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Presents for Adults
Just a tip: if at all possible, try not to spend the evening in the Emergency Department. Thought that might be a useful thing to keep in mind.

It's not really that fun, especially when they poke you. And it's especially not fun when you've had your third bladder infection in six months, and they want you to pee into a cup, which is what hurts in the first place.

But I am very grateful my husband is a doctor who can get me seen faster than most, and this morning I'm actually not feeling too badly.

Nevertheless, this isn't going to be a long post, because "not feeling too badly" does not actually mean "feeling pretty well". It more means "I no longer what to kill myself when I have to go to the bathroom, but I still don't want to move".

So I think I'll just introduce a topic of conversation, and then I'd love your comments!

Here's the scenario: I don't like buying junk for adults for Christmas. Never have. I figure that we're adults, thus we can buy stuff for ourselves. Buying things for those who can't afford it seems nice, but buying things for people who make a decent income seems a little strange. Knitting a scarf or making something yourself is different; picking up a coffee maker from Wal Mart is just plain odd.

Nevertheless, there are those in my family who are very committed to the Christmas gift giving frenzy, and so for the first decade or so of our marriage we dutifully bought gifts for everyone because as much as we suggested that this was silly, no one seemed to go along.

Now they seem to, which is nice. So we're left with just getting presents for parents and children, and I can live with that.

But even buying something for my husband seems weird, because I know if he wants something, he just buys it. He doesn't need me to buy it for him.

So here's our question: what do you do about gifts for adults? How did you negotiate a new gift giving tradition? Or do you enjoy getting gifts for people, and I'm just Scrooge? Let me know in the comments! I'll read them while I am feeling sorry for myself in bed.



At 9:23 AM , Blogger Our Village is a Little Different said…

I usually have something I have made, along with a gift card to a store I know they love. GC's are impersonal, but I know they won't end up in a yard sale in a year.

I'm glad you're feeling better. There's nothing quite like the sensation of peeing ground glass.


At 9:45 AM , Blogger Cheryl Pickett said…

My mom, my sister & my husband definitely have gift giving as one of their love languages so I do go along with it to a point.

Husb would shower me with stuff if we had the money. I don't often buy things for myself so he like to treat me and I understand that too.

Even though our kids are adults and like you said can buy what they want (easily more stuff than we can afford usually) we both enjoy trying to find something unique that they would enjoy. Clothes are usually involved too because my husb wants to give at least a few items to each.

We stopped giving to extended family years ago, we just get together and enjoy each others' company which is one of the best gifts for me.


At 9:54 AM , Blogger Zachary and Allyson said…

In both of our extended families (i.e. the family I grew up in and the family my hubby grew up in) there is a name draw for the adults. My hubby and I are responsible for buying one gift for only one adult on each side of the family. Everyone to their best budget ability gets gifts for the kids in the families. We were very glad that both families within a couple years of each other decided this was a better option for the adults--not only for budget reasons, but for some of the reasons you outlined as well. In our own immediate family (me, my hubby and our kids), gifts are bought and given for everyone. We think it is important for our kids to see mommy and daddy giving gifts to each other as well; especially for our eldest child whose primary love language is gifts! And to be honest, my hubby and I love getting gifts for each other. :-) Additionally, we also celebrate St. Nicholas holiday on December 6th. We put (very) small treats in a pair of currently owned shoes the night before. It's a great way of teaching our kids family heritage and traditions. But for both of these holidays, we stress who has given the presents (usually Mommy and Daddy or extended family). We stress we exchange presents as a symbol of our unconditional love for our kids, just as Christ's unconditional love (not some magical red coated figure who only gives out presents based on behavior).
--Allyson Kellner


At 10:28 AM , Blogger Kasondra said…

My family always did a White Elephant thing. You'd show up with a guy gift or girl gift (your own gender) and then we'd do the White Elephant exchange. The gifts were always inexpensive (like $20) but nice.
My husband's family, on the other hand, does a gift for adults. Honestly, I agree with you. His mom spends a lot of time looking for gifts for his step-sisters (they were grown when their dad got remarried). These girls have plenty of money (more than enough in my opinion) so I dont' understand spending lots of time and money getting them something just because it's Christmas. I always ask for practical things that we can't afford right now (and only when asked what I need)


At 10:48 AM , OpenID nebby3 said…

On my husband's side we started just doing gifts for kids and now we have even dropped that as everyone says they are too tight on money. On my side my siblings and I and our spouses draw names so we each only have to buy one present. It can still be hard to buy something for a brother-in-law I barely see though. And yet, I hate the thought of doing nothing.My husband and I sometimes struggle to find gifts for each other and sometimes we just tell each other "get me this" (down to giving a specific amazon link). My husband has actually done really well a few times in recent years at getting me something I loved but never knew I wanted. In my head that is how gifts should be--we should be able to pick something the person will love because we know and understand them so well. In real life, we get a lot of plastic garden gnomes.


