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Great 'Biggest Christmas waste of money?' Hunt

102 replies 38K views


  • My wife and I renounced Santa and his little elves some 6 years ago and our life has been better for it! There are 3 aspects of giving - what you need, what you want and what you get. What's the point of asking someone what they want for a gift? It takes the mystery out of it and they might just as well go and get it themselves. But on the other hand opening parcels of gift sets of toiletries can be just as disappointing as knowing what is already inside. We give small gifts to our children and their partners and then move on into the new year! Yep call us Scrooges by all means but we've seen through the commercialism and seen the real point giving.
  • I like Christmas cards, but don't send loads, however, old relatives, people who live quite a distance away etc - it's nice to write a little message and keep in touch. However, I buy them in the sales, post them on 1st December with a second class stamp, and I keep a note of who I receive them from... if someone misses two years in a row, or announces they aren't sending anymore, or moves onto sending ecards, then I take them off the list.

    Unless they are appreciated they are a waste of time... however people who don't send them (and therefore don't receive them) do miss them - I know people who announced they weren't sending them, but then started again because it's so miserable getting no cards at all... :)

    My pet hate for wasting money is 'small' gifts for friends (not close friends, but the sort of work colleague status, or next door neighbour type friend) that you have to buy out of obligation - the sort of person you could keep a stash of bland, pointless presents for (eg regifted jewellry, 3 for 2 packs of cheap toiletries from Boots etc)... utterly pointless, utterly unwanted and bought only out of a sense of social obligation. I'm gradually cutting down on the number of these, but I do have some friends who seem intent keeping this going... and even worse, they generally suggest a tiny limit, like £5, which takes up even more time to find something cheap and pointless which doesn't look too cheap and pointless...aarrrrggghhh!:eek:

    I particularly hate having to give these sorts of presents to anyone who clearly has lots of money, and wouldn't dream of using/wearing such cheap nasty stuff, and yet we all still have to persist in this sort of stupid gift buying.... drives me nuts! :mad:
  • Simple

    Anything that comes in a 'gift' pack. You know the stuff: alcohol sets, golf gifts, stuffed/pickled/alcohol'ed fruit/veg, reindeer poo etc. All a complete waste of time and money for you and the recipient as they don't tend to be of any use.

  • On the christmas cracker note... I totally agree! what a waste of cash...

    My tip is buy the cheapest, value, own brand crackers you can find, and then spend the difference on scratchcards... add one to each cracker. The chance to win lots of money certainly beats a silver plated bottle opener or a luxury pack of stamp-sized playing cards :D
  • edited 10 December 2010 at 11:07AM
    globetravellerglobetraveller Forumite
    2.2K posts
    edited 10 December 2010 at 11:07AM
    secret santa! What a waste. I watch colleagues opening theirs and pretending to be delighted. I said no to it this year and have added the money I would have spent to an amount I always give at this time year to a small Indian charity which I have actually visited. They go round slum areas as Santa and the kids most like..... toothbrushes and toothpaste, pencils and paper.
    weight loss target 23lbs/49lb
  • zekezeke Forumite
    461 posts
    All of it. The whole bl**dy lot. The true spirit of Christmas is well and truly dead. Kids expectations get more and more demanding each year. You spend every waking moment and every spare penny in the run up to Xmas trying to get it right and make sure you haven't got one more than the other and come Xmas morning its 15 minutes of gratitudeless frenzy and sulking because its not right. As for buying for the missus/ mother, guaranteed to be wrong and yet more hours of stress trying to make sure it isn't (and failing miserably every time).

    Christmas dinner- hours of unsupported slavery, so much waste, at least the dog has a nice day.

    Cards- gave up as a bad job years ago, don't send any, don't open any received- straight in the recycle bin.

    Trees and deccies- why on earth do these need to be renewed every couple of years to match the latest interior decor fad?? If it was up to me (and again this is a major cause of argument) they'd go up Xmas Eve and down Boxing Day (well, it's something to do as there's never anything half decent on telly) if at all.

    Everything overpriced, repeated shopping trips just in case- never managed to figure out just why we need chilli pickled whelks each year. Cupboards are already groaning at the seams.

    Running around visiting every arm of the extended families, trying to please everyone and failing spectacularly on all counts.

    Why oh why oh why do I bother every year?

