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Here’s a great article on gift giving at Christmas, we now do a secret santa with all the adults in our family which is a real breakthrough, do any of you do something similar or would you like to?

I’ll be the first scroogette to totally agree with this article. I tend not to exchange gifts with the grown up members of my side of the family unless we’re flying over for a visit, but on DH’s side, the pressure to get everyone a gift is strong, and reinforced by MIL who is always the first to admit that she dislikes X-mas shopping but always reminds us to buy gifts for everyone. My very clever brother often thinks of a gift he can make that will do for most of his friends and family members. One year I was the grateful recipient of homemade vanilla extract. He bulk bought vodka and vanilla pods and made lots of bottles which soaked for a few months before he gave it away. Another year, long ago, I remember spending lots of time making taper candles together. So far I haven’t been organised enough to pull off something like that, although we’ll be making our own cards this year with my DS’s help. For gifts I can’t squirm out of, I tend to favour food items like cheese or wine because it has a good chance of being used up.

We never give gifts to the adults or mil for that matter as Alex has 10 nieces and nephews all under the age of 10!
But then we don’t except or want gifts from the other adults either.
Usually my partner is also against giving christmas cards, not for a scrooge matter but more that he doesn’t understand why you give a card that people throw away.
So we’re doing handmade cards, just as a thought as I do like to receive them and hang them out smile x

Totally agree (really like that man!), but it would go down like a lead balloon in our immediate family, we really are seen as the odd ones :-p

Having said that, I have spent *months* making handmade gifts this year, a different gift for each person depending on their likes etc, and it has been way too much for me. so next year they’re either going to have to have all the same thing, which will most likely be a homemade food item, or nothing! Love the idea of secret santa but I think again we’re the only ones who would. Sounds exciting though - have fun!

x x

ah we have another way of doing things in our family. All presents to adults have to be either homemade or secondhand, or bought in the post-Christmas sales.

dp and I do like buying or making presents for each other. Its kind of important to me, I think because with young kids we actually do not buy stuff we’d like sometimes and its nice to get something you wouldn’t otherwise get. But we agree a limit and the fun thing is trying to get something in within that. I have an advantage because I can make stuff. This year, assuming the day manages to expand to 36 hours, he’ll be getting this which will cost me around £5 in yarn max

That’s really cool! my coffee is always getting cold and I’ve always wanted a dalek LOL

Presents unfortunately have become a regular battleground for us as we try to request that our principles aren’t blown for the sake of frivolity a couple of times a year. So sad as the pleasure of gift-giving becomes tarnished.

For the kids we limit ourselves not financially (although that works on a subconscious level I’m sure) but by number of pressies so each one has the same number to open and there’s a theme to each (clothes, books, toy, etc.). I also do a modest stocking for each which ‘comes from Father Christmas’. The difficulty is with wider family (mostly in-laws) who view the season and indeed present-giving in general completely differently. Secret Santa most certainly wouldn’t work though I’ve never suggested it. My in-laws have a big gift-giving day on the 26th and this year I’m puzzling how to handle it. The last few years we’ve simply avoided it by being somewhere else, but this year it’s unlikely we’ll escape. I’m wondering if the easiest option is to arrive AFTER the presents have been exchanged and request a group present from all or books off of a wishlist. A couple of years ago I request that MIL limit the kids presents to 3: one a toy, one a book parcel and one something clothing related. It was a real struggle to get them to agree and then they wrapped many little gifts up and put them in one big gift box so it ended up being practically the same. I also insisted that the kids open ALL their pressies on Christmas morning after they’ve been ‘delivered by Santa’ and that was also a massive problem. In the end I agreed they could keep one present back to give them the next time they saw them (a few days after the 25th) and that was OK though DS was very vocal about how he didn’t like what they’d given him (a Peter Pan book, I think he doesn’t like Captain Hook) that they ended up changing it for him! You see gift-giving is really not so simple any more!!!

Anyway, nice article and it’ll help me reflect and decide on the route this year.

Edith, i love the cafetera cosy, though i think it’s out of my league.

This is a difficult one for us too, especially as DD’s birthday is on Boxing Day. In my family, it’s just immediate family, so just my Mum and my sister, and it’s only my sister that really cares anyway. We tend to ask each other for what we want, no leaving it to chance! DP’s family is harder, especially his sister who has very fixed ideas about what a “Christmas present” should be - so she will buy DP a board game he will never even take out of the plastic wrapper, but refuse to buy him the computer game he really wants. DP’s family still send presents to / from Aunts etc, my family gave that up years ago at my Mum’s insistence. I am gradually doing more handmade gifts, but know that some people would see that as not a “proper” present - it’s such a minefield. In one group of friends, two of us always do handmade these days whilst the other insists on buying something expensive, I really wish she wouldn’t. But she sees being good at buying presents as one of her strengths, and her idea of an acceptable cost is way higher than mine.

I certainly agree with the article in that there needs to be a widespread change, because most people are following social conventions, or worried about being the odd one out. Which is why it’s so hard for those of us who already are - and why it’s so important that we keep doing it.


We buy presents for MIL, my mum and dad, my brother and sister and our boys. Dh and I don’t buy for each other but get something nice for the house instead though tis year we treated ourselves to Sky TV.  My parents have suggested not doing presents in the past when we were really skint, but I love getting presents, I can’t helpit. And i love buying them for people I love. We don’t do a lot, maybe £20 on each person, but my parents always spend a bit me than that on me and my brother and sister. For mybirthday and christmas joint this year they got me new sewing machine.itsnot the materialistic thing, its just the whole plannig what you’re going to get, seeing their reaction when they open it,hopefully getting something insightful or clever that they love.  And ok, maybe its materialistic to like to get presents, but I never get anythingfor myself. Never buy a book or a cd or a dvd.  Clothes only if they are falling off me, and even then it’llbe cheap rubbish.  the only thing Ihave treated myself to all year was tickets to go see breaking dawn and one ball of wool.  So yes, I like getting presents!

Mother to Harry (6) and Oliver (4) and Hannah who arrived at 5.57pm on Friday 10th May 2013 - our new blog, Three Little Monkeys

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