OK, I have to get this off my chest. I just finished up the whole Santa thing in the living room, but I need to type this before I go to bed.
Tonight we went to my DH's family Christmas party. There is a gift exchange - Competitive, Yankee Swap, whatever you want to call it. On the invite (hosted by my MIL), it specified that you should bring a $25 gift. DH bought a nice bottle of bourbon. I bought two Santoku knives - an 8" one and a 5" one, and used a coupon to get it down to $25. My mother brought a beautiful crystal/cut glass bowl and a beautiful aluminum wall cross that she'd found at a little shop at a good price.
This is what we came home with: I got 2 pair of rolled beeswax taper candles. I looked up pricing online - probably $15 max, and I'm really not into candles. My mother got a pretty paper box with two bars of scented soap. My DH got a CHIA PET!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know neither of those things cost $25 (my DH buys me a lot of scented soap, so we are familiar with pricing). The invite did not say UP TO $25 - it said $25.
None of these people have financial problems. In fact, we are the youngest, poorest couple - I'm a SAHM and so we raise 2 kids on one income. Most of the gifts were nice. I know it's the luck of the draw, but come on - we all essentially got scr*wed. I sure would have liked to have had my knives back, or my mom's bowl and cross. DH would have liked to have had that bottle of bourbon.
DH is going to tell him mom next year to specify that the gift needs to be $20 to $25 (or whatever) so that people cannot mistakenly think that it is an "up to" price, OR it needs to be a White Elephant gift exchange so that this doesn't happen to anyone else. I'm feeling rather disgusted.