This year, I finally want to put a stop to the yearly quandary: my relatives buying me gifts I have absolutely no use for. I just need some ideas as to how to do it.
In all honesty, I would rather they forgo a gift to me and use the money on themselves than have them buy me things I will NEVER use.
Examples: last year I got PRL sweats and lots of Smashbox makeup.
I do not need "glam" loungewear. Seriously. The dogs and cats do not care what I wear when I curl up on the couch with chocolate chips and microwave kettle corn to watch movies on Friday night.
I also do not need a train case full of makeup. I work outside with horses for a large portion of the year. When I'm not doing that, I'm inside working... at home. I'm only ever in the office (the one I have to drive to) for a few weeks of the year... and that's pretty much the only time I ever get "dressed" (what about going out, you ask? I forgot about that a loonnnnggg time ago, before blanket changes, fly spraying, turnout, medicating every 12/6/4/2 hours, calculating feed bills, entering horse show results, keeping track of points, and working out work schedules for horses and riders).
So, instead of scarves I can't wash (I do. not. dry clean. ever. unless it's my jumper coats, but that's a different story), candles I won't burn, and lip gloss I won't wear, I'd love some items I can actually use:
ball caps, washable! warm scarves, a gift certificate to SmartPak or the feed store, and dare I say... a Carhartt jacket? Items like this would rock my world.
How might I go about dropping these hints? I don't see most of my family during the rest of the year, so I'm not close enough to them to just up and say it (and yet we still exchange gifts at Christmas. Bizarre.). I don't want to sound ungrateful, yet... I want to end this silly gift giving/receiving quandary! Help, COTH
I have some of the same issues with our extended family. One year my mom asked my son to create an Amazon wish list of things he wanted for his birthday, as he was really into Legos then, but no one knew which sets he had/wanted. So the next time someone asked for gift ideas, I simply told them "he likes Legos, baseball and Harry Potter - he even has an Amazon wish list." It worked so well for far away family that eventually DH and I both made lists. Maybe you could request your relatives create lists so you can get ideas for them, and even mention that "I did one last year and cousin Sally thought it was a great way to get gift ideas" Is there a family organizer that could spread the word?
Maybe your relatives are coming from "oh, she works so hard at the barn, I bet she would like something pretty when she isn't there", but yes, I hate feeling ungrateful, and often wish they had spent the money on themselves too.
Amazon wishlists are the way to go. Amazon has basically anything you can want, and you can even add things that aren't on Amazon.com if you add the plug-in to your browser.
I keep mine on all year round, and just add things to it as I come across them. Silly things like t-shirts and books that I would never buy for myself, but that are the perfect thing to get as a gift.
Or, seriously, just ask for gift cards. If they don't actually ask you, and you don't see them that often, have your mother or whoever DOES talk to them pass the word along.
Or finally broach the topic of not exchanging gifts. Say that you have everything you need and would prefer a donation be made to a local charity. It's then up to them whether they actually donate or not, but at least you have removed yourself from the gift-giving cycle!
After many years of trial and error, alternating between "whatever, but $x is the limit", no-holds-barred, Secret Santa-type lots, that game with switching gifts, and a disastrous attempt at no gifts at all, my family has just settled down into telling our loved ones exactly what we want. That seems to work best.
I had the same problem years ago, and I gradually weaned the extended family off excessive gift giving by proposing charitable contribution exchanges instead. At first we picked the charity for our own "gift" to the other person, but after a while we started just donating to whatever charity we liked in the same of the giftee. It made me feel a lot better about the holiday season to know I was doing some good instead of contributing to overconsumption, and also no longer having to figure out what to do with all the crap I received that I didn't want. I finally got to the point of donating all that old stuff (or throwing it away if it wasn't worth donating), and no longer worrying about the sentimental value.
We have cut out a gift for everyone...we tried picking a name each and it was ok, but I still filled stockings and they cost more than the gift (almost as much).
Christmas cards, too - if we are not seeing the person, we send, if we will see them, we just hug. I have a lot overseas and send a quick note in each one.
My husband thinks a phone call is all that is needed.
The charity idea is a good one. One year friends gave a goat, but that darned thing seemed very expensive for just one goat. Goats auction off here much cheaper. But it still seems to me I want to give my own close family gifts, just not to all the extended family. Perhaps just to the under age kids - I dunno - it gets complicated.
Whatever, it has to be agreed upon early.
Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique