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    hcrupert's Avatar
    hcrupert Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Nov 30, 2009, 12:55 PM
    Not accepting christmas gifts this year
    In the spirit of not sounding like a scrooge - My husband and I have decided not to accept Christmas gifts this year. We are going to help out local charities in place of the hustle bustle of getting unwanted and unneeded gifts for many of the people normally on our list.
    The problem lies in how do we express this to our family and friends? Do we add a note in our Christmas cards or email them - does it sound like we were expecting a gift? Not sure how to handle this?
    Please Help
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #2

    Nov 30, 2009, 02:01 PM

    I don't see a problem in adding this to your Christmas cards. A note to the effect that you would wish them to donate money to a charity of their choice (or local one) in lieu of a personal gift. Don't be too disappointed if they ignore your request and give a gift, in that case, donate the gift to Salvation Arm or the Diabetes Foundation.

    Tick
    dontknownuthin's Avatar
    dontknownuthin Posts: 2,910, Reputation: 751
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    #3

    Nov 30, 2009, 02:06 PM

    It's pretty much always bad form to mention gifts unless you are asking what the other person might like. And deciding not to accept them, you're making a decision for your relationship with the other people without asking them how they feel about changing things, and it can cause hurt feelings.

    I'd suggest that instead you not try to fast-track the change and treat everyone en masse and rather talk to friends and family more individually about whether they are comfortable with your idea, and also, whether they'd like to join you in giving to charity instead of to one another.

    Some people should be recognized with gifts from you though - your children, parents, grandchildren. I mean, what is the thinking behind making strangers feel better while making your own loved ones feel like giving them a gift is a "hassle"?
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #4

    Nov 30, 2009, 02:18 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by dontknownuthin View Post
    It's pretty much always bad form to mention gifts unless you are asking what the other person might like. And deciding not to accept them, you're making a decision for your relationship with the other people without asking them how they feel about changing things, and it can cause hurt feelings.

    I'd suggest that instead you not try to fast-track the change and treat everyone en masse and rather talk to friends and family more individually about whether they are comfortable with your idea, and also, whether they'd like to join you in giving to charity instead of to one another.

    Some people should be recognized with gifts from you though - your children, parents, grandchildren. I mean, what is the thinking behind making strangers feel better while making your own loved ones feel like giving them a gift is a "hassle"?
    While I do agree with most of what you say I don't see how mentioning their wishes in Christmas card is not pesonal enough in this situation. It is isn't exactly 'enmasse'. It is really very similar to mentioning in a wedding invitation that you don't want wedding gifts. I don't think Miss Manners can object to either one.

    Tick
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #5

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:12 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by tickle View Post
    It is really very similar to mentioning in a wedding invitation that you dont want wedding gifts. I dont think Miss Manners can object to either one.
    Miss Manners DOES object to mentioning "no gifts" in an invitation:

    Q: Dear Miss Manners:

    What is proper when an invitation arrives with the words "no gifts, please" on it?

    Some of my friends insist that a gift should be given anyway, and some say that a group gift is all right. One said that if a gift is given, it should be sent, not brought to the party. Do people put "no gifts" on an invitation as a sign of modesty? What should I do? I have received several invitations like this lately.

    A: "No gifts" -- what could be more plainly stated? Miss Manners wants to believe that people put this on invitations to relieve their guests of a presumed obligation.

    She has had to oppose this, while commending the intention, because one is not supposed to be thinking of one's guests in terms of presents, not even to discourage them.

    But since no one seems to get it -- some thinking as you suggest, others presuming that it means that only cash donations are acceptable -- it is useless, anyway.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #6

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:16 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by dontknownuthin View Post
    It's pretty much always bad form to mention gifts unless you are asking what the other person might like. And deciding not to accept them, you're making a decision for your relationship with the other people without asking them how they feel about changing things, and it can cause hurt feelings.

    I'd suggest that instead you not try to fast-track the change and treat everyone en masse and rather talk to friends and family more individually about whether they are comfortable with your idea, and also, whether they'd like to join you in giving to charity instead of to one another.

