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Thread: When you don't want gifts

  1. #1

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    Default When you don't want gifts

    Do you ever tell someone you'd prefer not to receive a gift? Like for easter coming up?

    My parents visited the other week and gave the kids a few gifts. This is fine, they always bring something small. Mum said it was for easter as they're going away and we won't see them, but they'd post our gifts. I asked her not to, as we don't need anything, especially chocolate - if they want to give something we'd prefer useful things like pjs for the kids.

    I thought all was good, until Mum sent a fb message today asking if she could come by on her way home from town to drop off our easter eggs. I said we'd love a visit but if she hasn't bought the eggs yet, please don't. No one will eat the chocolate, we don't need it. She said sorry, she's already got it, it's a gift for the whole family. She followed this with "but don't get us any, we're starting the gym next week".

    Why is it okay for her to request no chocolate, but completely disregard what we've already discussed? Unless she's expecting me to do the same and get them some anyway. She actually has now just replied that if I really don't want it she'll give it to someone else. I expect this to come with a decent guilt trip tomorrow. Oh well.



    I'm sure I'm not the only one with family like this!

  2. #2

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Write a card when she arrives and when she hands them over stick your card on and hand them back!

    If only you could hey?

    That would really annoy me!

  3. #3

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Take them, thank her and then re-gift them. Is there some sort of playgroup/kindy/whatever fundraising raffle you could donate them to? Drop them at the food bank where a child might like a gift of a chocolate egg.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    I don't think it matters how often you say please don't get us anything. People still want to give. We still have easter eggs in the cupboard from last year. I have been using them when cooking things that require chocolate, so you have that option if you do end up with more then you wanted. Otherwise I second regifting them.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Quote Originally Posted by Artechim View Post
    Take them, thank her and then re-gift them. Is there some sort of playgroup/kindy/whatever fundraising raffle you could donate them to? Drop them at the food bank where a child might like a gift of a chocolate egg.
    Yes as above. Some people you will never get to really take in the message of no-gifts, or if they take in at all do a big guilt trip about ruining the enjoyment of the gift giver. (My take is what about my enjoyment of having a flat that isn't constantly over-spilling with stuff, and yes I can re-gift, donate etc but really we prefer the gift of space) After nearly five years have finally got through to the IL's that if they must buy gifts for the kids (which are flown over from the UK - postage often costing more than the items - never mind the environmental impact of it all having been flown from China to the UK and then over here) make them clothes because I don't buy any so they will get used. (But still sometimes they still send a chocolate advent calendar - you can imagine the state that is in having flown from UK and maybe sat in the mail box or on our doorstep all day in December).

  6. #6

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    I considered that Artechim, but we don't have anywhere to give them. I'd rather have the point get across that we don't need gifts, especially chocolate when it's known that it won't be eaten. I ended up calling Mum because I couldn't really articulate what I meant without sounding completely rude, and she's fine with it. Turns out my brother asked her not to get him any too, he never even used to eat them when he was a kid.

    I guess this is a bit of a carry on for me from Christmas. We have 12 people to buy for (after the kids) and so we set ourselves a $50 limit. That's still $600 and money is very tired for us. It's 12 people who we have no idea what to give, and when asked they say "oh whatever you buy will be fine". But after the agonising and driving and walking and endless shopping and wrapping, it turns out that whatever we buy isn't necessarily fine. Because they just bought themselves a new bag, they don't need another hat, they switched from apple to android, or whatever. And it goes the other way, we've received gifts that for one reason or another aren't appropriate, because of little things that they didn't know.

    And I know I sound totally ungrateful, I truly don't mean to be because I know the stress, thought and money that goes into them. So many times we'll be handed a gift with the line "I didn't know what to get you so I hope this is okay". I know they've spent time trying to come up with something just for us.

    But I think what if we just keep that $600? And they keep theirs? Spend it on themselves, and just come and spend the day with us, have a great lunch and avoid all that stress, make it about the family instead of the gifts. Because it got to a point last year where quite a few gifts were cash, and so if I give my brother $50 and he gives me $50, we're just back to square one and what's the point?

