To be sick and fecking tired of receiving shitty, thoughtless xmas presents

(107 Posts)
justkeeponsmiling Sat 26-Oct-13 16:18:35

DHs family excells at this and it drives me mad!
We don't have a lot of money to spend on family when it comes to xmas as we have 3 DC and DHs family is massive.
So every year I spend weeks racking my brain trying to come up with nice presents for everyone that don't cost the earth but will still be enjoyed - I'm not just saying that, I really try. Partly because I like giving nife presents and also because I really can't bear the thought that the money we have to save up all year gets wasted on crap that nobody wants!
And every year it's blatantly obvious that most of DHs family get us presents that were bought according to the motto "fuck it, that'll do". They are all loaded, without exception, yet end up getting us the cheapest, shittiest crap you can imagine. Btw, how much money they spend is not an issue, as I said we can't afford to spend much either, but their presents are just so thoughtless and useless!
Examples- Size 18 summer pjs (strappy top and shorts) - I'm a size 10/12. An endless selection of costume jewelry, massive ear hoops, big bling necklaces, etc. - I don't ever wear jewelry. A crappy little fajita pan and chicken fajita kit - we are vegetarians, AND SO IS THE PERSON WHO GAVE IT TO US! The list is endless!
I should add that DH have been together over 10 years and al, his family lives locally. We see each other fairly regularly, so they know us quite well.
I have in the past suggested to DH that we should just tell his family not to get us presents anymore and we stop getting them presents too but he was horrified at the thought, as it's just not the "done" thing in his family. I just know this year won'tbe any different and it

VenusDeWillendorf Sun 27-Oct-13 14:00:36

Oh sexykitten, perhaps your best friend was pleased, but knew his girlfriend is the one giving him a bj with bells on top for Xmas! Maybe he was trying not to jeopardise his, er, relationship!!

Have to have a wry smile that you thought he would be whooping in delerious appreciation of all your efforts and expense of your gift with his girlfriend right there beside him - or maybe I'm an old fuddy duddy of the When Harry met Sally type? Maybe time to relegate him to the socks and golf balls brigade?

We buy pressies for brothers and sisters who have no kids, and the kids in the close family. That's it.
It's only fair to buy the 'childless' siblings pressies imvho as they go out on a limb to spoil the dcs.

Otherwise we have a stress free Xmas.

OP why don't you join in the mathom cycle- rewrap the pressies and pass them along next year. It's the thought that counts surely?! grin

Here have some cake cake and a cuppa brew

<*R*SPCA in the uk Caitlin.... You nearly outed yourself there, begorrah!>
<twitches lace curtains>

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 27-Oct-13 14:10:01

YABNU
my MIL is bad for this
she has an obsession with bargain-hunting, despite having plenty of disposal income. she will for example turn up with 5 (horrible) tops for DD1, all £3 from the tesco sale, but act like I'm a spendthrift for spending £8 for a GAP top for her. She genuinely appears unable to do the maths.

anyhow, this behaviour peaks at Christmas, as she flies around snapping up her "bargains" without any thought for who she will give them too. a couple of years ago she got me a slightly naff mock-pandora bracelet. Very much not my thing, but I do like silver jewellery so thought that this was a nice thought. However, I was really sad when I saw that she'd bought SIL exactly the same bracelet, as SIL never, ever wears any jewellery at all, apart from a gold wedding band. MIL obviously just bought the bracelets and decided after the event who she'd give them to.

DontmindifIdo Sun 27-Oct-13 14:11:01

If I was you, I'd contact them now and say that while you don't want to be grabby, you are planning on redoing the garden this summer, rather than buying you and DH individiual gifts you are asking everyone from both sides of the family to get you national garden centre vouchers as you won't be ready to buy the actual things for a few weeks. Obviously if they have already got you something or have their heart set on getting you something special, then not to worry, but otherwise, could you have vouchers please so you can put them together and get something fabulous for the garden.

This way, they will probbaly buy you vouchers rather than do "that'll do" shopping. If they aren't skint and just crap at considering you, then this will make it easier for them.

Next year, pick a department store, you need kitchen things.

