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To ask for better quality gifts.. but less of them

(56 Posts)
tententwenty Sun 19-Jan-20 23:35:00

I know this sounds awfully ungrateful, but I live in a small flat. I have the vast majority of things that I need materially, and hate waste.

Every year my parents will buy me lots and lots of birthday presents. A £30 jumper from M&S. 4 Tshirts for £12 from Sainsbury. A waterbottle. Boring toiletries. The list goes on..

Without meaning to sound ungrateful, does anyone else prefer fewer things but of better quality?

I would much rather a nice pair of earrings, equivalent in cost to all the bits and bobs. Or a high quality British woollen jumper. A few bottles of nice wine.

The thing is, I don't need cheapo everyday things, I can buy them myself, plus I already have plenty. I'd much rather have one or two things that are really nice and would last. Something that I probably wouldn't buy for myself or something I would treat myself to.

OwlBeThere Sun 19-Jan-20 23:37:01

I mean, you can ask...but you’d run the risk of getting nothing of me if you did.
Surely the decent way around getting stuff you dont want is to ask them to save their money and not get you anything. hmm

Drinkciderfromalemon Sun 19-Jan-20 23:37:04

Potentially stating the obvious, but have you actually said that?? Mum, birthday coming up, I've seen some earrings I like so could you buy them for me..?

Snaleandthewhail Sun 19-Jan-20 23:38:33

YANBU but it’s really difficult to get through. Gift giving is sometimes more about the giver than the receiver.

I just have the charity shop bag ready, roll my eyes, and get on with it. It feels very ungrateful and contrary to “how I was taught” (particularly relevant when it’s parental stuff) but it’s the only way.

You just might get some traction if you point them to something pricier with a “I really don’t want anything else but j would love this...”

tententwenty Sun 19-Jan-20 23:39:04

I have yes. My mum doesn't listen, bless her. If I asked for an hundred and twenty pound jumper she would laugh, but I don't think she realises all the things cost hundreds.

LaurieMarlow Sun 19-Jan-20 23:39:18

What drink said

Jenzenn Sun 19-Jan-20 23:40:18

I agree OP, and like you I hate waste! I’d rather have nothing than a load of ‘nothing‘ which ends up in landfill.

Queenest Sun 19-Jan-20 23:41:15

Or in charity bags.

Blackbear19 Sun 19-Jan-20 23:47:18

YANBU. However you've asked and they haven't taken you up on it then start saving.

Put the gifts to the side, when you need a new t-shirt pull one out, and put the money that you'd have spend buying to the side. Before you know it you'll have the cash for the earrings

Clymene Sun 19-Jan-20 23:50:41

Just tell them you don't want anything but give you the money towards a) a sofa or b) a toilet in a developing country, depending on what jyoud prefer.

If you phrase it like that, it will be hard to buy you a load of tat. Then you might get one bit (if they're like my parents) rather than 20.

HollowTalk Sun 19-Jan-20 23:55:35

I tell my adult DC what my budget is and ask them what they want. If they want one big thing that's fine. It does feel odd to just give one present, but one really nice thing is so much better than a bunch of things they could buy themselves.

Notcontent Sun 19-Jan-20 23:57:42

I completely get what you mean OP and agree that it’s a waste for your parents to get you all this stuff You don’t need or want. Maybe try and have another conversation about it?

NoSquirrels Mon 20-Jan-20 00:06:52

I imagine that your DM likes shopping, likes choosing, and likes to give. One present does not fulfil that need for her.
Depends on whether you think the gift is about you, or about the act of giving. (Personally I think it is somewhere in between.)
If you can afford all the cheaper £30 jumpers, you can save up for a more expensive one yourself. Flip your thinking.

isittooearlyforgin Mon 20-Jan-20 00:14:21

I don’t think the op wants £4 T-shirts though so would prefer nothing over things she wouldn’t buy herself. I get you but I think if you’ve asked and she’s not listening, someone would be very happy with some free new T-shirts. Try free cycle or a reduce and reuse website.

1300cakes Mon 20-Jan-20 00:58:30

I completely get what you mean and agree, unfortunately there isn't really a tactful way to ask. So I would just say you don't want to exchange gifts anymore. Better to get nothing than a load of tat.

Blackbear19 Mon 20-Jan-20 01:13:18

I don’t think the op wants £4 T-shirts

However having a stash of £4 t-shirts means that Op doesn't need to buy t-shirts. And can save the money that she would have spent on t-shirts towards the earrings or jumper that she really wants.

Alternatively return them even if it's a gift voucher. Buy the weeks food shop with the voucher and save the money that would have been spent on food.

