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To want to scale back, or even cancel, gift giving this xmas?

(159 Posts)
Alldaylong1 Wed 15-Aug-18 15:53:08

Not for the children obviously, I am thinking more siblings and their partners? My DH and I have large families and each year it is a mammoth task to think of and buy all the presents. The piles of gifts is obscene. I have tried to suggest scaling back and secret santa in the past but as it approaches everyone seems to cave and start buying. I know it's only August blush, but realistically I would be sensible to start thinking about gifts in September if we are doing the usual affair.

I would genuinely love to just spend money on good food and enjoy each other's company, watch the kids open gifts etc, and be free of all the stress.

AIBU? If not, how can I suggest this without seeming mean? because I do love giving, for families birthdays I put a lot of thought and time in. Xmas though, it just turns into panic buying and ticking off names on the list.

Lipstickandlashes Wed 15-Aug-18 16:00:35

I come from a large family too and we've done Secret Santa (amongst the adults) for a few years now. Works so much better, cuts out the obscene waste and gives you time and space to actually enjoy the festivities. You could suggest from an environmental POV rather than money if you're worried about sounding mean. But you won't, in any event. Most of your family will probably be grateful.

ThisIsntMeHonestGuv Wed 15-Aug-18 16:03:21


We cut out the gift giving 2 years ago. Now I just give to my (grown up) children.

Its great!

PrincessScarlett Wed 15-Aug-18 16:04:31

I have a large family and since children have come along we only buy for them. Before children we did secret Santa and just bought for one other person. That worked really well and was quite fun guessing who had bought for you. It also took a lot of stress out of present buying, particularly as we are all on different incomes ranging from uni student to very well off.

If you don't want to cut presents for adults completely definitely suggest secret Santa. There is nothing wrong with explaining there are too many to buy for and you'll probably find others are secretly relieved.

UnderHisEyeAndUpYourArse Wed 15-Aug-18 16:05:57

I'm the same. We all have so much STUFF and I'm not sure we need any more! I have managed to scale back presents with friends in the last few years so that we go out for a meal/drinks/day out instead but not managed to scale back family gifts. Secret Santa sounds like a great idea!

Grumblepants Wed 15-Aug-18 16:06:43

We stopped with siblings and partners last year. Everyone was happy as it's stressful thinking of what to buy each year. So now we only do the kids. However DH side of the family is a different matter. They still all buy gifts, I'm working on getting them to stop too.

RuskBaby Wed 15-Aug-18 16:06:54

I love Christmas. Family time, good food and relaxation. This is only possible because I make it as simple as possible and don’t buy adults other than DH. On occasion we have done secret Santa so that’s an option but when you are running around trying to find gifts for everyone it just becomes too much.

Pompom42 Wed 15-Aug-18 16:07:39

It's lovely to buy gifts for people at Xmas but I agree when there's so many to buy for it becomes such a chore rather than a joy so I'd have to say something I think or suggest something. I only have to buy for 4 adults and 3 children

Ilovecamping Wed 15-Aug-18 16:07:43

We have cut right back on Christmas card giving as well, for a few years now, we make a donation to charity instead. If some family members are reluctant to stop buying let them carry on but you could make a donation to charity or sponsor a child.

WildFlower2018 Wed 15-Aug-18 16:07:51

In 9 years if being together, DH and I haven't bought each other gifts. we just don't see the point. Likewise, We don't buy for my parents, siblings and their partners and they don't buy for us (sometimes we mix it up and do a £1 shop limit of a fiver or make something!)

I wish I was brave enough to suggest same to DH family. I just see Christmas as such a waste!!! Everyone just buying stuff that nobody needs for the sake of it.

Alldaylong1 Wed 15-Aug-18 17:00:08

Glad it's not just me! Some good thoughts/ideas here, thanks

Anonymumm Wed 15-Aug-18 17:06:50

I am loving the secret Santa idea, I also feel like it just gets too much and OTT and detracts from the it all.

