Dad and I have mixed feelings about Christmas. He was raised Jewish, I was raised Catholic, but we’re not really either. I put a menorah in the window during Hannukah and cajole Dad into making latkes – because I really like them, and I put up a tree and lights – because I like the lights. We’re relatively bah humbug about the rest of the holiday though (except the days off work part).
We don’t spend a lot of money for the holiday. I do a lot of baking for people – because I like to bake and people always appreciate my baked goods, so I spend a bit more on groceries between November and January, but we don’t really spend a lot on presents. I budget about $25/mth throughout the year for presents (all year long, not just Christmas presents), and that’s about the max we spend. We bought several toys last spring for Daughter Person when they were on sale, and those have been divi-ed up between Christmas and her birthday in late January. I bought Dad’s present around October, early November, and I’m pretty sure Dad has gotten something for me. I bought a $50 gift card for Grammy to a store she loves to spend money in, and we’ll be out another $50 for the “family” gift exchange ($25 each). We’ve spent about $400 throughout the year on presents.
I don’t particularly like receiving “things” as gifts – if I really wanted it (and I could afford it), I’d just buy it myself. Problem is, if I can’t afford it, neither can Dad, and neither can the rest of the family. I’d rather get experiences – theater tickets, a weekend away, etc. Dad knows this, and is generally very accommodating about it – the rest of the family, not so much. My mom almost always buys me a new shirt or two, which is useful, and we have the same tastes in shirts, so it works out well. But I almost always come home with more stuff than I need (or want) and then have to either take the time to return it (if possible) or otherwise dispose of it.
How do you handle buying gifts for people or asking them to not buy you gifts?
Whoops, my last comment deleted! Anyhow, I was just noting that I wish our budget was more like yours. We spend way too much on gifts, and get too many in return. But I’m giving up on trying to change tradition…we’ve conceded defeat!
It took a lot of doing and a lot of disapproving looks. We’re relatively lucky in that we have very small families (8 people living in addition the three of us), so that helps to start with. Then someone (not us) suggested the pick a name from a hat scheme to allow (now deceased) grandpa to spend less money on gifts. Could you suggest something similar? Then you only have to buy 1-2 gifts each and everyone is happy.
This is my eternal fight. I ask everyone not to buy gifts for me, but it just doesn’t work. I must say thought that I enjoy buying gifts, but only when not forced to. Here is an example:
A relative of mine blows glass. A couple years ago, Mrs. 1500 saw some of her work and loved it. A couple weeks ago, a facebook post reminded me of my glassblower cousin and I bought a vase for my wife. If I hadn’t stumbled across the facebook post, Mrs, 1500 would be getting nothing from me and she wouldn’t care. I don’t think I’m getting anything from her and I don’t care either. It just seems like we’ve outgrown it. It is a bit strange, but we’re completely comfortable with all of it.
If I can’t think of something Dad would appreciate, I get him a card at least. Usually, I pay enough attention throughout the year to figure out something he would like. 🙂