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])

littlelapin Fri 28-Dec-07 21:49:37

I was quite happy with our goat

mazzystar Fri 28-Dec-07 22:03:14

This thread makes me lol

I got a text from a friend - know for donkey's years - in November some time saying "we have decided that we are not buying presents this year but making donation to xyz". Was I right to assume therefore that they didn't want us to buy anything for them ? [cos I didn't]

It really irritated me, not because I particularly wanted to exchange gifts with them - in fact I thought it a bit presumptive to send me the text in the first place - but because I bet they will be spending hundreds on their kids. As another poster has said, I make my own charitable donations - if they want to make an extra charitable donation at Christmas time, that's great, but don't bring me into it, and why feel the need to draw my attention to it. It just all seemed like pomposity and hypocrisy to me.

well that's that off my chest.....[sorry everybody]

jajas Fri 28-Dec-07 22:06:55

I was given a 'bit of a classroom' this year and was genuinely delighted with it. I've given trees, books, water etc in the past, but chose the recipients very carefully as I have a few friends who would certainly not be best pleased with a smelly old goat as a present. I do always give something else as well though so that they don't feel cheated in any way. My friend and I are very fond of horses and we bought a 'vet for the day' for the Brooke Hospital in Egypt and it really did give us a good feeling but we had agreed from the outset to do so.

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Fri 28-Dec-07 22:23:32

oh for goodness sake the point is that EVERYONE knows that presents for grownups are ALWAYS CRAP! Therefore, much better to spend it (if you have to anyway) on something a bit less crap!

Buy for kids. Try not to buy for grownups.

Set up dds for charity throughout the year. Then, like me, you can have a revoltingly smug hard heart when it comes to Auntie Joan and why we're not going to buy her five quids worth of FUCKING SOAP!

fishie Fri 28-Dec-07 22:38:13

bad form to give these gifts unsolicited.

i'd rather a nice honest donation to charity not a load of nitwittery with goats.

bahKewcHumbug Fri 28-Dec-07 22:40:37

If anyone said they were buying me a goat I would tell them the name of a much loved charity I would like the money to go to.

If you dont want to give presents, don't give them. Donate as much as you like to chairty in your own name not by proxy.

I don't have that much spare cash and my presents were warmly and gratefully recieved - a new kitchen floor, annual pass to Kew Gardens and a Freeview Plus box. Maybe uncharitable but it made me happy, I have donated myself in the past when I was better off and no doubt will again in the future.

bahKewcHumbug Fri 28-Dec-07 22:42:52

but then I don't send random £10's on a variety of adults only very close family and friends.

onebatmotherofgoditschilly Fri 28-Dec-07 22:49:33

precisely Kew!
Bloody well done btw. I would sooo badly like to be the friend/relly who got new kitchen floor! Brill idea.

Blu Fri 28-Dec-07 23:54:24

The etiquette should be that people ask that gift money goes to charity, not that poeple choose to give to a charity and exepct someone else to be gratful! I thought Oxfam's marketing of Unwrapped has been back to front in that respect.

PrismManchip Sat 29-Dec-07 00:05:39

You know what, though - I would be pleased with it from someone I liked/loved/knew was genuine.
(I am Pruni btw)
What fucks me off is that five people went to some effort to get them things they would like, and they said "We have too much stuff so we are giving you this" - all they had to do was say "look, this is all too commercial, we want to get these gifts this year" and we could all have nodded sagely and then done our own thing, no rancour, in fact a great deal of going-up-in-estimation. Instead we gave people we dislike gifts because social rules dictate that we have to and they flouted the social rules.
Coming from these people, the whole thing was crass and maybe a bit of a power trip for them. ANd since they were whinging that they don't get included often enough in family stuff it is odd that they did something that makes it harder to be around them.
But fuck 'em

Swedes2Turnips1 Sat 29-Dec-07 00:06:35

Blu - So beautifully put. smile

Twinklemegan Sat 29-Dec-07 00:21:38

What do people think about other types of charity gifts - animal adoption for example. Last year I did this for both my parents, but they were from UK animal sanctuaries where they could go and see the animals concerned. I'm now thinking maybe I was being joyless and sanctimonious?

I for one think my example is a bit different from the Oxfam thing. For one thing, I thought about what animals my parents might like to contribute to and chose carefully. So I guess an Oxfam gift is great for someone who is known to support that particular cause. If not, then it shows a lack of care and thought, which is surely what all present giving should be about - IMHO.

PrismManchip Sat 29-Dec-07 08:54:32

But TM you chose something you thought your parents would like: to my mind that's different from going online and buying presents for twenty people from one website and not telling them you're doing it and then saying you did it because we all accumulate so much stuff that it's getting silly, whilst groaning under the weight of people's well-meant and not well-meant presents!

SevenSwansASlouching Sat 29-Dec-07 09:03:45

Well, I bought my dad a goat - unsolicited - and he was very pleased. He spends his life ranting "Whatever you do, dopn't get me stuff, books are fine but not stuff..".He struggles hugely with Xmas and has done since my mum died 9 years ago. It came with a photo calender of my kids - which he was also pleased with. And a reference to a family joke about goats - which made him roar.

