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



  • gilligansyle
    gilligansyle Forumite Posts: 4,124 Forumite
    Not sure that 'ban' is the right word but agree with the principle. People get really stressed about what will be thought of them if they don't spend x amount.

    My sister and brother both have 2 boys of similar age, so we used to have the 'ritual exchange of lego' followed by the 'ritual exchange of xbox games' and the 'ritual exchange of itunes vouchers'.

    A friend without children got annoyed at the cost of buying for friends children when money was we agreed that we would not buy for each others children, except big birthdays. At Christmas selection boxes as a token gesture if we saw them actually on Christmas Day but not otherwise. Now they are all 16 and above, they don't get that anymore.

    For friends, only very close friends get presents. Some of my friends are on a lot more money than me, but as I make presents for them, they appreciate the thought that goes into them. So its not all about commercialism.
    I make a big square Christmas cake, and cut it into 4 small ones to give as gifts. Cheap presents wrapped in cellophane can look quite impressive too!
    Debts at LBM - Mortgages £128497 - non mortgage £27497 Debt now £[STRIKE]114150[/STRIKE][STRIKE]109032[/STRIKE] 64300 (mortgage) Credit cards left 0

    "The days pass so fast, let's try to make each one better than the last"
  • skintandsad
    skintandsad Forumite Posts: 1,014
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    When I came up with the idea of not buying presents for adults in the family, some were in favour, some not.

    We all agreed that we would buy for the children, spending only an amount which was affordable to us, and my parents were agreeable to the "children only" gifting idea, and hubbies brother and sisters never bought for us anyway, but my hubbies parents wouldn't agree, nor would my sister.....they enjoy the act of giving, and both said that they didn't expect a gift in return. However, how can you not buy a gift for someone who you know will be buying for you??? :confused:
    I'm a nutter :j
  • ThinkingOfLinking
    ThinkingOfLinking Forumite Posts: 11,828
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I completely agree with you, Martin. Having said that, this is the first Christmas in a good few years that I'm giving physical cards out. I also am giving small gifts to 6 close friends only; it's a novelty chocolate item at just under £3 and it's going to be enjoyed and appreciated.

    I'm also taking someone out for a slap-up meal at a posh fish restaurant for Christmas, and they know I'm paying for all our food with Tesco Clubcard deals vouchers (drinks will have to be paid for in actual cash), and it's about spending quality time together. They don't care I'm using Tesco vouchers.

    People lose the sense of what Christmas is about. My cheap (and voucher-bought) presents, and the packs of christmas cards I bought for 50p each in this year's January sales, are going to give a huge amount of pleasure, given to close friends and family, on a day where we'll be spending quality time together. All this nonsense of "Ooh, shall we buy something for Robbie's auntie's husband's best mate because we met him once 6 years ago?" and "My kid is more loved than yours as we could afford to buy him a Wii" is bull, and not what Christmas is about.
  • Idiophreak
    Idiophreak Forumite Posts: 12,025 Forumite
    Have to say, I don't really agree with a whole lot of Martin's article (for once).

    I don't see many of the issues being relevant to a "proper" family/circle of friends that actually talks to each other openly etc.

    I've never felt any obligation to buy people presents. I buy them because I want to. If, on occasion, I've been skint, I've called people up and said "just so you know, I'm skint this year, so you'll be getting a cheap gift" - and then they've had the choice to cut back their gift, if they really do just by like-for-like...although, in practice, we tend to buy each other what we'd like to buy them, rather than this bizarre "value matching" scheme Martin describes.

    I've never felt any kind of hassle chosing gifts for people...most often I'll call up and say "can I have a list of things you'd like please", then buy something off that list - maybe not the "high thought" gift-giving many promote, but it means they get something they want, I get the warm satisfaction of giving them something they genuinely like and more importantly, as per Martin's article, I'm ensured I've got them something they like, rather than something that will sit in the cupboard til it's thrown out.

    Perhaps this all boils down to one line in Martin's post though:
    "Christmas gift-giving outside the immediate family doesn’t work that way" - and I have to say, I don't really do that at all...Not close to my non-immediate family, so wouldn't bother with anything more than a card...
  • chrissie55
    chrissie55 Forumite Posts: 102 Forumite
    We don't send cards, or buy folk presents;
    This makes our Xmas relaxed & pleasant!
    We just get token gifts for stepsons (often car-boot bargains), like a posh shave-cream; they know we'll help if they're in need, but we don't do that crazy Xmas thing, which leaves us time to think about peace & goodwill & a tad of charity.....We eat whatever's cheap & good in Waitrose/Iceland on Xmas Eve! So many folk I see Xmas shopping look utterly stressed, & I've seen adverts offering 'a loan to spread the cost of Xmas' - Merry Xmas= a big debt? Nuts!
  • Schamansky
    Schamansky Forumite Posts: 621 Forumite
    edited 11 November 2009 at 8:45AM
    Strikes a chord with me.

    In a nutshell: Why buy stuff

    - that nobody actually wants or is ever going to use
    - with money you could put to much better use
    - in order to keep up with some entirely irrelevant "Joneses"
    - and produce huge amounts of pollution and waste on the collateral.

    The meaning of Life isn't bought in stores.

    (... wait ... it is. Doughnuts.)
  • quaveriw
    quaveriw Forumite Posts: 328
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I enjoyed reading this, puts Christmas into perspective :)

    I only tend to buy gifts for immediate family, my sister on the other hand buys for all her friends and I'm the one earning more. But, having said that one of OH's friends recycles gifts that she gets....
  • lisadupreez
    lisadupreez Forumite Posts: 90 Forumite
    Great post.

    We do RECYCLING xmas present giving in our family. Basically, you are not allowed to buy a present for anyone. It must be something that you have already and think the other person would like, or something that someone gave you last year.

    In our house (my, DH, DD) we have a small box each and when we think of something we would like for our own birthday/xmas/mothers day/general niceness, we put a written note in the box. Rule is you are not allowed to open your own box. The other person opens your box and takes an idea out if they want to give you a gift. That way you get something you want - and maybe you forgot that you put it in there so a really nice surprise.
    :think: If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain :hello:
  • golddustmedia
    golddustmedia Forumite Posts: 835
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    Spot on Martin.

    I separated from my wife a bit over a year ago and last Christmas I very much got the feeling that choosing a present for my daughter was a battle between my ex wife and I to see who could get her the best gift.

    I've decided I'm not being drawn into it and instead I focus on doing nice activities with my daughter throughout the year so she enjoys the time we spend together. For me this Christmas a gift to her will be something modest to mark the occasion but not a case of want want want. After all I've learnt this year she's actually just as pleased to receive a £6 summer dress as a £50 dolls house at Christmas and I suspect the dress gets more use!
  • clur152
    clur152 Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    Martin - thanks for this article! As I am single and trying to manage a home and still maintain friendships and family ties through visits, I have found additional outgoings for Christmas and birthdays really difficult in the past few years. I have felt like a Scrooge so often and had decided this year was the year I would try and make a pact with people not to do the obligatory present swap. Thanks for backing me up - now to break the news to everyone!
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 340.2K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.1K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 448.4K Spending & Discounts
  • 232K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 603.2K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 171.7K Life & Family
  • 245.2K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards