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Christmas Presents - stupid problem

  • 13-12-2020 11:33pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭


    Not even a problema s such.

    I find it very stressful buying presents. I hate it and I've noone really to lean on to help me think up gifts and/or budgets for gifts.

    My mother has been giving off to me about buying presents and paying too much. There are 5 children (cousins kids) and I spent about €20 on each of them. She said I shouldn't have started giving them presents and then I would not be in this problem and I'll have it always as an issue. She said I should be spending no more than €10 on them.

    It is stressing me out as I've done nothing yet and time is ticking by making it more and mroe stressful for me.

    Have I made a mistake giving them gifts and what is a suitable budget? The kids are too young to understand and I'm struggling to think of anything. My siblings spouse has bought them all agifts and I felt that I had to do so too. However, it is stressing me out plus the arguments with my mother over the gifts and amounts is not good for me as I do not handle stress/pressure well.

    What do I do here and for future years?
    TIA.


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Comments

  • Administrators Posts: 13,437 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips


    I don't buy presents for nieces and nephews, never mind cousins' children!

    I'm sure you could speak to the parents and tell them you're cutting back this year. I don't think they EXPECT presents. Families also tend to only get bigger. So every year there's likely to be more people to buy for.

    Put a stop to it this year. Adopt an animal from the zoo in their name if you want to do one last thing. It also breaks the cycle of handing over a physical present.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 96 ✭✭atr2002


    Kids that we buy presents for started with Smith's vouchers then when they hit about 12, we gave them pavilions vouchers.

    Kids are delighted to have a "credit card" and it's win win as they can pick out what they're actually into and not what you think is thoughtful.. and they get more bang for their buck in January.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,788 ✭✭✭ztoical


    Book tokens for everyone, job done.

    Going forward to speak to the adults about who should get present from whom. My family it was agreed each Aunt/Uncle would only get a gift for their godchild and no one else. If you don't see these kids often/have little interaction with them its fine to not get them anything.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,210 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx


    This year is the ideal year to call a halt, especially if it's stressful for you.

    It's not really your mother's business, tbh, unless she is the one funding the presents. As has been suggested, either go the voucher route, if you want to keep it going, or drop it completely.

    You probably won't see the children this Christmas anyway, with the restrictions, so it's easy to just let it drop.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,799 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith


    No one wants you stressing over it. It's very generous of you to be putting so much thought into it. I think vouchers/money are a great idea this year - it's what we're doing too.get the vouchers, spend what you're comfortable with (it's no one else's business), the job will be done and you can sit back and relax.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,287 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard


    I couldn't even tell you which of my cousins have kids. No way in hell would I be buying them presents. So tbh, unless you are *incredibly* close to your cousins, I think your mother has a point.

    As others have said, this is the year to put a stop to it - if you want. If they're as young as they sound, they won't even notice.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭miezekatze


    I wouldn't give anything to a cousin's kids either. It's not really any of your mother's business who you give presents though, so if you want to give something then do. If you want to put a stop to it, maybe mention to your cousin that you won't be able to get presents for their kids anymore (in case they would be expecting something - if not then just don't get anything). In my family the 'presents from godparents only' rule was also agreed on once there were too many kids around, I think 5 kids are too many to get presents for.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,032 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken


    There came a stage where I just stopped buying for neices and nephews and for siblings.
    Once people get to a certain age, 18 maybe present giving is too difficult and expensive imo.

    What can someone buy for teens/young adults that isn't just tat?

    If you really want to give something give them some money in a card. What you give us your business. If you can afford and want to give 20 then grand. If not, then 10 is good too.

    Present giving shouldn't be a hassle.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    Hello and thankyou for all the replies.

    The problem I have is that I am close to some of them and am a godparent to a little boy from one of the families so I get that family something.
    I felt bad about getting gifts for one family and not the others - plus my siblings spouse is a big Christmas lover and got them all gifts so I felt obliged to do so too.
    It's not the financial side of it, purely the stress of thinking up something for them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,377 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12


    Is your mother going out and working for the money in your pocket? If the answer is no she has no say about what you spend or who you spend it on.

