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Does anyone have families who actually choose presents for EACH OTHER any more?!?!

(34 Posts)
Flame Wed 18-Nov-09 17:03:31

Every year people want lists of what to buy.

Just for once I don't want to come up with all the ideas. I had a small break last year as my dad & his wife wanted to choose what to get for the DC - I told them what type of things they liked and they bought - fabulous. This year though they want specifics "buy x, y, z". I am having enough problems with the specifics for my sister to get them, without them needing them too. Let alone what I am going to buy them.

Then they want to know what I want. yay for presents, but I don't know. I don't desperately need anything, and I don't want "stuff" for the sake of it, but I know if I say just go with the money I will spend it on bills.

I'm not selfless enough to say don't get me anything blush

Just occasionally I would like to feel like my family know me well enough to buy me and/or the children something as a surprise

Flame Wed 18-Nov-09 17:04:25

I know how ungrateful that all reads - am just feeling a bit overwhelmed with xmas atm.

BecauseImWorthIt Wed 18-Nov-09 17:07:00

Don't worry - I know exactly what you mean/how you feel!

I can't bear the whole being given a list thing. The whole point of buying a gift is that you take some time to think about who you're buying for, and then choose something for them that will be a surprise.

It's taken me years to educate DH in this, and although he tries hard, he still doesn't really get it and sulks because I won't give him a list!

potplant Wed 18-Nov-09 17:08:11

Flame - I feel the same way. Its a bit un-Christmassy to say 'I want this, DH wants that and get these for the DCs'.

Marne Wed 18-Nov-09 17:11:00

yep, i agree, my dad always asks what the dc's want for x-mas as does my mum, dad tends to buy one thing that they have asked for and then one thing that he has chosen.

choosyfloosy Wed 18-Nov-09 17:12:17

Sort of YABU but as someone who keeps a running list on the fridge for all members of the family from around July, YANBU as well. I got a bit tired of getting limp sets of scented body lotion and shower gel, both of which I dislike. Also I find buying presents quite stressful as I very rarely get it right myself - I am a bit scarred by a present that I'd put hours of thought into that was literally handed back over the table with the recipient saying 'why don't you have it instead, you must like it since you bought it?'

Don't punish other people for not having much imagination - ask for a book token and then you get the pleasure of shopping for yourself and it doesn't go on the council tax.

potplant Wed 18-Nov-09 17:27:05

choosy - OMG that is so rude! At least when I get a load of crap I don't like I pretend to until I can get it home and put it on ebay - some people!!

(not that I'm suggesting that the present you bought was crap, IYSWIM)

Umami Wed 18-Nov-09 17:35:03

DH's family do this - FIL, SIL, BIL all want to know what we'd like for Xmas. Might as well just go to the shops and buy yourself the items and invoice them! Obviously it is nice to receive something you will definitely like/ use, but it always feels like buying something for the sake of it, and takes a bit of the joy out of giving and receiving presents IMO. Certainly makes a bit of a farce out of wrapping them, putting them under the tree and having the great unwrapping on Christmas morning, when you know what's inside. Hunting around for something, however small, that I think someone will really like, and perhaps be surprised to get, is part of the fun, for me.

TheChewyToffeeMum Wed 18-Nov-09 17:42:38

DHs family do this too - I hate being told what to buy and I really would like a surprise under the tree - even if it is more body lotion.
Some years they do actually buy what they want (golf clubs usually) and tell each other how much money they need to cover it!
I would much rather spend my money and time choosing and/or making presents for people than writing hundreds of Christmas cards - so that what I am doing this year. [humbug-ish emoticon]

SmallSCREAMCap Wed 18-Nov-09 18:22:51

I don't mind people asking me what to buy for DCs but I am noticing some members of the family handing over cash/cheques to me and saying "buy them what they want from me for Christmas."

It turns into such a performance - I have to give official thanks for the cheque/cash, then choose a present in budget, consult about that with relative, go out and buy & wrap it, phone relative and tell them it is safely bought, give to DC, then DC have to thank for it. One relative even wants a photo of DC opening their gift.

I am very grateful for my family to be thought of at all, but on the other hand - FFS.

StrictlyBoogying Wed 18-Nov-09 19:37:27

My MIL always needs extensive lists. She's nervous about buying presents in case people don't like them. I don't want to sound greedy and she gets irritated that I don't ask for enough. I have no idea what her budget is so I resort to asking for vouchers. I love choosing presents for poeple and don't really understand why others don't. I think it ruins the Xmas magic a bit.

Lauriefairyonthetreeeatscake Wed 18-Nov-09 19:41:13

I'm really in two minds about this. On the one hand i like surprises but I absolutely loathe waste. I would be prefectly happy for someone to buy me a 5 quid Oxfam gift, really genuinely happy.

But I would hate someone to buy me an ornament or something I can't use but felt somewhat obliged to keep.

CybilLiberty Wed 18-Nov-09 19:47:57

See this is why I LOATHE Christmas (and Birthdays for that matter).

No one feels they can buy just anything for relatives anymore, everyone is so sniffy about what their kids received (me included, we have got some real humdingers in the past)

But the whole getting stuff off a list idea is so pre planned and soulless.

allaboutme Wed 18-Nov-09 19:49:36

I like it when family ask what the Dcs want for xmas (we dont buy for adults).
I have loads of fun going through all the catalogues, picking out all the things I'd love to buy them, then tell each person 2 or 3 things, so they can still 'choose' iyswim
DCs then get things they will like, that are age appropriate and dont already ahve anything similar to.
I get to shop without spending a penny smile

WrigglyFish Wed 18-Nov-09 19:52:23

Same here - MIL requires detailed lists (in August) which I supply (usually some time in October). Like StrictlyBoogying I never know what the budget is so put a variety of cheap things and then she ends up buying something more expensive off list.

