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ideas for budget gifts when I'm used to spending lots

(31 Posts)
Crocodilian Wed 07-Oct-20 08:11:16

I normally go way over the top at Christmas but due to covid our finances are the worst they have ever ever been and things are extremely tight. Normally I might spend £150-200 per person on adult family members but this year I could really do with keeping it to no more than about £30 per person, ideally £20. I do know that we're lucky to still be able to spend that much.

I'm already worried about what on earth to get people. Normally we'd buy about four 'good' presents for each person. The other adults in our immediate family are all well-off and buy similar, and it will be really obvious if I go from giving four presents to giving one, and reducing our budget to a tiny tiny proportion.

Any advice about how to deal with this would be very welcome, and any gift ideas appreciated.

Will need to buy for:
Mum (early 60s, retired, likes art/craft/beauty stuff/learning languages)
Dad (early 60s, retired, likes photography/model railways/walking/wildlife and nature)
Sister (mid 20s, no kids, WFH in professional job, likes beauty and fashion/gadgets/cats/fancy food and drink)
BIL (early 30s, has a 3-y-o, travels a lot for work, likes junk food/watching sport/gadgets/comedy)
BIL's DD aged three, has a large extended family so gets lots of gifts.

The only idea I have so far is a framed photo of my baby for my parents!

Any help or ideas very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

OP’s posts: |
Crocodilian Wed 07-Oct-20 08:11:40

Oh God, that was long, sorry!

OP’s posts: |
AriettyHomily Wed 07-Oct-20 08:17:56

We haven't done adults in our family for ages. We do secret Santa with a £50 limit for whoever is actually together on Christmas Day.

So much less stress.

myhobbyisouting Wed 07-Oct-20 08:22:54

Definitely ask them if they've bought anything ASAP. If not then suggest the secret Santa idea.

Why are you worried about it being obvious? They're your family. Tell them now that you are having to strictly budget this year and ask them not to spend big on you.

It gets boring only receiving big budget presents anyway. Can't you suggest a £5 gift swap, must be as creative as possible, particularly as you have a creative family. The 3 year old is a piece of cake honestly. A gingerbread house building set from b&m £2 and sit and do it with her if you're able to meet up. Better than any plastic bit of tat

Hatscats Wed 07-Oct-20 08:25:16

Unless there is something they actually want then it’s just a waste of money and resources? Most ends up at charity shop or in the bin eventually. Just make a pact for no presents and spend the money on yourself? Get kids something.

CeeceeBloomingdale Wed 07-Oct-20 08:26:07

Tell them all you are spending less and ask them to do the same. Look for bargains in TK Maxx and online. Follow the Christmas shopping threads for inspiration

Startaler Wed 07-Oct-20 08:42:37

QVC have good high end gift sets that can be split up for the women. They do 3 easy payments on most sets too.

TK Maxx has good discounts on lots of random bits. Also check out outlet shopping centres.

Let people know in advance you can't buy as much this year, they will understand and may choose to spend less themselves

For your dad, could you do a subscription for a hobby magazine.

Another idea is to gift them an experience for later in the year. For example, could you buy your dad a small model train with an IOU for an afternoon tea train ride later in the year. Therefore, you actually buy them tickets later in the year. Groupon always have offers on.

The same for the little boy, a small gift and an offer of a day out later in the year.

orchidsonabudget Wed 07-Oct-20 08:50:20

Ha! I have just started a similar thread
Books have usually been my standby..

jocktamsonsbairn Wed 07-Oct-20 09:00:21

Your family wouldn't want you to stress over this or get into debt. We normally only spend a max of £25 per person for adults and kids alike but if anyone was struggling financially no one would want them to buy presents for adults. Just be honest and say it's been a tight year so can you set a £20 budget or do a secret Santa if you are seeing each other over Xmas. Keep an eye on the bargain and referral threads as they have massively helped me over the years.
I have made my SIL a beautiful gin hamper - only beautiful because I bought those bright jewel coloured bottles from Eden Mill's mixology project The cocktails are fab and I bought 4 at £2.50 each, some flavoured tonics from Aldi £3.50 fir a wee box of 4, 4 miniature gins and a couple of wee snack pack nibbles (like graze but from Aldi) and some nuts. Out in a wee hamper basket I already had but you could do in a box and it cane to about £20.

Wherearefoxssocks Wed 07-Oct-20 09:20:15

I suggested this on another thread, but over the years I've got both DF And DFIL a walking pole that you can attach a camera to. They're both very into walking/photography and loved it. They're about £25.

Gifts are about the thought that goes into them, not the cost.

TheRosariojewels Wed 07-Oct-20 09:33:05

I would just be honest with them and tell them that you are not able to spend as much this year.

User478 Wed 07-Oct-20 09:37:06

Tell them that you're not doing big gifts this year (so they don't feel obliged to spend £££ on you) wait until chocolate oranges are on offer and buy 1 for everyone.

