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



  • Angelica123
    Angelica123 Posts: 222 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Name Dropper
    If you are happy to get them something but don't want to buy something wasteful then you could ask them if there's anything they want from. If they say no or that you don't have to get them anything then take them for their word. If they do suggest something then you know you are getting them something they do want.

    Alternatively, postcards are a nice alternatively.

    If you would resent buying them a present then don't. Gift giving should never be tit-for-tat. Everyone has different ways of showing up for people they care about. 

    I am curious re the experience of people who have been upfront and asked people to stop giving them unwanted gift, only for those people to ignore that request. Just curious why people would continue to give gifts after being asked not to. 
  • toby3210
    toby3210 Posts: 43 Forumite
    First Post
    You can always buy them from TKMAXX or some place they never go to and they wouldn't know the difference. The trouble with purchasing abroad is that it's really expensive and no one has copious amounts of suitcase room. Ask yourself whether it's going to make a difference.
  • MoonChild91
    I'd just ask them! I always straight up ask people if they'd like anything bringing back - but only very close friends, housemates, and immediate family. Most of the time it's either nothing (in which case I don't), or something very small or silly - I went to Ireland recently and the only requests were a couple of bags of Taytos!

    Otherwise I've occasionally brought things like candles, soap, local chocolate or coffee etc - something small that will be used. I have only ever brought bigger items when it's something I know the person would love regardless of where it's from, and if it's close to their birthday or Christmas (eg picking up a vase in a local market for a birthday 2 weeks after my return). We do have a running tradition in our house of bringing back the naffest fridge magnet we can find, but I wouldn't do this for anyone else. 
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  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,898 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post Savvy Shopper!
    toby3210 said:
    You can always buy them from TKMAXX or some place they never go to and they wouldn't know the difference. The trouble with purchasing abroad is that it's really expensive and no one has copious amounts of suitcase room. Ask yourself whether it's going to make a difference.
    Really expensive?
    I can buy local honey or extra virgin olive oil cheaper in Greece than in TKMaxx.
    That doesn't take up copious amounts of my suitcase room.
  • robinwales
    robinwales Posts: 129 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker
    Serious question - why do you feel guilty?
  • Kathy.fraser
    I used to have the same problem? but I now just remind folk not to be expecting any crap back as it is just a waste of money? And saves them from having to store something they probably don’t like or need? If there is any edible gifts or something  that i know they would love then I get it? 
    But I clearly remind them It is only a one of and you are not expecting anything in return from their hols? Same for Xmas pressies!!!
  • curlywig73
    I think some older people are holding onto doing this because it was a thing years ago when foreign travel was seen as exotic and most people just shopped local and there was no internet shopping.  It brings back memories of having a stressed time on holiday in France following my mum round various shops looking for presents for all her relatives, ticking off a list as she went.  That's not the point of a holiday, is it?  To get stressed and waste time traipsing round markets shopping for the perfect tea towel design.  :D Madness!   Let people choose their own tea towel, why do they want something printed with a place they've never been to?

    Not to forget that the actual word "souvenir" means "to remember".  i.e. bringing something back off holiday is for you to remember your holiday.  No-one wants a reminder of a holiday they've never been on, do they?  I have felt forced to put fridge magnets on our fridge for places I've never been to, simply because a relative brought it back from their own holiday and gave it to us as a present.  They leave me cold because there is no memory linked to that fridge magnet.  I HAVE, however, bought one or two of my own magnets through the years because they MEAN something to me as they remind me of a particular holiday I once went on (ie. the proper intention of a souvenir)

    I think it's fine to bring back a present now and again if you see something that's very local to the area, food or drink-wise, and you've tried it yourself and enjoyed it so think your relative might like some too.

    But to do the tit for tat buying without even thinking of if a gift will be wanted, or what it means, is just silly.  So don't feel guilty!

  • youth_leader
    youth_leader Posts: 2,520 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Stoptober Survivor
    I am 66 now and clearly remember being on a school trip in Italy in 1972 aged 15, desperately searching for a souvenir for my Mum.  When my kids went on their school trips I gave them strict instructions not to buy us anything, just too stressful.
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