Do you like exchanging gifts for Christmas?

With all of the other holiday-themed threads I thought I’d start my own as well.

I like buying gifts for people. But this could be because I keep my gift list very short. My coworkers agreed a couple of years ago that we would only exchange ornaments, which works fine for me - I pick an ornament that sort of suits each of their personalities, and it’s $5-$10 (usually on the lower end of that scale) and I have a tiny office, so…

I only buy for a very few of my friends, and if I am buying you a gift, it’s because I really love you and want to give you one and not because I am obligated.

As for my SO’s family, for years he just assumed the position of the second son and gave them all money. Now that I am in the picture I have happily taken over the gift-buying and wrapping roles. Especially since there are three young children in the family now and it is so much fun to see them open the gifts, but even for the cousins. And amongst the adults, we just give one item per family, so like a box of cookies or some such.

My own family no longer celebrates Christmas and hasn’t since I grew up.

So this year I am giving out less than 20 gifts altogether, and out of those, 5 are ornaments, and 5 are going to be for families, so very little choice involved - just pick the basket of goodies that appeals to me the most.

When I hear about other people who have to buy dozens of gifts I sympathize with them and understand why they hate it so.

So. Do you guys like or hate gift-giving? I know there are people on either sides of the fence on this issue.

Love it! I know I’ll be the odd one out here on the Dope, though, or at least in this thread.

It’s fun, I enjoy looking for good gifts for people, and the people I get gifts for appreciate it. I’m almost done my shopping this year, I just need one more thing for my dad.

I also like surprises, so getting gifts is always fun, of course.

I’m torn.

I like finding that one perfect thing for someone, and seeing their face light up when they open it. That’s priceless. I especially like it if I hear them make some offhand comment about a certain item and I can go back later and get it for them.

OTOH I hate shopping with a passion. I’d rather take a beating than set foot in the mall. (Internet shopping solves some of that for me.) And I hate picking things off a list for someone - it feels forced (although sometimes that is simpler than wracking my brain for something to give).

I don’t like recieving gifts, though. I suspect it’s rooted in whatever it is that makes me dislike compliments. I don’t want attention drawn to me.

I don’t like it at all. I asked my family for years not to buy me presents, but they didn’t stop until I had kids. Now the kids get th presents, and I get ignored as I should.

This has become the policy in both my wife’s and my own extended families. Presents are given only to children. It takes a lot of pressure off the adults. It’s still fun to pick out stuff for the kids, and see what a blast they have on Christmas morning, the money saved from not shopping for adults allows for more swag for the kids, and there’s no expectations that adults have to give each other anything or waste any time thinking about it.

Sometimes my wife and I will get each other something small, but not always.

I love buying gifts, but often spend a lot of time trying to think of “the right” things to get for people. Things they will actually use or like. I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when I’ve succeeded.

I partially agree with NinetyWt - I usually don’t like receiving gifts. But for me I think it’s the disappointment in realizing how little my family really understands who I am.

So I just focus on the gift giving instead :slight_smile:

Bah humbug. If it were up to me, there would be no gifts. But I don’t live in a cabin in the Montana wilderness, so I give in to familial expectations. The only thing I hate more than shopping for gifts is dealing with other people shopping for gifts. Thank Og for online shopping - it gets easier (to avoid felony battery) every year.

I really like getting gifts for people, and I don’t mind receiving them. I do hate that gift-giving creates this obligation in a lot of people’s minds. Like, my mom told me and my siblings a few years ago that she didn’t like the idea of only exchanging gifts amongst the children (her grandchildren) because “we need to get each other gifts, that’s what Christmas is about.” Really, Mom? Christmas is about buying someone a random present off their Amazon wishlist just because the calendar ticked over to Dec. 25? That irks me. I’d rather just have some fun picking out presents for people without this obligation hanging over my head. That’s how my husband’s family does it. Some years we get presents from his brothers or sister, and some years we don’t. It depends on whether that year they found something they wanted to get us or not. No big deal.

And while I am on the topic of my mom (and people similar to her), I really despise being harassed to update my online wishlist. I sometimes wonder how these people functioned before the Internet. Every year in mid-November, I start getting frantic emails from her that I have to update my wishlist and the kids’ wishlists so that she knows what to get us for Christmas. For the kids, fine. But for me? Seriously, I’m in my 30s, but I feel like a toddler going and making a Christmas list for Santa, the way my mom acts. It is as though without an online wishlist, she is completely and totally incapable of getting gifts for anyone. And being harassed constantly about my damn wishlist does not put me into a festive spirit. If you do this to a loved one, I beg you to please stop it.