At 11:04 AM , Blogger Tessa said…

I commented on your facebook but after reading your blog want to elaborate a bit. It was really great when my mom introduced the whole "dontate what you can and buy a cow for World Vision" thing and we didn't have to instigate it. The only downside is that my new sister-in-law's love language is gifts. So she just spoils my brother and her friends.

I like the gift exchange with my husbands aunts and uncles because we don't know all of them and it's more for the fun of the exchange than for the actual gift.

As for starting a new thing with family..... we're getting a LOT of stress about my inlaws this year. They decided to celebrate on Christmas eve after I told me MIL at Thanksgiving that Christmas eve absolutly does NOT work for us (we got sick of families fighting over days and not being able to celebrate withoutselves so we are doing our nuclear family thing Christmas eve and Christmas day). She was even more ticked when my husband told her that we didn't want to be part of a useless gift exchange. So we're basically just going against the grain this year. We will probably buy something for my niece and nephew (though they already have anything a kid could want and more) because they're just little and it's fun to see their faces.

As for my husband, I would love to get him the new comptuer monitor that he's been joking about buying all year. We're not really at a place that we can just decide we want something and go out and buy it. He could also use a new keyboard (is it bad that I want to "encourage" his second love of comptuer games? lol) but it's just not in the budget. He would love to get me gifts too (I think gifts is his secondary love language) but again, just don't have the finances. We did get our 2.5 year old some gifts but they are mostly just things we wanted to buy him anyway that we're going to wrap up. Our plan for him is to teach him to donate a couple toys before he recieves his gifts. That way we don't get flooded with stuff and he learns the joy of sharing with those in need.

And I've never had a bladder infection but my sister gets them quite regularily. Not fun! Do you take cranberry capsules or anything to help prevent? Some women are jsut more prone to get them I think :( Glad you are on the road to recovery.


At 11:04 AM , Blogger Tessa said…

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 1:01 PM , Blogger Sildah said…

Um, yes. Please skip the junk.
However, a couple of my siblings love to give gifts at any time (and, of course, receive them). I usually either go the route of something handmade or something that would be special between the two of us. This only works if you know each other well, the way that we do in my family. My husband's family has been difficult for me in that I don't know them as well, they only expected things from their wishlists and gift-giving is a big deal so there is a lot of pressure to get it right. I confess to a great amount of joy when I do pick just the right thing and they love it.
It may have been a bit of an adjustment for my in-laws to receive handmade things from us. There was no discussion though, I just did it. The first year was a little awkward, but I think that they are starting to appreciate the way that it has toned down the expectations for expenditure and increased the recognition of the delight of a personal and relationally oriented gift. When we don't have a spectacularly wonderful idea, we find a cause to donate to that the person values (and we do as well). For example, we are getting a duck apiece for my brother-in-law's family through World Vision. Along with rubber duckies for the kids.
Also, we're not really the "if I want something, I just buy it" types. We hardly ever do. Even though we could all get our own things, sometimes it is more fun to get something for someone that they would like (and vice versa) but would not actually buy for themselves. The resources don't necessarily work out in a one to one correlation like that. Somehow it is hard to justify getting enough yarn for a new sweater for myself. But if my sisters want to pick it out and give it to me, sure! I may end up spending the same amount or more on gifts for them, but the relationship is furthered in a way that just getting your own stuff (or not) doesn't allow for. Plus, there is the surprise factor of what people who love you thought that you would like. Hmmm, I seem to be more into gift-giving than I thought.
This pretty much just applies to our immediate families and associated offspring, which is still quite a crowd. Extended family get cards. And sometimes cookies. Sometimes.
I love the idea of rotating through toys as the child gets new ones. This is our daughter's first Christmas so we'll see which toys from this last year get to stay and which get passed on to another baby.


At 1:02 PM , Blogger Sildah said…

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 1:02 PM , Blogger Sildah said…

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 1:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I think it can depend on the people you are buying gifts for and the reasons behind them. If you are getting gifts for people you love and you know they will appreciate them it is more enjoyable than buying gifts for people out of obligation.

My family exchanges names, so we are buying presents for my dad and one of my sisters this year. Also, my sisters and I fill my mom's stocking.

I also make a point to try to find out something a person may want but is unable or unwilling to buy for themselves.

Nurse Bee


At 2:07 PM , Anonymous Eve said…

My daughter has had bladder infections in the past... Cranberries! They're amazing!

I can't help myself, I love presents! I buy for the kids and my husband, and I send a parcel of luxury items to my parents. For everyone else, I make cakes, biscuits(cookies)or breads...