    Anyway I've kind of gone off on a rant on a different tangent here, and I probably sound totally ungrateful, but it's been bugging me.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    I totally get where you're coming from Teeki! We've decided for christmas and birthdays to only buy for the kids these days, alltogether there's 9 grandchildren/nieces and nephews so that's a fair chunk of money too.

    I'm glad you sorted the easter/chocolate issue out with your mum too, I'm pretty lucky with my family, the boys will get a small easter egg from my brothers, and my mum buys pyjamas or a small lego set for easter for the boys. Mind you, chocolate wouldn't go to waste in my house with DH, I have to hide the easter eggs from him so he doesn't eat them before easter lol

  8. #8

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Teeki I've had heaps of these similar discussions with family lately. For Christmas every second year we see DH's family and there are now 25 of us all. So last Christmas we agreed one set of presents for the kids of each side of the family (MIL and her sister) then the adults do a Russian secret Santa thing. It's awesome, each adult buys a $20 gift, wraps it and then once the kids are asleep they get put in a big pile in the middle.

    One person starts. Chooses a gift at random, opens it, everyone sees. Second person can either steal the opened gift or choose a new one from the pile. And so on. Hilarity ensues. Everyone wants certain gifts. Stealing, negotiating, bribery are all encouraged, but an item can only be stolen three times max. The third person to steal a gift gets to keep it.

    It is heaps of fun, really involves everyone and only costs $20 (or whatever you set) per adult.

    My family, on the other hand, has decided to do away with adult gifts all together and just do kids.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Oh I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel this way! I was imagining coming back from dinner/bath/everything and being told I'm an ungrateful cow who should suck it up and appreciate my family

    Christmas this year will be easier, DH's family has opted for kids presents only. Though MIL is very handy and tends to make us a little knick knack type thing. I've suggested to my family that we do the Secret Santa type thing for ages now, but my Mum is really big on the gifts, she gives to everyone - even those she doesn't know well. This year my brother and his fiancee are on board as they're saving for their wedding and buying a house. I might suggest your way OP, we did that at work once and it was loads of fun

  10. #10

    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    They're just Easter Eggs, give them away to someone else if it's too much of a problem, but I don't think you should expect people - especially grandparents to give up the joy of giving. Think of it as the blessing it is to have family that truly wants to be involved in your life

  11. #11

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Give them away to me!!!!! Mmmmm nom nom nom

  12. #12

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Lol OP, they're all yours!

    I get what you mean ausgirl. I just feel like it's too much. During the week, if Mum is out and sees something she thinks we or the kids need or would like, she gets it. So she bought DD some singlets because she'd wished for one (funny story lol) and she gave us their old bedside lamps because we didn't have any and they updated. We do the same for them, little gifts because they made you think of someone, just because.

    I have more of an issue with "there's this event coming up and society dictates I buy you something. This time it's chocolate, so here you go even though you don't want it!"

  13. #13

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    I think it can be hard for grandparents - because from what mum says, when she was a parent things were so expensive, and now things seem so cheap, sometimes it just seems wrong to her not to buy them. They didn't have the same issues of too much stuff, and environmental concerns weren't around then - so it can be difficult for them to see the point. However I don't agree that should just be grateful that they want to be involved, you can be involved without gifts, I try to encourage letter/email/postcard writing instead - the kids love that - more than many actual gifts.

    I have had birthday parties for the kids where have said no gifts, and I get a 50% success rate - 50% of people still bring gifts - why?? I can't fathom it myself - why put yourself through having to go to the shops and spend money when someone has asked for no gifts in the first place.

    We don't really do any gifts now at Christmas, or birthdays, even between DH and myself, and often not much for the kids either - and I absolutely love the gift that people are giving me of not filling our flat with stuff we don't want and also all that time I have that would have had to be spent shopping for gifts I can now use for something far more fun.