OK, this turned into kind of a lengthy rant about my mom, I see. Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!

I like giving gifts. Christmas is just an excuse to do it.

LOL - mom’s have a habit of doing that to us. My problem is that when I put things on there, I feel selfish for asking.

I miss the days of getting knitted mittens and socks. I loved those.

I don’t really like it. I’m an adult, I make decent enough money, if I want something I can get it, or put it off and budget for it. If it’s an expensive splurge that I can’t justify, then no one I know should be buying that for me. For the family I buy gifts for, I live far enough away that I don’t know if they already have a certain something, or if they’re still interested in some topic they used to like.

Plus, I have a lot of stuff. Enough to make my house mildly cluttered due to too much stuff and issues with organizing it. I have a dust allergy so knick-knacks are not my thing. Don’t like jewelry, rarely wear perfume, can and do make my own lotions and soaps and scrubs.

My sister has had a good idea about our exchange but I find out that there are often issues in carrying it to fruition. She tends to ask for general, consumable things like “a fruity liqueur” or “a big canister of cocoa-powdered almonds” or “a container of mixed dried fruit”. Only problem is that the cocoa-powdered almonds in a big canister seem to be an Emerald brand product carried exclusively (around here) by Sam’s Club, which I don’t have a membership to. I got two smaller containers from Trader Joe’s instead. Or last year, trying to find a variety of coffee that she’d never had before (to open up new possibilities for her) that was whole bean, very dark roast, and was fair-trade. Or dried fruit coated in very dark chocolate. :smack: She’s got the right idea but some of her picks are really tough to find once you try!

I shouldn’t complain too much. At least my inlaws reined in the insane overconsumption spending spree that Christmas had become on that side. It was crazy. My husband has several siblings, and there are 4 nieces/nephews involved as well as my father-in-law and mother-in-law. We would draw names for “Secret Santa” but that just ended up meaning that your choice would get an even bigger present than everyone else. :smack: You’d have to bring all your presents in using multiple shopping bags, and then haul out a ton of received presents in those same bags. Meanwhile we all spent way too much money, and times got really tough. Fortunately a couple of years ago, right after the gift exchange, a couple of the siblings started taking their other siblings aside, and everyone agreed that enough was enough. We do Secret Santa with a decent maximum cost limit (and people act like “little elves” and let the giver know of some good ideas for the recipient), and people can give what they want to nieces/nephews and the FIL/MIL. Any other gifts should be handmade and worth $5 or less - cookies, homemade bath scrubs, whatever.

This year I started adding donations in my name to a charity among other things on the requested wish list, especially the Greater Chicago Ferret Association (they run a ferret-only shelter, and foster out sick ferrets with the provision that they will pay for vet bills, so they always need money). Last year among other gifts I knit a bear in my mother’s name for the Mother Bear Project and let her see the teddy bear, and gave her a pamphlet talking about the good they do, before shipping it out. I told her that I wanted an orphan somewhere to experience some of her love. :slight_smile: This year I’m trying to compile a big collection of family tree pages into some kind of sensible book for her - she never knew much about her family’s family tree as her father, especially, said he didn’t know/remember much, but I’m kind of at a standstill and need to kickstart myself again.

I like it, though I tend to enjoy the giving more than the getting. My family is, for the most part, fairly easy to shop and/or craft for. I specially like making gifts, because there’s very little I enjoy more than designing and making something special for someone I love. We don’t spend a buttload of money, and I don’t make myself crazy trying to find the absolute perfect show-stopping gift, so it’s ultimately pretty low stress.

The getting gifts, though, kind of bothers me. No, let me rephrase that–people wanting to know what I want bothers me, because I often have trouble thinking of anything I particularly want. I have pretty basic wants and needs, and they’re all pretty much covered. If I haven’t bought something I’d like to have, it’s because I don’t want it badly enough to get off my ass and buy it, or else because it’s expensive. In either case, it’s not really something you feel right asking someone to buy you.

I love giving gifts. I give people gifts all throughout the year - seriously.