    Id be similar in that every year I say im not going to spend loads of money on people and every year I do the exact opposite. I know my father is going to hand me 50 euro on Christmas day like he does every year, yet I still ended up spending nearly 200 euro on gifts for him and be broke until the end of January. I will never learn.

    If finding the right gifts for them is bothering you try not put so much pressure on yourself. Ive realised over the years that you can stress and worry over getting someone the right gift but they will be just as grateful if youd bought them a pair of socks.

    Keep in mind You dont have to buy them anything, youre doing it because you want to and because youre nice enough to think of them. I dont think its common for aunties and uncles to spend loads or buy nice gifts for nieces and nephews. A 10 euro phone credit or money in a card is more than enough.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,706 ✭✭✭zoobizoo


    HEy OP - don't be stressing.

    The book token was a great suggestion although you could equally pick them up a book each for under a tenner.


  • Registered Users Posts: 539 ✭✭✭Teach30


    I’m in agreement with your mother, there was perhaps no need to start giving them presents in the first place and now your stuck in a cycle of feeling pressure to get them something. If I were you I’d switch up and give one thing to each household eg a tin of biscuits for them to share.

    Every year I inevitable receive cheap, useless gifts from my sister in law that I have absolutely no use for. Awful Hair bands, itchy socks, hot water bottle cover, a child’s lunch bag...! the list goes on. She just buys whatever is convenient and I have no time for that. She’s only suiting herself and making herself feel good, no actual thought goes into the gift. For people such as myself who detest cheap tat, cash is preferable, voucher at a stretch. Or that sharing box of sweets/cheese board etc is far more welcome. For younger age group a family board game maybe?

    Anyways this is the year to get out of the cycle and save yourself future years of hassle.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,751 ✭✭✭mirrorwall14


    There’s a lot to be said for just getting them all a selection box tbh. My kids love them. They can be doled out by mammies if they are conscious of the sweet tooth. They are inexpensive and something they don’t get all year. That was the most we ever got as kids. Maybe a tin of sweets per household or a selection box each if we were lucky


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,371 ✭✭✭✭rainbowtrout


    Don't stress yourself out getting stuff for your cousin's kids. I don't even know the names of my cousins kids for the most part. The selection boxes are a good shout. It's a small token and sets the bar for future years if you choose to continue with gifts. You might think the selection boxes aren't worth much but kids see them differently, it's a heap of chocolate that they will eat.


  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite


    A lot of parents don't actually want their kids to get too much. I don't. I want Christmas to be about more than the haul they get.

    So here no aunts /uncles buy for my son except his godmother and godfather. One gift from each set of Grandparents, and one from mum and dad, and he's allowed to ask santa for one main present, and a surprise - and honestly, that's loads - it all adds up!

    What you could do is be the auntie that does something with them at Christmas - Like, what about getting the stuff together to build a gingerbread house (you do the baking / assembly if they are very young and let the kids go nuts with icing and jelly tots thus giving the parents an afternoon to do certain types of shopping they can't do with little eyes around. Or a Christmas movie matinee with all the trimmings. Older kids you could bring ice skating or cinema.

    Obviously this year you'd need to obey covid rules but you could do a nice tradition rather than gifts with them after this year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,287 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard


    Keep in mind You dont have to buy them anything, youre doing it because you want to and because youre nice enough to think of them. I dont think its common for aunties and uncles to spend loads or buy nice gifts for nieces and nephews. A 10 euro phone credit or money in a card is more than enough.

    They're not even her nieces and nephews, though, they're her cousins' kids.

    Gift giving can be a really awful trap to fall into because you end up in a cycle where both parties feel obliged to keep it up. I lived with my sister for years and she started a "tradition" (I consider it a nonsense) where we started doing gifts for the neighbours on both sides, plus their kids as they started coming along. She moved home this year and I'm left in a position where I'm like "Is this really necessary???" I really like my neighbours and would have always happily dropped over a bottle of wine but it grew legs over the years as their families expanded. Meanwhile my sister and I were both single and I suspect they're a bit morto at the disparity that's grown over the years, one that's even more glaring this year that it's just me.

