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

justkeeponsmiling Sat 26-Oct-13 16:19:19

... annoys the hell out of me.

cocoleBOO Sat 26-Oct-13 16:21:07

In that case let DH be in charge of buying them.

PuppyMonkey Sat 26-Oct-13 16:22:57

Suggest a Secret Santa system - everyone in family pick a name out of hat and buy one present for one person.

Or just stop buying prezzies.

squoosh Sat 26-Oct-13 16:23:01

If you can't stop buying gifts for them altogether well then you need to buy them some crap that will baffle the hell out of them. Fergie and Prince Andrew wedding mug for example, a patriotic and oh so classy gift.

Seriously though, if you don't have much spare cash you need to speak to your DH again about the present buying situation.

lagoonhaze Sat 26-Oct-13 16:23:40

We don't have a lot of money Theres a good enough reason.

Or just do children only.

thebody Sat 26-Oct-13 16:25:06

I would have given the pyjamas back to be honest and the non veg stuff. you know thanks but think you have us the wrong gift etc.

secondly stop spending so much time in buying them presents. do socks all round or bath smelliest, especially if they like showers!!grin

justkeeponsmiling Sat 26-Oct-13 16:25:52

squoosh I love your suggestion smile

kinkyfuckery Sat 26-Oct-13 16:26:46

Why don't you tell them not to bother giving you gifts, since you are the one who has an issue with them?

usualsuspect Sat 26-Oct-13 16:28:28

Maybe they don't like the gifts you buy them.

defineme Sat 26-Oct-13 16:29:20

Amazon wish list - get dh to point them all in that direction.
Dh's family hounded me every xmas because they love buying presents, but insist we have to think of every present and specify shop etc. Now the kids just put whatever they fancy on their wishlist, as do I and there's no stress either way.

usualsuspect Sat 26-Oct-13 16:32:07

If you are skint just buy them all some chocolates.

Job done,no stress.

Bowlersarm Sat 26-Oct-13 16:34:03

I think yabu and sound very selfish.

How do you know their not trying their best? They probably think your presents are totally shite too-it may not be a one-way thought, but they're probably not being all mean about it on an international forum!

ObtuseAngel Sat 26-Oct-13 16:35:32

Re-wrap each gift and, the following Christmas, give it back to the person who gave it to you. grin. Or suggest that everybody only buys for children and not adults.

trish5000 Sat 26-Oct-13 16:35:59

Is it stuff that they like themselves, so think you will too?

Or is it stuff that they have left over, or at the back of a cupboard?

Or do you look bowled over by their previous gifts?

Buy the same thing, or a variation on a theme, for all of them - something along the lines of nice teabags, nice coffee, wine or chocolates/posh biscuits. You can get it all in one go without thinking about it, and then you'll feel less resentful re whatever you receive, because you've invested much less in the giving.

Oh and you can make veggie fajitas.

usualsuspect Sat 26-Oct-13 16:36:45

I agree,Bowlers.

I'm not fussed about the presents I get at Christmas.

dexter73 Sat 26-Oct-13 16:37:08

I think you are probably getting the previous years presents that they didn't like/want. Just keep their presents and give them back the next year. See how long you can keep the fajita pan going back and forth!

defineme Sat 26-Oct-13 16:38:04

Really-you don't think size 18 pjs for a size 10 is thoughtless, a meat pan for a vegetarian?
I would step back from the perfect present search though. Chocolates, paperbacks, scarves, mugs, toys from supermarket toy sale...all things which can be inexpensive and shouldn't take time stressing over.

fatlazymummy Sat 26-Oct-13 16:39:40

How is buying size 18 pyjamas for someone who is size 10-12 'doing their best'? I'd like to see what their worst is.
Personally I'd just stop exchanging presents, at least for adults. Life is too short ,and money is to prescious, to waste on useless tat.

YouTheCat Sat 26-Oct-13 16:42:58

OP, the pound shop is your friend.

