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To think that specifying a childs present that costs £14 is too much?

(53 Posts)
KatyS36 Mon 01-Oct-12 20:46:16

HI all,

I am part of a small group of school friends that still exchange birthday and Chrismas gifts. When we started having children we included them too (total now 8). So far so good.

One of the girls now has 4 DC. I dropped her a text asking what one of her children would like for his birthday, looking for general ideas. We all live significant distances apart now so don't see each other than often, especially now we have children. I generally quite like asking for ideas as I like buying a present a child will like.

She has specified an exact item, brand and design, which costs £14. My typical spend for a childs present, excluding immediate family, is £10. I really resent being asked to spend this much, particularly as she has 4 children who I buy gifts for. I know they are reasonably tight for money, so its not like this to her is a cheap gift. My DD tends to get quite cheap presents from her, so its not like she is an 'always buy an expensive gift' person.

We are comfortably off, although since having DD and working part time there is never any money left in my account at the end of the month. If this continues for each child, and she has a tendeny to do this, its a yearly spend of £56 just on her DCs birthday presents - let alone her birthday or Christmas presents!

So AIBU to resent being asked to spend this much? What started as a gift for one friend has now spiralled not only into gifts for 5 but reasonaly expensive gifts for 5.



ZZZenAgain Mon 01-Oct-12 20:48:48

I think it is just because you asked what he would like that she gave you so specific an answer. Just get something in the price range you wanted to pay. You need to feel good about giving gifts, not obliged to pay more than you had in mind IMO

Hopeforever Mon 01-Oct-12 20:51:33

If you do decide not to get this gift (understandable) you need to warn her. Either ask for something you can afford or send a token towards the gift

CurlyhairedAssassin Mon 01-Oct-12 20:58:30

YABU to do this at all - bit of a silly practice really as when the kids start school and start attending birthday parties with their OWN friends every weekend then all this present-buying will get out of hand.

But then maybe I'm just stingy. In our house we limit present-buying to family and birthday party host/esses (adult or child). So if you were attending your friends's child's birthday party then of course take a present. But if its generally not that sort of arrangement then I wouldn't bother. My sister buys her old school friends's kids a birthday and Xmas present each year and doesn't bother with them the rest of the year. She barely is in contact with her actual friend, never mind her kids. But sometimes these things become a habit and no-one wants to be the first in the group to suggest that such practices are stopped for fear of being seen as being tight or no fun or whatever. But I bet half the time everyone in the group will be breathing a sigh of relief, especially those with not much spare cash.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Mon 01-Oct-12 20:59:42

What is the gift? Is it something you could find in Home bargains or the sale at Debenhams?
Or is it a Lego toy you could get similar?

Don't feel you have to spend more than usual, if you can't get it for your budget don't get it.
You could always send money towards the gift and let them get it.

honeytea Mon 01-Oct-12 21:05:01

It is only a 4 pound difference I'd just buy it and not ask for advice again.

ENormaSnob Mon 01-Oct-12 21:05:44


I would be knocking the gifts on the head in future tbh.

ENormaSnob Mon 01-Oct-12 21:06:41

I meant stopping gifts to all friends or friends children not just this one.

shubiedoo Mon 01-Oct-12 21:06:53

Do all of you have kids now? Why not just buy gifts for them, adults don't need to exchange for birthdays and Xmas. Maybe just birthdays. Sounds like it's all getting to be a bit out of hand.

KatyS36 Mon 01-Oct-12 21:10:09

She has specified exact design and brand, so not easy to get elsewhere.

I guess some I'm the sort of person who if someone asked me what I wanted, and I wanted a rose candle, I'd say 'a rose candle would be lovely, but I like other floral scents too' to give them a steer. I would never specify 'I want this candle from the white company', as that puts a 'price' on it. To start saying 'I want exactly this' when it costs more than we generally spend within this group, just feels pretty cheeky.

Might just settle for a £10 voucher from the particular store, and he can add his own money if he wants too.

