wood_elf: (nightshade fairy)
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posted by [personal profile] wood_elf at 09:21am on 01/01/2011
Hello community. Hope all of you had a nice Christmas and New Year.

I was thinking while putting away Christmas gifts (sort-of-resolution: don't let the house get this cluttered ever again) that gift-giving is a very problematic custom. My parents asked me what I wanted. I said 'nothing' because there was really no specific item that I needed at that time, and if there was, I would want to choose it myself. Parents, as they do, said I was going to have something for Christmas, what did I want? I suggested cold hard cash in lieu of presents, so they would be able to give me a gift as they wanted to and I would have money to save/spend when I had some idea of what I wanted. They agreed to this.

As it happened, I got presents and a small amount of cash. While I'm grateful for my parents' generosity, that they took the time to shop and search for me-specific gifts, I now have clutter, items that I'm unlikely to use but would feel bad to put on Ebay. Awkward.

On the other side of it, my parents are working professionals and anything I can afford to give them is probably not something they need or want - what to give to people who have everything? Nothing stresses me out as much as Christmas gift shopping. I'd like to propose a state of adults not exchanging gifts in the family, but I can't think of a way to phrase it without sounding like I'm trying to wiggle out of my daughterly duties, or that I'm secretly in dire financial straits and can't afford to give them even a small gift.

Hand-made gifts would be a possible idea but I'm a bit butterfingered/non-artistic/disorganised and don't think of these til the last minute. Perhaps this will be the year where I start sewing/drawing/pickling in October and manage to appear thoughtful without skinting myself buying unnecessary goods.

Would be interested to see what other Enoughists have to say about gift-giving customs.
Mood:: 'curious' curious
There are 13 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] foxfirefey at 09:46am on 01/01/2011
Oh man, I'm with you there.

One thing you can start to do is think of gearing your present requests towards:

* Charity -- things like Kiva work really well for that, since they'll be giving you funds you can choose to microlend out to, or making donations to certain causes you find important in your name.

* Experiences -- tickets to a certain event, the cost of an airplane ticket to visit someone, a state park license

* Consumables -- a favorite cheese, fancy chocolate, art supplies

* Or even digital things that won't take up physical space -- iTunes gift cards, Netflix subscriptions
wood_elf: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] wood_elf at 08:49pm on 01/01/2011
I've never asked my parents (or anyone else wanting to buy me a present) about giving a charitable donation instead: maybe greed on my part, or not being able to think of which charity would make best use of the money. Also don't want others to feel bad about wanting stuff for themselves by being the holier-than-thou charity gifter - or give rise to a 'but I wanted to buy something for you' situation.

Gift giving etiquette is so confusing. Of the above, I'd be tempted to ask for train fare money, but that doesn't really fulfil the definition of 'gift' as something square, wrappable and able to be put under the Christmas tree.
geeksdoitbetter: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] geeksdoitbetter at 08:44pm on 03/01/2011
or give rise to a 'but I wanted to buy something for you' situation

this is often difficult for me

when folks say that, i try to get them to say why. what is it they need?

do they need *me* to be happy? random stuff doesn't make me happy

or, do they need to see evidence of their love/affection? having a visual reminder, in my space, of their affection can be great. but they only get one - so mebbe a thing that can be customized or added to (candelabra with diff candles each year, picture frame with a new pic commemorating an event)
posted by [personal profile] alphaviolet at 04:16pm on 01/01/2011
Hmm... how about event tickets or donations to a nonprofit?
karel: (Han Solo ► here comes the party)
posted by [personal profile] karel at 04:22pm on 01/01/2011
My family and I have both been broke for a while, so it's somewhat understood that many times, we may not give gifts. Generally, I handmake cards, and this seems to be acceptable enough to people, so in that way, I bypass gifts a lot. Any extra cash I have will usually go into either something with practical use or, much more likely, a gift card.