YoniTime Sat 26-Oct-13 16:47:09

Better to not give presents than to buy pointless crap the other person won't or can't use. Like several sizes to large clothing.
Or can you ask them to only give you some chocs or similar this year?

No wonder your DH doesn't care, you do all the work. If he wants to carry on the Christmas present thing, let him do it. It baffles me why people keep doing something when there is no reason at all.

BackforGood Sat 26-Oct-13 16:49:43

Really BowlersArm ? I was going to agree with that sentiment (from the title) - as I hate the whole Christmas shopping thing - but when you actually read it, the OP has a pretty good point.

If you know someone's vegetarian, why buy them a chicken fajita kit?. Someone who is a size 10/12 doesn't look anything like a size 18 (you might misjudge and get an 8-10, or 12-14... but 18???)
If you see someone regularly and they never wear jewelry, why would you get them a load of flashy bling ? confused

YouTheCat Sat 26-Oct-13 16:49:52

I agree with getting your dh to buy for his family. Takes the stress off you.

IslaValargeone Sat 26-Oct-13 16:49:56

We bit the bullet last year and told everyone we were not buying presents so please do not buy for us.
It came to a head after everyone in dh's family asked his mum to do their Christmas shopping for them. We ended up receiving only i-tunes vouchers. We have no i-anything.
We simply couldn't afford to stretch ourselves to get people presents and then or it to smart even more that people gave our presents so little thought.

TooManyDicksOnTheDancefloor Sat 26-Oct-13 16:53:07

We had this problem with my SIL. She would specify exactly what she wanted for her, her partner and her kids for Xmas and birthdays, but would buy us a load of crap! If we tried to ask for something in particular back she would say she'd already bought our presents. I went shopping with her once in January and discovered that she buys all of her presents for the following year in the January sales. She then gives them to whoever, no thought goes into it at all. We then said we'd only buy for kids from then on. She still buys us crap for our birthdays, but I put extra thought into buying her weird/ old granny presents just to piss her off.

EBearhug Sat 26-Oct-13 16:54:55

You are being a bit unreasonable - at least you have people who care enough to give presents, even if they're rubbish ones. But I agree that a chicken fajita kit for a vegetarian is a bizarre choice.

My German boyfriend, his mother gave me some gifts that were fascinating in their way (she was trying to turn me into a proper German housewife in her own mould. Even if he and I had stayed together, she was on a loser there.) I was really pleased when he finally persuaded her to use my amazon wishlist (I even had a German one, and I really still love the art book she got me from it.) These days I count myself lucky if I get any present from anyone.

chibi Sat 26-Oct-13 16:56:29

my mil was ace at this- jewelery boxes (i have a wedding ring. which i wear.), car seat covers (don't drive/have a car), size 18clothes (i am size 12), always as least one bag to put clothespegs in...

i knew she didnt like me though, so i was under no illusions that she was doing her best hmm

i recieved all gifts graciously in public, and then to myself laughed at the idea of anyone spending money to try and piss me off- ridiculous grin

PAsSweetOrangeLurve Sat 26-Oct-13 17:02:36

So don't buy anything for them. I buy something small for my parents and for the nieces and nephews on my side of the family and that's it. I don't buy for any other adults - including DH!

But then DH and I both tell our families not to buy for us - we're difficult to buy for anyway and quite frankly, if I need something then I'll buy it myself! Otherwise we always end up getting toiletries and whilst I appreciate the thought, I'd rather someone saved the money and spent it on themselves as I can buy my own smellies.

I'm really not getting the outrage over the fajita kit. Surely it was just a pan and some spices, in which case it could just as easily be used for veggie fajitas. I don't imagine for a second that it actually included a chicken!

bearleftmonkeyright Sat 26-Oct-13 17:03:22

Yanbu, every year my brothers girlfriend has got really really crap presents dc. I am shocked by some of the stuff she gets. I'd rather she didn't bother. They are very well off. I think a knock off postman pat DVD five year old topped the list in crapness one year. I know I sound like a complete bitch but I also think its a case of fuck it that will do also. I really try hard to get something that my niece will want even if I dont spend an awful lot.

girlywhirly Sat 26-Oct-13 17:03:52

Buy all the adults wine. You can get decent bottles on special offer at most supermarkets, making them less than a fiver each. At least if the recipients don't like them, they can use them for guests or to take to a party, or even in a coq au vin.

