Human Nature: What is the polite way to stop giving Christmas Gifts?
For years now we have been spending lots of time and money on Christmas gifts for my nephews and cousins. On early Christmas not one of them says thank you. So this year with ten days to Christmas neither my wife or I have spent a dime on a gift for anyone.
On the big day how should we tell the relatives we did not buy them any gifts at all? And can we morally accept any gifts from them if we don’t buy them gifts?
Answers and Views:
Answer by LARA, age 82
A gift is a gift, not a swap, so you can morally accept a gift without giving one. You could just say, before the gift giving, that you have had to cut back in this economy.
Donate in your relatives name to the food bank and tell them that you have done so.Answer by questioner
Sounds like the OP did not cut back but instead he/she cut out all gift giving. If they are honest and say the reason that they stopped giving gifts was a lack of response then the nephews will say what are you talking about we always thank and it will cause tension. If they say it is due to the economy that would be a lie and a passive aggressive response. You are screwed!Answer by callalou1
I think this is best tackled before ‘the big day’ and you have left it a little bit late for this year, but if you are determined to start now, the onus is for you to call around and let people know that you are getting off the ‘gift-giving bandwagon’. There is no truly polite way to say it, but something along the lines of being at a point in life when you can and do buy what you want yourselves throughout the year, so please not to feel obliged to buy you gifts and that henceforward you will not be buying gifts either.Answer by BloopieBlooper
I do agree that is a gift is a gift, no obligations. However, in this situation you have been exhcanging gifts for years and unfortunately, it’s come to be expected. I come from a family like that as well.
I wasn’t planning on exchanging gifts this year (for different reasons, mostly because I went back to school recently and now live on a fixed income) As it turns out, my partner and I did end up finding enough money in our budget to buy our immediate family gifts only. However, before that happened I simply said this to my Dad over the phone: “I just wanted to let you know we are not buying gifts this year. Money is tight because of my schooling. So you don’t need to get us any gifts.” and of course my Dad said, “Oh I don’t care about that. I will stilll get you something.”
I would suggest you shoot the family an email and simply state, “Unfortunately this year we aren’t exchanging gifts due to budget constrainsts, so you don’t have to get us anything. Please let us know if we can bring anything for the dinner/festivities.” Fortunately/unfortunately, this year people are extra understanding because of the economy. So this is the perfect year to reestablish gift giving expectations for families that shower one another with gifts.
I do wonder if there is a compromise that you can strike for next year? You have sent the message not to expect loads of presents and Aunt and Uncle, so maybe next year could you exchange a Secret Santa (draw a name out of a hat) so that you have to get only one gift. or just get each child one small thing and explain to the adults that you have felt hurt in the past about not receiving thank you’s?
Whatever you decide to do, I think you feel like you covered your bases if you give the adults of the family a heads up first. At that point if they give you a gift, they know they will not be receiving one in return. Or if they choose to be petty, they still have 10 days to return your gifts. Consider bringing over some games or fun activities to share so the attention is off the fact that you dind’t bring gifts and remind your family that holidays are really about sharing time together and relaxing.Answer by Susan E
There’s probably many ways you can do it. I personally chose the following way when the family (I have 4 siblings) started growing with marriages and the birth of nieces and nephews, now great-nieces and nephews and my own grandchildren. I make a charitable donation (listing everyone in my family as donors) to a local family-oriented charity – either a safe shelter for women and kids fleeing violent homes; or a school lunch program for inner city kids; or a library program for immigrant children to learn to read, etc. The charity sends me a receipt and I send a Christmas card to each of my family members with a copy of the receipt and I write on it: “A donation has been made in your name to the following charity—————–” Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.” Nobody has ever complained about it. All of us keep the commercial part of Christmas contained in our own homes – i.e. parents buy for their own children and grandchildren only – not the nieces and nephews or their adult siblings. That allows each family to spend or not spend, according to their beliefs. For me, it feels great to give to a charity that helps families who have nothing, and it completely deletes the hassle and stress of trying to buy for 15 nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. This could be a way to announce to your family that your Christmas $ $ are going in a different direction, but that your family members will still be receiving the “gift” of giving to someone else in their name.Answer by ANDREW
Buy them something small…
The happiness is great…
Give them your love forever and ever and ever more
GOD AND JESUS TOLD ME I AM THE HOLY SPIRIT
AMANAnswer by napalm_jane
Just tell them you will no longer be buying christmas gifts as it is hard times right now. People should give gifts because they want to, not because they expect something in return.Answer by Daver
<<For years now gift for anyone.>>
So you’re using your nephews/cousins rudeness to justify your own?
And that proves what, exactly?
In the interest of being polite, this year POLITELY solicit a “thank you” from your nephews and counsins. That would be the constructive thing to do.
<<On the big buy them gifts?>>
No, of course it wouldn’t be kosher to accept gifts from people when you didn’t buy for them!
Seriously, the POLITE & CONSTRUCTIVE thing to do would be to solicit a “thank you” from people you buy gifts for, rather than not buying anything at all.
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