Wanting to stop buying/giving/receiving gifts….

posted 2 years ago in Holidays
Post # 16
542 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2026

My family never bought gifts for each other. I guess I grew up with the mentality that if you want something, you get it yourself. Thus why I find it awkward when I receive gifts from co-workers and such. 

I just became an aunt when I married my husband though, and I’m the one purchasing the Christmas gifts this year. I think buying gifts for kids is fun. I was a kid once and know what kids like!

I sometimes get my brother gifts when I browse shops. I know he likes air fresheners, so I got him this cute golden rabbit clip-on one for his car which he has been using. Looks cute and trendy. I guess you just observe what they like and get things for them. I never got my parents anything. My mom always complains about me wasting money on buying things she doesn’t like and my dad just wants food. 

Post # 17
652 posts
Busy bee

cosimaskye :  I love buying gifts.  I’m that annoying person.  My husband would like to dial it back with extended family, but he’s alone in that feeling.  I’m to a point in life I can be generous and get so much joy out of selecting gifts my loved ones will enjoy.  

We also adopt a needy local family and purchase them gifts.  We are considering setting a budget with my husband’s family ($25 max budget except kids) and contributing the extra money towards a different charity every year. Maybe adopting a needy family would be an alternative your family would consider? 

Post # 18
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I love buying gifts. Christmas is a great time to lavish my loved ones with beautiful & useful things. Plus, I want to raise generous children. Modeling giving is a good way to do this.

Post # 19
415 posts
Helper bee

My dad is the second youngest of 6, four of which (including him) have 4+ kids each, most of which are married with kids of their own. There’s over 70 in the family, counting four generations! Most of my cousins don’t gather at Grandma’s for Christmas anymore, and the most we ever get from them is a card. I only remember getting a gift from my aunt one time, when I was about 8.
For a while, when all of Dad’s generation could get together, we just did a ‘white elephant’ exchange: Everyone bring a wrapped gift, you can either pick a gift or steal someone else’s. That worked well at that point in time.

Now it’s rare for all the siblings to be together at once, so they just exchange gift bags. They’re usually full of chocolates, local jams or preserves, once a bottle of wine from a local vineyard, sometimes an Olive Garden gift card… They drop them off at Grandma’s apartment, then when you’re there you pick up the ones for you. The siblings who live near each other bring the other’s back with ’em. 

So that doesn’t eliminate gift-giving entirely, but it simplifies it greatly! For the kids, consider something that can be used by all of them. Just one large(ish) gift, like legos or a bunch of craft supplies or a movie. 

Post # 20
1768 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

We do gifts for kids and usually do secret santa, last year we tried edible gifts for everyone and it was okay. People got a lot more excited this year. We’re doing gifts for all siblings and their spouses, but the price limit was $5 and it had to come from AliExpress. I have 4 sisters and 1 brother and both parents and sonot would add up quick to do gifts 

Birthdays have never been a big deal for us, so a typically birthday pr event is taking the sibling out to eat. Quality time +food equals fun times 🙂

Post # 21
215 posts
Helper bee

cosimaskye :
  I am so glad you started this thread! 

For the last three weeks I have been dodging the question ‘so have you done all your Christmas shopping yet??’, and I fear I sound like the grinch when I say ‘oh we aren’t doing much for Christmas, really!’

Last year Fiance and I took all the immediate family out to a lovely lunch and paid for everyone. It wasn’t even expensive split between us both. We have slowly set the trend that we would rather pay for/give the gift of ‘experiences’ and ‘memories’ rather than ‘stuff’. 

Like others have commented – I’ve always been the kid that liked useful gifts. My mother cottoned on to that pretty quick so my gifts were always stuff that I had said that I had needed but were somewhat expensive; e.g. kitchen knives, Scanpan set etc. I feel a mixture of guilt and sadness when someone buys me a gift that I didn’t ‘need’, e.g. jewellery that I will never wear – so I donate it to charity. I wish they had saved their money instead. Now, my wonderful parents will pay for dinner or fill my car up with fuel when I visit as they know I’m now an adult and can buy what I need when I need it. And I do similar for them in return. 

Fiance don’t exchange gifts with each other. I actually don’t even like sending out cards, and have a hard time sending them to the family members that expect them. I think about the environmental impact and it makes me sad – they just end up in the bin!

