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It's that time of year again...Christmas (gifts for the ungrateful)

It's almost time for Christmas!! Yeah!!! My favorite time of year. My husband and I have been married for 2 years and together for 7. 
What I am interested in seeking a response on is gifts. We have several ungrateful people on both sides of our family. My two sisters are highly ungrateful, as is my father (who is divorced from my mom). On hubbys' side, his 1/2 sister and family (husband and 3 kids) are extremely ungrateful. I have a few friends that are also ungrateful. I am not too concerned about the friends because that is simple enough to trim them off my list. It's the family that I am having a hard time with. 
I keep a list of what we gave to each person/couple and what we received from them (if any thing) and how they responded to our gift(s). You might think this is a bit of an overkill but I do it because I don't know one year later how they reacted unless I mark it down. Let me tell you, I started this last year and I am glad I did because it really speaks to who these people are year round. I digress. 

I would like to find out if you would cut them off the list completely or buy them something 'on a budget'. We are not 'budget' people but I find it better to spend our money where it counts instead of on ungrateful people who have no respect. That money could have gone to feed the poor in other words. You feel me? In my world, if you can't afford Christmas gifts no problem just say so. If you can't afford Christmas gifts for 5+ years but you spend on yourself throughout the year on things that you don't need then you are selfish and ungrateful. Is that being unrealistic? 

We spend on ourselves throughout the year. We buy within our means and we are responsible. When it comes to Christmas I plan in Oct., hence the post, to spread it out over time instead of concentrating such efforts for all those people on just a few paychecks. Its smart and in the long run it is a very good budget friendly plan. Why can't others do the same instead of buying a $15 gift card to Wal-Mart and calling that a Christmas gift for a couple who just spent $200 on you!

Re: It's that time of year again...Christmas (gifts for the ungrateful)

  • In what way are they ungrateful?  No acknowledgement or thank you note?  Saying they don't like your gifts? Regifting?

    I come from a family that "goes big" on Christmas.  According to my mom, my Dad likes to get and give extravagant gifts at Christmas because his Christmases were very meager growing up (due to his parents' frugality, not poverty).  This has been a source of stress for me the last few years, as I would prefer a fun but less-expensive holiday than my parents expect (knowing full well that I would also receive simpler gifts in my ideal scenario).  Is it possible that a similar dynamic is going on between you and H and your families?  You want to go big while they would rather keep it simple?

    In general, I would not focus on dollar value comparisons.  Is it possible that your family is giving you Wal Mart gift cards because they like receiving practical gift cards themselves?  You, meanwhile, could be in the "gift cards are too impersonal" camp, and interpreting the gift as lazy when the giver doesn't see it that way.  Ditch the spreadsheets.  Get your family gifts you think they will like that are in your budget, and gracefully thank them for whatever they give you.  They may be under budget restraints that you aren't aware of.

    Now, if something rude has actually been said about your gifts my advice might change a bit.  Can you share more of the story?  
    doeydo
  • I thinking having a list of what you gave vs what they gave you is crazy! Christmas is not about a tally of who have what. I don't give to get, as I'm sure most don't. If you are this upset about past gift exchanges take them off the list. You sound shallow.
    image
    Olivia Kate is almost 4!
    Diagnosed with autism this year and doing great!
    doeydo
  • If you're giving approx. 200 bucks per person and getting 15 dollar gift cards, then maybe cut back how much you spend per person. 
    Or you could do one of those buy a goat for a family in an impoverished nation gifts. 

    But like PP's said, gift giving isn't about getting back what you spend. It's nice, but it's not the point of it.
  • It is true the point of any GIFT, regardless of the season, is to give without expecting anything in return. I always do this. It might comes across as if I don't but if you knew me you would know that I give to every person always because my family has been blessed and to be able to pass that blessing on to others is a gift. I keep a list to remember what I gave them. I can't remember 5 years down the road what I gave someone. I just started this last year but you may be right, I am over thinking it. Keep it simple. Give gift receipts. :-)
    I will say this...it is not able giving, say $100 to a person/couple, and expecting it in return. I said that in the original post where I said I would understand if they don't have money to give. I have a friend that doesn't have money to give and I have never received a Christmas gift from her ever! I continue to give her gifts because she is grateful. Other people who I give gifts to, are not grateful. They give my H and I gifts at Christmas, skip our birthdays and are not grateful for what they are given. In other words, no Thank You, no wow this is really thoughtful... etc. I do not expect the exact same monetary value of gift I gave I just expect a Thank You. Something other than the "great this is what I got this year" LOOK. I hope that helps you understand a little better about the dynamic and also understand that I am not as shallow as it may have come out. 
  • I do get where you are coming from, however, if I do not get a thank you I just stop giving the gifts. Maybe I will bring it up, like so did you get around to using..xyz. If people continually do not even acknowledge the gift consider stopping. Maybe even mention how you would like to do charitable contributions instead like pp mentioned.
    image
    Olivia Kate is almost 4!
    Diagnosed with autism this year and doing great!
  • I stopped putting thought/ time/ effort/ resources into gifts for the people who never even acknowledge that I sent a gift.  If I feel like I HAVE to give them a gift for some reason (usually family politics), they get one food-type thing per household.  Something like this is looking good for this year: http://www.samsclub.com/sams/natural-in-shell-pistachios-in-jar-30-oz/124991.ip?navAction=push

    Also, I had a conversation with some of the adults that I'm sort of close to and told them, "We're successful people, so it's not like we can purchase something the other wants or needs that we haven't already bought for ourselves.  I'm not buying you a new pickup, ha ha ha.  Christmas is for children, anyway.  So I was thinking we should just focus on gifts for our kids."  We have occasionally given each other random silly things over the last 6 years, but all of us know that we're not giving or getting a "real" gift.  It's been a wonderful stress reliever.

    My parents also recently told all of us that "It's not our job to make your Christmas extra super wonderful anymore.  So we're only going to get you a little gift (just so you have something to open on Christmas) and give you a check to buy your own present."
  • Are you the only ones giving extravagant gifts? In my family we often exchange names and have a $25 limit so it is hard for me to relate to giving $200 gifts for each person. We are just not gift people. It sounds like gifts are high on your list of love languages, but for others its simply not the case. I don't think it would hurt their feelings if you started giving them gift cards in return. They might even be more comfortable with that. My MIL goes overboard every Christmas and I really wish she wouldn't. Maybe your recipients feel the same way.
  • The solution for me was DIY.  I made Bath Melts for all the aunts and older nieces: http://happymoneysaver.com/homemade-relaxing-bath-melts/

    Ordering all the supplies at once and spending a few hours putting it together in some jars was easy.  Plus I had a lot left over to gift to other friends and the mail lady.  Feels more like spreading holiday cheer and less like an obligation.

    I try to focus on how it makes me feel to gift something and not about the ungrateful response.  I've had MIL refuse to receive christmas gifts! I've been trying to change my attitude about the situation since I can't change others.  Good luck!
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