But a few years ago I went on a debt-free binge, to get myself out of debt, and basically declared myself poor. Then when I thought about it, I realized that EVERYONE in the family was poor. Except for the ones who aren’t, who do the whole “don’t buy me anything/I don’t need anything/if I want something for myself I just buy it” spiel.

Both sides of the family decided to do $10 “grab bag” gifts. I hated that with a passion, too. I didn’t want a meaningless gift, I didn’t want a tchotchke to collect dust in my house, and I didn’t want all the poor people in my family spending $10 on crap.

Last year I proposed a moratorium on gifts to everyone. You were free to get your spouse a gift and whomever you needed to gift at work or whatever, but at the family gatherings there’d be no gifts.

At the one family gathering, we each put $10 into a pot and played a game. The winner of the game got to take the money in the pot and give it to his/her charity of choice. Just like a gameshow.

I loved it loved it loved it. I love giving money to charity and I love playing games. It was also interesting to see what charity everyone chose. No one had to buy any gifts and no one had to figure out what to do with the crap “grab bag” gift they may have gotten.

I enjoy not having to wrack my brain to find the right gift for someone. It’s to the point where I could easily drop $1000 or more on my parents, brother and SIL. I can’t be trusted to buy gifts, really.

This year I’m having to remind people there are no more gifts. It’s making my grumbly. I hate that Christmas makes me grumbly :frowning:

I agree with Khadaji. I love giving gifts, don’t mind the shopping, but loathe the wrapping. If I could just skip that step all together, than my Christmas would be complete.

I’m torn. I love buying and giving presents to people but I can’t afford to get gifts for everyone under the sun, so I get gifts for my immediate family, my aunt and uncle, my SO’s immediate family, and my work secret santa. This year since we are trying to pay for a wedding and stuff we decided to limit ourselves to $20 or less per gift. This works well for us and we were hoping we could stick to the budget, but:

My work sent out a notice that we are to spend around $30 for our secret santa.

Then there are going to be emergency cookies and stuff for people who give me a gift that I wasn’t expecting.

Then there are all the people you have to tip (mailman, super, doorman, etc.)

Then there is the bitching about the gifts…my parents hate everything I’ve ever sent them so now they are just getting gift cards. My brother forgets to give me a gift more often than not but my mom would just flip out if he and I stopped exchanging gifts, so I still have to get him something or my mom would cry. At least two people who send a gift to me will take great pains to tell me how thin they have stretched their budget for the month and make sure it is clear how much of a financial hardship the holidays have been so that the gifts bring along a heaping serving of guilt.

I love giving and receiving gifts but I wish it didn’t come with all the extra crap that goes along with it.

Hate it. Spend time with your family and enjoy each other; that’s an ideal holiday without throwing a bunch of ritual chores into it.

I love wrapping presents. I’m actually kind of good at it.

I like it. I like buying them, giving them, getting them, wrapping them. Everyone can tell when I’m the one who wrapped a present; it’s always the fanciest and hardest to open thanks to all the ribbons and tape.

I’m good on the wrapping thing. :slight_smile:

Why wrap it at all if you’re not going to get fancy? I love wrapping and making bows. If you do it right, at least several people will be wearing them on their heads by the end of the evening.

An aunt of mine outshines us all in the bow area, though. Her presents look like Martha Stewart wrapped them, except they’re not soaked in evil.

I like it as long as it’s strictly controlled! It’s a time when enough is too much.

For the majority of folks, I make chocolates. Chocolates are my Christmas thing (and if I may say so, I am very good at it). So if you are my friend or co-worker or BIL or anything, you are getting a box of assorted chocolates like what you would get from See’s with a seal that says “Hand-Made Candy” because otherwise people tend to think that it’s from the store.

Happily in our family we agreed years ago that only children get presents from extended family. I think this goes a long way towards making gift-giving pleasant and not torture–most of my friends who hate the gifts are ones whose families refuse to agree to limits (and then call you names if you don’t go along with it). So I like to sew small presents for my nieces and nephews–this year it’s fun pillowcases because I’m more pressed for time than usual.

That leaves only our parents and college-age sisters to get presents for, besides our own kids. This can be tricky with the in-laws, because in the past I’ve tried to get them nice, useful gifts for their home (towels, bookcase, etc.–they are poor). This year we are pretty broke too so both sets of parents get a lovely hand-framed photo of our kids! :smiley: Hey, my mom asked for it.