I think the time has come to stop worrying about getting gifts that are perfect and if you can get them at a supermarket you can get something back on your purchases, clubcard points or nectar points etc. And I'd be thinking about ebay or a car boot sale to make a bit of money from the presents that you get but cannot use.

Tinlegs Sat 26-Oct-13 17:04:55

I think the issue is that some people buy whatever shit they can find in sales / charity shops / on eBay and then give it whoever. My MiL gets about a dozen, small, thoughtful presents from us so she has plenty of things to open. She gives us things like a 30 year old book about Vancouver with coffee rings on the cover, a second hand handbag or jumper and old pastic toys for teenaged children. She is just getting rid of stuff or doing it to give us something. She doesn't even really care if we like it or not. It is like buying (or grabbing from her attic / shelves) is a chore. I enjoy giving and buying gifts.

In the end, I compromise by buying things for her which look expensive but are not. I just feel that deep down she knows and I have the high ground and can feel happy that I, at least, have tried.

I think you have to either be very specific about what you want (things you can sell on / only books / chocolates etc) or give up or just stop buying presents.

Why not give everyone the same thing - homemade jam or pot pourri or something? No effort, no hassle and job done!

QuintsHollow Sat 26-Oct-13 17:07:13

Let dh do it.

The year I told do to get present for his own family, is the year we stopped buying presents.

bearleftmonkeyright Sat 26-Oct-13 17:09:48

On the other hand, my dps mum bought me a radley bag for Xmas last year which was a massive surprise. Some people really are super thoughtful.

usualsuspect Sat 26-Oct-13 17:10:15

Bottle of wine for adults,selection box for kids.

Get it all at the supermarket.

Asda usually do 3 bottles of wine for a tenner. Stick it in a fancy bottle bag.

Everyone's happy.

zipzap Sat 26-Oct-13 17:21:59

For every single thing you receive, say it's lovely but I can't use it as it's the wrong size/ I'm veggie/ or if all else fails then just say you have already got one and know it wont be used so please could you have the receipt to take it back and exchange it for something useful as you are on a mission to declutter your lives and get rid of things you can't use.

If they waffle and say they haven't got it anymore because they never had it as they are regifting it then say that they might as well have it as a gift for themselves as they obviously like it as you know they wouldn't have bought it as you're sure they'd never buy things that they didn't like themselves...

Ok so you don't get a present this year but you've had a lot of fun kicking up merry hell with the presents, you might get nicer presents next year and you might get your nice biscuits/choc/tea/etc back if they feel guilty!

Alternatively if you can think of something you do like could you ask for it in advance - so say you're inspired by bake off and want stuff to make cakes. Or that you want to spruce up your garden so garden vouchers, pots, plants, etc. But something where they can't go too far wrong and the stuff can be easily hidden or broken or passed on to the school jumble sale afterwards!

jellybeans Sat 26-Oct-13 17:44:37


The person may think they are great.. dif people have dif ideas about what is a good present

I know what it is like, I am Coeliac yet get biscuits off close family (wtf!) but still am grateful they got something. I don't expect a gift of my choosing or taste although it is nice when that happens.

Thought that counts and all that.

defineme Sat 26-Oct-13 17:44:43

Or you could get them all oxfam gift cards -they start at around £5?
Then you couldn't feel upset about the thought you'd put into to it because they'd be benefitting others? You could even get the little add on gifts they do like chocolate goats if you daren't get them just cards?

fatlazymummy Sat 26-Oct-13 17:50:33

jellybeans but where is the thought in buying a person with coeliac disease biscuits? They obviously haven't thought for very long.
It's really just buying something for the sake of it.

