Oxfam Unwrapped - yeah yeah but it's still a joyless slap in the face to actually receive one, isn't it?

(97 Posts)
OhGiveUsAPruniPudding Fri 28-Dec-07 15:29:35

A couple in DH's family this year decided to give Oxfam Unwrapped to everyone: apparently "Because we have so much stuff" hmm . Well I would happily have lightened their present load by one if I had known they weren't giving presents and didn't want stuff. They are not popular in the family for a myriad reasons, and they know it, so it felt like quite a point being made to all of us.
There have to be ground rules for this, don't there, for it to be done with any grace? I don't want anything from them really, it's not about the stuff; but then, nor do I want to give them anything, so I am happy to agree that we do this (or, do nothing at all).
I think the number one thing about it is that people know they are getting it so can temper their gift-giving as they wish - these are people I dislike and would have been glad of the chance not to give their gift any thought.
Is that me being a bitter old cow, or do you agree?
(I have to admit, I was tempted to send them an Oxfam bag of shit, just to make the point in return. [juvenile])

NAB3wishesfor2008 Fri 28-Dec-07 15:30:58

What did you get was your unwrapped gift?

Iota Fri 28-Dec-07 15:33:47

oh well at least you know what to do for Christmas 2008 smile

expatinscotland Fri 28-Dec-07 15:34:43

I would be tempted to send them an Oxfam bag of shit, but am too big of a chicken shit to actually do it .

hatrick Fri 28-Dec-07 15:35:32

I got one, quite pleased with it actually.

NKF Fri 28-Dec-07 15:37:06

What;s Oxfam unwrapped?

OhGiveUsAPruniPudding Fri 28-Dec-07 15:37:42

lol iota
Yes they have set the bar now, haven't they?
I got school dinners, i think, nab. But I would rather have made a donation to a charity of my choice. I am really being churlish now. I am glad those children are going to get fed etc but it's more the family politics of it. I have given Unwrapped gifts before but either for someone who had said he didn't want anything, or requested.
Also...Unwrapped gifts come with something, don't they...a bag of chocolate mango or a wee toy?
I think they kept those!

southeastastra Fri 28-Dec-07 15:39:03
hippipotTEDCHRISTMASTREEami Fri 28-Dec-07 15:39:13

I think the issue is you dislike them as people, not the fact they bought Oxfam unwrapped gifts.

I for one love to receive Oxfam unwrapped gifts, it saves me finding a home in our already cramped house for more soaps, candles, books, board games or dvd's. Let's face it, people could not buy you a gift at all and keep the money themselves, or not buy you a gift and spend the money in your name on charity. I know which I prefer wink

Iota Fri 28-Dec-07 15:39:53

I think you should see if you really can send a bag of fertilizer for next year

hippipotTEDCHRISTMASTREEami Fri 28-Dec-07 15:40:43

Oxfam unwrapped gifts come with a card and fridge magnet. Please don't tell me they kept that themselves?
No toys or mangoes though!

expatinscotland Fri 28-Dec-07 15:42:17

Being the selfish git I am, I prefer they spend it on themselves .

Iota Fri 28-Dec-07 15:42:32

not quite fertilizer but sends a message grin

LuckyStarOfBethSalem Fri 28-Dec-07 15:45:40

Me & DP and all his family got a "unwrapped" present last year (not oxfam) and it was dissapointing but the reason I was dissapointed was because I didn't agree with where it was being spent. I'd have rather she'd have spent it on kids in THIS country. I like the idea of the presents but wish you could choose where the money went to.

OhGiveUsAPruniPudding Fri 28-Dec-07 15:46:31

No the issue is that I dislike them, and they did this unilaterally, when if both sides had been given a chance, it could have been a well-meant and gracious thing to do - but ended up looking like a 'fuck you' gesture.

THey left with two large bags of presents: the people who said "We did this because we had too much stuff." How odd, then, to not inform people that you didn't want any more.

I am a fan of the Oxfam gifts - I just think the etiquette of it is a minefield! And bears no relation to the actual charity aspect of it.

Thinking of what to give someone, you know, getting them the right thing, something you know they will like or at least hope so - it means a lot over and above the value of the present.

