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to think Oliver Cromwell might have had a point in banning Christmas?

(36 Posts)
lessonsintightropes Fri 06-Dec-13 00:46:36

I have: 1 DH, two DParents, 2 DPILs, 1 DGmaIL, 5 sets of DUandAs, 2 DNephews, 1 DNeice, 3 DSibs and their OHs, 1 DSBIL whom we are on present terms with, plus a team of five. I am dearly lucky to have them all and a job and colleagues I really like, plus 10 cousins who I adore (and am grateful we don't present exchange with!!)

Even if I limit £10 gifts to children, in-laws and colleagues (which will be seen as slightly Grinch-y), £20 to siblings, parents and partners and £50 for DH my present bill this year is £420. I am also hosting Christmas (totally my turn and happy to do it) with a food bill of circa £250 including drink. Posting (including homemade cakes to very close relatives overseas, and cards) probably about £70.

£740 so far... without counting in drinks at work dos and any home decs (minimal as I'll reuse last years with the possible exception of a tree).

This is ludicrous and I can't afford it - and DH and I are extremely lucky to have good, well paying jobs. Our family has always had what we think is a reasonably low limit on ££ value of gifts and I don't think our per person levels are very high, particularly when hearing friends and colleagues talking about spending £100+ on partner/DCs (and this is before we even have any).

It seems such an extravagant and unnecessary waste of resources we'd be better off saving.

So... was Oliver Cromwell right to ban Christmas? Or is there a way to make it cheaper (before I get completely flamed I also work on average 60 hours a week and so can't make homemade presents as I'm usually shattered at the end of the working day and we're househunting on weekends). First world problem or something others would like to fix too?

caroldecker Fri 06-Dec-13 01:02:43

we have a rule of secret santa for adult family (parents, siblings), so one present only. No presents for other adult relatives. Over 18 count as adult. Therefore only buying for children and DH. Would never dream of presents for anyone else - no point for anyone and stupid expense. I assume christmas hosting is a rota, so bad this year, but free next year.

Caitlin17 Fri 06-Dec-13 01:23:09

Don't do. I may not have worked out all the acronyms but why on earth are you buying Christmas presents for your siblings' spouses or grandmother in law and uncles and aunts and work colleagues?

mumbaisapphirebluespruce Fri 06-Dec-13 01:30:25

Perhaps try raising the issue. You might not be the only one who thinks it. I still buy for my parents and sister, as does my DH for his parents, grandmother, brother & Sil, niece and nephew. However on my mothers side I have a large extended family, with aunts, uncles and cousins, and we've been doing secret Santa for the adults for at least 10 years now, with a rule of only gifts for kids, e.g. Under 18. Makes it much cheaper.

lessonsintightropes Fri 06-Dec-13 01:30:39

It's something we have drifted into rather than chosen (in terms of presents for in-laws and colleagues, although for the latter as a Director I think I probably should do it). It's the social pressure - I don't want to be the first to suggest a secret Santa for adults as I think it'll make me look financially mean and Scrooge-ish, but I really can't continue with this.

grumpyoldbat Fri 06-Dec-13 05:42:00

I bet more than one person will be relieved if you do suggest cutting back. Things are tight for most people.

If you feel you have to buy something for your colleagues bulk buy some chocolates from the pound shop. We're only buying for dc and nieces and nephews. Even that means doing without, can't spend what we don't have.

Snowbility Fri 06-Dec-13 06:57:21

We have a large family - 20 nieces and nephews, I brought up the reducing the presents thing a couple of years ago, I wanted to stop altogether but my big sis had a hissy fit, her dcs loved having lots of presents arrive by post....I persisted I hated having lots of plastic tat arriving by post...we eventually settled on secret Santa.

I'm getting irrationally annoyed by the whole Christmas thing, it should be renamed retailmas, I'm not even bloody religious....I've got completed sucked in via the whole make it magic for the kids bollocks. They of course love it but I hate it - have a plan to gradually draw back. blush

Euphemia Fri 06-Dec-13 07:01:34

Giving to adults is daft, IMO. It just becomes a present exchange, often with recipients getting something they didn't want!

Even DH and I buy our own Christmas gifts, from the other!

