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Christmas with Adult Children

Christmas with Adult Children

Old 10-17-2014, 12:19 PM
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Default Christmas with Adult Children

How do you all handle gift giving in families with grown children? I have two grown daughters and their husbands and two grandchildren. That's it - not too many to shop for. Both my daughters are doctors and their husbands also make good money. The girls want to draw names this year in an effort to simplify things. I don't really see this as being complicated, especially since they both use my Amazon Prime account (no shipping fees) for their shopping. It's not like they are out battling crowds.

Anyway, I told them they could draw names among themselves if they choose to but that I would give each of my children (including SILs) and grandchildren gifts. I also told them I would be happy to limit myself in the number of gifts purchased for each person. I usually give them about 5 presents each but only one of those presents per person costs over $20. The rest are usually very small kitchen or shop gadgets - just things that I think they would truly enjoy but probably wouldn't buy for themselves. I have never given my grandchildren more than 3 gifts for Christmas or Birthday as I feel that the majority of presents should come from their own parents.

I also told them that they didn't have to purchase gifts for their father and I. We would be thrilled with their time helping to decorate or prepare for the meals or going to church with us the Sunday before Christmas. Or if they wanted, one of them could get their father a gift and one could get me something. And I pointed out to them that neither of us want anything expensive or physically large so wrapping and transporting shouldn't be a problem. I also told them if they want to put a $ limit or a # of packages limit on me that would probably be ok.

One of my daughters thinks I am being totally unreasonable. I don't see what's wrong with parents giving their children (grown or not) a few Christmas presents, especially if it gives us joy to do so.

So I'm curious, what does your family do about Christmas giving?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:50 PM
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Yikes! Sounds like you really enjoy Christmas shopping whereas your next generation does not.

Personally, I think giving 5 presents to each child and spouse (when both couples are obviously making lots of money) is too much, especially when 4 of the gifts are under $20. It makes for too much "stuff" after they are already able to purchase all the "stuff" they specifically want for themselves. It may make you feel good, but chances are it doesn't make them feel good. That's why I don't see the point of it. If it were me, I'd try to give each adult a meaningful gift that cost a bit more -- perhaps a handmade ornament or quilt for each adult.

I also personally think that grandparents giving each child 3 Christmas gifts is fine.

Our family eventually went the name-drawing route, which was a great relief to everyone. But, this was a much larger family than yours (3 brothers and sisters, about a dozen nieces and nephews -- you get the picture). After quite a few years of doing it this way, the big family get-together at Christmas died out. The family split up a bit, and parts of it get together, but I simply meet with two of my siblings and exchange gifts with them at Christmas time. My adult daughter is not married and does not have children; she and her boyfriend are of the belief that the more presents they get, the better! However, neither is a doctor and both live on very limited incomes (and are in college off and on). Totally different situation than yours.

Maybe you could compromise. Gifts they give to you could need to be the things you want; in exchange, you give only one gift to each adult child. They can do the name drawing amongst themselves.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:52 PM
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We stopped gift giving a few years back for the adults in my family. We take the money we would have spent and choose a different charity each year to donate to. We still all buy gifts for the children.
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:08 PM
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It could be that they have all the "stuff" they want and need - Maybe they think it's very difficult to get you anything meaningful -

However, in our family - which isn't very big - everyone felt major relief when the gift EXCHANGE was stopped.

Our kids had no idea of what to get for us - and everyone seemed too busy to contribute time/labor to anything.
Our kids are all around 50 - and they have no "need" for anything we can afford - what daughter wants is child supervision once in a while - but her kids are so booked up that it's hard to find a few minutes when they are unscheduled.

Perhaps your urge to give could be to transferred to adopt a needy family and dote on them. Maybe you could all go together and get someone "something special/needed" that he/she probably would not be able to get because they were poor. Like a new refrigerator or microwave oven -

I kind of understand that you feel that your parade is being rained on. You could go even one farther, and say "Good idea - no Christmas gifts for any family this year - We will do something special for ourselves with that money." You could "make it up" for birthday presents if you had severe gift giving withdrawals.

