How to say "Please don't give me any more gifts"

My niece and nephew gave me gifts yesterday as they have in the past. She just got her first job this year, he’s a sophomore in college. Neither of them has much money to speak of, and I really hate to think of them using lunch money or gas money to buy my a present.

My niece had called my daughter and asked what to get me, and my daughter had told her she really shouldn’t. But I got boxes from each of them.

So, when I send them thank-you notes, to I ask them to please not worry about gifting me? Do I talk to my sister (their mother) and ask her to tell them? Do I just not say anything?

I know it’s the thought that counts, but it’s pretty clear from what they choose that they really don’t know much about me, and I feel like they’re buying something out of a sense of obligation. I’m leaning towards saying something to my sister…

And as an aside, do you or have you ever given gifts to aunts/uncles/cousins?

What’s wrong with saying “Please don’t give me any more gifts”?

Aside from its mindboggling ineffectiveness?

Seriously, I told everyone not to get me gifts this year. Didn’t work. Now, lest you think that this is the first time I’ve tried this, it’s not. Never works.

FairyChatMom, I would go straight to the kids (who aren’t really kids anymore) and just say “I very much appreciate the thought, but I don’t need anything. I have a house full of stuff, and I’d rather think of you using that time, money, and energy to do something nice for yourselves or your parents.”

Yeah, I’d go from the stuff angle. Saying I don’t want any gifts just makes it more attractive to give one because they’re not expecting it and therefore it’s from the heart and not just an obligation.

Yeah? I’ve told people not to give me any gifts, and it works usually. There are levels.

Conversations with people who it’s obvious are giving out of obligations usually go one of two ways.
*Me: Please don’t give me any gifts.
Obligated Gifter: Really?
Me: Yeah, seriously, I don’t want anything. We’ll just not exchange gifts.
OG: Okay.
It used to go to that one way only, but people aren’t kidding when they say talking Midwestern is a whole different language. You have to refuse something that the person wasn’t really interested in giving you anyway 100,000 times before “no” is accepted to mean “no.”

Me: Please don’t give me any gifts.
OG: Really? I don’t mind at all.
Me: I do. Seriously, I don’t want anything this year.
OG: (Clearly full of it) …Okay…
Me: I’m not kidding. Please don’t get me anything.
OG: You don’t want anything at all?
Me: No. This is not even a holiday that I really celebrate. I don’t like stuff, I don’t want anything, I literally own every single thing that I want. I mainly get involved because my parents like it. Do not spend your money getting me something I do not want or need, when it can be better spent. Please do not get me anything.
OG: (Possibly weirded out? Or relieved?) All right.

Conversations with friends or other people who know me a bit go differently.
Me: Please don’t give me any gifts.
Friend/Relative: Yeah?
Me: Yeah, I don’t really want anything.
F/R: You sure?
Me: You know me. I don’t really like stuff, so let’s just not get each other anything.
F/R: All right, cool.

There are some people, of course, who will never listen. “Some people” being my mom, but if you make it clear you’re not just being polite, it should work.

You know, if they were artsy or crafty and gave me something they made, that would be great. But another candle or box of candy is just a generic fallback, and I’d rather they spent the money on a treat for themselves.

Maybe if I tell each of them, and later mention it to their mom and my mom, it’ll filter down and they’ll get the point.

I never gave gifts to aunts and uncles, except when my one aunt let me use her house several times as a convenient halfway crash point between college and home. I bought her some pretty bath towels as a thank-you. But birthdays or holidays? Nope. Heck, for the last couple of decades, my sibs and I have quit exchanging. For the “stuff” reason.

I don’t currently buy gifts for any of my aunts/uncles or cousins. However, my children do give gifts (bought by me, of course) to their godparents who are all my sisters and their partners. Also, they only have 3 cousins at this point so they exchange gifts too. Whether this will hold up into adulthood, who knows? It seems as the family expands with more cousins and such, it reaches a point where it gets unwieldy.

As to how to say no more gifts, I think you shouldn’t. They obviously want to give you something, seeing as how they’re doing so even on a limited budget. So if you’re just worried about their expense, try and ask for something free in advance. For example–Hey, for my gift this year I want you to help me clean out my front closet. That lets them give you something you really do need and they feel as though their obligation to you is fufilled. Plus, you get time together and maybe someday when they can afford it again, they’ll know you well enough to get you something you really will like.