Especially since having kids, every year I say to DH we are going to have to say no more toys/cut down (I know we are incredibly lucky and don't wish to sound ungrateful but I want the kids to appreciate and play with what they have and I feel they just get completely and utterly overwhelmed by it all)

Definitely want to try and scale things down and cut back this year (well, aside from the food and wine, that is!)

FevertreeLight Wed 15-Aug-18 17:06:51

Do it, such a relief, no exchange of tat or champagne.

We used to to a secret santa but you provided a list of 6 things that cost £50 (later £100) and the buyer had to chose from them and so no-one got a rubbish gift they didn't want.

Or the other way is to do a secret santa for less then £5, so even if it is tat it isn't the of the world. Or a secret santa were each giver has to buy 1 item from a £1 shop- that can be quite amusing.

FullMetalRabbit Wed 15-Aug-18 17:09:40

We did this a few years ago. You need to contact people now otherwise people will start buying.

We had tried a couple of years before but siblings resisted so we caved.

The second time, we presented it as a fair accompli - we sent an email to all family and explained we couldn’t afford it and we were stopping. One sibling agreed with me and stopped, the others decided they wanted to continue and just buy each other- their choice.

FullMetalRabbit Wed 15-Aug-18 17:10:11

Fair = fait

Cherubfish Wed 15-Aug-18 17:10:45


Purpleartichoke Wed 15-Aug-18 17:11:55

Totally reasonable to suggest changing things. Now is the time to do it, just in case you have family members who start planning very early.

I’m personally fond of drawing names in big families. We did this with my XH and it was great. Actually, they did a name draw for a main gift and then everyone got stocking stuffers for everyone. Those were placed anonymously in the stockings. that way you could do a personal gift or just get something small and universally appreciated depending on your preference that year. It was also fun to try to guess who had given what.

Pinkvoid Wed 15-Aug-18 17:13:46

YANBU. I love Christmas but as a mother of three (soon to be four), I don’t have the cash to also be splurging on everyone in the family. I typically only buy for my grandparents and parents. No one has complained yet so...

Pinkprincess1978 Wed 15-Aug-18 17:17:20

We have started to scale back and I'm about to send a message to say I'm not buying for nephews and nieces now - yes they are kids still but there are loads of them plus my kids don't need anything so end up with 4 or 5 presents each that I need to find room for too.

bridgetreilly Wed 15-Aug-18 17:17:24

A few years ago we agreed no presents for adults. So I didn't buy any. Turns out everyone else forgot and still bought for me. This is our new pattern, and maybe I ought to feel guilty about it but I don't. We agreed it was silly to keep buying each other stuff, we agreed we wouldn't. If they still want to, that's on them.

Hadalifeonce Wed 15-Aug-18 17:18:10

As PP suggested, present it as a done deal; either 'we will only be buying for children this year', or the secret Santa route, (that only really works if everyone joins in though).

TittyGolightly Wed 15-Aug-18 17:18:44

We buy a few bits for DD, along the want, need, wear and read approach. Maybe £20-30 worth.

Don’t buy for anyone else. Not parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, each other. Haven’t done for at least 10 years (adults) and 6 years (children). It’s a revelation. Zero stress. Highly recommend it.

nokidshere Wed 15-Aug-18 17:19:32

We have a huge family. We stopped present buying years ago. Mum buys everyone a token gift and we all buy her something. Apart from that we just buy for our own households

piggywiggywoowoo Wed 15-Aug-18 17:20:57

Me and my partner both have a lot of siblings so I totally get this...
This year I am pregnant with baby 2 and have told both our families we will only now buy for the kids.

Even then there's a lot of kids so strict budgeting at £20 each!

SnuggyBuggy Wed 15-Aug-18 17:22:22

I agree secret santa. I do one with a group of friends and we pick an object like a mug or scarf or socks to keep it simple.

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