It was a good present. The difference here is that I knew the recipient would be pleased with it and it was not an easy option. This, to me, is the important thing about goats etc.

Sobernow Sat 29-Dec-07 09:18:37

I think it's 'bad form' to request any sort of gift at all.

Why not just be gracious and thank people who have either given you something or given money to charity in your name?

I can't for the life of me imagine a scenario where I would 'warn' people in advance that I would like them to give me an Oxfam Unwrapped/whichever charity. I don't assume they are going to give me anything in the first place.

What next - sending back the charity Christmas cards you have been sent and requesting that the 49p be spent on a charity of your choosing?

Sobernow Sat 29-Dec-07 09:21:45

And another thing - when you're sitting in a warm house with a fridge full of food it's hugely crap of you to moan about someone you don't know getting a goat.

It's not the etiquette we should be worrying about here, really is it?

Slouchy Sat 29-Dec-07 09:22:13

Sobernow - I agree.

AbbeyA Sat 29-Dec-07 09:34:06

Actually I would like to get an Oxfam unwrapped gift. I sent one last year but must admit that it was to people that I knew would be pleased (I planted some trees for them). I wouldn't give it to a teacher for a Christmas/end of year present,I think they deserve a bit of pampering.It is a bit of a tricky one, perhaps people should be sounded out first.

Sobernow Sat 29-Dec-07 09:39:55

I must live on another planet. Do people really sound each other out and negotiate what someone else might be giving them? Do you really spend time saying 'oh no don't give me a goat, I'd rather have a quarter of a lifejacket' (or whatever) I seem to be alone in thinking it is rude to expect a gift and then have the temerity to haggle over it in advance.

discoverlife Sat 29-Dec-07 09:49:20

All presents to adults have to be thought out whether boxes of choc's or Charity Gifts. Personally I have never given soap as every time I am given it, it makes me think the giver is telling me I smell! and I dont want people to believe that is why I'm giving it to them. I have only given boxes of chocs the year DH was made redundant.
We have family lists that are sometimes adhered to, (I had wellies and compost bins of mine), but we have all received other carefully thought out pressies.
It sounds like the OP's pressy givers were looking for a cop out. An easy gift (as is said previously, just 2 clicks) to make them feel all righteous.
Other people other situations, this one I am wholeheartedly behind the OP.

Blandmum Sat 29-Dec-07 09:50:15

Buying one of these things is like buying any gift. I assume that you know the people you are buying for, and get them something that you think they will like.

I would never by my SIL a sequin bedecked item of clothing, because she isn't that type of person.

She would never buy me a ticket to a Take that Concert smile.

She knew that I'd like the free school meals option, but would be so chuffed with a part share in an anaconda (or whatever)

Frizbe Sat 29-Dec-07 09:52:49

Yep we do anyway sobernow! although I usually tell everyone not to buy for dh or I, just get things for the kids....but for somereason people seem to have brought us a lot of tins of biscuits too this year??? will no doubt make my gym membership more worthwhile grin
As for the original post, I think if you ask people to get you oxfam unwrapped gifts, no problem! but it is nice to be asked first eh?

LadyMuck Sat 29-Dec-07 09:56:06

I think it is the fact that the couple in the OP have simply done this for everyone - essentially they haven't indicated that they have thought about the potential recipients at all. It isn't therefore a thoughtful gift (and of course we've all been taught that "it's the thought that counts"), and so of course comes across as a bit of a slap. It is different from an occasion where someone takes the time to consider what gift might be appropriate and then opts for a charity gift, knowing that it probably will be appreciated by the recipient.

In one sense it would be the same as if they gave a copy of an idenitical picture or CD to everyone in the family without considering their individual taste.

PrismManchip Sat 29-Dec-07 09:59:26

I heartily disagree sobernow but I knew someone would mention the actual charity point sooner or later.
The charity aspect is a given.
I think it is extremely bad form not to tell your close family (there were extremely thoughtful, generous and giving parents and step-parents involved here) that you are not doing the whole present thing at Christmas. Because Christmas is not about stuff, it's getting together with your family and having a bit of a happy time and spreading a bit of joy. A randomly chosen bit of charity does not do that, unless you want it. Tat doesn't do it either but a thoughtfully chosen gift is I think a lovely thing wel over and above its cash value.
As I said before, had we known, there could have been a level playing field. And had there not been an already difficult relationship, there wouldn't have been a problem.
I do not want their stuff - any of it - I want people to think instead of going 'click click they can't say anything against this, let's go and buy a £35000 car." hmm

WanderingHolly Sat 29-Dec-07 09:59:57

I think if you always exchange gifts with someone, it's fine to mention that this year, if the giver is happy to do so, you would like them to buy you an Oxfam Unwrapped goat. But some people prefer to give a present to you, so it's important to allow for that too.

I think Oxfam Unwrapped is the answer to wedding list angst. No one wants 47 toasters. Many people getting married have lived together long enough to have at least two of everything. What better way to celebrate your union than providing a small village in Africa with a new sewer?!

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