Is it time to ban Christmas presents? Blog and poll discussion

Former_MSE_Penelope Former MSE Posts: 536 Forumite
This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog and poll. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.

And the vote results:

Is it time to stop giving Christmas presents?

Christmas has become a retail festival, celebrated by spending and shopping. Is it time to stop the sending of presents to reduce the pressure and obligation on others who can’t afford to spend on you? (For a full discussion see Martin’s Time to Ban Presents? six point manifesto)

Which of these is closest to your view?

A. We should stop giving presents to everyone (bah humbug) - 8% (1150 votes)
B. Limit present giving just to your own kids - 18% (2441 votes)
C. Limit present giving to immediate family – not friends or colleagues - 50% (6758 votes)
D. Small gifts to a wider circle is fine - 16% (2241 votes)
E. We should rejoice in giving as many and as big gifts as we can afford - 8% (1023 votes)

This vote has now closed, but you can still click 'post reply' to discuss below

Thanks :)


What's interesting is to read the difference in the feedback on this from the times online version and here... see


  • 456789
    456789 Forumite Posts: 2,306 Forumite
    Very good article indeed - :)
  • chriswatts
    chriswatts Forumite Posts: 136 Forumite
    The of course there's always the gift card for those who can't decide what present to get someone and would thus like to tie the person down to one sometimes rather expensive store and stop them from shopping around to get the best price.

    It's nice to get one, but I do think the Christmas Gift card was designed by the Devil.
  • Bargain_Rzl
    Bargain_Rzl Forumite Posts: 6,254 Forumite
    "Ban" is a bit harsh. But otherwise I agree - I don't believe anybody should feel obligated to others gift-wise. I don't do Christmas presents outside my immediate family and very close friends. Even within that narrow circle, you buy those close family and friends SOMETHING, don't you, particularly if you know they will have bought you something back - but quite honestly, I might spend £50 on one family member and £5 on another. Both of these extremes would normally come about because I have found THE perfect gift, often several months in advance when I wasn't even looking for it.

    I know it's an old cliche, but I firmly believe that it's the thought that counts.
    :)Operation Get in Shape :)
  • dave4545454
    dave4545454 Forumite Posts: 2,025
    Tenth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    we haven't given xmas presents for many many years in my family. xmas is about spending quality time with your loved ones, not commercialism
    Martin has asked me to tell you I'm about to cut the cheese, pull my finger.
  • GlasweJen
    GlasweJen Forumite Posts: 7,451
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I buy for 15 people at Christmas, parents, grandparents (1 set), nieces (3), siblings (6 including bro in law), boyfriend and a general gift for boyfriends family (usually nice chocs and a bottle of wine); i also do secret santa at work. I like the tradition of gift giving but don't buy for non-family.
  • Fran
    Fran Forumite Posts: 11,297
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I hate the pressure of Christmas, not just the presents but the expectancy of spending more on fancy food and drink.

    It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't all at the same time. I've suggested to my family that we meet in the summer or time that isn't christmas to exchange presents and enjoy each others company in nice weather instead of a date near christmas when the weather can be shocking but they just say "...but it's christmas....". So what? They might (but probably don't really) think it's fine to spend loads more money than normal one month a year, but I don't. (Yes I do know you *should* be totally organised but the best intentions....).

    It's not just the money side though, there's all the people that are isolated or homeless. It's rubbing their faces in it, especially if they don't receive presents or have no-one to share christmas with.

    In order to exchange presents I have to travel (petrol) to meet family and come back over The Bridge (£5.40 :mad:) and post to the other side of the world (the lightest presents I can find) to my brother's family.
    Most common are gifts upon marriage or coming-of-age ceremonies and indeed, to my logic, this makes social and financial sense, as in effect it’s a form of prudent banking.

    For example, when someone is young and starting out in married life, others give cash or gifts to them as a start up fund, which is a net inflow of goods.

    As people age and tend to get more financially stable, they then give gifts to newlyweds, effectively paying the system back.

    It’s actually an efficient method for society to focus cash where it’s needed.
    Totally disagree with Martin here, a single person does not have the luxury of writing lists of required presents even though they go through life financially worse off (meaning they do not share bills, purchases and living expenses). Especially women who still earn less than men and also are more likely to give up careers to be responsible for children. As people age *now* the future of pensioners is an unstable and unpredictable thing and the numbers are growing. With unemployment rising where do the over 50's (could be over 40's, draw the line where you like) stand when trying to get these jobs that everyone is after? What about parents on low incomes whose children reach 18? They lose any Child Tax Credits once the child leaves education and Child Benefit follows soon after, yet the likelihood is the children are still costing the family money and it's hard for young single people too. I find it hard to find any "social and financial sense" for low income, single women.
    Torgwen.......... :) ...........
  • DComedian
    DComedian Forumite Posts: 13 Forumite
    I gave up buying Xmas presents for anybody other than my nephew and niece a few years ago, and made it clear to friends and family that I didn't want to receive presents either, as that would just put me in a very embarrassing situation.

    The relief of not having to trawl round the shops in December desperately thinking what to buy for people , knowing that there's a fair chance that my gift might prove to be a waste of money, is immense. It's also great not to have to pretend that the gift you received on Xmas Day was just what you always wanted!

    On the other hand people think I'm a bit weird (but then they thought that anyway), and I'm sure that a few think that I'm just a miser. You have to be reasonably thick skinned to adopt the 'no presents at Xmas' philosophy.
  • Polly23_2
    Polly23_2 Forumite Posts: 32 Forumite
    Fantastic idea. A great article.
  • passatrider
    passatrider Forumite Posts: 838
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts
    we haven't given xmas presents for many many years in my family. xmas is about spending quality time with your loved ones, not commercialism

    Here Here!:j
  • kippers
    kippers Forumite Posts: 2,050
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    A couple of years ago I discussed not buying birthday & xmas presents for neices and nephews that were over 18's in my family (as we have loads of them), except for big birthdays like 21st, 30th etc....i was shot down straight away. So yes, we carried on buying which was hard for us financially.

    During the last month we have 'told' everyone we shall no longer be doing it and this time they will have to get used to it. We are not on a big income and i'm fed up of my children having tiny presents at xmas so i can buy for others that don't even say thank you for the presents i buy!
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