Honestly, it's often not that they are thinking "I'll buy Justkeep a crap gift" it's just they aren't thinking about you at all, probably bulk buying a selection of gifts then just handing them out to whoever they need to get a gift for, take away the need to make any effort, and they'll do it. Do it soon though because people start buying pressies in November.

festered Sun 27-Oct-13 14:56:48

I feel the same way.
I like to put a lot of thought into presents.
Most people nowadays have most things they want or can buy most things that are 'xmas present standard' themselves.

Unless you're willing to spend a LOT of money, a lot more than the receiver would ever spend on themselves, then it's a non-issue. So the whole point of gift giving to me is to buy something that person may love but doesn't know exists, or wouldn't buy for themselves because of reasons not related to cash (maybe they think It's too indulgent or wouldn't have thought of it).

So I put a lot of thought into presents.
Unfortunately this is not reciprocated.

Off the top of my head, I can think of having received in the last few years or so;

An earring holder case. Very pretty I may add (I don't have my ears pierced).
A leather jewellery box (I'm a vegan).
A box of milk chocolates (see above).
A watch ( don't ever wear watches, not a fan of them).

(all of the above things were probably quite expensive)!But very bad value because they weren't good gifts!

A huge black handbag. Again expensive-but I like accessories that make me stand out and everyone who knows me well knows that. It was far too dressy to have as an everyday bag and far too large to use as a 'going out' bag, so I had no use for it.
Everyone in my family knows I have a quite wacky taste with accessories, and also everyone knows I'm a vegan (they take the piss out of me constantly regards both aspects)!

I try to get thoughtful presents, unusual things that people wouldn't know existed... Or things that people will really, really like. I do get annoyed when this isn't reciprocated, but also sometimes I have got it wrong and my family are quite nasty when they open a present they aren't' happy with,and I find this embarrassing and uncalled for-which puts more pressure on me. I suppose I should just buy them a load of rubbish really!

I disagree with the "Unless they hate you, any gift is a thoughtful one" sentiment expressed further up the thread ^

Dh's aunt and uncle adore him, but refuse to believe that he is an alcoholic - all his xmas/birthday gifts are bottles of booze! That's not a thoughtful gift, just the opposite IMO.

It's taken three years of this for dh to realise that they're not thinking about him, or what he'd like, but are actually just ticking a name off a list.

We now only buy for certain members of the family, and spend a decent amount of effort on getting something that they'd enjoy.

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Sun 27-Oct-13 15:13:51

A crappy little fajita pan and chicken fajita kit

It doesn't come with actual chicken hmm

I have a fajita pan and I am a vegetarian. It grills peppers nicely

specialsubject Sun 27-Oct-13 15:32:24

I'm never offended at a present but feel bad when someone gives me something i have no use for that has obviously cost too much. The waste of all this is just horrible.

try a 'no crap' pact, which means NO PRESENTS for anyone over 16.

FraidyCat Sun 27-Oct-13 16:34:39

Giving anything other than money as a present is irrational, economic research has shown that present-receivers value gifts at less than what they cost, so would have been better off if they'd been given the equivalent amount of money instead.

Obviously two adults swapping banknotes is a bit pointless, so in addition to a rule that the only presents allowed are money, there needs to be a rule that only people who don't have their own income (mostly children) get presents. Anyone who has a job can buy their own shit.

cabernetshiraz Sun 27-Oct-13 16:44:05

YANBU it's quite hurtful when you buy thoughtful gifts & get tat in return, I'd rather they didn't bother, save themselves the cash & me the guilt of passing it all on to the charity shop, or recycle bin.

DeckSwabber Sun 27-Oct-13 16:48:56

I have long since given up on all this and take my family to the theatre for a Christmas show instead. I started this tradition with my kids & parents as they have most of the 'stuff' they need, and now I take my kids & nephews. It's not the cheapest gift but everyone has a nice time (I think) and if they don't at least they don't have to look at it for more than 2 hours.

If I'm seeing people on the day I'll also give a small token gift.

cantspel Sun 27-Oct-13 16:58:18

The problem is you might think you are giving a lovingly thought-out gift but the receiver is rolling their eyes the moment you are out the door.

Yes i am looking at you would gives an endless supply of kilner jars stuffed with god knows what that you have spent ages boiling, stiring and sticking bows on.