Her mum isn't on board with one pre-choosen gift - so OP might as well do what she can to save the money herself.

MinkowskisButterfly Mon 20-Jan-20 01:14:08

I asked my mum for things I would use (it was a voucher as I'm saving for something from a particular place), it didn't go down well at all,
(however she asked me for something and I obliged, wont be doing that again!).

Personally I would rather get people something they would use/appreciate but not everyone is the same 🤷‍♀️

DarkMutterings Mon 20-Jan-20 01:45:02

I think you can win the 'less stuff' argument easier than the quality. Could be your mum doesn't realise how it all adds up, or just prefers shopping for lots of things, or maybe can't take 100 in one hit but is happy to spend it across different shopping trips.

But maybe just say you're trying to save space so just one present would be better, and the give her a couple of ideas in a price range you think she'd be comfortable with (possibly less than the usual combined cost)

BarbaraofSeville Mon 20-Jan-20 05:18:47

I wouldn't want any clothes that I hadn't chosen and tried on myself. There's only so many water bottles that anybody needs. We have a drawer full and we didn't buy 90% of them, they just seem to appear.

People buying toiletries for other people is just denying them the chance to choose their own toiletries as they're forever using up gifted ones. Highly likely that if I was given the sort of things that the OP has said it would all end up straight at the charity shop or food bank. I would honestly rather have nothing than a pile of cheap things not to my taste.

It's such a shame we're all too polite to have an honest conversation about this. I suspect it's a generational thing. People in their 50s upwards remember being poor and things being expensive and now they have money and things are relatively cheap they get carried away buying All The Stuff, which they have plenty of room for in their empty nested family homes.

While younger people have grown up having more things anyway and can mostly buy what they want when they want, coupled with often living in smaller housing want or need to be discerning with what they give house room to.

SpeckledyHen Mon 20-Jan-20 05:45:14

Why not stop buying adults presents in your family?
With the money you save on doing that you can buy yourself the nice things you like .

MissCharleyP Mon 20-Jan-20 06:02:37

I get you OP. Had the same with very close family friends (so close that they were like family). Used to ask me (or DM) what I wanted as I got older and I’d ask for say, some make up for example. I’d say to my DM that I liked Urban Decay, MAC etc. and I’d always get 4/5 cheap palettes from the make up stall on the market that I’d never use. Total waste of money. Thing is, I’d be happier with a £20 voucher to pay towards something I really wanted, rather than £30 worth of stuff that I’ll never use.

DPs used to be a bit like this; one Christmas I asked for GHDs and got the Babyliss steam shot ones which just weren’t as effective on my hair. I bought my own GHDs and hid them blush

Sofast Mon 20-Jan-20 06:03:00

I have the exact problem with my mum at Christmas. I cant think how many times I've told her I dont like tesco clothing, I think its poor quality and personally find the tops really ill fitting on me. But she always wears Tesco stuff so buys me a pile for christmas. I'd much rather she spent the same on one or two higher quality pieces. She cant head around the fact I bought a £140 in a coat when "tesco have similar for £25"; no mum they dont

MCBerberLoop Mon 20-Jan-20 06:07:21

Totally agree OP, and one parent and my DH are SO relieved (my birthday is just before Christmas). The parent gives me cash for both - I bought a gorgeous wallet reduced after Christmas to half price, and I love it soooooooo much and would never have bought it for myself. It will last for years and I think of them every time I look at it. And how much room does a leather wallet take up? DH, who loathes shopping, asked and got told one small but expensive cross body bag that he was able to get on a work trip and this save 20% on. It may sound mercenary but I really, really love these two items, and couldn’t have had them otherwise... and no crap clutter at all!

Other parent does the obligatory bag of random things that I ooh and ahh over but tbh it is still sitting largely unpacked.

speakout Mon 20-Jan-20 06:10:05

My Mum is the same- she will buy 20 items from B&M store for me.
I have resigned myself to accept that's how she is.
I took a huge bag of brand new christmas gifts to the charity shop last week- they were happy to accept them.

rottiemum88 Mon 20-Jan-20 06:11:21

YANBU. I have the same issue, mainly with my mum. We had a discussion about it pre-Christmas as it was the first year with us having DS and I could foresee us being inundated with mountains of stuff we didn't need. She was fully on board with the chat, accepted our ideas of a few carefully chosen gifts for DS and I thought "great". Come Christmas Day you can imagine my surprise (and horror) when I went to collect her for Christmas lunch and she had the aforementioned gifts, plus three Ikea-sized bags of smaller things she'd "seen along the way and just had to get". You can't always change them OP, so my advice having learned the lesson would be to accept the gifts in good grace and let the charity shops benefit smile

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