Thanks all


pigletmania Mon 01-Oct-12 21:13:09

As Enormasob has said. Silly practice really, get them a book token

bumperella Mon 01-Oct-12 21:16:00

I'd buy the gift.
Then later do the "there are just so many of 'us' now (friends and their DC) that I think we should go back to only buying gifts for each other, and not offspring. Or a secret santa instead?" thing. It's insane to be spending on kids b'day and Christmas when there's so many of them and they're unlikely to really even know who the heck you are.

zlist Mon 01-Oct-12 21:17:00

I would see this as the first sign to quietly duck out of this arrangement. I have been the 'bad guy' and ended similar long distance present swapping habits.
Too late to do it this time though. I would find something nice but considerably cheaper - just let her know ASAP. Something like thanks for suggestion - forgot I had been super organised last month and already have a pressie all wrapped and ready to go!
Then consider whether you really want to continue with this and time your exit - within next month for a less stressful Christmas!

exoticfruits Mon 01-Oct-12 21:23:36

I would stop it all now - opt out altogether.

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Mon 01-Oct-12 21:28:05

A voucher sounds like an excellent idea. I would drop her a note to say you have got him something different though. Personally I wouldn't want to be buying all those presents. It all sounds a bit over the top. Maybe you could all start doing family presents rather than individual ones, it would be even better to stop all together.

McPhee Mon 01-Oct-12 21:33:18

I'm in a similar situation

There's Dd and me. My friend has three children, plus I buy for her and her husband. I can't do it this year, but don't know how to broach it.

Watching with interest.

Rosa Mon 01-Oct-12 21:33:27

Can you not gift share with another of the group or friends ?

Rosa Mon 01-Oct-12 21:33:52

Sorry of friends

KatyS36 Mon 01-Oct-12 21:38:46

Hmmm, thanks all for your thoughts.

Feel a bit tied here as the one girl who doesn't have children is the most generous person on the planet, so I feel bad breaking everything. Secret santa would be perfect, I thought of this, except she has 50% of the combined children!

I already do them a family Christmas present.

Part of it is that I am from a very small family, and I always loved getting presents from my mums friends when I was little. I also like DD getting some extra presents as my family is very small and DHs are generous but disorganised (she'll probably get a present, but it will be weeks late).

This is a lovely arrangement overall, which I treasure. This girl having 4 DC has upset it somewhat but I don't resent her for that (no 4 was an oops!). What I resent is the fact that having 4 DCs she still askes for expensive presents for them!

Just trying to sort out what I feel, glad noone has called me tight smile


Whathashappenedtomyboobs Mon 01-Oct-12 21:43:22

You did ask what DC wanted, your friend told you....YABU! If you only had £10 budget then it was a bit silly to ask. I'm sure you could have organised a gift within this budget that DC would have liked, then you wouldn't now be thinking your friend was BU.

Goldenjubilee10 Mon 01-Oct-12 21:45:25

I got into this with work colleagues and we ended up buying gifts for about ten children. When I had my third dc I called them all and said that now I had three I thought we should stop. I don't think anyone was unhappy.

You could use your change of circumstances - part time working as your reason to stop.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Mon 01-Oct-12 21:45:41

I think that if you asked, you don't get to specify how she answers. If you had wanted something within a budget and you wanted to be able to ask, you needed to ask what would her child like that costs less than £X. Or you need to just get what you want to get and don't ask. But you can't have it all your own way, when you ask a question you take the risk of it liking the answer.

I think if this arrangement is meaningful for you then you need to choose what to give without asking for suggestions.

I assume if you are still exchanging presents with someone from school, you must be reasonably close?
So how about you umm, tell her that its more than you can afford at the mo? confused

YouMayLogOut Mon 01-Oct-12 21:48:38

YABU - you did ask.

However, if the suggestion is more than you wanted to spend, or just doesn't appeal, there's nothing wrong with getting a surprise instead.

MacyGracy Mon 01-Oct-12 21:52:51

I am slowly trying to knock some of my gift exchanges on the head, it is not easy and makes you feel like a lazy tightwad when you suggest it!

I had a friend who we were still buying each other and all our kids gifts Xmas and bdays. I managed to knock Xmas out but saying 'let's just do birthdays as there are so many presents at Xmas anyway'.

I have another childless single friend who asks me every bday what I want (generally nothing as anything under £10 I would just buy myself!) and she always has something specific in mind for herself like vouchers or something way more expensive than I would want!! I feel like saying to her I'll give you ten quid and you give me ten quid! I would love to knock this one on the head!

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