Ragwort Sat 26-Oct-13 17:55:06

We all like to think that the presents we give are 'really special etc etc' but perhaps other people don't like them. I have a friend who says exactly the same as the OP but really her presents to me and my DC are just rubbish not to our taste. The whole present giving thing is a minefield, fortunately we have got it down to absolute minimum now - no adults exchange gifts and just cash for under 18s. Sorted smile.

Rufus44 Sat 26-Oct-13 18:08:47

I feel your pain. I usually get nice presents from my relatives bu one yea I nearly cried as they were all pants! Felt like no one had thought about me at all...very pathetic!

remus completely agree with you. I am a veggie and would have no problem with a fajita set, I would just use veg or at a push quorn

teacherandguideleader Sat 26-Oct-13 18:20:39

There are a few people I spend ages over - DP, mum, DP's parents. For my two best friends I normally get a selection of their favourite 'luxury' toiletry brand. Everyone else gets wine (unless I know they don't drink, in which case it is socks/winter woolies).

I got fed up of spending ages over perfect presents to get absolute crap back. My dad is the worst - he barely knows me. He always asks me what I would like, so I send a list that adds up to about £30 - I never ask for much as we barely know each other. He gets what is on the list than a sack full of crap - think racing grandads and novelty cushions. I always end up thinking I should just ask for something expensive so that he doesn't buy all the rubbish. It all ends up in the charity shop by the 27th.

MrsDarylDixon Sat 26-Oct-13 18:23:05

DP's aunt and uncle always used to give us 'fuck it that'll do' presents or stuff that was blatantly regifted. So we started getting them the creepiest ornaments/ most useless tat we could find in tk maxx or charity shops. Actually made shopping for them much more fun!

Dubjackeen Sat 26-Oct-13 18:23:31

She still buys us crap for our birthdays, but I put extra thought into buying her weird/ old granny presents just to piss her off.
Love it! grin go on, tell us what kind of things do you buy for her?

fuzzpig Sat 26-Oct-13 18:28:17

Stop buying for adults in the family and ask them to stop buying for you. Money is enough reason to do this.

BobLeEponge Sat 26-Oct-13 18:30:50

My favourite present form last year was a roll of baking parchment.

I'm deadly serious. I just got into baking and I also got some cookie cutters, etc.

I was seriously made up.

Other people would think that is shit.

Unless people actually hate you then all gifts are intended as thoughtful presents and should be accepted with good grace and a cheerful smile.

And even for those that loathe you the good grace and a cheerful smile will still be better for you than anything else.

Unless you're going to call them out for a fight over a poorly chosen tea towel wink

KirjavaTheCorpse Sat 26-Oct-13 18:46:56


Although I hand make my Christmas presents, they're usually edible. Didn't think twice about before SIL made a fuss about the the shitty body spray set she'd bought me, compared to the gift that I'd knocked up out of my cupboard.

Last year I made lovely, luxury jars of homemade instant hot chocolate, all layered up with cocoa and marshmallows and whatnot. Cost about £25 for all the ingredients and jars and bits of ribbon and mini whisks etc. Saved me a fortune on buying individually for everyone, plus who doesn't like hot chocolate??

Well, SIL, apparently. At least I put thought and effort into my gifts! angry

timidviper Sat 26-Oct-13 18:50:38

I'm a great believer in smile, say thank you and regift or give to charity shop.

DHs family wind us up as every year they ask us if there is anything we would like. Even if we say yes and specify an item and where it can be bought they then just give us a cheque but at least we can buy something in the sales.

turkeyboots Sat 26-Oct-13 19:02:21

YANBU at all. My step mother in law buys Christmas gift ranges for everyone. The female family members get annual glove and scarf set, smellies and chocolates. I can't eat dairy, can't use scented body lotions and only have 2 hands and 10 years of scarf and glove sets.

I point this out year after year but never makes an impact.

