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Every. Single. Year.

(90 Posts)
stinkingbishop Tue 11-Nov-14 08:51:21

And so it begins. DM asking what to buy for her DGCs, my DP, my DPILS. DPILs asking for ideas for the DGCs, me, THEIR OWN SON, my DM, my DB. DB making frantic calls on the 23rd from John Lewis. Eldest DC asking about everyone at about midnight on Christmas Eve. All the time no one telling me what they have bought the DGCs till the last minute so I don't know what to get from us because of potential duplication.

And then of course I think of presents from me for all of them. Presents which show LOVE, and INSIGHT, and the fact you've, you know, THOUGHT about someone throughout the year and what might make their life more pleasant.

But every year I need to think of a list four times the length it should be so I can carve them up for everyone. And then let's not forget the neighbours, the nursery staff, the babysitters, DB's new GF, the cleaner, bosses, DP's friends, my friends, all the people it would never occur to anyone else to think about. And don't get me started on the cards.

All that happens is the 10 millionth time I've emailed someone with 'why don't you get them...' they then ask 'and what about you', and I write 'oh, just a nice sit down and a cup of tea!' and so I end up with, I kid you not, a venetian blind cleaner from DM, which would be bad enough, but I DON'T HAVE VENETIAN BLINDS.

And then. AND THEN. She emails last night, bearing in mind I already have a pile of lovingly assembled gifts for her that I have been picking up throughout the year, to say, and I quote "you haven't asked about me. I don't want books or smellies or food or THINGS. I have had a lot of expenses with the car and the house, so maybe just some cash." I am tempted to get her a scratch and sniff recipe book.


And breathe. In a peace and goodwill and holly-topped kind of way. Love her really wink.

Thank you for listening. That will be all smile.

traviata Tue 11-Nov-14 08:55:48

brew brew brew

I find Amazon lists are handy, cos you can see what has been bought and everyone can get the same list to choose from.

but it may be necessary to educate some people, last year there was a much-wanted thing on DS's list which was marked 'purchased' but which never appeared...

DamselNotInHerDress Tue 11-Nov-14 08:58:42

I don't tell anyone anymore. There's nothing I need or want, so I tell people to either not bother (which would make me happiest), or waste their money guessing.
For the dc, I tell my dm to either get them clothes (they love clothes), book vouchers as I can't remember what they've got off the top of my head, or theatre tickets.
Your family sound like a nightmare who have no idea what giving presents is about.

LaCerbiatta Tue 11-Nov-14 09:01:58

I'll join you!

My brother, my SIL, my parents, my in laws, none of them chose presents for the dc, they all just give us money. And on the 23rd Dec or on their actual birthday. Drives me mad!!! I hate buying presents but I do, I make the effort of attempting to choose something they might like.... This way I not only have to buy the ones from me but everyone else's! And we started doing Amazon lists, the presents are all there, our address is there. It's zero effort. Still no one uses the flipping lists!!!

Anyhow..... They're loving and generous... All in the Christmas spirit!

Bonsoir Tue 11-Nov-14 09:02:54

I feel your pain thanks

I am the family ideas-generator: presents, holidays, education... Anything really. AskBonsoir is a 24/7 hotline. But me?

Takver Tue 11-Nov-14 09:08:10

Obviously this is what you need for Christmas wink grin

stinkingbishop Tue 11-Nov-14 09:08:55

I forgot the other gem in last night's MumMail. I suggested a specific box set for DC1, and even sent her the Amazon link, in case it was too tricky to JFGI.

'The link you sent is for a used DVD. Can you send me a link for a NEW one. I don't want to look like I don't care!'

Heaven forbid.

MorrisZapp Tue 11-Nov-14 09:14:45

Sounds a nightmare, but I don't see what's wrong with asking people what their kids want? Generally, adults won't know that last years passion for Bib the Builder has been replaced by Lego etc. Also, kids tend to have everything these days. So you can't just buy a book or DVD, because they may well already have it.

I've seen so many pissed off parents on here complaining because the presents their kids got from other people weren't right in whatever way. I think ultimately parents do want you to go through them and not make decisions yourself about what their kids should have.

ethelb Tue 11-Nov-14 09:51:37

Asking for a sit down and a cup of tea is v martyrish IMO. My mother does this sort of thing ( though she often says she just wants her mortgage to be paid off) and it makes present buying an annoying chore more than a pleasure tbh.

TheGonnagle Tue 11-Nov-14 09:52:37

I feel your pain. And I agree that Amazon lists are the way forward.

everydayaschoolday Tue 11-Nov-14 09:57:30

brew you are not alone.

I limit the 'help'. I have bought DMIL a few gifts for our DDs, as she doesn't know what they have or what they're into. For a few, read 4 small gifts.