  14. #14

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    So the issue is not the gifts but the lack of contact otherwise?

    Im secretly freaking out as I have visions of my grandchildren doing egg hunts in my back yard.

  15. #15

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    We would regift stuff like that, if there's no one specific we think would like them, I'd take it to work and put it out for morning tea, or ask one of the care team at church whether there's someone in our community who might like them for themselves, or their kids, etc, or if they're putting together any hampers, etc.

    With presents in general, we try to get ahead of the ball a bit, and let people (close family - not everyone!!) know sooner rather than later of some specific things we'd love for the kids. So this year, we asked my parents for a Friends of the Zoo pass, and we asked my siblings for activity trips - a beach trip, a farm trip, etc.

    When we give gifts, we try to keep this in mind, and give art and craft bits and pieces, activity vouchers (as long as we're confident the parents have time and transport, etc).

    We're trying to think about what to do for DS1's birthday, as we want to put something on the invitation indicating we don't want gifts ... he's due for the next size up of clothes, so we're contemplating asking for an item of clothes and something to share for lunch, instead of toys. I just can't imagine his guests (not heaps, but maybe 10 kids) all coming with a toy!

    If there was a gap in the inventory (craft stuff, musical instruments, books) I'd have no bones about asking for things that come in that category ... I don't like asking for money (each to their own - it just doesn't sit well with me) and while the kids are little, I like them knowing that they are loved, and that people want to bless them because they love them... so I don't want to just say "no gifts" etc ...

    But for Easter, I don't see the need for prezzies, or a chocolate or chocolate substitute ... my parents have always done chocolates, but by the time I was a teenager, I didn't want the chocolate, so I asked for a toy, and then started asking for new pyjamas instead (nice ones) and now we get "chickens" from TEAR (Oxfam etc have the same sort of thing).

    But that's us!

    ETA: Rouge! The egg hunts sounds like fun... and I bet my dad would happily eat all the eggs ... I've never been to one!

    Oh, now I want to do an Easter egg hunt!!

  16. #16

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rouge View Post
    So the issue is not the gifts but the lack of contact otherwise?

    Im secretly freaking out as I have visions of my grandchildren doing egg hunts in my back yard.
    Egg hunts in your backyard - that is an activity that happens to include a gift - that is a different sort of thing altogether.

  17. #17

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Quote Originally Posted by peanutter View Post

    ETA: Rouge! The egg hunts sounds like fun... and I bet my dad would happily eat all the eggs ... I've never been to one!

    Oh, now I want to do an Easter egg hunt!!
    The national trust one at Ripponlea is good - you hunt for pics of eggs all round the estate but then exchange for eggs at the end - you have to have a child with you though :-) - the number of eggs to find depends on age of child (so take an older one, or lie if you want to make the hunt harder :-))

  18. #18

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    Default Re: When you don't want gifts

    Oh we do egg hunts too, but as the kids are still small it'll be a small egg for DD, a book, maybe a DVD and some pjs. It's not just about the chocolate though, I think if my parents hadn't created such fun hunts for us when we were kids I wouldn't bother, but I want our kids to experience it.

    We'd always start at the front door, under a special rock there would be a note that said "Dear K & R, Happy Easter! I tried to leave your gift here but a man went past on his morning run and I didn't want them to get stolen! Maybe I'll see if you have a sandpit. Love, EB." And there'd be two little paw prints as a signature and we'd run off to the sandpit where there'd be another note saying why he couldn't leave the stuff there, try somewhere else. Eventually we'd be led to our gifts

    But anyway, that's a bit different lol. We definitely have enough contact with my parents. For me it's more that gifts aren't necessary, and especially when it's been discussed previously like in this particular case, I'd just appreciate the visit without the gift that won't be eaten. We have nowhere to regift to, playgroup and daycare don't allow chocolate. I hadn't thought of charity though, I'll check if we have any here that would accept that type of donation.

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