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That's A Wrap!

December 15th, 2007 at 08:40 pm

Monday I'll be joining the hoardes at the Post Office, getting my holiday gifts mailed off. Today I got my gifts wrapped. I've been done with my shopping for awhile, but I waited to get the gifts wrapped until today. A dog rescue organization was doing gift wrapping as a fund-raiser at a nearby store, and I decided to take the 2 gifts that needed to be wrapped in there. I've always done my own wrapping, but I sold my wrapping paper at our pre-move garage sale and am waiting to buy any new until we are out of our tiny apartment and in to a house. I gave them 2 dollars ($1 per gift seemed to be the going rate), and that included gift tag & bow. Sure, I could have bought the wrapping supplies for the same or cheaper, but I'm avoiding purchasing anything other than essentials until we have a house, and it was an organization I was more than happy to support.

So, my holiday shopping & wrapping is done. Yea! I spent $175 on gifts this year, $2 on wrapping, plus whatever I spend on postage.

Within my family we have mutually agreed to really limit our gift-giving.

1. DH & I have no children. This is of course the biggest reason why our holiday spending is so low.

2. DH & I don't exchange gifts with each other. Back when we were saving for a house, we decided to save more for the down payment instead of buying gifts. We realized we weren't missing anything, and not exchanging gifts has become a tradition. [Today I was talking with a couple that has been married for 30+ years about holiday gifts. They also don't exchange. The man said that their present to each other is that they are PRESENT for each other. I loved that.]

3. My sisters & I decided several years back that we would stop exchanging gifts, except from time to time if we found something we thought the other(s) would really love. But there is no keeping score, and no "obligation" to give.

4. When my sisters & I had the "let's stop gifting" discussion, we also discussed with our mom. She said that it means a lot to her to buy us gifts, so she continues to give us a gift each year (but she usually spends much less than what she used to). But she said that since she doesn't need anything, there's no need to buy anything for her. I do buy her a gift about once every 2 years (and that includes birthdays and mother's day, so not much gift-buying for her). I only buy when I find something that I think she will REALLY love and use.

5. My younger brother is DD, and he gets a real kick out of exchanging gifts. So, we all buy gifts (both Chirstmas and birthday) for him every year.

6. I have a young niece and nephew here in the USA. They get gifts... of course! My sister has specifically requested donations to their college funds, and I am tickled to honor her request. [My overseas niece and nephew get gifts too, but not at Christmas.]

So, here is a rundown of the gifts I'm giving this year:

- Brother joined me on my recent trip to DC. We agreed to skip birthday & Christmas presents this year, and make the trip together our gift to each other.

- My mom did get a gift this year, a 2-lb basket of assorted organic gourmet mushrooms, ordered through Costco for $45 including shipping. Mom has a major mushroom obsession, so when I saw this gift I knew it would make her very happy. And it did --- She called me all excited right after it arrived!

- Older sister is getting a handmade bracelet, purchased at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in DC for $21. Sis loves African jewelry, and she will appreciate that it was made by a South African group that allows woman to make jewelry while staying home with their children. This will be a surprise for her, since I usually don't buy her anything. She wanted to go to DC, but decided to stay home and fund her EF instead. (I have written in the past about her messed-up finances.) I was really proud of her decision, and thought a little gift from DC would be a way to show my support.

- Niece & nephew are getting $50 each for their college funds. I also purchased a gift for their whole family to share (and so they'd have something to unwrap), a book that I purchased new through Ebay for 35% of retail, including shipping. Smile

And that's it! Some mushrooms, a bracelet, a book, a check, and happy memories of a shared vacation. No shopping frenzy, no spending hangover, no credit card interest, no hit to the net worth. And no unwanted gifts that end up collecting dust or getting tossed or donated.

4 Responses to “That's A Wrap!”

  1. Amber Says:

    I think Monday is suppose to be one of the busiest days at the post office. I also think it is great that you guys decided to save the money rather than buy gifts. I remember there was a time my ex and I would spend close to $300 for each other for gifts ($600) imagine if I had saved that money

    As far as the gift giving you made out like a bandit

  2. monkeymama Says:

    Great minds think alike. Big Grin
    We pretty much do the same. Our parents have spoiled us particularly this year and we always want to do something for them anyway. That's about it. Sure, we bought the kids 1 gift each. But we don't go overboard. (Grandma goes overboard anyway). We don't really exchange with anyone else. Oh, and the nieces. I imagine as our family grows the gifts will get higher. Gets more complicated. But can't think really of any adults that we exchange with.

    Oh, and almost forgot, dh and I never exchange gifts either. We just don't see the point. The last thing I need this time of year is one more charge. So I really wouldn't appreciate the gifts. We buy what we want throughout the year. We stopped this a year or 2 ago, when money was getting tighter. But I don't see why we would go back.

    Work is so busy for me this time of year. I don't need the stress either. I sent dh off for kids' gifts. We shop in OCtober and November. & then I send off some donation in December. Presents were wrapped last month. I am just relaxing and enjoying the holiday; what I can outside work. Wink I wanted to go by a big sale yesterday for a pretty ring, and then I thought about the mall and the crowds. Just, ick. So I saved myself some money. Couldn't do it...

  3. Ima saver Says:

    Very smart!

  4. fern Says:

    All your gift ideas seemed very unique and tailored to the recipient. Christmas is so overdone these days, i get really annoyed when i see the commercials. The best thing you can give at Christmas is yourself.

    When we were kids, my grandparents went way overboard on gifts, and of course we loved it. I think it's ok to splurge on kids, as long as they are also taught to give. There are no kids now in our family, so the holidays are much more toned down.

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