General chatter - Christmas Gift Giving

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10-21-2008, 12:51 PM

How do you do your Christmas gift giving? Immediate family? What are you planning for extended family? How about friends?

Are you planning on trying to change your current gift giving style this year? Ex; instead of individual gifts, doing secret santa.

Will you be tightening your wallet because of the economy?


10-21-2008, 01:18 PM
I put the BRO in BROKE this year - Thank God I will be in Jamaica for Christmas, means I don't have to attend Christmas dinner with the family, where we exchange gifts. :D I lucked out. Ha ha ha.

Anywho - Normally, I just buy gifts for immediate family nowadays.
I used to buy my friends/ extended family gifts, but a few years ago we all stopped that - as it got too expensive.
I still buy them a Christmas card though! Just so they know I'm thinking of them during the holidays.

10-21-2008, 01:19 PM
I generally buy my parents a small gift and my husbands parents, sister and brother a small gift. I will also chip in for whatever gift my grandparents are getting. I personally ask for no gifts but I'll generally get something small from my husband, parents and inlaws. I might also buy my husband a small gift.

I personally don't care for gift giving/receiving. I rather just spend time with family/friends than get/receive gifts.

10-21-2008, 01:25 PM
I'm big on gift-making. Every year, I do homemade ornaments, cookie/baked good baskets, plus one homemade craft item, and then some storebought stuff. So my gift giving is tiered.

Acquaintances, coworkers, etc - Baked good basket (this can be split, too - send one to an entire office, etc), sometimes an ornament

Friends, more distant relatives - Baked good basket, ornament, and whatever the craft of the year is.

Immediate friends and family - Baked good basket, ornament, craft of the year, and usually something purchased from the store as well.

The only people I -buy- presents for are immediate friends and family. But everyone gets something.

10-21-2008, 01:31 PM

I have 4 Christmases. I have one with my Dad, sister, sister's bf and I, then one with my Dad's whole side of the family. THen I have one with My Mom, Step-dad, step-siblings, sister and sister's boyfriend, then one with my Mom's side of the family. I am done shopping for my Dad except a few stocking stuffers and we've spent about $310 between the two of us, we will spend about the same for my Mom. Probably around $200 on my step-dad and we'll each get each other some presents. I'm spending a total or about $175 of my sister and $30 on her boyfriend.

So I am looking at spendind nearly $700 this Christmas... anyway.
Outside of immediate family (parents, step-siblings) we don't spend much. We buy ONE gift for an exchange with my Mom's side of the family, we buy a present for your own sex and put them in a pile and pull numbers. On my Dad's side of the family we do a drawing and we buy one gift for that one person. I usually also buy a little something for my Grandparents outside of that as well though.

This Christmas is actually quite a bit more frugal than last year due to the economy and trying to keep my credit card balance down.

10-21-2008, 01:34 PM
Oh... I also like to make things. I am making my Dad a blanket and one other thing for both my parents(but I won't say in case my Mom happens accross this site). I have found though, that buying the supplies for crafts is often just as expensive or more so than buying a store bought gift. Just the meterial for the blanket I'm making my Dad was $30, and I still have to put in the time. I enjoy doing it, but for some people it isn't worth it.

Mandalinn -- What are some crafts you've done in past years? I'd love some ideas...

10-21-2008, 01:46 PM
I am only giving possibly bought gifts to my parents, my sisters and my boyfriend. I am going to try and crotchet my boyfriend another blanket. Others I think are going to get knitted hats and scarves. Bought presents this year are pretty much out of the question, I have been on unemployment since march so cash flow is not there.

10-21-2008, 01:57 PM
Nevermind on that Mandalinn... I saw the other thread going on about the craft ideas.

10-21-2008, 02:33 PM
We are drastically reducing our budget this year. What we are doing really to reduce out budget is just me and hubby decided that we didn't need anything or want anything for christmas and that having each other and our health is enough. Usually we try to pamper each other for christmas since we seldom get to do that but not this year and usually we spend about 200 on each other so that will be about a savings of $400 dollars. We are not doing as big christmas gifts for family as we had hoped too since the economy is really starting to affect my hubby's job commission wise. I was hoping to give my mom a really nice luxurious gift of several massages at a decent priced spa that's in the area but that's out. We are also cutting out friends on our list so no gifts for them anymore either since someone never gives a gift and causes hurt feelings or embarassment and drama etc and we are opting out of that this year and just doing cards. So that will save us about 100 dollars as well. And we will be doing cards as well for extended family members like we usually do. I would love to learn how to be crafty but I just don't have the time right now since I work full time and also am a college student and my spare time is spent resting and spending time with hubby and family.