YoniTime Sat 26-Oct-13 19:15:37

Xmas presents exchanged between adults out of politeness and tradition only are often pointless. Better to just give each other something edible/drinkable or wish each other a merry xmas without any presents.

1944girl Sat 26-Oct-13 19:15:44

I gave up buying for the adults in my extended family years ago, DH and I have loads of rellies each. My mother for example had fifteen grandchildren and even more greatgrandchildren so now I just buy for my immediate family and don't expect anything back.
I have just been out in the city centre today and it was seemingly full of people buying presents for the sake of it.
My now long departed MIL was the champion buyer of ''it will do'' presents.Most of her Christmas buying was done in jumble sales.
If you cant think of anything suitable don't buy anything.My now teenage grandchildren get money from DH and I.Boring I know but it seems to work.
I never buy smellies for anyone unless I know what they like.I have been the recipient of alot of smelly stuff which may have been liked by the donor but not me and so I have given it to a grateful recipient or into a charity shop.
My DILs family go over the top at Christmas.I am sad to say that most of what they buy our mutual grandchildren goes into the bin the next week.

Caitlin17 Sat 26-Oct-13 19:17:31

This sort of rubbish is why I hate Christmas. You don't have to buy presents for loads of people, especially people you don't even seem to particularly like. There's no law about it.

Just stop doing it. Tell them you won't be buying presents for them and they shouldn't get any for you.

If their presents are as rubbish as you say you're not missing out and you will spare yourself the annual martyrdom of having to buy perfect presents. Why would you even bother after the first couple of years?

I actually don't have any sympathy for your ( first world) " problem". It's dead easy to fix.

Caitlin17 Sat 26-Oct-13 19:25:15

I'm actually amazed at some of the comments on here; people giving and/or expecting presents from their partner's aunt and uncle and their brother's girlfriend? Why?

sugar4eva Sat 26-Oct-13 19:26:57

A comment up thread suggested that at least they care enough to give gift;,I don't necessarily agree that people care if giving a gift band for some it can be a way of trying to show sustain ir that they don't care in a sort of passive aggressive way so ur are not bu ! My mil has always disliked me and gets others fine stuff and me once a wonky picture of a bird with the eye in the wrong place . It's not bout money a cheap soap wd have been better and cost same ; it was tres ugly! When she went I wrapped it in a towel and jumped up and down on it toddler tantrum style : so in fact I enjoyed the present after all as most therapeutic! Simply keep the gifts by the door and recycle don't give it the energy; unless you can have fun like I did! Another family member does this too but they have a money anxiety illness ; gave even given my D c half coloured in colouring book from charity shop s . Tha tvwas hard as my d c were look mum someone has drawn in them!

Bakingtins Sat 26-Oct-13 19:29:18

I sympathise. i have my side of the family sorted, we do secret Santa for the adults, and everyone goes to the bother of getting one decent present the person will really like. We all buy for all the kids (6) but with a £10 limit.
DH's family are a nightmare, there are loads of them, it's just a frenzy of exchanging pointless gifts, almost always stuff we don't want or need. I would love to just stop doing it. I think it's partly because only one of his siblings has children so there hasn't been the impetus to rethink it, the "kids" in his family are in their thirties!

sugar4eva Sat 26-Oct-13 19:29:27

Sorry on phone d istain not sustain! Also I think the op feels insulted that's not a small thing or a third world issue it's bout relationships as it not the gift but what it represents ?

MrsDavidBowie Sat 26-Oct-13 19:34:11

Just don't give presents.
When MIL was alive she excelled herself in crap presents.
After 2 years of enduring her shitty gifts, and ditto from the rest of his huge (9 sibling) family, I said I was not buying presents as it was ridiculous

Total liberation.

I only buy now for dh and the dcs.
No one else.

I do not want crap Boots/BHS 3 for 2, homemade offerings or naff chocolates.

So Xmas becomes a no brainer in our house.

