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Ridiculous Christmas present situation

(128 Posts)
Fibilou Sun 19-Dec-10 01:28:40

This is going to be a rant so apols in advance.

Last year I asked my parents for a Pandora bracelet, I really like them and thought that it would be easy for everyone in the future to get Christmas and birthday presents as I could just tick a variety of prices in the catalogue adn people could buy to suit their budget.

FF to this year. My parents don't want to buy me charms, even though I can't think of anything else I actually want. I can't afford to buy them for myself and as they usually spend around £150 on me it would have been nice to have had a few charms. I don't really understand why they bought it to start with if they didn't want to get new bits for it in the future.

Then MIL phoned me the other day and asked what I want for Christmas. They usually spend about £25-30 on me so I said that I would really like a new charm for my bracelet. MIL said "but I thought you had charms for the bracelet" confused I explained that I would like a new one. Clearly not keen on this idea she said "Dh said you needed some new clothes" angry I do NOT want new clothes, I loathe buying clothes as I am a 20 so shopping for clothes is not some joyful experience. I said no, I don't want to buy any new clothes really. "What about a Monsoon voucher" "No, I'd really rather not to be honest as I just don't want to buy any clothes".
Well the conversation ended that I am getting the voucher whether I like it or not. As we all know there's not much in Monsoon for £25 so I will either end up spending it on DD or will have to put money towards a purchase.

I can't understand why people ask you what you want, you say something within the price range adn they still won't buy it and then buy something you specifically say you don't want. The charms are easy for MIL to get as she works just up the road from a Pandora shop. She did this last year, I said "I really don't want any toiletries, I have so many that I'm trying to use them up". What did I get ? Smellies....

Sarsaparilllla Sun 19-Dec-10 01:32:02

Yep, annoying! Does the Pandora shop do vouchers?

Fibilou Sun 19-Dec-10 01:34:11

not sure. I think it's a done deal now, anyway.

I don't want to come over as ungrateful but I just can't understand why you'd do it. Surely the whole point of buying a present is that the recipient is going to get pleasure from it ?

SnowyGonzalez Sun 19-Dec-10 01:36:15

This is ia bit nuts. I don't understand why people think it's far better to buy you stuff you don't need/ want because it's what they want for you. I find it a rather perverse demonstration of how upside-down our excessively materialistic culture is.

By contrast, my in-laws don't ask us what we want (I keep telling DH to talk to them but he always forgets - they have an awkward way of communicating sometimes, with hidden meanings and passive aggression <<rolls eyes>> which is why I leave it to him - can't be arsed to get involved!). They very sweetly always buy us gifts, but it's always, always knick-knacky stuff in their taste that we loathe, will never use, don't need, and give away. What a waste of time and money buying that stuff. I wish DH would get his act together and actually talk to them about it.

I think part of the problem is that people see their gifts as an extension of themselves rather as something to bless someone else - i.e. the giver takes precedence over the recipient. I am not at all precious about what I buy people; I know that my taste differs from them and I'm secure enough in myself to not be offended by that.

Roll on Xmas Day and more unwanted gifts for us both, Fibilou!

SnowyGonzalez Sun 19-Dec-10 01:37:17

x-posts re pleasure of the recipient! grin

kickassangel Sun 19-Dec-10 01:48:21

since we moved to the US I am now in a situation where I buy all the presents for everyone in both families, wrap, label & post them.

however, apparently that is too hard for other people to do - so they send us money (in pounds), and I have to then post the cheques back to the UK, do a mental conversion of the money from pounds to dollars, go and buy ALL the presents for everyone, including myself, wrap them and put them under the tree, then act all surprised when i open them on christmas day.

now, of course, it means that i get exactly what i want (pandora beads & some swarovski bling this year) but as it isn't worth transferring money across from the UK, we end up effectively paying for all our own presents.

personally, i'm tempted to contact most of our familiy & tell them all not to bother - let's just keep the money to ourselves & buy a couple of extra bottles of wine, then raise a glass at christmas.

Ginger4justice Sun 19-Dec-10 01:52:39

I'm so glad it's not just my MIL that does this. She just keeps asking me what I want even though I've told her. She just doesn't want to buy me what I want. This year I've spent ages explaining the reasons behind what I want but I expect I'll still end up getting clothes and make up.
(She has noticed & mentioned to dh that I don't wear make up plus I'm 5 months pregnant and don't see the point in buying any new clothes until I've worked out what shape I'll be in after the baby arrives.)

At least DH gets as frustrated about it as I do & she makes an awesome christmas dinner

kickassangel Sun 19-Dec-10 03:32:31

i spent ages in the summer putting together a long email to various relatives who had asked for present ideas.

i linked them to web sites where they can use a uk credit card, but order from the US so pay low shipping fees. i linked to pics of what we like. i gave them ideas of UK things we can't get here, but which can be posted over.

did anyone use any of that info to get us what we want?

oh no.

Pocketsocks Sun 19-Dec-10 05:07:44

I had a similar issue this morning with someone asking what to buy DS2 even though I keep telling them I have a spare room with everything DS1 owned packing it to the ceiling, I was still asked about if he needed any clothes or toys. Or how about coats? So I mentioned we had been discussing the snow suits we had probably weren't going to fit due to the smallest having a broken zip, so I said "how about a snowsuit you can pick them up quite cheap in the supermarket"
To which the reply was, well I might not be able to get to the supermarket with this snow, maybe you should look in X shop"
So if you can't even get to the supermarket, how were you going to buy him clothes or toys?
And there's not even that much damn snow!

