I must admit I have often thought I'd prefer to buy someone a gift just when I saw something really perfect for them and I wanted to buy it, not "now I must think of something to get for X amount of $ because it's their birthday".
Upon reading your reply, it's made me wonder whether, now that money will be tighter for us, it would be nice to suggest doing a special dinner for people's birthdays or something. Maybe everyone pitching in and making their favourite food and dessert while they get to sit back and enjoy it all, would be a good idea for the adults in the family. I'd only have to convince my mum though....she's one of the "here's ideas for mine and Dads birthdays so you can choose something from the list" and my brother is a bit the same... Hmm
I had a chat to DH and we are on the same page so we might bring it up with the family next time we are all together (half live interstate).
We might suggest stopping the siblings gifts (we still want to buy for the oldies, and I think that's fair enough, they're retired and we usually try to do 'experience' gifts rather than material). Instead we can send cards and a small personal gift 'if' we really want to but stop with the large multi-contribute gifts because it's so impersonal.
The only problem I can see is one SIL doesn't have kids yet so she might feel left out - we will still kids gifts, so in a way she is missing out because she doesn't have kids of her own but still buys gifts for everyone else's children. So maybe we should wait until she has a child before suggesting this...? She is trying...
Re contributing less, we have done that on occasion but we feel bad. It doesn't feel nice to be giving less than everyone else and simply contributing $ each time takes the joy of giving away, IMO.
It's hard when not all siblings have kids. It was suggested to do Kris Kringle for the adults when we were 2 years into IVF. I got really upset at the time, feeling like I was getting left out for not having children. Now everyone in my family has kids so we're doing it for the first time this year (kids get present from everybody) - will see how it goes!
My family, not big on presents. I buy my nieces/nephews a gift (maybe $30) but not anyone else. Mum & dad would just prefer we come for dinner & bring a nice bottle of wine to share. I might send my sister or brother a card with a scratchie in it if I'm feeling organised.
DH's family is massive on gifts. We buy birthday gifts + Xmas gifts for everybody, but none of them have kids yet so I'll be interested to see how it evolves over the next few years.
Once there are lots of children in the family you have to draw the line somewhere otherwise you'll go broke!
I love gift giving when I go and find stuff I know they will like but I don't like being given a list and told that we need to buy off it kinda defeats the purpose of gift giving. Christmas last year we had bought her children their gifts and was told to take it back and get something else. Then got in trouble for buying the kids a bigger joint present for them that they could both play with and have fun together with. We bought her present off her 'list' and I put thought into her hubbies present and got something personal for him he'd use. Hubby got his present and I got a $10bottle of wine... I'd much rather just go out for a nice meal and have a good feed and some drinks. But I get annoyed at double standards.
DH and I buy for our own families (mainly the kids) if we want with max $50 pp. DH often forgets about his own family as he lives so far away and doesnt have much to do with them, but I have always given $20- $50 per niece/nephew and only buy my mums birthday/christmas/mothers day present. My sisters get a card and lotto ticket and my kids and DH obviously get gifts from me. But as far as extended family goes - nope, nothing.
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