Caitlin17 Sat 26-Oct-13 19:45:38

Bakingtins , you referred to the "frenzy of exchanging pointless gifts" so why do ?

Sugar4eva,what I was getting from OP had little to do with maintaining relationships and more about her being the perfect , martyred giver.

This thread pretty much sums up what I loathe about Chistmas.

GFS, buy expensive, brilliant presents for your children and very nearest and dearest, including yourself and donate the cash you would have spent on presents for people who neither want, need or deserve them to The Salvation Army, the NSPCC, Barnardos or the NSPCA all of whom do need and deserve the cash. It'd be a helluva lot more in keeping with the meaning of Christmas than whining on here.

Caitlin17 Sat 26-Oct-13 19:48:11

Meant FFS.

MrsDavidBowie, if you weren't spoken for I'd marry you.

Can I make a suggestion - having read the OP, it reads as though they might be re-gifting and you are the 'lucky' recipients. Is this a possibility do you think?

HogFucker Sat 26-Oct-13 19:48:41

I used to do this to certain people - then I learnt not to bother as it just built resentment. I think presents mean more to some people than others - as in the thought that went into them.

Laquitar Sat 26-Oct-13 19:54:10

Some of you sound hard work tbh. How bad can a box of chocolates or earings or boots set be? The fajitas kit is ok in my book and you dont have to use meat.
But the picture with the bird sounds bad i must say.

MrsDavidBowie Sat 26-Oct-13 20:08:39

Caitlin...David has always been very open minded grin

why do people waste so much time and energy, when all they have to do is say "no more".

Tuppenceinred Sat 26-Oct-13 20:18:51

My sibs and in-laws excel in thoughtless gift giving, whereas every year I have carefully selected their presents. I had a "confidential" moan to my mum. Strangely, the family have all started asking what DH and I would like. Brilliant. grin.
However, for the first time ever, I've gone out and purchased tins of boring biccies and bottles of cheap booze for them... very much like the presents they've given us for the last 7-odd years.

We make lovely veggie fajitas in this house. Yum.

Agree with those who advise to go with edible/drink gifts. Then watch out for supermarket specials from October. Tesco 30% off 6 bottles wine comes up every so often. Huge discounts on various spirits from time to time, just check weekly til spirit of choice on offer. Likewise chocolates, tins of biscuits, etc.

I am very hard to buy for. If I want it, I probably bought it for myself already. But a bottle of wine is always welcome in my house. Likewise boxes of sweets or biscuits.

kirjava that sounds like a lovely gift and she sounds very ungrateful. Better than a lot of the crap I've been bought in my time.

Retroformica Sat 26-Oct-13 21:32:54

This was us till 6 years ago we decided to make change. Basically now all children's/adults names are put in a hat and each family draws out a random 5 names. Each person has 30 pounds spent on them and they create a wish list for ideas. often we name the exact thing we want our kids/us to have. It has meant that we all end up with less crap and a better gift.

GobbolinoCat Sat 26-Oct-13 23:01:17

I too have "liberated" myself from the self appointed task of buying for teenagers and aunts and uncles I barely know on DH side with no help, out of embarrassment really to hand something over!

I have stopped now, and we just give out the yearly calender of the children.

They all love it so thats all they get.

Liberate yourselves! Its a credit crunch.

notso Sat 26-Oct-13 23:33:01

Mercifully DH's side of the family agreed to secret Santa, each adult picks a name out of a hat and buys that person a £50 present.
I suggested it after receiving my third Chocolate Fondue in a row from BIL1,
a make up bag with a free gift only not for resale sticker on from BIL,
a novelty tea cosy from SIL,
and Britney Spears perfume (have never expressed an interest in Britney or her perfume) and a Christmas pudding teapot from PIL.

I feel sorry for DH sometimes, he tries hard to think of things they will like and they are always so thoughtless. For his Birthday he got two iTunes vouchers from his brothers even though he has nothing made by Apple and a scratchcard from his sister.

katykuns Sat 26-Oct-13 23:51:17

My family are the same, but think more like used toiletries and books they have been given free with things.
I don't have much money anyway, so I said so, and only would buy for the children. It was so popular we are on the 4th year of it. No shit gifts, no wasting money... sooo much better.