10-21-2008, 03:04 PM
Wow, Mandalinn, I want to be at your house on baked good basket assembly day!

I only give presents to parents, sister and boyfriend. For parents/sister something inexpensive (like the $30 range) and fairly useful (books and DVDs are my go-to). For boyfriend, I'll get something more expensive, but he and I have to deal to get each other pragmatic gifts -- something the other person really needed anyway. Like this year I'm dropping heavy hints for a better GPS stand, and thinking about getting him an ergonomic keyboard. Ha, who said romance is dead?

10-21-2008, 03:42 PM
I had originally set our Christmas budget at $300 last year but ended up going over. This year I am strickly sticking to that budget! We have quite a few gifts to buy but I am hoping we'll draw names for my immediate family. We did that last year and it worked out better (if not, that adds 6 more gifts to my list). His immediate family is smaller so it wouldn't work all that well. We also do gifts with both sides of his extended family but we don't buy for everyone. We do an exchange type of thing where you can open a new gift or take one away from someone else. So I would have:

- my mom
- my dad
- h. draw gift
- nephew
- nephew
- niece
- 2 s. family gifts (because both of us must play or we'll be driven insane)
- 2 s. family gifts (same as above, both of us will play)

So I need a total of 9 gifts, unless we don't draw names in my family, then I'll need like 15 gifts. I would definately prefer to skip gift giving all together but I don't think the rest of the family would agree.

10-21-2008, 03:58 PM
So I need a total of 9 gifts, unless we don't draw names in my family, then I'll need like 15 gifts. I would definately prefer to skip gift giving all together but I don't think the rest of the family would agree.

You never know. My extended family on gives gifts to the kids and grandparents. They stopped drawing names for adults a while back.

10-21-2008, 04:07 PM
Making everyone an ornament can be really inexpensive and touching.

Last year, since both my sister and I got married, I made my family members photo cube ornaments with pictures from our wedding, and my parents wedding...little family keepsakes. One year I made salt dough (doesn't get much cheaper), cut out little boy and girl figures, and painted the ornaments to look like their recipients. I make sure each ornament has the year on it. The tree is filling up with keepsakes, and most people really seem to like it.

Last year was the year of the hand knitted scarf/hat set. I have burned Christmas Mix CDs (those were the -really- economical was so inexpensive. We got a microphone and recorded little messages to put in with the songs, and customized the mix based on who it was going to. We also sang a couple of songs and mixed those in). I've done photo albums, baking mix baskets (thats another cheap can make amazing gifts with flour, sugar, spices, baking powder...basically all your cheapo baking supplies, mixed in correct proportions and bagged up prettily with baking directions). I have also made homemade bath is easier and cheaper than you think. All you need are fragrances, soap colors, and some bases (soap base, lotion base, salt base, shower gel base)...for lotions and gels and salts, you just mix a little color and some fragrance into the base, package up, and label. For actual bars of soap, you melt the base, add in your colors/scents/additives, pour into molds, and let set.

The cookie baskets are relatively new, and a way for me to connect with my Grammy, who died when I was very little. She used to make them every year and my mom would help her deliver. I use some of her recipes, mixed in with my own ideas and creations, and even bake her brownie recipe in her brownie pan. It's very special to me (and also a great way to cheaply send a little cheer to the people you're not as close with...I made 20 or so baskets last year for a little over $60, and they were FULL and well-appreciated. I also gained 5 lbs, but we don't talk about that :rofl:)

10-21-2008, 04:38 PM
Mandalinn - Have you ever used clear ornaments and swirled paint inside them? Or anything like that? I'd like to try that but am afraid that it'll all turn out brown.

10-21-2008, 04:50 PM
Our family has started to get rather "extended" - it's not unusual to have 20 to 30 people at Christmas dinner and they are all family. Maybe after another year of getting healthier I'll have Mandalinn's energy ;) and will do gift baskets (not sure if I can suddenly develop all that creativity though..) but for the last few years now we've had sort of an unspoken agreement that we only buy gifts for the kids. Then, everyone makes a donation in the family's name to a charity. Each household usually picks their own charity then we put all the "thank you for your donation" notices on a table by the tree. There's no dollar amount so everyone can just do whatever they can afford - if it's only $5 that's fine with everyone. Of course, lot's of us still sneak a little gift in for someone we feel especially close to, but it's done quitely and in private.

