General Etiquette > Family and Children

But it's no fun for meeee if you want that gift!

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I need some help with this situation because I'm so upset about I'm struggling to stay polite. Both my Mum & sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I replied asking for a gift voucher for my favourite clothing store. Their response (bear in mind they weren't together when responding) but that's boring! It's no fun for me to get you a voucher. I'll just get you whatever I want to.

So my response was, if that doesn't work for you, then I'd really like you to donate money to my favourite charity. Their response...eeewwww (my 46 yr old sister actually said that) that's not a present and that's even more boring for me. Gifts are as much about the giver as the recipient and I'm not going to give you something that boring.

So now I'm asking for some help from you. I've tried a few of the usual phrases but need some others.


What is your goal? To get them to give you the kind of gift you want, to not exchange gifts at all this year...? I will say that some people really like to give something tangible and don't like giving gift cards or cash. And asking for charity donations can be a bit complicated - what if the charity you support goes against the gift giver's principles?

One option would be to ask for a specific item, or type of item, from your favorite clothing store - with a gift receipt in case it doesn't fit. Then you can choose whether to keep it or return it for store credit. Another option is to ask for something small and tangible (i.e. a nice snow globe, scented candles, etc.) plus a gift card.

I agree this would be frustrating. You think, but you asked what *I* wanted... ?? I think they could have been much more polite while conveying a similar message, if what they really wanted was to shop for and give you a tangible thing as well/instead. Or, they could have nodded at your request and then been creative with it, like by putting the gift voucher inside a thing.

I agree with LadyL, decide on your goal first. It seems they aren't going to get you exactly what you want, so maybe you can salvage the situation and get a smaller gift voucher with a thing you also kind of want, or ask for gift receipts for everything and take them back if you don't like them.

Or, maybe you could say cheerfully, okay, you guys take a guess, and get me something you think is fun. They'll have fun doing it, and then if you don't like it, you can trash/donate it later. And maybe spend less on them this year, if you think you'll resent spending the money when they were so rude in response to your suggestions that THEY asked for. Kind of try to put the situation back in the positive column, in the spirit of the holidays and all.

Clockwork Banana:
I agree that the charity request can be quite complicated on a number of fronts - ease of donation, belief compatibility, lack of the 'fun' of shopping et. al.

On the voucher front, I also agree that if they asked what you wanted, and that is it, they should take it with good grace.  However, it does seem like your mother and sister like shopping, (for some strange reason:-)) and vouchers do not fill some need.

Is there anything you can think of that they can purchase, and that you would enjoy, that does not involve personal taste or size limitations?  Exotic chocolates or coffee that you normally would not purchase for yourself?  For an example, (granted I bought it for myself) I love chai.  I purchase the bags and when I am feeling flush, half-decent loose.  But last year I went to one of the specialty stores and spent what felt like a fortune (>$20) on a small package of the real thing.  It was a wonderful treat while it lasted.

Another idea is electronics, like a cassette to MP3 converter that is not essential, but you could then deal with all that awesome music you have in that box that never gets played anymore?  Ok, I am totally dating myself with that one, and I have no idea your age - but you get the idea.  Something you don't need but would still want and use.  Let your imagination fly!

There was one year my entire family wanted gift cards.  They can be boring to give... but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with them.

I bought everyone a cheap gag gift related to their gift card.  Dad wanted new clothes, so I bought him a horrible pair of board shorts off the Target clearance rack and put his card in one of the pockets.  Mom got an ugly Christmas deviled-egg plate with her card taped to the back.  Sister wanted to buy wall decorations for her new house, so she got a print of Dogs Playing Poker with a gift card between the print and the frame.

Tell your Mum & sister they need to think outside the box. :)


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