agreed upon budget or give nothing? That's absolutely ridiculous!

I would go to the person who hands out names and tell them not to give your child's name to family A next year, and why. Either the organizer will talk to them or eventually nobody will want to be on the non-receiving end of Family A's "gift" and they'll end up forced out.

Your child is too young to notice this year,,,but what about the next year and other years? She is being treated badly - her extended family is allowing and it's up to you to defend her. I don't care what the circumstances of family A are. ( And I say this as someone who knows nothing about kid's gifts and who has been unemployed for two years. ) If you participate in an exchange you  don't short people, especially when you are the one who set the limit for the exchange.
   I would have removed myself the minute I was told I was being assigned a name rather having a chance at choosing someone.

This sounds like an aggravating situation!  I don't know family A's precise financial situation, but they certainly sound like moochers.

I think that I would speak with Grandpa about this first.  He seemed to know that it was likely that they would not buy a nice gift.  If the family is truly needy, perhaps he would step in and get the gift. 

I'm afraid that stopping the mooching, while still doing nice things for the children on holidays, will be very difficult.  Family A is accustomed to getting away with this, and habits are hard to break.  I suspect that they will just cry "poor" if Grandpa talks to them. 

For Easter, perhaps the money for the eggs could be collected way ahead of time, so that the person who buys doesn't have to use their own cash or credit car.  The money could be collected during Christmas, and there would be plenty of time to remind Family A. 

I like Hopefull's idea of homemade cards and gifts.  That sounds like the true spirit of Christmas.  I have seen children make lovely and thoughtful gifts for each other.

Perhaps I'm cynical today, but for some reason i suspect that Family A still wouldn't bother to get a nice gift made for another child. 


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