10-21-2008, 05:05 PM
We have a very large family so on 1 side we draw names for the adults and just do 1 $25 -$30 gift to the person you draw. On the other side we do children. We also do parents and grand parents but try not to spend more then $40 each. I look for clearance deals and sales all year long when i see something that screams someone in our family I buy it early and keep it. Example I found a cashmere sweater at the mall for my Sister for only $25 - it was on clearance 75% I found it last spring. Have had it forever in tupper wear but it will make a great gift.

I would rather buy something for someone I can afford and that they really like then just buy something that is why i shop all year. I also combine my sisters 5 kids into 1 present about $50 but then they can get something nicer then $10 each - this year it is a wii game

10-21-2008, 05:18 PM
I've got a few ppl to buy for.

My bf's sister (we do a name draw among his siblings and S.O's)
My bf's parents
My bf's two nieces (we give them a gift from both of us, but I'll likely do the buying and paying)
My bf
My mom
My dad
My brother
My 2 best friends
A close family friend
My two god daughters (One's 15, one's 5)
And maybe something for my brother's gf, since she'll be spending christmas with us.

The economy hasn't hit quite so hard here in ablerta, so I'll probably spend an average of $50 an adult and $25-$30 for the kids. I'll like spend a few hundred dollars. We get our company bonous on halloween, so that usually goes toward xmas gifts.

10-21-2008, 05:24 PM
Peachcake - excellent instructions here:

I've painted the outsides and the insides, in different years. The swirling looks really neat!

10-21-2008, 05:43 PM
Manda - where do you find your baskets for your gifts? I'm having a hard time finding inexpensive baskets this year.

10-21-2008, 06:05 PM
Dollar Tree. 1 dollar each, or sometimes they have 2 for a dollar. I also have garage saled for them, starting early Sept/Oct, and amassed a collection over a year for a quarter each or so.

10-21-2008, 06:12 PM
I'd like to try decorating my own tree with homemade ornaments, since store bought ones can get so generic. I'll take a look at those instructions... Thanks!

10-21-2008, 06:14 PM
That website is full of stuff! yay!

10-21-2008, 06:17 PM
Most years we do a gift to everyone in both my husband and my immediate families, their spouses, PLUS all the neices and nephews and the surviving grandparents. That number, however, is now 20 people -- It has gotten completely crazy. This year, both my sisters and I went to my mom and laid down the law. THe grown ups are NOT buying gifts for each other anymore. Stocking stuffers OK, big present no. We are just buying for the kids.

I can't enforce the rule on my husband's side, but that family is smaller -- and his brother got divorced this year (WOW, not very seasonal of me to be happy about the divorce because it is one less present to buy...but there are other reasons to be glad it is over. The present thing is just a happy byproduct.).

Oh, and my husband and I always buy a gift together for us -- generally tickets to a play or something else date related. Then there are Santas gifts to my boys.

My guess is around $700 total -- I actually have $1000 set aside in a rainy day account for Christmas. NO credit carding it this year. I am done with that. We paid our cards off last year around Christmas, and are MUCH happier to pay as we go.

10-21-2008, 06:35 PM
You never know. My extended family on gives gifts to the kids and grandparents. They stopped drawing names for adults a while back.

They seem to be REALLY into it, especially now that we play a game with the gifts. It is a fun game..but buying season stresses me out because I can't think of things to get and I'm trying to stay within my budget.

10-22-2008, 04:20 PM
Wow! Lots of awesome ideas!!
This year my guy, myself, and his family are going to New Orleans for Christmas/New Years, his dad says it's the gift to the family and we dont have to do presents. (Still will tho). I really enjoy shopping for other people, but usually spend too much. Might think about a homemade Christmas this year. Amanda's baskets sound great!

10-22-2008, 04:38 PM
Dollar Tree. 1 dollar each, or sometimes they have 2 for a dollar. I also have garage saled for them, starting early Sept/Oct, and amassed a collection over a year for a quarter each or so.

Perfect, thanks. I've been to a few dollar stores already and haven't found anything....I guess I just need to broaden my horizons. It's amazing what you miss when you aren't specifically looking.

I had some really ugly baskets a few years back and DH spray painted them for me. They actually turned out really great.


Schumeany - isn't it a wonderful feeling to pay as you go? I like the combined gift for you and DH...we do that as well. It takes a lot of the stress out of buying for eachother.