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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I buy my family gifts when I go on holiday as they do for me?



  • Pottymum
    Now retired, we have started doing a lot of travelling, and I'm going to visit an aged relative in the USA shortly.  She's always brought a small gift when she's been to the UK.  Usually tourist tat which goes straight into a drawer.   However,  I feel I should take her something as we are staying with her and she'll expect a gift, so I'm taking her a few christmas tree decorations I've handmade, and are light to carry.  I'll also give her some cash to cover some of the cost of hosting us.   I'm also going to Australia next year, but won't bring back anything for my adult children as I hate shopping and don't intend to waste time in shopping malls searching for something small and light enough for me to pack, that would have some significance or use for them!  
  • gloriouslyhappy
    A bit of foreign chocolate or sweeties always go down well, either giving or receiving, but personally, I hate the whole feel-obliged thing and tend not to bother so the gifts to me have thankfully tapered off.

    I inadvertently found the perfect way to stop a friend bringing presents - despite being told politely please don’t, she always insisted on bringing something for me, usually tat. On the last occasion, she pulled out a truly hideous ornament made of seashells. I burst out laughing as I really thought it was a joke, and told her she’d done well to find the ugliest joke present. She was most offended and said how she’d looked at many market stalls before selecting this one for me but when she handed it to me it shattered into lots of little pieces and I couldn’t stop laughing. That was the end of that, no more unwanted presents!
  • zagfles
    zagfles Posts: 20,482 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Chutzpah Haggler
    I find sweets/chocolates/biscuits the worst gifts. I've managed lose weight by completely cutting out snacks between meals, the last thing I want is the temptation to eat high calorie rubbish between meals. I never buy them myself, and realised that a lot of the time I was only eating that sort of stuff to please other people, eg when people bring snacks into work on their birthday, or you go to visit someone and they say "have a slice of my homemade cake" or you're out and about and someone fancies an ice cream and insists on buying for everyone, or you go out for a meal with friends/family and someone wants pudding and you feel obliged to have one too so they don't seem like the only greedy pig!
  • primrose_penguin
    I used to spend quite a bit of time when on holiday looking round and wandering what to bring home for family/friends. Then one year I decided to get them all something nice to eat that was usually made locally i.e. jams/biscuits/chutneys etc. I knew it would be appreciated and not wasted so have done ever since, much better than knick knacks that nobody wants.
  • rowanash
    Buying small gifts that support local artists and crafters might be appreciated by family too eg a pack of notelets/greetings cards from local shop or charity stall - they're useful and won't gather dust. Soaps, little plants, local honey, jam from local church or village hall. Different if you're flying abroad, but there'll be some way of supporting the local economy. Instead of a present you might send a postcard, few folk seem to do that now ;)
  • poppy811
    poppy811 Posts: 540 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Haven’t bought holiday gifts  for years,  Travel has changed so much 
  • Ratkin007
    Ratkin007 Posts: 118 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post
    If you buy for them you are saying it is ok for them to continue buying for you.
    It's your holiday, enjoy it. No need for stressing over the issue.  You don't need to discuss it or explain. As they are family they know what you are like. You shouldn't have to get something out of guilt.
  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,896 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Photogenic
    Many years, decades even, since i exchanged holiday gifts.
    A holiday or several has become the norm and no longer special to most folk.
    I may buy something if it's an 'oh sonso would like that'...... but otherwise it's just something the recipient has to deal with.

    Everyone the same bit of something to eat is the simplest way out. They may take the hint.
    I have a neighbour who insists on buying me plants every time I take her out for a drive and I'm over run with plants and flowers I don't want or need. 

    viral kindness .....kindness is contageous pass it on

    The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well

  • Christianne1957
    How about a nice smiley photo of you on holiday slipped into an inexpensive frame?
    Newly retired and looking forward to 
    a fulfilling, positive & happy future.

  • TheWoodler
    TheWoodler Posts: 167 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    I occasionally bring back small edible gifts eg local brand of chocolate or local delicacy etc for my OH if I go abroad for work etc. My OH travels for work sometimes in this country and will look out for a book or something he knows I will like. That’s fine. We live together, it’s nice to show your other half that you’re thinking of them when away. 

    No need for people who don’t live with you to do the same. There’s that nuance. They don’t live with you to see the clutter that tat brings and the waste of space represented by stuffing things unused in a cupboard. And if they don’t live with you then ‘thinking of you’ becomes almost selfish. It meets a need of theirs rather than yours. Surely they ‘think of you’ in other ways eg by meeting up or offering a hand when needed or a shoulder to cry on or someone to celebrate with. That’s the only thing that matters. Love, not things. 

    I used to work in a large open-plan office where the culture was for people to bring in biscuits from their trips abroad. Madness. You go away for a break from work and then think of people at work. In an awful work culture too. Management should have discouraged it but they just didn’t see it. 

    I never participated as I didn’t see the point of wasting my precious holiday or even airport/ferry boutique time. 
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