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to only spend what we can afford on Christmas presents?

(37 Posts)
ChristmasCrackersHoHoHo Tue 11-Nov-14 19:29:02

Just that really. I've been brought up to live within my means, so I'm not tight-fisted with gifts but I do have a budget for them which won't require living on baked beans until April/still be paying off credit card debt next Christmas.

However, my ILs seem to be into giving big presents regardless - for example, even when my SIL was unemployed she still spent probably 20 on both myself and my husband, when I didn't really expect her to spend anything, or maybe just a token gift, and MIL has suggested to other SIL this year that she gets DC1 a gift that costs the same amount that we're spending on him (and other SIL has less money than us)

Am desperately trying to find good online deals so it looks like we've spent more than we have on them, as DH feels we need to match their expectations whereas tbh I'm a bit resentful of having to spend money on things they probably don't really need anyway for the sake of keeping up appearances. Additionally we will be spending Christmas Day with both his family and mine, and mine would be horrified if we gave them expensive gifts (like the ones DH wants to get his family) as they know we can't really afford it, but I don't want to be giving expensive gifts to his family and not mine, especially since my family do loads to help us while his family do far less.

So: AIBU to just buy both families what we can afford?

AttitcusFinchIsMyFather Tue 11-Nov-14 19:34:24

No, yanbu! Buy within your means, the spirit of christmas does not lie within the gifts you buy or how much they cost!

elliejjtiny Tue 11-Nov-14 19:34:38

YANBU. It's the thought that counts

Suefla62 Tue 11-Nov-14 19:38:56

YANBU. This whole "keeping up with the joneses" is stupid. Why on earth would you put yourselves into debt for Christmas. A couple of month later relatives won't even remember what you've bought.

HSMMaCM Tue 11-Nov-14 19:43:53

The others might be glad to scale down Christmas too.

Marmiteandjamislush Tue 11-Nov-14 19:44:00

Why would you do anything other. If other people can't see it's the though that counts and want to get in debt, leave them to it and enjoy a stress free January. smile

motherofmonster Tue 11-Nov-14 19:47:37

Why don't you suggest the adults do a secret Santa to keep the costs down

MorelliOrRanger Tue 11-Nov-14 19:53:31

Of course yanbu, no point on getting yourself into debt.

Secret Santa or homemade gifts may be an idea for the adults.

Preciousbane Tue 11-Nov-14 19:59:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 11-Nov-14 20:02:24

Yanbu at all, you buy within your means.

Have a look on bargain thread no.17 in christmas section, great bargains and help with searching what you want.


cheesecakemom Tue 11-Nov-14 20:08:03

Why do people get so worked up about Christmas presents? There's more to Christmas than just opening gifts. My inlaws were mad at us last year, as a result we got things probably worth £2 each - stuff we will never use. This year we are not having gifts from them and are asking for a donation to our favourite charity instead.

Just buy what you can afford - it's not a competition.

Lara2 Tue 11-Nov-14 20:12:34

YANBU - at the end of the day it's a family roast dinner with some presents thrown in (and a trip to church if you wish). The nice bit should be spending time with people you love - the presents are icing on the cake.

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 11-Nov-14 20:17:34


I would be horrified to receive a gift that the giver couldn't afford to give

PumpkinPie2013 Tue 11-Nov-14 20:19:00

YANBU - mine and DH family only spend what is affordable and I never give a second thought to what people have spent. We all have a lovely Christmas enjoying time together.

My parents friends have always gone overboard at Christmas spending more than they can really afford 'because you have to' and then moan after about being skint and the kids not playing with most of the new toys! Madness!

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Tue 11-Nov-14 20:20:21

MIL has suggested to other SIL this year that she gets DC1 a gift that costs the same amount that we're spending on him (and other SIL has less money than us)

Why the need to go on about cost?

You could buy a toy from a charity fair for £2 she can buy same toy brand new from JL for £20.

I love presents but I do try and save as much as I can, I do think most people do this.

If people in family are struggling and all want to tone it down I would suggest token gifts for each other not costing more than a to be as fun as possible

I really dislike this idea of dictating gifts and £ to its irrelevant..

When I buy I buy for stuff the person will like thats within budget..I just find TK brill for this.

merrymouse Tue 11-Nov-14 20:20:25


Do you have to do all the present opening in front of each other?

ZeViteVitchofCwismas Tue 11-Nov-14 20:21:54

Op be sensible and buy what you can afford, I would feel v uncomftable buying anyone a gift who I knew was actually trying to calculate its monetary value.

AddToBasket Tue 11-Nov-14 20:26:17

YANBU but you shouldn't judge others if they decide to go overboard.

I am really bonkers about Christmas and spend quite a lot of my disposable income on it. More than most people would, tbh. But I absolutely love giving good presents, nice wrapping paper, good food, nice tree and so on. I don't have an expensive hobby or car. If I buy someone a good pressie I expect them to take it at face value, not weigh up dilemmas about what they should spend or whether I can afford it.

Electriclaundryland Tue 11-Nov-14 20:44:47

You are perfectly reasonable! I feel the same. I am still paying off last years credit card from Christmas. My brother emailed to suggest me and my two brothers clubbed together to get mum an iPad. I was very curt in my reply. I just can't keep pretending I can afford it.

I would prefer no presents. My best Christmas present would be for someone to say don't bother traipsing about for shitty tat to put under the tree. Let's just enjoy each others company this year.

Lucylouby Tue 11-Nov-14 21:05:15

My parents do so much for us, babysitting, helping with lifts, being there for us when we need help or a shoulder to lean on. But they have already said not to get them presents. they would rather we save our money.
DH parents do between nothing and very little for us but will already know what they want us to buy for them. They are like children with their lists. They could afford to buy it all themselves but feel we should all chip in because it's Christmas.
DH and I won't get each other anything more than a token present for financial reasons, but will spend far more on his parents because DH wants to keep the peace. It frustrates me so much.

ChristmasCrackersHoHoHo Tue 11-Nov-14 21:21:08

Lucylouby - do we share ILs?! Your scenario is exactly mine. I share your frustration.

merrymouse Wed 12-Nov-14 06:20:31

I don't mind other people going overboard if I am not sharing Christmas with them. However, if one group wants to have a frugal, low key, non-consumerist Christmas and the another group wants to have something that looks like a TV ad - rivers of presents flowing across the living room - then there is a clash of values and it is difficult.

There is room for tolerance and compromise on both sides, but it isn't fun to be given expensive things you don't want, or to feel pressured into giving somebody a 'big' present to keep up appearances.

zipzap Wed 12-Nov-14 06:45:52

An you talk to your sil to say to her not to listen to mil, there's no need for an aunt to give her dn a present that costs as much as the one her parents give her especially if she is skint. However dn would love [insert much cheaper toy that you know will be popular] and I'm sure she will love you for it.

If you arrange with her directly to do cheaper gifts in general or even a secret Santa then she might have more luck in talking to other sil and mil about not doing expensive unaffordable presents.

And I can definitely second the Christmas bargain threads - this is the third year I've been using them and I've saved hundreds of pounds in that time.

Thumbwitch Wed 12-Nov-14 06:50:14

I've never seen the point of going into debt over Christmas - it just adds to the stresses around it.

I'm lucky to have always had enough money to be able to buy presents for family, but I never go overboard. My sister and mum, on the other hand, prefer to spend more and worry about the cost later.

In your position, secret Santa might work for you and your SIL.

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