I also work in retail and people go absolutely bonkers at this time of year. It’s actually a special type of crazy, and customers can treat workers pretty poorly. I can’t wait for January!

I think it’s a wonderful thing to opt out of consumerism and decide to limit buying/receiving/giving gifts. We have too much stuff and too little time. 


Post # 24
212 posts
Helper bee

We’re almost flat out broke this year. I spent $20 on my brother and about $50 on my mom because she’s done so much for us this year. I won’t see my Dad until January so I see no point in paying full price for his gift. As far as I’m concerned, Christmas is done.

But now my brother’s girlfriend is asking me what I want for christmas and i’m thinking UGH can we not? I usually love Christmas but this year I definitely want to veto it.

Post # 25
9044 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

cosimaskye :  Honestly it sounds like, since everyone has different gifting ideas, rather than trying to get everyone onboard you just need to be firm and opt out. Just say “mr cosimaskye and I won’t be taking part in gift giving this year and would really appreciate if you respect our wishes and not gift us”. 

Then just be grateful is someone does gift anyway but don’t feel any guilt because you made your wishes known. As you can see from the responses here some people just like to gift and it is not about anyone recipricating so chances are you will end up with a gift or two. 

I’m a gift giver but I hate recieving gifts and most people know that by now so I gift away and they don’t gift back or if they do they make a donation to a charity I support which to me is the greatest present especially at xmas.

Post # 26
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I can’t wait to get here with our families. I suggested it and the people that were against it were all from our parents’ generation or older. So this year everyone is getting experiences from us instead of material items. My husband has a large family and everyone still buys for the “kids” who are now grown and in their 30’s. It gets difficult for us to gift everyone that gifted us and giving token gifts like lotion, chocolate, etc. is kind of boring.  This year we agreed with my Brother-In-Law and SIL that we would go out for a nice dinner together instead of exchanging gifts. I’m still dreading the load of stuff that we’ll drop off at Goodwill after the holidays though. My in-laws are very much about quantity of gifts over quality and we end up with a lot of dollar store stuff that gets tossed immediately.

Post # 27
7879 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

cosimaskye :  we eliminated stockings for adults this year. It was just too much crap especially considering that we are an interfaith family so we have Hanukkah and Christmas. I’m still trying to reign my husband and in-laws in. WHY in the actual fuck does a 5.5 month old baby need 50 presents?!?! I get legit angry at the volume every year (my husband does 8 presents for Hannukah and then a bunch for Christmas for me) and it sucks all the joy out of the season for both of us. He wants me to want presents and I want him to respect that the best gift he can give me is less stuff that I have to clean or organize and deal with. It’s not even the money it’s the volume that drives me crazy. I would be MUCH happier with a nice piece of jewelry or a new handbag that costs the same as the 30 things he buys me, but he is a volume guy. Ugh. I’m annoyed again just thinking that I have to open more presents tonight…..

Post # 28
2433 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: NJ

It has been years since we exchanged with family. It just got to be too much. Eight kids, a bunch of adults, too much stress and money. We did Pollyanna for a couple of years, then even dropped that. It all became voluntary.

In work though, we called off gift giving, except for our department. We all bought some dollar store items, then did Yankee Swap. We had more fun with that, than we did with any real gift-giving! Turned out, people liked a dollar store Coca-Cola mug, and giraffe salt & pepper shakers more than expensive gifts.

Post # 29
422 posts
Helper bee

We don’t do christmas gifts anymore, except for the kids, but even that is getting to be too much since I have three siblings and they all have multiple children and my fiance has one sibling who has two kids.

Once we have kids I’m going to suggest the kids start drawing names so we only have to buy for one. It’s just become too difficult and too expensive. 

Post # 30
10651 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

My family is small, it got brough up last year to reduce gifts – since it’s my sister who has kids she was insisting not to get gifts for her and her husband.  I brought up secret santa for the adults, but that was turned down as with the size of the family it doesn’t make much of a difference.  We decided stockings for adults and we’ll buy for the kids (my sister isn’t all that keen on a bunch of gifts for them, but she just has to suck that up!).

The big trick is to bring it up early enough.  We decided on stockings only at Thanksgiving I think it was, so more than 2 months in advance.  If your family is resistent, getting the thought going well before making that decision can help too.

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