Sorry that turned into my own rant there! Point is no way, YANBU

GotArt Sun 19-Dec-10 05:21:24

Oh... I feel sorry for you lot. DH's nor my family buy us gifts (they live on the other side of Canada) let alone send Xmas cards. Xmas card would be nice though, but whatever, we don't have to deal with crap. My uncle here buys us crap for the kitchen every year, (DH is a Chef) but it is always some low quality, aluminum thing and it never gets used, like last year, we got a metal steamer that would feed a family of 20... the burner on the stove isn't big enough for it... we rent uncle's suite BTW. He buys me stuff every year from Body Shop, which I hate TBH.

Oh ya, YANBU. I like the post about its about the giver not the receiver.

OnEdge Sun 19-Dec-10 05:41:52

i had a lovelinks, the idea being that people could add to the charms on special occasions. It worked for a bit, but now people don't like it. When I gave birth to 3rd, I expected something off DH, but - no. I just went on line and treated myself to 4 of the crystal charms.

When you get the Monsoon voucher ( I am a size 22, and Monsoon clothes just don't fit me) go here and swap it for a Pandora voucher.

MsKLo Sun 19-Dec-10 06:16:39

This is a bugbear for me - I always try to get something the recipient wants!

Maybe you need to buy useless gifts back...

Fifidedeal Sun 19-Dec-10 06:50:52

I had an aquaintance that was fast becoming a friend (not so sure now!) buy us a family set of Bibles. We are atheists and I had made it clear I had no faith. Also got a lot of religious CDs and literature. I'm afarid the whole lot got given back with a polite note. [Hmm]

Fifidedeal Sun 19-Dec-10 06:52:19

Oops - a few typos - too early!

aurynne Sun 19-Dec-10 07:03:55

Fifi, I am an atheist too, and in your situation I would be irresistibly tempted to give them Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" as a Xmas present.

Fifidedeal Sun 19-Dec-10 07:20:07


MsKLo Sun 19-Dec-10 07:50:57

Fifi - I believe in God but there is no way I would ever do that to anyone! That, to me is disrespectful - having conversations about what you believe and even a debate is good, but to so blatantly say, through a gift, this is what you should believe, is not nice!

I do think Richard Dawkins has many flawed arguments though ;-)

HecTheHallsWithBoughsOfHolly Sun 19-Dec-10 08:01:30

kickassangel - well, why on earth don't you just write them cheques?

Clearly they'd be happy with that because they do it.

And if they say anything, you can act surprised and say "But I thought you'd like that. After all, it's what you do every year. So I'm going to do it too."

Or maybe I'm just the queen of Passive Agressive Point Making wink

FakePlasticTrees Sun 19-Dec-10 08:02:23

See, I'm a christian too, but would never give bibles to an atheist. Actually, I wouldn't give a bible to anyone as a gift for any occasion other than as a christening gift. After that, you kind of assume a Christian household has at least one bible in it...

I have similar issues with my parents and unwanted gifts. This year I need clothes for work (going back post maternity leave and my pre-DS work wardrobe is somewhat snug), but have at least got my Dad to agree to just money, after explaining very clearly that buying me Debenhams vouchers isn't a good idea when there's not a Debenhams in our nearest town and i'd have to travel into central London to go shopping.

Am slightly concerned they'll have bought me work clothes. Which won't actually fit. And will be the style loved by 60 year old receptionists. And will be from Debenhams.

spidookly Sun 19-Dec-10 08:10:12

Just because people ask what you want doesn't mean they have to get you that (or anything).

It's their money they're spending, so if they don't like the idea of buying charms for your bracelet and prefer to get you a voucher, then that's up to them really. You are under no obligation to use the voucher if you hate clothes shopping.

Georgimama Sun 19-Dec-10 08:20:51

It's just pointless, isn't it, people buying things they want the recipient to want, rather than what they would actually like. DH is buying me a sewing machine for Christmas. He's not entirely happy about doing so, he thinks he should be buying me another piece of jewellery I won't wear or something similarly "romantic", but I really really want a new sewing machine and I will be so pleased with it. Likewise my mother wanted a wheel along suitcase which is small enough to be allowed a carry on luggage. She visits my brother in Oz every year and the terminal building at Dubai where she changes planes is huge so she finds it hard to carry her hand luggage that far.

happysunshinedays Sun 19-Dec-10 08:34:59

If anyone in the world wanted to spend £150 on me I would be incedibly greatful and desperately excited! I guess you could negotioate for a useful present, or spent the Monsoon voucher on your DD and save up your own money for a charm?

The only present I got last year were face wash from my SIL (which she has given me for 3 years running). My dad forgot and the IL couldn't afford anything.

All sounds a bit spoilt to me!

ShanahansRevenge Sun 19-Dec-10 08:44:52

It sounds like they assume you don't know what is best for you...that they think you are immature. DO you need new clothes?

SeaTrek Sun 19-Dec-10 08:46:36


I have no idea why people do it really. I think presents can become a bit manipulative tbh. I especially loathe adult presents at Christmas so I have almost completely opted out of it [the adult present swap].

ChippingIn Sun 19-Dec-10 09:01:44

I agree that people don't have to buy you what you have asked for, or anything for that matter. But if they have asked and you have made a couple of reasonable suggestions that are affordable, why wouldn't you? I mean obviously if they have asked for crack I can see why they'd choose something else but charms - why wouldn't you just buy one and be HAPPY that you have an easy option that the recipient will love?! Weird.

Happysunshine - how the hell (baring mental health issues) could your Dad forget it was Christmas? Or did he just forget he had a daughter? Anyway, getting things you don't like or don't want - when the giver knows that is just as bad, it's a slap in the face really - we know you want x, but we've decided to buy you y <because we know better>.

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