    I think the selection box shout is a good one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭LegacyUser


    They are very young 2 - 3, so selection box is no good.

    I'm totally stressing out about this. I woke at about 5am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep.
    I wish I took my mothers advice about giving a lower value gift all round as I now feel I've set the bar high and need to maintain it.

    I just feel soo stupid to be getting so wound up about this. TBH, the kids probably won't know/realise much about the gifts but I'm stressing soo much. I hate the idea though of buying something that won't be used or liked - I hate waste.

    I know there are so many in worse positions than me. I have always had a problem with decision making and this is another manifestation of it. I am seriously making myself ill about this due to interrupted sleep.

    I feel so stupid. We are not a 'christmassy' family. I asked my mum for help and she told me off for starting the 'tradition' and that I should give them something small. I just don't know what and it is wrecking my head. I'm now sulking with my mum over this too. It's not healthy. :(


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,287 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard


    Yeah I think perhaps this is indicative of bigger issues, OP. This level of stress and overthinking about presents for toddlers is not good.

    If they're that young I say nip the gift-giving in the bud now and think no more of it.

    For your godchild, birthday presents are enough, imo, you don't need to do Christmas too


  • Administrators Posts: 13,437 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips


    OP, seriously, stop.

    The children are too young to know. Contact the parents. Tell them you are cutting back on gifts this year. Trust me, as a parent I'd much prefer NOT to get stuff from others. Not only does it put pressure on the gift giver, if/when you have children it then puts pressure on those parents to pick up gifts for the children in your family (as well as their own children's Santy stuff!)

    People are usually relieved when someone calls a halt to the ever growing gift giving!

    Buy for your Godchild and leave it at that


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,981 ✭✭✭Caranica


    How about a house gift, a shared toy, board game etc? My sisters have decided that only Santa is bringing toys to individual kids this year so have pjs and books for the niblings. But also got a board game for each house.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 389 ✭✭the14thwarrior


    i'm with your mother.
    stop while you can
    buy for the godchild.
    the other children have their own godparents

    or else make a determined effort to make it easy and cheap
    selection boxes for all
    a book voucher for all
    a cinema pass for all

    it does not get easier when they grow up, only harder
    and you run the risk of more cousins childrens be born, and your own and it will become harder and harder to stop

    its madness.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,377 ✭✭✭Airyfairy12


    They are very young 2 - 3, so selection box is no good.

    I'm totally stressing out about this. I woke at about 5am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep.
    I wish I took my mothers advice about giving a lower value gift all round as I now feel I've set the bar high and need to maintain it.

    I just feel soo stupid to be getting so wound up about this. TBH, the kids probably won't know/realise much about the gifts but I'm stressing soo much. I hate the idea though of buying something that won't be used or liked - I hate waste.

    I know there are so many in worse positions than me. I have always had a problem with decision making and this is another manifestation of it. I am seriously making myself ill about this due to interrupted sleep.

    I feel so stupid. We are not a 'christmassy' family. I asked my mum for help and she told me off for starting the 'tradition' and that I should give them something small. I just don't know what and it is wrecking my head. I'm now sulking with my mum over this too. It's not healthy. :(

    I read your initial post wrong, thought this was for nieces and nephews, not cousins children.
    OP your family wont think any less of you for not buying expensive gifts. Its hard but try to challenge yourself this year to not go overboard. Go into pennys and buy them cheap socks and pajamas, the kids wont care and the parents will probably be delighted with that.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,210 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx


    Dial Hard wrote: »
    Yeah I think perhaps this is indicative of bigger issues, OP. This level of stress and overthinking about presents for toddlers is not good.

    If they're that young I say nip the gift-giving in the bud now and think no more of it.

    For your godchild, birthday presents are enough, imo, you don't need to do Christmas too

    This was pretty much what I thought when I read the thread.
    Look for help for your stress and anxiety, OP.

