Cutting Back This Year
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  1. #1
    Registered User butterflywatcher's Avatar
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    Default Cutting Back This Year

    I've made a hard decision and told my sisters and brother that I was only getting gifts for my kids, husband and our mom and dad this year and to please not get us anything either. It just gets to be too much. Three siblings, their spouses, four nieces and nephews (for now). When does it stop? I've tried to suggest drawing names but they won't cooperate.

    The problem is, I'm the only one with teenagers. The other kids are all under 8. Anyone with teens knows how finicky they are. Christmas was beginning to be a big burden, worrying about what to get my own kids, and also the extended family.

    I suggested a sibling only get together where we could have a lot of treats and special drinks and play some games maybe. One sister is starting drama about that already. I'm ready to just say forget it!

    Am I wrong here? Why do some people steal all the joy out of Christmas make it a burdensome chore? Also, I think I'm the only one that uses cash only to pay for Christmas, while the others use credit cards. They think I'm crazy for trying to live debt free and feel sorry for me, thinking I'm poor when I say that I can't afford things.

  2. #2
    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    Stick to your guns, and don't let them catch you up in their drama. No one should be held hostage to giving presents just because it has always been done.
    Donna

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    Registered User Debbie-cat's Avatar
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    Good for you and stick to your decision!! Don't let them try and change your mind. Gift giving occasions are the most difficult when trying to live a debt free life. Most people just don't get it.

    I think your suggestion of treats and games was a great one. If they can't accept your decision, that's their problem not yours.
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    I certainly understand how you feel. My wife and I were in that trap for years and I finally told her:
    I cancelled my magazine subscriptions, my XM radio, cut back on the TV package, etc etc.

    Why should they get all those gifts when I'm sacrificing things for myself?

    What we have done is the adults draw one name and the gift has a $25 limit. If anybody feels a need to buy gifts for the children, (We do) that's up to them.
    I saved 100% by buying nothing. Best sale of the year.

    Telling the truth means you never have to remember which lie you told.

  5. #5
    Registered User Lady_V's Avatar
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    Where does it say that you HAVE to buy gifts because of a date on the calendar?

    I give gifts ... because I want to... and to ONLY who I want to.

    I told the neighbors (their kids play with my DD) that we won't be giving gifts outside the immediate family. The kids now make cards and include gifts of game codes etc.

    I also told my brother (his wife, my niece & nephew) that we love them, but, again, no gifts.

    I did the same with the Aunts, Uncles, this kid, that kid...

    We do give MODEST gifts to Diva. Oldman and I don't need much of anything, but things that we know we need is what goes under the tree. I do buy MODEST gifts for Diva's father, and grandparents (from her)

    For the teachers and anyone else we want to give tokens of appreciation, I make something. Last year it was scarflet for the main teacher, candies for the supporting teachers. I also gave the outlaws and ex gifts of HM food.

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    Registered User geckoace's Avatar
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    The adults in my fam draw names with a $20 limit. We usually get small gifts for the kids in the fam and and people often give edible homemade stuff.
    No pressure no foolishness thats really not the point of christmas IMO
    Reba

    When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

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    We had to do that last year! It was hard, but it relieved soooo much pressure. Mailing the packages was almost more money than buying them!

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    Good for you! Sounds like the right decision for your family, which is what you will have to keep telling yourself as xmas gets closer.

    My DH and I opted out of all gift exchanges 5 or 6 years ago. I'm sure some family members are not happy, but we never really got any flak for it. I think key is that we made it our decision and it was for our personal reasons. We did not try to affect anyone else's holiday plans with suggestions to draw names or set spending limits or anything. We simply announced that we were opting out.

    You can't change anyone else, only yourself. Stand firm and make sure to note how much less stressful the season is for you overall. I believe you will be so happy with your decision, you will never go back.

    Kara

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    I don't blame you at all. I have done the same in the past... it just gets to be too much ***stuff*** and too much $$$$. I prefer getting together for a meal and some time to play games or just visit
    Frugalista Mama to DD 14 & DS 10
    Crazy Boxer *Sadie*
    **Debt Free Minus the House**

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    I can't blame you, but it is still hard. We've quit buying gifts just to buy gifts. My parents, for example, need NOTHING. I might bring my mom a plant or take her to lunch, but I'm not going to go buy her a sweater just to buy her something. We've started doing more regifting within our own family too- the rest of the family is getting into it as well. I usually take my kids to the dollar store to buy gifts for everyone- they think it is fun to shop like an adult and it is cheap entertainment. I give them $1 per person so it is cheap. I'm trying to get my grandma, who buys for everyone, to cut her per person amount to like $10 per person. It will make her have to be a little more creative and have to watch the ads for deals, but she won't quit buying for everyone and I hate that she spends so much. We buy for our nieces and nephews, but have cut back on the amount or we buy family presents- a board game, movie tickets, etc.

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    Dh has always loved handing out candy-every year he can for 26 years. This year we won't. I prob. won't buy a decorating pumpkin or anything.

    As far as xmas goes-well w/ 2 in college w/ no college fund. xmas will be diff.too. We only give to immediate family-not to friends. No one likes fattening baking and cards are seen as an obligation? So what if anything we will do is up in the air. kids want money. Grandparents want nothing. And even myself-well I find it annoying to come up w/ something to ask for at DH's assisstance. I have no negative feelings for the holiday but the commercial part has lost its glow.
    I would explain the situation and people will get over it or NOT.

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    I have suggested this for my own adult children but they won't go for it. I have also suggested that they all pitch in money for parental gifts. It would work 4 kids 2 parents my side the ex's side would be 3 kids 2 parents but that doesn't work either. My daughter is generous his kids are stingy like to receive but not give anything. His daughter is in college and has a tight budget but she does buy for her mothers and boyfriend us a 5 dolllar gift a piece makes us feel unappreciated. by the way the ex buys them a $ 5 gift. It is a mess.
    But good for you siblings and their children could receive home made candy or cookies. Every body is feeling the pinch in their pocketbook so good for you.

  13. #13
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    Don't give into the pressure. Really do not know why people can get so hung up on needing to give presents. Especially to people you really do not know. Personally I find it juvenile at times.

    One thing you can do is to make a donation to a charity and tell everyone in there x-mas card that a donation was made in their name to whatever organization.

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    Good for you! Having family, treats, festive drinks & games sounds like a wonderful Christmas celebration to me!

    My hubby & I just buy for our parents. We don't even but for each-other, just a really nice card. Our family just knows we are frugal & they know we love them very much, we just don't focus too much on gifts & everyone knows that

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    For years our families would get together and exchange gifts. Everyone would get for everyone. Then the families would get larger and larger. Then we would draw names but that didn't always work out. Not everyone could show up. Then we decided to get for children from infancy to 12th grade. That worked for a few years. Last year we decided to do something different. We all got together at a public park and rented their clubhouse that was decorated for Christmas for 1/2 the day and had a family style reunion w/family and friends. No gifts were brought and everyone brought a dish, drinks or paper plates. Everyone let us know before hand what they were bringing. It was so much fun We will do it again this year. It was so good to be able to see everyone and not have to worry about gifts.
    Everyone really seemed to enjoy it and wants to do it again.

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