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



  • anthony_hunt
    anthony_hunt Forumite Posts: 14 Forumite
    What a load of hogwash!

    You've simply cited a list of bad ideas as reasons to not do something good.

    Should I stop driving because others steal cars, use their phones while driving, have tatty cars or cause accidents? Sorry, but that's a poor argument.

    I ASK my friends and family what they'd like for Christmas and what THEIR budget is and buy for them accordingly and where they don't have a budget, we just meet up and exchange pleasant company instead.

    Surely Christmas and the exchange of presents is an opportunity to COMMUNICATE with the people you care about and see them and make them happy and by extension make yourself happy. All this "must have" nonsense is driven by the media and other shallow and grasping individuals.
  • hannahs_3
    hannahs_3 Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    edited 11 November 2009 at 11:27AM
    My family stopped giving presents to each other 4 years ago (adults only, kids still get pressies!). Instead, we started to buy charity gifts from Oxfam, GoodGifts, etc. or we make cash donations to charities of our choice.

    This has worked really well and after the first year we decided to carry this on permanently. Obviously, the charities benefit greatly and we all make donations at a level we can afford (we don't tell each other how much - that's not the point of giving) but we still get the enjoyment of opening cards and finding out which charities other family members have chosen.

    It's much nicer than receiving unwanted and unnecessary gifts, you still feel like you have received something but it's much more worthwhile. Nobody feels like they're missing out and I think it's something a lot of people could encourage rather than just saying "don't buy me a present and I won't buy you one".

    And it takes all the stress out of Christmas shopping so everyone's happier!!
  • MountainMan101
    MountainMan101 Forumite Posts: 75 Forumite
    What about those people who enjoy buying gifts. Just because you buy a gift doesn't mean you've fallen for commercialism. Yes the chocolates are over prices, but I'll still buy a box of fancy chocolates for my aunt - she's been an aunt all year and Christmas is the best time to thank her.

    My wife is much tighter with how much she spends on her family, and this year I'm going to over rule her if she starts being tight and going halves with her sister on a chopping board for her mum.

    I love spending a whole day each year looking for something that the person will enjoy/find useful.

    Having said that, I completely agree on the waste of time presents where two women exchange earings / necklace and neither of them ever use them. But I think that says more about the people involved than the gifts.
  • Mercenary
    Mercenary Forumite Posts: 627
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Photogenic Combo Breaker
    edited 11 November 2009 at 11:43AM
    Thank you , Martin, for writing what I have thought for years! :T
    Every year, when the television adverts begin trying to get people to spend huge amounts on stuff 'just for Christmas' and the shops start displaying a tide of useless 'gifts', then my heart sinks and I get quite grumpy at the blatant commercialism of it all. :mad:

    It is so depressing that even in this age of recession there are those who will unthinkingly buy the rubbish on offer simply to tick a box on their gift list (whether or not the recipient would want it :confused:) and maybe run up debts in order to do so. The car boot sales are always packed with unwanted gifts after New Year so what is the point?

    We all decided long ago that it is pointless trading unwanted presents just for the sake of it. So we give gifts/cash (under £30 each) for the few children in our immediate family only, and maybe a token something-to-open (limited to under £5) for the 3 elderly adults. Then all of us will enjoy the Christmas Day lunch and the family being together in one place again.

    And that is what Christmas should be about. A Family Gathering.:D
  • goldingwebb
    goldingwebb Forumite Posts: 42 Forumite
    For religious reasons I've never celebrated Xmas, but I've never felt like I'm missing out.

    Having time off work at home with the family is great, and even better because no-one is under pressure to overspend or pretend that they like the unwanted presents they've received!

    Nowadays when I see how commercial Xmas has gotten I think that I would probably stop celebrating it, even if I didn't know it's pagan roots. Buying gifts for each other at unexpected times of the year is more special and personal and means so much more.

    I feel glad that I don't contribute to the many unwanted items that end up as landfill, whose manufacture has contributed to pollution.

    We still enjoy snuggling up with choccies and watching the usual films, but with a clearer conscience and less debt!!!
  • I have to agree with Martin on this one. I come from a large family:j, as does my wife. We have been buying presents for nephews and nieces for years but stopped doing so when they reached the age of 18. They are now getting married and having their own kids and the cycle seems to be starting where everyone else in the family is buying for their (Nephews/nieces) children and therefore by default we are expected to follow suit. I have 18 nephews/nieces so you can see the problem.
  • LameWolf
    LameWolf Forumite Posts: 11,233
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Great article! I now feel vindicated. We stopped buying any presents at all a few years back when my husband was out of work for 11 months (we'd only just recently got together at that time) and we've carefully never started again.

    We don't even buy each other presents as such - rather, we put our heads together and see if there's something we could do with that both of us will enjoy, and we pay half each for it. If we can't think of something that fits the bill, we put it on hold until something occurs to us. No money wasted, no embarrassingly kitch presents, no trolling round crowded shops.
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.;)
  • TurkishDelight
    TurkishDelight Forumite Posts: 7,739 Forumite
    edited 11 November 2009 at 12:33PM
    I've got to admit this does make me a little sad. I don't have many people to buy for admittedly, but with the exception of my Grandma and Uncle (who are very stuff driven people, and would be very hurt if I didn't make a effort) they all have hard lives.

    We buy them stuff that they can't justify buying for themselves, and they do the same for us.
    We've also had practical presents, like last year when my MiL bought us a new duvet.

    The gift thing is a expression of caring- you have got a thoughtful gift.
    I would probably agree that if you can't find anything wanted it might be better to not bother though ;)

    By the way- they have managed to consumerise giving nothing as well:
    This is my opinion. There are many others like it but this is mine
    :kisses2: Fiancee of the "lovely" DaveAshton :kisses2:
    I am a professional ebay seller. I work hard at my job, I love my job, if you think it's silly that's your problem not mine. :p
  • Sarah_Urquhart
    Sarah_Urquhart Forumite Posts: 3 Newbie
    I love this article! However, I must point out the flaw in the example given of 'loaded' Sharon and 'skint' Violet's gift exchange. If, as is suggested, Violet is a hard working mother, who sees the majority of her income go to supporting her children and replacing worn out shoes, surely the one thing she deserves at Christmas time is a pretty, if non essential, necklace from her friend? The problem you have raised - that economically unequal friends feel obliged to give gifts of equal value - is a real one. The solution - that neither give gifts - is logical but does little to provide emotional comfort to either women. Rather, Violet needs to free herself from the great social burden of expectation to give presents of equal value. Violet should buy Sharon a small gift worth about £5. Sharon, who is apparently 'loaded' will still be happy to still give the £20 necklace. Often better off, childless friends and family members find that Christmas is a time they can spoil loved ones in a way that at any other time of year it might be embarrassing and perceived as charity. To suggest the women agree not to give gifts is to deny them both a great pleasure and a form of bonding. Where change is needed, rather, is to fight our attitude of competitive gift giving and revisit the notion of giving with love at a price we can afford.
  • sandieb
    sandieb Forumite Posts: 728 Forumite
    Brilliant article.

    I personally wouldn't want a ban on Christmas presents but I have now downsized Christmas and buy small token presents for £5 and under (items considered by the shops as stocking fillers).

    It's been a huge relief. Mostly we have too much STUFF.

    Birthdays are different - I spend rather more on them.

    I don't want to HAVE to buy "things" at Christmas ... I'd rather give spontaneously when I see the right thing for the right person.
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