    It's certainly not worth stressing yourself over, and rowing with your mother. By all means, continue buying something for your godchild.
    As pp said, others in the family have their own godparents.

    For nieces and nephews, I generally ask parents what would be the best thing to buy, and they are happy to point me in the right direction, be it a present, or vouchers / cash, as they get older.

    As for cousins children, I don't even know them, much less buy gifts for them.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 83 ✭✭PopZiggy


    Sign up for amazon prime, type in presents for x year old boy/girl, have a browse. Order them (colouring boots, sticker books etc) and they will arrive in a couple days. Job done, enjoy your Xmas.

    If the mother has said no more than a tenner then she has reasonable expectations.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,172 ✭✭✭cannotlogin


    There are so many stresses in life we cannot control. In contrast this one is self inflicted and as others have mentioned, there is no way this should be costing you sleep or this level of anxiety.

    Deal with it tomorrow. Head to the supermarket and get a load of selection boxes. Cheap and chocolate is always appreciated by kids. If you don't consider that enough, then add in a family board game or something small they can share.

    By doing this you break the cycle and can rinse and repeat annually.

    Go easy on yourself, this is not worth stressing yourself out over. Please don't do it, it's not worth it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,032 ✭✭✭Rubberchikken


    It's really not worth the stress you're putting yourself under.
    Is there something else bothering you? I realise you want to do right by these kids but they aren't going to be unhappy with whatever you give them. Kids on Christmas morning are so excited about santa having called that sometimes they need to have other gifts pointed out to them:)

    If they don't get something from someone I doubt they give it any thought.


  • Administrators Posts: 13,437 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips


    now feel I've set the bar high and need to maintain it.

    This is the kind of madness that gets people stuck in a cycle of buying, and then drags others into the cycle. Do your cousins buy gifts for you, because you buy for their children? As the family expands and more children arrive it also set the bar for others to buy for these children because they buy for others or they have been the recipient of gifts for years etc.

    Let your sister in law do her own thing. You don't need to follow. Trust me when I say this AS A PARENT I much prefer not to get gifts from loads of people for my children. My children don't need a lot of stuff. And when they get a lot of stuff they tend not to show the appreciation they should. Gifts for the sake of giving gifts are gifts that usually end up in a corner and then the parents need to find somewhere to store yet more "stuff".

    This is something that is affecting you really badly. Affecting your relationship with those closest to you, and yet you are unwilling to address it and put a stop to it. What do you think will be the parents' reaction if you text them this year and say you are cutting back? (if the children are all 3 and under then they haven't a clue about anything yet!) Are you worried about the reaction from the parents?

    You're not a parent, yet. Trust me - The less "stuff" coming in to your house the better. The less people you feel indebted to for bringing "stuff" into your house the better. Text them all today. Buy something for your Godchild if you wish.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,788 ✭✭✭ztoical


    OP its crazy you are waking up at night stressing about this! This isn't even a long standing tradition if the kids are only 2/3. Just stop, I wouldn't even say anything to anyone, you got them something when born grand now move on. Maybe speak to your GP to get some support groups for anxiety

    If you must must must get something 5euro max book token is plenty for a 2 year old!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,695 ✭✭✭December2012


    So I have a few kids. No siblings on one side of the family, but the granny always buys them loads (despite us gently asking her not to).
    On the other side, no grandparents, but a few siblings, and generally they always buy the kids something.
    Which means that my children end up with loads of stuff, which in theory seems good. But actually I can see that it ultimately stresses the children out. We have an average sized house, and when we try to do our clear outs and our declutters, I can see the stress that the children go through in getting rid of stuff that has been given to them by somebody they know. And they feel so much better when they eventually get rid of the stuff.
    Less is more.
    Leave it to the parents / Santa to sort out gifts.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 728 ✭✭✭bertiebomber


    Forced merriment forced food forced happiness just say NO and dont give anyone anything. You will be surprised how little they notice. Everyone behaves like sheep at Xmas you dont have to do anything in life except pay taxes and die. Thats its stop with the presents anyone who is nasty to you about this was a c nut anyway.


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