Dolallytats Fri 06-Dec-13 07:36:03

Although I wouldn't want to ban Christmas I do agree that the cost can be huge.

My DH lost his job a little while back, but we didn't worry because it is fairly easy to find another in his field, so we used the overdraft to get everything we needed (and also cut back on what we normally spend by half). Then he had a, thenkfully minor, stroke and has been signed off until January at least.

We are now left with an overdraft of £1000-not all because of Christmas, also expenses from when he was in hospital. It's amazing how much of the budget is taken up with bus fares and cab fares when you're getting ESA. We also had a DD a month after he lost his job (bad timing!!) and she is growing at a huge rate!!!

I know out debt isn't huge compared to lots of other people, but it keeps me awake at night. I'm seriously considering what we will do to keep the costs down for next year....just in case!! fsmile

SatinSandals Fri 06-Dec-13 07:42:29

Oliver Cromwell failed!
Just cut back, adults will probably be pleased if you suggest it. We suggested it,with trepidation,to find that everyone else wanted to broach the same subject.

Preciousbane Fri 06-Dec-13 09:27:29

Why not get a basin haircut and wear black with a big collar and tell them you are now a Puritan?

In all seriousness there are six of us as siblings and we have 14 dc between us and now those dc have 8 dc between them. I only buy for 5 of my great nieces.

Just don't buy in to buying.

AngelaDaviesHair Fri 06-Dec-13 11:35:30

Stop giving to adult siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. You can up the spend on birthdays to compensate, if you want. It's a gift to everyone: Christmas is less stressful and expensive.

I reckon it is still nice for partners to exchange presents, as well as parents and children (including adult children) though.

GrendelsMum Fri 06-Dec-13 11:41:16

Go for it! I think an Oliver Cromwell-themed Christmas would make a welcome novelty.

boschy Fri 06-Dec-13 11:51:47

My DB and I have done 'Austerity Christmas' for the last 3 years. He has a DW, 4 adult DC (all with partners) and 4 GC. meanwhile there is me, DH, and 2 teenage DC. so we have now agreed pressies only for under 18s (will have to break that to DD1 next year!)

DH's family on the other hand... expect a minimum of 3 presents per person (so FIL, MIL, SIL, 2 x DN = 15 presents for them alone!!) I try to set a budget of £20 per head for them, but its quite tricky as PIL are stinking rich and know the price of everything.

I still buy for my DM as well, because my DF is dead and I want her to have a nice time.

boschy Fri 06-Dec-13 11:52:42

oops pressed too soon! so I do sympathise, and am liking the idea of wearing black and pudding bowl haircut.

FoxMulder Fri 06-Dec-13 11:54:49

It's times like this I think how lucky I am that my family doesn't really 'do' presents. Except for the kids, and there are only a couple of them.

caruthers Fri 06-Dec-13 13:39:15

Christmas for me is about spending time with family and friends with good food and presents (Not a massive overspend) for the children.

Make it simple and have a good time.

Ephiny Fri 06-Dec-13 13:46:06

I don't think it should be banned, but it is completely optional (especially when you don't have children of your own). I never buy Christmas presents, and I don't want or expect or ask for any. I do love winter and the solstice and snow and skiing, but the whole commercialized Christmas thing? Doesn't appeal to me.

It's the 'compulsory fun' aspect of Christmas that I'd 'ban', if I was going to ban something! Fine for the people who enjoy all the fuss and spending etc to do it if they want to, but for many it seems to be an obligation and more stress than enjoyment, but they feel a weight of expectation to do it even when they don't want to and/or can't afford it.

SunshineAndPeardrops Fri 06-Dec-13 13:52:55

YANBU, I'm due to go on maternity leave so am much more aware of spending and the cost if Christmas in general.

I have quite a big family on my side, and things seem to have spiralled a bit. DH's side is smaller but it all adds up

I thought we'd finished Christmas shopping this year. DH is one of 3 children. His brother and sister have one child each. I thought we were just buying for the kids from now on, bearing in mind this time next year me and DH will also have a child too, and it will then be completely fair. Then SIL roped me into the annual Secret Santa, with a budget of £20 for the adults.