But, if she wants to know what the lovely DSDs or DH would like, I ask her to call them. I know what they'll like because they've dropped enough hints during the year grin but they're MY good ideas that I don't want poached.

I refuse to be the gatekeeper of christmas present ideas. But:

1. I'll help to a degree that I am happy with, and

2. that doesn't stress me out, and

3. that I feel is reasonable given the circumstances (distant relatives etc), and

4. where my good present ideas that I'm excited about giving are not poached!

minkymuskyslyoldstoaty Tue 11-Nov-14 10:01:21

once upon a time Christmas presents were all surprises weren't they, nice surprises.

You do too much op. I get that though, because you 'care'.

everydayaschoolday Tue 11-Nov-14 10:03:33

Oh I agree with you, they're not getting the idea of what present giving is all about. It's about showing thought, not subcontracting the decision making to someone else because you've not bothered/been interested enough to do the groundwork.

And I second reading 'Wifework' suggested at the link above. It's eye-opening.

everydayaschoolday Tue 11-Nov-14 10:04:07

they've not you've wink

Floggingmolly Tue 11-Nov-14 10:06:52

No, you're not the only one to feel like this. There's two of us...

SilentAllTheseYears Tue 11-Nov-14 10:08:14

OP you should buy her this perhaps?

DillydollyRIP Tue 11-Nov-14 10:17:19

Amazon wish lists are great as long as people buy from the actual list so it gets removed!
My db never asks what to buy my dc, he always buys them things they like, so much so that it's toys that they already have. This happens every year, ever year he has to exchange for something else but still he doesn't check before he buys something.

Not sure what is worse?

Ragwort Tue 11-Nov-14 10:18:10

I would much, much rather people ask what my DS would like rather than endless unwanted, unsuitable gifts (not all boys like Lego grin) - our local charity shops used to be well stocked ! Fortunately he is now a teenager and cash/vouchers is the perfect present.

We long ago stopped exchanging presents as adults - most of us have everything we need and much nicer to have a meal and a proper 'celebration' together than exchange endless tat.

My Christmas shopping is finished smile.

BikeRunSki Tue 11-Nov-14 10:21:50

It's even worse with both DC's birthdays in the autumn.

I'd far rather be asked what the DCs and I want than have it all left to chance. I really don't like surprises. I so wish my mum would just ask instead of buying random stuff that is not at all what I would have chosen and usually ends up in the charity shop in Jan.

HelpMeGetOutOfHere Tue 11-Nov-14 10:27:22

the downside with amazon lists is that someone might buy everything off of it and leave you with nothing to buy!

This happened to me last year. ds2 hadn't asked for anything specific or of any particular value so I spent days searching amazon and the internet compiling a lovely list of fairly low value items (bike tool, lights for his bike, airfix kits, books etc) and my mum asked for ideas of stocking filler type presents I said look on the amazon list and pick a couple and she brought it all! about £60 worth in total but then she looked like the thoughtful one and I had to give him clothes and an iTunes voucher. learnt my lesson this year.

But yes same here to, not only do I have to think of my own presents but presents for everyone else to give as well. and don't start me on h who will only buy if I ask for something he wont make the effort to go in town and choose a bead for my bracelets or a nice scarf, handbag etc.

The other problem with Amazon lists for the DCs is that things that haven't been bought get left on there, I usually go through and check about now so that no one is buying them things they totally lost interest in a couple of years ago. I never put anything on there that I intend to buy myself, I have created a hidden reference list inside my own wish list for that, no one else can see it.

OiMissus Tue 11-Nov-14 10:29:53

For our son's first Christmas, MIL put £20 in his card.
...because he loves going shopping? And is perfectly happy to choose something for himself?!!
Since then I have refused to spend time or effort for their presents. DH can if he likes, and he does, but I'm not going to waste my time.

DaisyFlowerChain Tue 11-Nov-14 10:36:46

MIL and FIL both ask for ideas for DS every year as they would rather he have something he wants than duplicate or get it wrong. It's no extra hassle as I know they will ask so always put a few ideas to one side for them both. No waste and no tat, what's not to like?

HSMMaCM Tue 11-Nov-14 10:39:40

This is why we have a no gifts for over 18s rule in our family (except my Mum). DH and my mum buy for me. This usually involves a shopping trip to Marks with Mum for a jumper or something.

DD has an Amazon gift list, but is totally pants at updating it (family normally get her something to do with her hobby). My nieces and nephews live miles away and we hardly ever see them. The older ones get a gift card for their favourite store (primark, ebay, Amazon, or whatever they want). The little one gets a present which is linked to conversations I have had with him about his life - usually vehicle related.

Cards ... hardly any sent these days. If I'm going to see people around Christmas, I don't send them a card. Otherwise I send a few to my extended family and friends. DH does his own and teenage DD does her own. (I do ensure there are enough cards in the house for everyone)

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