Sexykitten2005 Sun 27-Oct-13 00:43:16

I'm the opposite, I spend months picking thoughtful gifts and see them tossed aside.. Last year I bought my best male friend who is marvel/dc comic obsessed an original Spider-Man comic from the week he was born. Had to ship from USA at ridiculous cost and was so excited to see him open it. He didn't even really look at it before putting it in his girlfriends gift bag. This year he will get a crappy gift set from boots.
OP don't stress about it just save there gifts and regift back to them next year. I'm sure when a member of DHs family tells the others about the crappy fajita kit you gave them the penny will drop...

ZiaMaria Sun 27-Oct-13 11:45:22

Take all their gifts to you with a smile and a thank you. Then re-gift them back to the self same givers next Christmas. If they know you're just going to re-gift them straight back if they are rubbish, they will either buy you something actually nice, or will buy something you hate and they actually like (thereby saving you any moeny you might have spent next year).

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

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.

I've asked MIL not to get me anything this year as it is invariably a stocking full of crap she bought in a charity shop. (I phrased it more nicely and asked for books for DD that we could read together)

Meanwhile she's asked us for expensive knitting needles. The value of presents exchanged is never, ever commensurate which I don't mind so much as I mind having to store all the tat she buys us each year.

killpeppa Wed 30-Oct-13 13:23:42

I'd tell them,
'oh those don't fit I'm a size 10'
'sorry but I don't eat meat'

springylippy Wed 30-Oct-13 13:57:59

shock I would never make a disparaging comment about a present to the giver, even if it's true eg the wrong size (take it back yourself and exchange for the right size). Receive graciously even if it wasn't given with grace.

Bake eg a cake for whole families - they love it. Wine, foodstuffs, choc (homemade if you can be bothered). All go down well. TKMaxx are good for exotic foodstuffs at a decent price. Buy only for the kids.

angelinajelly Wed 30-Oct-13 16:45:19

I wouldn't really mind if I got given bizarre, inappropriate presents. What I do object to- and what happens every single year- is that from roughly mid-November onwards my family bombard me with demands to tell them what I want them to get for me. I actually find it quite difficult and stressful thinking up things that I want enough to feel comfortable asking other people to buy, but not so much that it isn't slightly irritating that I can't just buy it for myself on the spot. Partners apart, I find it all a bit distasteful that well-off adults who don't need anything make such a fuss- none of my family are short of cash or STUFF, and I'd rather we all just gave the pointless spending a miss.

Avalicious1980 Thu 31-Oct-13 09:08:51

YADNBU. I live through this every year. I buy nice thoughtful gifts for my ILs.....I think!?! Last year it was Vera Wang pjs (in the right size) and I got a dusty old pocket make up set that was Obviously from Boots' sale in 1997. It doesn't bother me when the present is for me but when they do it to the kids as well. This year I am regifting their presents to them and pleading ignorance.....for the sake of my girls of course.

sue52 Thu 31-Oct-13 09:36:35

My huge family stopped buying presents for the adults years ago. We do secret santa (names in a hat, £50 value gift) and a donation to crisis at chistmas. The under 18s get a gift and those still in full time education get £20. It's much less stressful and all our effort goes into a big family party rather than worrying about what to get for each other.

hackmum Thu 31-Oct-13 09:40:34

I agree with the posters who have said that they are probably either regifting or buying off eBay or spotting bargains that they then allocate as appropriate. For example, the summer PJs would have been on sale at the end of one summer, and they'd have thought, "A cheap pair of PJs, they'll do for someone for Christmas" and the OP drew the short straw.

I think a suitably passive aggressive response would be to buy them all Oxfam goats. Failing that, just get them all £5 gift vouchers and hope that eventually they work it out.

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