I wouldn't mind but last year I bought a present worth £20, for my Secret Santa, and in return I got....A mug with hot chocolate and some teaspoons confused....Really, did that cost £20? hmm

I really resent letting myself get pushed into it. I could really use that £20. Even if I didn't need it for essentials I would still much rather spend it at Toby Carvery with DH before the baby comes (classy, aren't I?!!), or spend it on a treat for me, rather than get some crappy gift that I don't even like.

raisah Fri 06-Dec-13 15:06:57

Get yourself over to the Christmas bargain thread & pick up some lovely bargains. You could prepare your family for secret Santa next year by getting them generic family gifts this year. So they get used to recieving one gift rather than one present per person. Fill a basket with treats bought on offers & BOGOF deals for each family. So next year, you could suggest secret santa and it wont be so much of an issue.

Sign upto Costco or JJWholesale & bulk buy Chritmas food & drinks as it works out much cheaper.

Good luck.

raisah Fri 06-Dec-13 15:12:17
RiceBurner Fri 06-Dec-13 16:14:32

Hi OP,

FYI, not everyone 'does' gifts at Xmas. (We don't. We don't do cards either.)

And I can't tell u how much more I/we enjoy Xmas now, having decided to stop all the shopping madness. (So much less hassle & stress!)

It's traditional to buy gifts to show love/appreciation at Xmas. (I was brought up to do it, so I know that & I used to do it too.) But one day I realised that I didnt enjoy it. (Not short of money, just didnt know what to get people and ended up buying inappropriate/overpriced stuff and wasn't at all happy about it.)

The whole "present giving at Xmas" thing just seemed to have got out of hand in the UK. (Especially gifts for ADULTS!) I think we are brainwashed into believing that we MUST buy gifts ...by people who want to SELL us more stuff at Xmas?

I expect there are a LOT of ppl are like me, who actually don't enjoy the effort, time and thinking which goes into present buying, (or can't afford it), but (unlike me) they can't see any way out. (They don't want to seem mean or anti-Xmas.)

Someone has to stop the vicious circle of buying for more and more people though?

For example, I think teachers shdn't be allowed to get gifts from pupils/parents, as it makes parents feel obliged to get them something, and adds to the Xmas burden/expense. (We never bought for teachers when I was at school but seems obligatory now?)

It's a wasteful way to spend money as well, because so many presents, (given in good faith), are just not right, ie not what the person likes or wanted, useless (eg ornaments/joke gifts) or else duplicates of the same book/DVD etc.

I realised I didn't like GETTING gifts anymore either. (Once I was an adult & I could buy/afford my own.) It places so much stress on other people to know what you like or else you end up with rubbish presents?

When I was a teen, the best gifts I got (from adults) were cash. (Far better than vouchers or tokens which are quite restrictive.) But once you have your own cash, what's the point in exchanging cash?

Talking of cash, what happened to just giving a Christmas tip to binmen, postman etc? (If you want to give something to someone to show appreciation, when did money become somewhat unacceptable?)

Buy gifts for your own kids naturally. (They can't buy their own.) But I see no need to buy for other poeple's kids, or for adults who are not in dire need.

And, of course, always give to those who you know are in need, or would appreciate some help/cheer at Xmas.... if you can/want to. Just stop buying for the sake of buying & swapping gifts just cos it's traditional/you feel under peer pressure to do so.

Good food & good company are all you need to have a lovely Xmas IMO, so cut back (massively) on the gifts if (like me) you don't enjoy it and/or cant afford it! And don't feel bad/guilty!

Bettercallsaul1 Fri 06-Dec-13 23:55:49

No, I love Christmas, warts and all!

MsJupiterJones Sat 07-Dec-13 02:37:50

I like the idea that OC banned Christmas because his MIL was coming to stay for two weeks, his sister was only buying presents for children, his decorations didn't match the hall carpet and he didn't get the delivery slot he wanted from Ocado.

Should have just pointed him in the direction of the Christmas bargain thread and he'd have had a much rosier view.

squoosh Sat 07-Dec-13 03:12:50

By all means stick some warts on your face and ban Christmas if that's what you want OP. Personally, I love Christmas, and even like getting gifts for, shock horror, the adults in my life! I know the MN mantra is 'Christmas is just for kids'. Fuck that I say, Christmas is for me and the ones I love. No matter their age.

If you can't afford it have a conversation, maybe you'll find that they feel the same as you.

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