At present (get it ha ha), the adults buy everyone a nice (kind of expensive present). On one hand, I get a lot of nice stuff for x-mas, on the other hand, it gets expensive as I have my mom and dad, one brother and his long time SO, and one brother, his wife, and their 3 kids (ages 16,18,20). Egads.
There has to be a better way!
I am thinking either pick a name and buy a bigger item present for that person or buy less expensive gifts for everyone.
What do other folks do?
Also, at what age (of the recipient) do you stop sending birthday checks? I used to get birthday checks from relatives, but it stopped when I was 18 (and that was totally fine with me).
I buy my husband expensive gifts.. because like my horses, his car stuff is not cheap. I usually buy small stuff for everyone else... because to be honest they all make WAY more money than me and none us are easy to shop for. Gift cards or if I see something I think they might like but wouldn't really think to buy for themselves. New scarves or gloves for my mom (as she always loses them).
I stopped getting birthday checks awhile ago... well until I got married. My hubby's mom now sends me birthday checks lol. My mom gives me money as well if I can't think of something I actually want.
His grandmother and aunt also sent us checks on our first anniversary this year... kind of odd if you ask me but hey.. free money!
We were doing the "gifts for everyone" thing and it was getting too expensive too. There was this mentality of topping last year's, then my bro got married and suddenly there were in-laws to buy for, etc.
Now everyone buys a gift for the babies (which isn't that expensive, some baby toy and/or clothing), and we draw lots among the adults.
Up until last year my bf and I were getting separate presents for everyone in his family. It was getting crazy as he has 8+ close relatives. I finally put my foot down and told him we need to do joint gifts. I even jump in on his joint gifts with his brothers (paying my fair share of course).
The great thing now is everyone now knows we have no money because of buying a fixer-uper house last year so they understand when we give smaller gifts. And my rents are easy because they hate it when I spend money on them, so they really appreciate smaller, thoughtful gifts.
Hubby gets well-thought out gifts that I research & purchase during the year; everyone else gets food gifts. Not homemade, but purchased through reputable companies - also researched throughout the year. Works for me, & except for hubby's stuff, only takes me a few hours on the computer. Nice food & food-related gifts come in all price ranges these days, & it's fun to order thing's for us to "test" throughout the year to evaluate quality, packing, shipping time, etc., of a new company.
When my family gets together for Thanksgiving, we decide on one or two charities and donate the money we would have spent on presents to each other.
Imagine...no holiday stress at all. None of us needs anything, really. We don't have any young children in the family at this point, so no reason to shop at all.
I can't begin to tell you what a relief it is to not only provide for those in need during the holiday season, but to pretty much avoid the mess that is the holidays. It gives you a whole different perspective about what the holidays are actually for.
My immediate family stopped doing birthday/Christmas presents a number of years ago. Christmas was scaled down when I went to college and birthday presents ceased after I was 21. I stopped receiving presents from my extended family when I was in high school except for one grandmother who still sends me a $25 check.
I know someone whose family does a gift exchange. Everyone buys for all the kids (under HS age) and then draws the name of one other high schooler/adult to buy a present (with a $50 limit).
I know someone else who does a gift swap ala a white elephant exchange except with non-gag gifts. This works best with a medium to large group that has people from many households so no one can try to rig it, but it can also be a lot of fun. Heck, you could do it with gag gifts to really take the pressure off picking the perfect gift.
If everyone is already buying gifts then the name draw thing is great. I opted out of the one my in-laws do because we have absolutely no relationship and I got shafted 2 years ago. the person who was supposed to buy my gift simply didn't.
I don't buy gifts for each individual person, I simply cannot afford it.
I do joint gifts for couples a lot, like my mom and her husband, and my brother and his wife. I buy something for my grandma. My extended families (mom's side and dad's side) always get together, and we have a grab bag. One side does a $10 limit, the other is $20.
I do have two little nephews and a baby niece. I try and get them a few fun things each. However, this year my sister-in-law instructed us all not to buy gifts for the kids. Instead she wants us to give them money so they can go on vacation. Or in other words give them money so she can spend it, probably on herself.
My SO and I already decided we aren't doing gifts for each other. Our income is combined, and we already buy stuff for ourselves anyway. We'd rather just buy gifts for other people.
We were doing picking one person and buying about $100 worth of gifts for that person, but it got old. Last time we just bought or made little things useful for everyone and then everyone chose something they wanted. For example, Trader Joe's was a good place to get food items, or handmade food items you specialize in, my sister in law loves to knit, so scarves and hats, the $1 store you can get lots of great stuff. It worked out much better because no one was spending a lot of money on things no one needed, but there were gifts for all.
In my husband's family we agree on a charity and each of the older couples donate $100 to it. Then we draw names but limit the price of the gift to $25-30. Each person puts 3 things they would like in that price range on their name when it goes into the basket. You may choose of course to get them something different, but it's helpful to know some things that they actually want.
Growing up we went from buying for everyone, to adults drawing names for each other and everyone buying for kids under 18, to no adult gifts just under 18. That has changed big time. Currently I spend most of our money on our kids, small tokens for Father and his wife and in-laws, as no one really needs anything and they are in a position to buy anything they want went they want it. Buy a joint gift for sister and husband and give money to nieces and nephews, or gift cards they can use while at college. I like getting gift cards especially if it is something new. We make sure we celebrate with friends by going to a nice dinner. It has taken alot of the stress out of the holiday so we can enjoy ourselves.
"They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier
"They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"
If you really want to simplify it, take what you would like to spend, not necessarily what you are expected to spend, and make a donation to a charity of your choice and tell the family that is their X-mas gift. Christmas has become so commercial that it's just plain disgusting.
I dropped my family several yrs ago and only give to my farrier and vet practice as they are always there when I need them whereas my family sure isn't.
Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!
We're trying to go gift-free with my husbands family this year. We want to pick a semi-nice restaurant (i.e. not one you have to wear a tie to, but something that's not Applebees), get the whole fam together and go to dinner where we can have a nice meal and enjoy each other's company instead of having to buy gifts for people that you know they aren't going to want/like/use (his mother is by far the worst person to shop for ever, yet she also doesn't appreciate a charitable donation gift in her name either...she thinks that is a waste of money...) just to get them something to unwrap. Plus his sister & her boyfriend aren't exactly gainfully employed so it's hard for them to come up with gifts for everyone. His sis is totally on board for the dinner idea (and we're willing to pick up more than our share of the bill if needed since we can) but his parents aren't on board so far. They think it's a stupid idea. I'm hoping they come around to it because we're going for it whether they like it or not...their gift will be delicious and come with a side of pleasant conversation!
Once there are kids, it'll be different but for now we really don't want to exchange gifts anymore! Though my MIL has already started buying us gifts for the children we don't have so I'm afraid that even if she does agree to the dinner idea, she'll skirt total compliance by buying more toys for her nonexistent grand children....
I'm using the Christmas gift I bought for myself last year to simplify gift giving this year!
Last year I invested in a really nice digital camera. Over the summer I started taking candid photos of family things - my cousin riding when she was here to visit, my aunt's beloved dog, my brother & uncle chatting at a family reunion, etc. I've made really nice prints of them (thanks to the photo printer I bought for my birthday) and am framing them as gifts. Found some great frames at Kohl's & Michael's on sale, plus one of the guys at Michael's gave me a quick lesson in matting photos. I haven't spent a lot of money, but my family will love the memories.
~ A true friend knows all there is to know about you and still likes you. -E. Hubbard