Do you (all) still get together during the winter holiday season? Maybe that's enough for the rest of the family?
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:39 PM
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I wanted to mention that one year my daughter's school "adopted" a very needy family for Christmas. My husband, daughter and I had a wonderful time shopping together for this family. It was actually more fun than usual because we didn't have to wrap all the gifts we bought (school volunteers took over that part).
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Old 10-17-2014, 01:42 PM
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In my family I have for the most part stopped exchanging gifts with my brother and sister. Sometimes I get my parents a gift card, but if they want something they usually buy it for themselves. It's nice and simple. My husbands family however is all about exchanging gifts. The problem is most of these folks are pretty well off and the presents in my price range (about $20) just doesn't work here. They kind of frown on gift cards because it's not really thoughtful, but I don't really spend a lot of time with them to know what would be inexpensive and "meaningful". The reality is they have all the stuff they could possible ever need or want. I'm not sure what happens to the gifts we give them because over the course of 25 years I have RARELY seen something we have given any of them around or used. There are about 10 people to buy for and it just stresses me out trying to find the perfect thoughtful gift for these people who I really don't spend time with other than the holidays. We have tried drawing names, but they all hated it so it went by the wayside. Once again as the holidays approach, my stress level rises over this issue. Last year we opted out because we just didn't have the $$ to do it, but we still receive gifts from them which makes it awkward. I'm already getting stressed out about this and it's still October. BTW I have baked for them, but my MIL & SIL both make cookies so if I give them more it's kind of overkill and my MIL quilts and my SIL is an amazing seamstress so I can't really give them quilts either. UGH!
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:02 PM
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my husband and me get his nephews gifts or gift cards. their parents are a dr. and a lawyer. I have a son from a previous marriage. We just got a condo and are barely getting by. they on the other hand, complain bout alot of things costing too much like summer camp all summer and the cost of a second car. we have 2 cars. they never give to my son, which i think isn't right. wht do you all think. We buy their 2 sons b'day and christmas gifts. my son get nada. This year, we can't afford to buy each other a gift. I made a promise with GOd if my son didn't have a disease that the drs. thought I'd buy a bike for a poor kid, so a poor kid is getting a very nice bike and accessories this year.
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:07 PM
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I give my grandkids 3 gifts each -- one of the 3 is socks because in our family socks means love. I will buy gifts for my kids and their spouses because they rarely get anything for themselves and it is one time I can pamper them. I would rather that they not spend any money on us -- if we want something bad enough we will buy it.
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:35 PM
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My kids decided that they wouldn't exchange names last year and that included the grandkids. We still give the kids money and the grandkids all get a Christmas ornament plus a small amount of money. We told the kids we didn't want anything as we can buy what we want and told them to spend the money on their kids.
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Old 10-17-2014, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by lynnie View Post
my husband and me get his nephews gifts or gift cards. their parents are a dr. and a lawyer. I have a son from a previous marriage. We just got a condo and are barely getting by. they on the other hand, complain bout alot of things costing too much like summer camp all summer and the cost of a second car. we have 2 cars. they never give to my son, which i think isn't right. wht do you all think. We buy their 2 sons b'day and christmas gifts. my son get nada. This year, we can't afford to buy each other a gift. I made a promise with GOd if my son didn't have a disease that the drs. thought I'd buy a bike for a poor kid, so a poor kid is getting a very nice bike and accessories this year.
Lynnie, tell them your heart is urging you to give to needy children, instead of sending the usual Christmas/birthday gifts. Then let that be it. Many children get very little, if anything, and will appreciate even the smallest gifts. Use up some scraps and make small stuffed animals or dolls. Another option is to make and give small gifts to residents in a nursing home. Many of those older people are all but forgotten, around the holidays. These gifts don't have to cost you anything, if you use what you have on hand, along with your imagination.
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