Logging on to a website and randomly choosing a fridge magnet...very easy, devoid of consideration, often.

hippipotTEDCHRISTMASTREEami Fri 28-Dec-07 15:48:58

Yes, I do see where you are coming from. If they had approached you (and the rest of the family) and said 'no presents this year please, let's give to charity instead, then you are right, it would have been a nice gesture. But to walk away with two full bags of presents yourself does take the mick a bit, you are right.

Go on then, you may be annoyed, I would be too grin

OhGiveUsAPruniPudding Fri 28-Dec-07 15:51:28

<mops brow in relief>
Glad you agree
'Taking the mick' is one of the phrases that was used when they had gone.
Good lord I do dislike them so very much, I may have to go and lie down.

roisin Fri 28-Dec-07 15:52:16

I got several Oxfam and similar gifts, and love them. Much better than token chocolates/smellies, or books I don't want to but feel obliged to read, from other rellies.

I just wholeheartedly approve of the sentiment: "We do love you, we want to spend some money on/for/in honour of you. But we know you don't want stuff so we bought something worthwhile instead."

As a family this year we got bees, ducks, water-purification system, something-about-women-can't-remember-exactly-what, and a couple of others too.

LuckyStarOfBethSalem Fri 28-Dec-07 15:52:51

I get it too, We were a little bruised when we knew we'd spent a fair amount of money on DP's mum only to get a little card (which I must say has spent the last year sitting in a box not doing much)

irishyouamerrychristmas Fri 28-Dec-07 15:54:19

It only works, imo, if you specifically ask for it to be given to you instead of a present - you cannot unilaterally give it to someone. It's not, most definitely not, ok to just give it as a present to someone if (a) you haven't been asked to or (at the very very least) (b) told them well in advance that that's what you're doing (and even then it's a bit of a "God aren't we so good we're giving your present to charity" sickening gesture). Bloody minefield. But nonetheless better than my MIL who, apparently, when we asked her not to spend too on us for Christmas, said that she hadn't bought us anything. Or for DH's birthday today. Grrr. She's arriving in 10 minutes and it feels like that bit in thriller films where it's all calm just before the monster arrives at the house and begins breaking down the door with a bloody axe.

KIMIfullofhopefor2008 Fri 28-Dec-07 15:54:49

They make great gifts for teachers, saves them being over run with wine, chocolate and soap.

DP got a goat one from his mum a few years ago, and when I told my mum she was confused and ask where he was going to keep a goat. I had to explain that the goat itself went to a family in Africa. hmm

OhGiveUsAPruniPudding Fri 28-Dec-07 16:00:30

I am not a fan of stuff so it should have been ok.
But the simple fact is, when you are having people round for a gorgeous meal that you have worked hard to provide, and you have bought them a present you really thought about - it is off for them to hand these out.
It was like one side of the family were making things as happy and celebratory as possible whilst they were suffering the food and wine and just not joining in with the spirit of it.
I mean, that is their business, to a degree, but it's notable that they had been complaining two weeks previously that nobody was interested in them.

hedgehog1979 Fri 28-Dec-07 16:01:36

I have done this for my family this year but have also bought something small for them to open on NYD (we spent christmas with the inlaws) but I have warned them that this is what I am doing and not to spend too much on us as a result

Swedes2Turnips1 Fri 28-Dec-07 16:02:25

I don't like the etiquette of these charity gifts either - I think it is a bit cheeky to give your gift to African children who need feeding then accept your gifts to them.

I would like to see one of the political parties place a ban on these gifts in their manifesto. So the gift could only be made if the recipient has registered their consent with that charity. In the same manifesto I would like to see a £5 per head maximum spend per person unless they are your children.

When my marriage broke up several years ago I cooked him Christmas lunch at my house - so we could both spend christmas with the children - and I gave him a shirt beutifully wrapped. He bought me a charity camel. Me pretending to be delighted was worthy of an Oscar nomination at the very least. I felt insulted and then spoilt and uncharitable for feeling so insulted. A double whammy.

Charity gift is an oxymoron.

holidaywonk Fri 28-Dec-07 16:13:26

I agree with Irish's summary of the etiquette. We have received these from the very generous Texan branch of DP's family, but we got them alongside 'proper' gifts for the kids (no-one was buying for adults that year).

I do think it can be a rather smug, annoying gesture in the wrong hands - 'Look at me! Look how much I care about those in poverty!' I prefer people who give regular donations to charity according to their means, and don't brag about it.

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