    Some people should be recognized with gifts from you though - your children, parents, grandchildren. I mean, what is the thinking behind making strangers feel better while making your own loved ones feel like giving them a gift is a "hassle"?
    I totally agree. Please find other ways to give to charity. Giving of yourself through volunteering at a food bank or nursing home or animal shelter is even better than giving money. And don't forget -- these charities need help 365 days of the year, not just at holiday time.
    justcurious55's Avatar
    justcurious55 Posts: 4,360, Reputation: 790
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    #7

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:21 PM

    I already finished my christmas shopping for everyone I'm giving gifts to this year. And truthfully, I'd be both hurt and irritated if someone refused to accept a gift from me. No matter how good the intentions. Maybe it would be better to just not worry about what other people might or might not get you. And then after you've received gifts you can decide that maybe you'll keep some of the more personal gifts and donate all of the ones that you really don't need or want, as tick suggested earlier.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #8

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:25 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by justcurious55 View Post
    i already finished my christmas shopping for everyone i'm giving gifts to this year. and truthfully, i'd be both hurt and irritated if someone refused to accept a gift from me. no matter how good the intentions. maybe it would be better to just not worry about what other people might or might not get you. and then after you've received gifts you can decide that maybe you'll keep some of the more personal gifts and donate all of the ones that you really don't need or want, as tick suggested earlier.
    Actually, it's more than just receiving; it's giving them too that the OP doesn't want to do: "We are going to help out local charities in place of the hustle bustle of getting unwanted and unneeded gifts for many of the people normally on our list."
    justcurious55's Avatar
    justcurious55 Posts: 4,360, Reputation: 790
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    #9

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:35 PM

    Thanks wondergirl. I'd meant to address that too. I got this catalog the other day that I thought was really cool. For the life of me I can't remember what it was called and we already threw it away. But it was filled with non traditional gifts. Like you can buy a goat on behalf of whoever you want and it goes to a child or family on another country that needs it. Not just goats, cows, chickens, all sorts of animals. I'm still sort of thinking about adding to my christmas shopping. I think my little cousins are old enough to understand how awesome it would be if I told them that they gave someone a chicken.

    My point is, you don't have to give people useless gifts just because it's the holidays. You can give to charities on their behalf. Or you could even find meaningful gifts for the people you are closest to. I'm making jar recipes for everyone this year. Everyone seems to be tight on time and cash this year. I know they'll like the recipes in the jars because they'll only have to add the wet ingredients and it'll save them time too.
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #10

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:42 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by justcurious55 View Post
    thanks wondergirl. i'd meant to address that too. i got this catalog the other day that i thought was really cool. for the life of me i can't remember what it was called and we already threw it away. but it was filled with non traditional gifts. like you can buy a goat on behalf of whoever you want and it goes to a child or family on another country that needs it. not just goats, cows, chickens, all sorts of animals.
    I too received the catalog. The charity is called Heifer International.

    Charitable Gift Giving that Makes a Difference | Heifer International
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #11

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:42 PM

    I do so agree, just, some people are so tied up in the 'idea' of holiday giving that they miss the point entirely. Its, 'yes, grab this, its perfect for auntie bertie'.

    I love the suggestion of the chicken ! Or the goat !

    Recipes in a Jar,. just super !

    The thing is, I always give to the Diabetes Association when they call for me to leave a bag at the end of the driveway (yes, that's what they do, marked with a big D'. Things I don't need but are in still good. Or my son and I help at the Blue Box in town which recycles used stuff and this always at this time of year it's a big bag of Christmas ornaments for $l.00 anyone can buy and they know it all works fine.

    I love you guys for the idea you have. What a great Think Tank !

    Tick

    Tick
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #12

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:48 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by tickle View Post
    I love the suggestion of the chicken ! Or the goat !
    And you could make a big deal out of it during family get-togethers -- bring a world map to find recipients' locations and look up on a computer or in a print encyclopedia some information about goats and chickens and what they eat and how they live and how people can milk the goats and make cheese -- turn this into a family project and get more people interested along the way!
    justcurious55's Avatar
    justcurious55 Posts: 4,360, Reputation: 790
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    #13

    Nov 30, 2009, 03:49 PM

    You guys reminded me, I told myself I was going to finally look online for places I can regularly volunteer in my own area. I can't afford to give much on a regular basis. I give a few dollars here and there but I have plenty of time I could do something productive with on the weekend. And I do donate blood. Actually platelets. It's nice, I go in, lay down, and they put whatever movie I want to watch on while I'm hooked up to the machine taking the platelets. Someone gets blood they need and I get a free movie :)
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,801, Reputation: 2674
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    #14

    Nov 30, 2009, 04:03 PM

    Donating time at food banks, especially this time of year, is a great idea !

