Need advice for exchanging gifts with family next Christmas because. . .

Mommy - posted on 02/06/2014 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Every year I spend lots of time and energy thinking about each family member and what they might need or want for a gift. The people in the family are my mom-in-law, four brothers and sisters-in-law and 1 nephew. When they open the gift they say rude things like oh, I saw this on sale at Bath and Body Works - I don't like flowery fragrances then talk amongst themselves about what they do like from that specific store. Another example is that we gave our nephew (9 months old) a teething toy and the parents gave it to the dog! I noticed him playing with it and they commented on how much he liked it while laughing about it! I think that is so tacky! But hey, at least the dog is enjoying the toy right! It is a very safe 'Discovery Toys' item. True, people can do whatever they want with your gifts to them. My feeling is; if gestures are unappreciated or unwanted then maybe I shouldn't invest my energy and money in them in the future.
My mother-in-law is basically a very sweet lady but, she complains about everything we give her. So, this year I gave her a gift card to her favorite store and she complained that it didn't stretch far enough when she redeemed it. Last year she re-gifted what we gave her and told us about it. She said she had no use for it! The gift was an expensive, very tasteful broach shaped like a Christmas Tree. Honestly! what's the point of a gift exchange at all?? I would love some suggestions for what to do next year. I don't want to come across as petty so perhaps I'll just find one inexpensive generic gift and give everybody one. But, what should I do about the baby?

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Gena - posted on 02/07/2014

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Do you celebrate christmas all together? This is what our family does..A couple of months befor christmas we write all our names eatch on a piece of paper,we put the notes into a bag and everybody pulls a note,the name of the person in the note is the only person we give a gift to.(If you pull your own name you must put it back and pull another one) So instead of giving a gift to everybody we just give one bigger gift to one person. Its fun to see on christmas who had you and its alot easier to just give 1person a gift. We usually sit together befor christmas and everybody tells what they would be happy to get just to give the others ideas. Last christmas my mom had me and i got a "whirl,massage foot tub" aaahhh its WONDERFUL and she gave me some creams for my feet because i said i would love something to treat my feet:).So at the end everybody is happy and we dont have to break our heads about what to give to everybody.Hope this idea helps.

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Rebekah - posted on 02/06/2014

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How about giving them a book on gratitude? Just kidding... (or am I?)

A friend of mine told me that her family decided to do something different for Christmas this year... since they were having a hard time coming up with gifts for each other (they are middle-age, and don't have much "need" for things), they decided to give money (or items) to a needy family or shelter in the community, or a chosen charity they decided upon together instead. Christmas for them is a lot less stressful, and puts their spiritual faith into action in a meaningful way at this time of year.

Otherwise, I agree that the gift card solves part of the problem. They don't seem to appreciate thoughtfully chosen gifts. If they still complain, either look the other way (knowing this is "how they are"), or I'd be tempted to be straight with them, as Andrea was, and tell them their complaints make you think its time to stop exchanging gifts, since your efforts don't seem to please them.

Mommy - posted on 02/06/2014

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Thanks Andrea, You sound so thoughtful and caring in your message. Your gifts are very generous too!! Your support and encouragement based on your own experience has really helped me put this into perspective. Next year I will just give gift cards - DONE! They can do the shopping and get what they need or want that way:)

Andrea - posted on 02/06/2014

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We had this problem, so 2 years ago we got them NOTHING... My nephew we gave him a toys r us gift card for $50.00 dollars.. We told my brother and sister in law to use it for whatever he needed or wanted as I was done trying to please them.. So as for the rest of them went in to a tail spin about us not getting them anything, so we in turn gave our gifts back to them and said here you will like this as you picked out as most of the time the things they picked were things they wanted.. I was so upset every x-mas that I didn't want to go or do anything for anyone other then my own kids. We have never again had any problems with them complaining about what we have picked out..
We also have gotten to the point we give Gift Card or Cash gifts much easier.. But it is giving an amount that will suit them, in laws we did $100.00 each, our 2 Brothers and sister in laws we gave $50.00 to a restaurant they both enjoy.. Nephew we still do gift cards to the store of his choice..
As you have a younger little one give a gift card of 25 to 50 dollars they then can use it for diapers, toys, clothes ect.. When asked why you have done this just explain your reasons.. I hope this is helpful in some way.. Take Care and Best Wishes...

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