I do know that this year in particular, my parents sort of really went all out, and I felt more than a bit awkward, because 99% of what they got me, I just had no idea what to do with. I think the best gifts I got were a Home Depot gift card and a pair of nice headphones. Everything else honestly just seemed really tacked on, in a "we must have X number of gifts!" way. I'm sort of in the same boat of trying to figure out what to do with all of these extra things, knowing that if my mom comes by, she'll probably want to use some of them (especially the lap-desk).
wood_elf: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] wood_elf at 08:54pm on 01/01/2011
Everything else honestly just seemed really tacked on, in a "we must have X number of gifts!" way

I got that impression too - one of the things they'd got me was a hot chocolate and hot water bottle set. Came with a strange novelty mug with difficult-to-clean knobbles, 2 sachets of chocolate powder (which I don't really like) and a tiny-to-the-point-of-uselessness hot water bottle. This must have been fairly costly, not a cheap stocking filler type present. I will be sure to be using the stuffs if parents visit, but can see them spending the rest of the year in the cupboard. Just thinking, why? That's £20 that we could have spent on lunch or on any number of more useful things. Items that are sold as gifts and don't have any purpose beyond that suck.
karel: (Amaterasu ► consuming fire)
posted by [personal profile] karel at 09:03pm on 01/01/2011
Items that are sold as gifts and don't have any purpose beyond that suck.

Oh man, do they ever. idk, it's for that reason that I'm usually amazingly picky when it comes to buying gifts for other people, because I don't want to get them something that they'll have to do the "awkward 'thank you'" about, you know?

I like getting coffee mugs, but the ones in novelty sets are almost never the sort that I would actually use due to their shape, not being dishwasher safe, or whatnot... I hate to complain, because then it looks like I'm being ungrateful, and I'd never complain to the recipient (unless they got me something that they know I'm allergic to or some other similar thing), but gift-giving can be a little irritating. I don't understand why there's such a stigma to giving money/gift cards, but I've heard a lot of people say that it's a really thoughtless gift. I just... don't understand that. If you give me money, well, then I can get what I really wanted. Or even use it for needs, like paying bills.
kyrielle: A photo of kyrielle, in profile, turned slightly toward the viewer (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kyrielle at 05:16pm on 01/01/2011
If your parents might follow through on it, one of the things I have found works really well is asking for family history - typed up files (files are easy to store!) with stories of the family - your childhood, your parents' childhood, any stories they may remember of other relatives who are dear to you, etc. Family photos are a nice one if they feel the need to give something physical. Another of my friends plays the "I really need (X practical thing, ie new washer) - the one I want is at Sears, so a gift card there would help me get this and be great" - because then they feel like they are getting her something, but they know there's a specific one she wants to they don't just dump a random one on her. (This only works with some parents, obviously....)

I also have found with my "must give actual gifts" in-laws that a wish-list listing what I want, down to the exact brand item, works fairly well. It feels less spontaneous but at least I can use what I get. :)
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] foxfirefey at 07:35pm on 01/01/2011
Family history stuff sounds really cool!
wood_elf: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] wood_elf at 08:58pm on 01/01/2011
My fiancé does the 'very specific wish list' thing with his family. Worked very well this year, he got an Amazon parcel on Christmas Eve full of stuff he wanted, everyone happy.

If gift cards and the like were large, square and wrappable, think there'd be much more of them being gifted.
beachlass: red flipflops by water (red flipflops)
posted by [personal profile] beachlass at 06:36pm on 01/01/2011
Oh yes, this is a familiar conundrum. We gave a lot of local food items this year - flavoured honey was a big hit, some locally made soa and books. We're a bookish crowd.
geeksdoitbetter: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] geeksdoitbetter at 08:39pm on 03/01/2011
i'm a meanie

i simply don't buy presents for folks, unless i want to. and rarely on social holidays

most folks twig to the non reciprocity
moonplanet: Dutch cover of His Dark Materials book 1, "Het Noorderlicht" by Philip Pullman (greentea)
posted by [personal profile] moonplanet at 02:11pm on 21/01/2012
I ask for tea and chocolate and such - things I will certainly consume :D I get a year-supply of tea each birthday... Otherwise I ask for money or "self-baked cookies/cakes" or stuff I will certainly use (which I'd buy myself anyway, like paper to paint on).


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