In our family we have an agreement that once someone is 18, they don’t get Christmas gifts except from parents/spouses/significant others. Maybe you could make a similar suggestion?

Best post in this thread.

When you think about it, there really isn’t a way to say “don’t give me any gifts” that sounds gracious. This is an excellent middle ground.

**belladonna **- unfortunately, I live more than 2 hours away from the rest of the family, which is why these two really don’t know me. For their whole lives, they’ve seen us maybe twice a year, and sometimes not even that much. And honestly, I don’t think they want to give me a gift out of any affection. I think they feel some sort of obligation, and I want to release them from that feeling.

The next step will be working on the sister who brags about buying gifts for everyone at the dollar store. The rest of us sibs agreed years ago to quit exchanging stuff, but this one sister loves to shop. Unfortunately, she’s the one who can least afford it, and frankly, while she has a good heart, that doesn’t change the fact that she buys junky stuff that no one wants. But stopping her is next to impossible…

Yanno, I much preferred the Christmas we spent with my inlaws where no gifts were exchanged. We just had a lovely dinner together and visited and talked about Christmas past. The time together was nicer than any sweater or appliance.

That, or raise your eyes heavenward in your best Darren McGavin imitation, and say, “A new furnace.”

Yeah, this. I just wanted to add that asking for no gifts because you think they can’t afford it is a bit insulting. Even if you don’t mean it that way, that may be the way the message is recieved. If you don’t want to ask them for help with something (though I think that’s actually a pretty good idea) ask for something useful but cheap. It’s not a good idea to make people feel they can’t do anything for you.

About ten years ago, I finally had it with Xmas gifts.

I told my family: no more gift exchanges with me. Period. End it.

Then…I stopped buying gifts. And for a few Christmases, family members who didn’t think I was serious kept buying me gifts. Hey, no problem. I said no exchanges. What they want to do beyond that is fine with me.

Now, no one buys me gifts. Ha…I finally got what I wanted! And I finally get what I want :slight_smile:

Send them a thank-you card but hold off on the “no gifts” until next November or something.

Tell them everything you want or need, you buy for yourself. And you don’t exchange gifts with adults, you only buy for kids. Suggest maybe you all get together sometime after Christmas and that would be a nice treat for everyone.

And, if you can get the whole family on board with no gift-giving, even better!

Ah, that does make it different.
My family is pretty much all here in town and it seems we live half our lives in each others houses. I often forget that not everyone is weird like that. :slight_smile:

This is easy to solve, people don’t necessarily feel a sense of obligation (though some do) but they want to feel a part of the Christmas season.

What you do in a case like this isn’t to say “no gifts.” What you do is let them know what gift you would like, and you make the gift a small very inexpensive gift.

So this way the giver winds up giving you a present, they “think” you want, 'cause you asked for it or they heard you talk about it. And this way they spend like $5.00 or $10.00 bucks on an inexpensive gift.

This way everyone is happy. You get a gift so they are happy and they didn’t spend much on you so you’re happy.

The idea isn’t to forbid them, but to redirect their interest toward the inexpensive

To my cousin Happy, on his wedding. The other cousins who got married notified me of the event but didn’t invite me, so no presents. Oh, and sometimes when traveling I’ve seen something that made me think of a specific cousin or aunt/uncle and I’ve bought it for them, but I think not a single one of those was over $5, and it definitely wasn’t any kind of obligation.

I’d speak with them first of all. Bring your sister in only if you see the message isn’t getting across or if you think she’s the one telling them they must buy you something.

There’s no gracious way to say, “Please don’t give me any more gifts” if you’ve already said it before.

If you’re really concerned about them spending their money on you, get them a gift card. Otherwise, accept the gift in the spirit it is given and let it go.

I concur on the timing. Saying this just after receiving one sounds like you hated the gift (even if you did, you don’t want them to know it).

I like the idea of adults not exchanging gifts or greatly ramping it back. When you earn your own money, every day is Christmas. I buy what I want, when I want it (as best as I’m able).

Here’s how to say it:
Please send all of my gifts to handsomeharry, with the receipts. Merry Christmas.
Crisis averted!