For the kids I have usually put my best ideas down for her and then she ends up getting something completely different and then I'm irritated cos I know that they would really like (e.g. a jump rocket this year) and I haven't got it for them cos I was hoping the in-laws would.

Am starting a subversive move to ban family Christmas presents altogether (apart from between DH, the kids and myself - oh and Father Christmas of course). Bah Humbug.

Katisha Thu 19-Nov-09 18:21:45

I am totally with OP.

Dh and MIL see present giving as some sort of business transaction which involves me buying my own or DSs presents and invoicing them, essentially.

I hate it but that is the culture of their side of the family.I don't play ball with DH but then end up with no present more often than not - he takes no pleasure in choosing anything.

And as far as MIL is concerned, DSs are her only grandchildren - I don't think it would hurt to put a bit of effort into it but she insists that I have to dictate what they get from her.

Grr. It is true that it takes the edge off things. This is hitting a nerve as I have a raft of December birthdays to get through before Christmas and am struggling with it all.

fruitful Thu 19-Nov-09 18:23:18


I so hate this. I want to say "what I want is for you to care about me enough to spend some time getting to know me, and then spend some more time going out to buy something that you think I might like". And I want to say that for my kids too. But I don't dare.

Dh has given up on providing ideas to his mum at least, he just says "I want a surprise". So now MIL nags me for a list for dh. When I told her I didn't have any ideas for his birthday, she said "oh well, he won't mind a late present will he? You must just tell me when you've thought of something". I spluttered a bit and said "I'm not going to think of anything". I'm kind of hoping she understood cos dh will be sad if she doesn't get him anything at all.

I think we should get all the adults in a circle on Christmas day, and I'll hand a £20 note to the person on my left and say "Happy Christmas!". And they will say "why thank you! So kind!". Then they will turn to the person on their left and repeat. All the way round the circle till I get my note back. There, everybody has given and received, lovely.

Doesn't sort the kids though. Although dd(7) has told all and sundry that she would like money for Christmas. She learns young! grin

fruitful Thu 19-Nov-09 18:28:16

wriggly fish - I hate that too, when the children don't get something fabulous that I would have bought them, if I hadn't passed on my good idea to a gp, who decides not to buy it. Or, in my mum's case, buys a cheap "bargain" version of it that isn't nearly as good and falls apart on Boxing Day.

fruitful Thu 19-Nov-09 18:42:20

Any minute now someone is going to tell us that we're all ungrateful.

And someone else is going to say that their children's gps don't buy them presents at all and they'd love to be asked for a list ...


I'm tempted to announce that I'm not Doing Lists any more, and see what happens.

Flame Thu 19-Nov-09 18:46:02

so much agreement makes me feel much better

tbh I am terrible at choosing for people and get all worked up about it but that is Not The Point.

Have done fairly well on the lists for DC now I think.

Just me to go. Anyone know where I can get these boots for the £60 I found them for last winter but my dad missed the email about so they sold out? hmm

PoppyIsApain Thu 19-Nov-09 18:46:40

I would love to choose peoples presents and have them choosing mine, although i understand that my family want to have something in particular due to not getting many treats so it is their one chance to get something they have been desperate for smile

idlingabout Thu 19-Nov-09 19:57:42

I would love to refuse to do the whole list thing. My family ask for ideas but DP`s want lengthy lists including where to buy things and everything done by e-mail. Problem is DP`s father has a habit of pressing the `reply all` button when updating on what he has bought so everyone ends up knowing what they are getting! He was just as bad pre-email when he used to leave answer phone messages with the same effect.

DownyEmerald Thu 19-Nov-09 20:00:29

I would like to agree, but just having had a birthday with presents off a list from dp (he doesn't always do this), and in the right general area but specifically very wrong presents from his family (and three lots signed the card so I got two less cards), I think what the hell. Do a massive long list and they can chose and I can be surprised which ones they've chosen.

Did get grumpy with gps last year when did detailed thinking, reasearching and listing for dd (and not buying it for her ourselves) and they didn't get any of that just totally ran with "and she likes Charlie and Lola". Will be more or less specific this year - haven't decided yet and get her what I want to get her!

cornpopping Thu 19-Nov-09 22:31:33

Only since I moved to the UK in 2002 was I exposed to the dreaded "list" - before that I just got a surprise & to be honest I don't remember getting a bad gift. Maybe a few unwanted but they just went in my bottom drawer & I gave them away as the next birthday present.

If you don't know me well enough to buy me a present then for Pete's sake look at what catelogues I have on my shelf (ARGOS & DECATHLON mainly) & get me gift vouchers..... simples !

Astrophe Thu 19-Nov-09 23:17:07

Also of two minds - love surprises, hate waste.

I just emailed DH a list actually, with about 20 things on it (took me a while to think up!) - some big expensive things we can't afford atm (Kitchen aid, good sunnies), some little things (chocolate, nice tea) and some general ideas (I like lavender - plants or scented things, books in the sdame genre as X...). I've asked him to keep the list and add to it whenever he hears me say "ooh, thats nice" or "I need a...", or when he sees something he thinks is 'me'. So that way, he'll never have to ask me what I want again! hmm

For my family we have exchanged lists but mostly with ideas like "need some earrings" or "books" hopefully there is still enough room for people to choose spmething personal. A few family members have writen "vouchers" though hmm again

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