AnnaSW1 Wed 07-Oct-20 10:00:08

I'd just let your family know ASAP and maybe they'll be glad and reduce the pressie budget too. Xmas shopping is no fun this year you can't just browse.

RubyFakeLips Wed 07-Oct-20 10:00:29

Yes you probably need to mention it ASAP.

That being said you have to think that you obviously can’t match in terms of usual quality, eg buying your sister expensive skincare but you could buy something more personal. Try NotOnTheHighstreet. They do lots of personalised items which are still quite tasteful, or can be thoughtful such as a personalised print of their house or your family tree.

I bought a colleague some monogrammed luggage tags and passport cover from there and she liked them so much has gifted the same to some of her friends. Weren’t particularly spendy, etsy is another good one to try.

Scarby9 Wed 07-Oct-20 10:07:43

Tell everyone now.
From the sound of it; rather than buying one big gift you used to buy four smaller ones. So if you are quartering your budget, just buy one this year. Presumably you bought things you knew they would like before, so choosing isn't the difficulty - just stop at one gift now.
Or, probably better as others have suggested, use this as a chance to reset your gift giving completely. Suggest the Secret Santa, or buying only for children or £10 maximum or whatever. Make them all sloe gin (still just time round us to collect the last sloes!) or their Christmas cake or somehing instead.

JinglesWish Wed 07-Oct-20 10:40:36

I’d buy 2 of the Molton Brown sets from QVC!! They’re £49 each using the £10 off referral code, but you’d get 3 gift wrapped presents from each. They do a women and men version. Add some posh chocolate to the smaller sets.

I’ve got a referral code if you need one. Actually if you buy from 2 different email addresses you could get the discount twice.

BarbaraofSeville Wed 07-Oct-20 13:26:04

If they drink alcohol, I'd just get a nice bottle of gin or fizz and stick to that level of present going forward, even if your finances do pick up.

Most adults with their own money don't want other people choosing their toiletries, accessories, hobby equipment etc and certainly don't want people to get into debt to do so. A lot of what you buy will end up at charity shops or left in drawers for the rest of eternity.

Holiday21plea Wed 07-Oct-20 13:31:06

I wouldn’t stress yourself over presents OP. I would buy the young child a gift. Then a box of nice biscuits as a gift for the adults.
It’s the thought that counts.

swimster01 Thu 08-Oct-20 17:23:58

Hampers go down well especially with older family members and you can make them up yourself

Crocodilian Fri 09-Oct-20 18:59:52

Thank you for all of the replies!

For a bit more context, it bothers me mainly because I absolutely love Christmas, and love choosing thoughtful gifts for people (all of whom have expensive tastes, unfortunately!). I've always considered myself quite good at choosing presents for people so feel sad at not being able to show the people I love that I've thought about them in the same way.

Secret Santa probably won't work as we don't know who we are going to see and when.

Will definitely let everyone know we're on a low budget so they can match us! But I don't want to cause anyone any problems, for example, I don't want my mum to feel like she should spend less on my sister than she would normally, as I'm guessing she would feel guilty spending £300 on my sister and £25 on me! Wouldn't bother me though.

But lots of good ideas here!

@Startaler Thank you for all the ideas! The magazine subscription for my dad is great suggestion.

@orchidsonabudget I had a look at your thread and have pinched some suggestions!

@jocktamsonsbairn Thank you so much for putting this into perspective for me. If one of my family told me they were struggling financially I would be horrified if they were worrying about Christmas so I do just need to chill!

OP’s posts: |
Ragwort Fri 09-Oct-20 19:04:01

Agree with others, just have an honest chat, Covid has given us all a genuine reason to cut back on unnecessary spending.

I manage a charity shop and we are inundated with unwanted, expensive Christmas gifts every single year.

blisstwins Mon 12-Oct-20 04:57:11

I live Christmas and giving too. Maybe you can supplement a little by making some things. I am going to make beeswax wraps for everyone as part of my giving this year. I think you can do many things for much less than you have spent and agree with much of the advice above.

WeAllHaveWings Tue 13-Oct-20 10:38:47

Tell your family you can't afford much this year and how much you are struggling, and if they do still buy you expensive gifts dont be embarrassed, just thankful you have such a lovely family and know you would do the same for them if circumstances were reversed.

PersonaNonGarter Tue 13-Oct-20 10:44:01

I can sympathise - I love buying my family presents and it is something I save for as I really enjoy it.

£30 is a good amount though. Hardback books, bottles of good spirits or champagne, or lovely food items are easily within reach. Most board games are >£30.

AdoraBell Tue 13-Oct-20 10:48:08

Usually I would say if you are struggling with finances then don’t buy Christmas presents, tell everyone now, say you don’t want anything from them this year etc.

But if you want buy presents then do so.

The only thing I can think of in your list is the person who liked beauty products and fashion. Something I’ve done for stocking fillers is a lipstick/nail varnish from Chanel. I order it on their wed site rather than a department store. They do Christmas packaging. It’s expensive stuff, but could be cheaper than your normal present budget.

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