    Tick
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #15

    Nov 30, 2009, 04:13 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by justcurious55 View Post
    you guys reminded me, i told myself i was going to finally look online for places i can regularly volunteer in my own area. i can't afford to give much on a regular basis. i give a few dollars here and there but i have plenty of time i could do something productive with on the weekend. and i do donate blood. actually platelets. it's nice, i go in, lay down, and they put whatever movie i want to watch on while i'm hooked up to the machine taking the platelets. someone gets blood they need and i get a free movie :)
    I got a transfusion in early September, so thank you for your blood donation!

    Your body is often worth more than your money to animal shelters which need dog walkers, cat and dog socializers, cat groomers, litter box cleaners, bedding washers, kitten cuddlers, volunteers to talk with the public about adopting, drivers to take animals for vet appointments, and on and on. Volunteers at nursing homes read mail, play checkers, put together jigsaw puzzles, help with crafts, blow up balloons, play Santa, play cards, sit and chat with residents, and on and on.

    You see what I mean?? Charities need money, but they also need compassionate workers.
    justcurious55's Avatar
    justcurious55 Posts: 4,360, Reputation: 790
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    #16

    Nov 30, 2009, 04:19 PM
    Since I'm allergic to dogs, volunteering at an animal shelter is probably not an option for me. But I drive past a retirement center on my way to work. Maybe I'll check in there sometime. I always liked visiting my grandma when we had to move her into a retirement community. Not just so I could see her, but the stories the older folks would tell, they were always great to hear. A lot of the people she lived with just liked being able to have someone to talk with.

    And I just emailed my county's food bank coordinator :)
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #17

    Nov 30, 2009, 04:24 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by hcrupert View Post
    In the spirit of not sounding like a scrooge - My husband and I have decided not to accept Christmas gifts this year.

    The problem lies in how do we express this to our family and friends? Please Help
    Hello h:

    Let's hope you express it better than you did here. What you MEANT is that you're not GIVING gifts this year, and you don't want people to give any to you...

    Wondergirl picked up on that way back...

    Why don't you just do what you're going to do, and don't worry about what other people will think?? If THEY think they're owed a gift because they gave one, they don't understand the idea of a gift in the first place... If YOU think you owe one for the same reason, you TOO don't understand the idea of a gift.

    You can certainly GIVE all the gifts you get to charity, and then send a thank you note telling people exactly what you did. That may or may not stop them from giving you a gift next time. Isn't that what you want? Or are you going to be open to receiving them next year?

    excon
    Wondergirl's Avatar
    Wondergirl Posts: 37,797, Reputation: 5427
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    #18

    Nov 30, 2009, 04:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by justcurious55 View Post
    the stories the older folks would tell, they were always great to hear. a lot of the people she lived with just liked being able to have someone to talk with.
    Make it your job to record those stories and get them in print, say, in the home's newsletter or in the area newspaper. Tom Brokaw did this and ended up with The Greatest Generation.
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #19

    Nov 30, 2009, 04:35 PM

    They say that Christmas is the time for giving but I find it's more the time for most people to receive.

    Last year we cut out a lot of gift buying. It's stressful, it's expensive and most times I'm just buying something for the sake of having a gift to give. It's very rare that I see something that I think someone will absolutely love, most times it's just something that I can give them so they have something. I know of at least 3 people that returned the gift I gave last year. What happened to it being the thought that counts? Well, I'm tired of thinking. ;)

    So I decided to narrow down my list. It's no longer about who buys for me, it's about who I want to buy for. The list isn't long, but it could be. If I bought a gift for every friend, every friends child, every child that my children are friends with, the teachers, my family, hubby's family, well, I would be living in a cardboard box come January.

    During Thanksgiving this year, while most of my family was gathered, I mentioned that hubby was going back to school in January, that money would be tight and that Christmas was always a difficult time financially. I suggested that this year we do something different. Instead of buying for everyone in the family, concentrate on your own family. Your spouse, kids and that's it. Sure, get a little something for those special people in your life, but don't go overboard.

    I just finished paying of the Christmas expenses from last year, I'm not ready to go into debt again.

    Vent over. Back in the corner I go. ;)
    Catsmine's Avatar
    Catsmine Posts: 3,827, Reputation: 739
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    #20

    Nov 30, 2009, 05:15 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by excon View Post

    You can certainly GIVE all the gifts you get to charity, and then send a thank you note telling people exactly what you did.
    Let me add that a note telling your normal gift list recipients that you donated so many dollars/marks/euros/rupees to this or that charity in their name would be appropriate, and do try to donate to a charity that the recipient can get behind. A donation to, for instance, the Christian Children's Fund in the name of a Rabbi or Imam would be a little gauche.

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