    All in all, not my favourite time of year, as you may have guessed. If it was up to me (and sadly it isn't) I'd rather spend the money on a nice holiday and come back with a tan when its all over.
    Just because you used to be you think everybody else is, don't you?
  • edited 8 December 2010 at 11:53AM
    Sharky54Sharky54 Forumite
    6 posts
    edited 8 December 2010 at 11:53AM
    Totally agree with all your comments. We've been going abroad for years now. It's all over in a day in Europe and the States! No fuss, no bother. Simple family celebrations.
  • LameWolfLameWolf Forumite
    11.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Combo Breaker Photogenic
    I'm afraid I regard the whole Xmas shenannigans as an overpriced, over-commercialised con.

    I'm not a Christian and I don't have kids, so I have no reason to bother with it; my husband was out of work a few years ago, for a whole 11 months, and at that time we ceased doing any presents, and we've carefully not started again.

    We do celebrate Yule, the Winter Solstice, but we all we do is that Mr LW takes a day's leave from work (I'm retired on medical grounds), we watch the sun rise on the patio with (last year) a Sea Breeze each - this year it'll be hot tea because we have errands to do in town afterwards, we have a nice but not overdone lunch - HM nut loaf, roast root veg, chestnut stuffing and Marmite gravy planned for this year, followed by HM Xmas pud, and we just chill for the rest of the day.

    No rellies we can't stand, no muss, no fuss!:D
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.;)
  • edited 8 December 2010 at 12:56PM
    A.JonesA.Jones Forumite
    508 posts
    edited 8 December 2010 at 12:56PM
    I've done secret santa for about ten years now, and still not bought a gift. The first year, I gave a horrible (but quite funny in a way) pair of socks that I was given the previous year for Christmas and had never worn. The present I got that year in secret santa just went in a drawer at work. Next year, it came out and got given to someone else. My present that year went in a drawer ...

    Ten years on, I don't think anyone has noticed.

    I think I have cut out a lot of "waste" without even realising it. Even though I am a bit of a scrooge, we still love Christmas as a family. We have a real tree each year, but it is the same tree. It grows in a pot in the garden, it comes on about 23rd or 24th, and is back out by 27th/28th. It is only about 3 ft, and hasn't grown much as it is pot bound, but it is healthy, looks good indoors and even better during the year outdoors. It's not that I cannot afford a tree every year, it just seems such a waste to grow something, kill it, then dump it in the street (or compost it). Decorations - we have some really good quality silver tinsel (no other colours, so no matching decor problems) that is about 20 years old. Bought in a sale after Christmas for pennies. Lights, we have some new ones bought a couple of years ago from Tesco in their post-Christmas sale. The other decorations - the kids make a few every year. We have loads going back through the years (and all named and dated), they are especially good for reliving memories of Christmases past - do you remember making this ??? We don't have crackers, since we made a large snowman whose head pops off to reveal small presents and home made hats. This year we have made a pinata snow man who is going to get a beating instead (or maybe as well). I was a 70s child that made a lot of stuff at Christmas, my kids do the same, and seem to love it. I also enjoy making toys - this year one of the kids is getting a wooden fort that I've been making during the evenings for the past month or so. I can afford to buy one, but I just prefer giving something that is better quality and more personal. We send cards to people we care about (second class if we cannot give them personally), but always make them.

    New for this year, we are not travelling as much to see relatives. We are seeing the close ones, then have offered to skype the others.
  • edited 8 December 2010 at 12:49PM
    jakes-mumjakes-mum Forumite
    4.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Photogenic Xmas Saver!
    edited 8 December 2010 at 12:49PM
    bath gift sets! hate them, they are the most 'i either couldnt be bothered but had to get you something because the 'corporate' people say so, or i have no idea what you like' gifts ever invented!! you can guarantee I get one every year from someone and as someone who only EVER uses the shower (which is well known by all family members due to medical problems!!) i fail to understand what would possess anyone to buy me one?? If you dont know me well enough PLEASE get me nothing!! it means we are not really that close so no gift is necessary!! If you do know me well, i'd really rather get some homemade biscuits s at least i know the sender put some thought into it (and of course its very MSE :D)
    SPC No 002 SPC(3) £285/£250 (4) £519.84/£500 (5) £768.32/£500 (6) £911.30/£600 (7) £913.23/£600 (8) £1184.82/£750 (9) £2864.04/£750 (10) £3846.25/£1000 (11) £1779.72/£1000 (12) 1596.55/£1000 (13) 0/£1000
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