Gifts can be maliciously given. I moved when I was 9 and the girls in my class didn't want me. Mum made me invite them to my birthday and they all gave gifts that were deliberately mean... A broken picture frame with Kylie Minogue photo and big coffee stain, a pack of felt tips with no lids on so all dried out and a baby's room picture of pink elephants... It was clear from the giggling as I opened the gifts that they had all swapped the real gifts for junk from their homes. I smiled and thanked them, but I was crushed they could be so nasty for no reason.

DeckSwabber Sun 27-Oct-13 19:28:40

Aww, flying that's horrid.

HogFucker Sun 27-Oct-13 22:39:35

flying that's awful. Did it work out OK in the end?

Yes... Two years in that crappy little village school and then went to a lovely secondary school. I was only trying to say - if a gift feels deliberately rubbish it might well be and saying "they tried their best, you are so ungrateful" might be unfair.

HogFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 20:56:38

Flying We know you were. Your experience sounds crap though.

I would have been happy with a crappy tin of biscuits and a 3 for 2 boots gift set last Christmas.

I got fuck all last year from my family, they all bought for each other, my children bought for their dad and a lovely present for their stepmum and her family and his family.

No one remembered me. Felt like shit on xmas day. You lot should stop whinging

livingzuid Wed 30-Oct-13 04:02:50

YANBU. I put up with eight years of utterly shite gifts from ex husband, including 100 greatest musicals hits knowing I hated musicals, ten dvds on Horror movies when I can't stand Horror films, a mini mag lite which he then promptly used and I never got a look in, diabetic chocolate when I am not diabetic, forgetting to even wish me happy birthday one year and then what might have been the final straw, a bic

CanucksoontobeinLondon Wed 30-Oct-13 04:02:51

Ghost, that SUCKS! I'm so sorry.

OP, my DH's family all tell each other exactly what they want for Christmas in advance. I thought it was a bizarre custom when I first married into it, but now I find it normal. It takes some of the fun out of Christmas Day because you never get a cool surprise gift, but it also takes away a lot of the upset because you never get a disastrous surprise gift that you have to pretend you like and will use.

Obviously, converting your whole extended family to the joys of emailing out precise requests in advance would be impossible. But DontmindifIdo has a good suggestion above. Say you're doing X big thing, whether it's a big garden makeover or getting new kitchen appliances or whatever. And ask everybody for gift cards from one specific place, specifically because of this big project that you're doing. Ask soon, because some people start their Christmas shopping right after Hallowe'en. Some of them will probably ignore your request, but others will probably be secretly relieved and be happy to get a gift crossed off their list with minimal effort.

Also, I agree with whoever up above said to outsource the present-buying operation to your DH this year. They're his family, after all.

livingzuid Wed 30-Oct-13 04:30:41

Aah sorry, phone typing! Carrying on, a bicycle pump for Christmas . another year I had been hoping for God's which I had asked for six months and opened my GHD box excitedly only to find hair product samples and some gaudy bad that was unusable. His explanation was that they were not practical as a present?! Just to clarify, we weren't short on cash and I would always put great thought into what he wanted. Bit desperate of me really looking back. From his parents I would get useless pieces of jewellery, notebooks and diaries and cookbooks for things I couldn't eat. They came from the school of practical presents they thought you should be using/panic buying instead of looking at me as an individual and what I may want as gifts. No matter how often I asked to not receive anything - and from him in particular - I would have preferred a nice dinner! The gifts I could never use or want kept coming. I had even made an amazon list for him to buy from but nothing ever arrived!I got autobiographies of bill Clinton to read when I had put down the latest Jackie Collins because that was better for me!! My mother does this too - even though at 35 I tell her I don't need presents I still get pyjamas I don't wear and clothes I don't want for presents. Sorry for rant this subject is close to my heart!

I remember as a kid the crushing disappointment upon receiving itchy jumpers I wouldn't wear and toiletries that I would never use and just stuff that was completely useless! I swore off presents at a early age.

Being bridesmaid to one of my best friends was tough as she wanted to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a bracelet as a present for all of us that was very much in her style and the other bridesmaids but something I would never ever wear. I told her so as I was horrified at the waste and that I didn't want presents from her anyway! She was hurt at first but then understood what I was trying to say.