I seldom comment, but I really do enjoy your blogs/posts/articles


At 4:36 PM , Blogger Jennifer said…

I still like to give little things just to say, "I love you!" I don't normally buy candles for myself, but I love to receive them.

I also give things that I like, but try to gear them to the receiver. I like fruity lotions, but my sister in law like flowery lotions.

I also keep the cost very small in most situations. I tried those give baskets, but found them to cost me more in the long run. It's ok to give a funny note pad - even if it only cost $1.

This does not help with husband or my parents, but it works for friends and other family members. But usually we just like to take each other shopping. When Matthew and I go shopping for the kids next week on our date night, I'm sure we will pick up that blue-tooth keyboard from the Mac store - because it will make him happy!


At 10:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Good luck ladies... I was almost in tears last year as my husband bought me a "Roadside Emergency Kit" and two t-shirt nightgowns (and both were too small!) Felt like Scrooge... ba humbug and all! So I have told him that he'd better be a little bit more romantic than that this time round!!! I suppose he was thinking practical but I don't shop for myself as money is always tight so I was hoping for something really special. Yup... flares and a rope... really special indeed!

I find the gift giving frustrating as it makes me wonder where the money is coming from to get things for people -- it's nice to give things to others if you aren't worrying about how to pay for the purchases... but it is frustrating when people give you totally "useless" stuff -- like when people give me perfume but my nose hasn't worked for years so I can't actually smell it. Or jewellery (and I never wear any at all but my wedding ring and the same pair of earrings all the time). I think somethings people don't really think what the person is like/needs - as long as they have wrapped something for the person in question. Don't want to sound like the grinch, but I've had lots of bad gift experiences in the past!

Hoping for better luck this year!!!!

Denise in Saskatchewan


At 10:59 PM , Blogger Hippie4ever said…

I think the best case scenario is to have a gift that comes from the heart and matches the person to whom it's being given, whether it costs $1, $100 or nothing. Of course that does not always happen. I loved your post of the three gifts and am planning to institute it as a family tradition among my nuclear family. Glad you're feeling better and pray for your speedy complete recovery.


At 12:56 AM , Blogger Herding Grasshoppers said…

Understanding that gift giving really is an expression of love for many people is a good starting place. Nobody wants to be exchanging gifts out of obligation, right?

But we've done a couple of things to keep it in check.

The first was to not start giving gifts to lots of people. We keep the circle small.

Second, in my family we keep the gifts modest and often lean toward consumables. I don't just mean edibles ;D, but things you use and use up - candles, a calendar, special treats. Not necessarily expensive, but not everyday things. Books are always good, though, and we don't mind giving/getting used ones. We also think of things like memberships (zoo, science center, etc. for kids) or tickets to special events. My parents took us all to Cirque du Soleil (sp?) one year :D

It's the hardest with my in-laws, who have lots and lots of money, and very expensive taste. We often give them a current family pic in a frame, along with some goodies.

But Sheila, here's an idea that might help, if you're a little bit like me in this area...

I'm practical, and gifts are not my love language. So if I put it off until December, then the pressure builds and I resent the whole thing. So, I have a Gift Box - any empty space will do - which I try to stock all year. If something catches my eye, for instance, that I think my sister would enjoy, (maybe on sale!), I buy it and tuck it away.

I try to mostly put items in the box that are specifically for someone (not just random junk), but I also keep a couple of "emergency gifts" - for when the kids get invited to a birthday party, or I want a little hostess gift of something. Then when Christmas rolls around, there's not a lot of shopping to do. Much more pleasant.



At 10:03 AM , Blogger Katy-Anne said…

Gifts is my love language. I don't like that it is, but it is no matter how much I try to change that. My husband got me nothing for my birthday. I cried and cried and felt unloved. He doesn't know though. I tried to talk to him about it once before and he shouted at me that it wasn't very loving of me to expect gifts on my birthday when he had no money and that I was just a gold digger trying to break him any way I could.

I also don't like being given practical gifts. I want something special that says "I love you". I see it as my husband knowing me well if he is able to choose a gift that I love.

So yes, the idea of adults not getting any gifts, or drawing names etc does seem like a scrooge-y cop out to someone like me whose love language is gifts.

We get our in-laws pictures every year and they love them.


At 12:29 AM , Blogger Lisa said…

We buy for the parents and children only. As for us, we usually get something for under the tree. I like to pick my own gift out - hate surprises. But really all of our kids (little) have so many toys, I think I'd rather forego the gifts for them to. I wish we could to book store or amazon gift cards. Aunts/uncles don't know what books my kids have and vice versa. Can't go wrong with a book in my opinion

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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