I hate giving gifts just for the sake of giving gifts. It doesn't matter why should someone feign great pleasure over receiving total tat? My mil now gets junk from the market and tries to give it to me and I politely say thank you but it's not something I will ever use. Fortunately my DH is very firm with her and tells her it's tat (Dutch bluntness). We get all kinds of random junk presents from people in his family like pin badges that they buy en masses cheap from the market! There is no thought in gifts like that it is just some bizarre keeping up appearances thing. I hate the waste of money and as an adult would rather receive nothing at all.

There is such pleasure and fun in selecting thoughtful and appropriate gifts for people. When that is not reciprocated it can be very hurtful . You are not being ungrateful - why on earth should you pretend to be thrilled with some rubbish fajita set!! I don't think you are being unreasonable in the slightest. I would stick to presents or vouchers for the kids and nothing for adults.

SweetCarolinePomPomPom Wed 30-Oct-13 04:53:38

YANBU. This drives me nuts. My pet bugbear is any kind of present that is an ordinary/shoddy supermarket item dressed up as a fancy gift by putting it in a stupid box with a Christmas bow on the front, like your fajita 'set' hmm or things like boxed up bottles of bog standard beer or half bottles of wine with a stupid glass with a logo on it.

That's not a present FFS, it's an insulting token/tick box gesture that says the giver is obliged to buy something but can't be bothered to think about what the recipient would really enjoy or need at all.

It makes me very cynical about Christmas.

SweetCarolinePomPomPom Wed 30-Oct-13 05:04:08

A crappy little fajita pan and chicken fajita kit

It doesn't come with actual chicken

I have a fajita pan and I am a vegetarian. It grills peppers nicely

I understand what you are saying - there is nothing wrong with receiving a fajita pan per se, but if you want to buy someone that then buy them a decent well-chosen one! Not some cheap bit of tat that has been bulk bought to pair up with a branded food product and boxed up to make it look like something special when it's not. I'd happily have a decent pan as a gift any day - just not a cheap rubbishy pan in a gimmicky presentation 'set' that some lazy git had grabbed off the shelf while doing their grocery shopping and gone 'yeah that'll do - cross her off the list.'

fanjofarrow Wed 30-Oct-13 05:24:35

My future MIL once gave me an oven glove for Xmas. I did not take the hint. I gave it to my fella - he's the chef in our house!

MrsMook Wed 30-Oct-13 05:58:25

Our ILs were always awkward to buy for, and required much trawlling through the shops to find something worthwhile. DS 1 was due in Christmas week and I was unable to go round town months in advance. I made the most of maternity time by making jewellry (I know it may not have been all recepients' taste, but at least I invested time in it so hope it was appreciated), but in the absence of being able to browse for BiL, I delegated to DH.

DH had two presents to buy. His brother's and mine. Simples. Except he is a man. He left it to the last minute. Baby came a bit early, and we had a rough time, so there was zero opportunity to think of shopping for anything other than maternity pads in the week leading up to Christmas. So BiL and I had nothing. DH explained. BiL took it well and as we now had a DC, a buying for children only rule was implemented. Much, much better than trying to mutually buy for people with different taste who need nothing.

We've gone a stage further. We are now fed-up of buying duplicate toys for the DNs who have everything, that we now give a family day trip for their birthdays as we were fed up of giving over reciepts and wails of "I've already got that!". Unfortunately when you think you spotted a gap in the toy collection, it turned out that it was just deep in the bowels of the toy store.

Giving gratutious tat is a waste of time and money. Things like budget quotas and secret santas at least provide more challenge and interest to the giving. There's certainly no point to spending more time and money than you can justify to be given silly tat in return.

ChipAndSpud Wed 30-Oct-13 06:32:53

I got well and truly fed up of shit presents from DH's family so I've simplified it now. They all have a £5 budget and a token gift eg box of chocolates, bottle if wine, smellies, or a hardback book that I've found on offer.

Life is too bloody short to waste time, effort and money on people that don't care about me!

I have used the money saved from the inlaws to spend more on my family and friends who I like smile

DH can't say anything as I'm giving his family similar presents to what they give me.

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