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Is Gift-Giving Overrated?

Is Gift-Giving Overrated?

My siblings and I stopped gifting years ago. Sometimes, if the occasion arises and that perfect gift jumps out at us – we do birthdays, but it’s usually just a card or a phone call. Thankfully, we are all past that age where material items are more important than virtual contact.

With five children, twelve grandchildren, four siblings, and a multitude of nieces, nephews, and their offspring, our family has grown to heights unimaginable. Tweaking my list years ago reduced my gift giving to the grandchildren and unmarried childless children in my immediate family. Andrew – age 26 – is the lone survivor of that last class, but this year taught me that next year – if he’s still unmarried and childless – he will get a check that he can spend wherever, and if he’s good, some trinkets from Santa in his stocking. He says he doesn’t believe, but Santa returns each year, regardless. He will make a believer out of him yet!

After years of trying to find that “perfect gift” for an array of one to twenty-something-year-olds, my appetite for giving and receiving gifts has been curbed. Swallowed in a sea of wrapping paper and ribbons, they didn’t know who gave what to them or where it was twenty minutes later.

The last thing any of my grandchildren need are more toys and all their parents agree that no matter how adorable or well-loved they are, stuffed animals are blacklisted. My remedy to this dilemma is gift cards – except for Pierson – he’s only one so he got books. Last year they received Big Kahuna tickets – a great water park near us – and when they visited for the summer we all had a blast!

The oldest two boys -ages 22 and almost 16 – usually receive cash cards because that’s what makes them happy and happy faces are what’s important!

This year was the year of movie tickets. Movie cards to their favorite cinemas was just the ticket – pun intended! 🙂

I think Mary Poppins was the #1 choice of most. Our plan was to go see it when Andrew was home because it had been a favorite of his when he was little. He breezed in on the 24th and out again on the 26th. Tired from being on the road for most of the month of December, I let him off the hook. Anyway, I was mentally exhausted from worrying about him on those long trips in holiday traffic. It didn’t matter to H one bit that we didn’t go. He was just along for the ride and happy relaxing after a full day of eating a Christmas smorgasbord. (I’ll make him take me this week.)

I’m patting myself on the back because I’ve remembered all the grandchildren’s birthdays this year! I’ll admit, some of that cash was late in the mail but I made up for it by sending the December birthdays early. I can now take a breather until February.

Now I need a new idea for next years group gifts. Any ideas?

~Elle

About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

19 responses »

  1. Gifts are what my family does instead of actually getting to know each other. It’s slowed down quite a bit, now, but when I was younger, the post-holiday drop off at Goodwill was the traditional way of getting rid of things we had absolutely no use for. It was very expensive, and none of us seemed to know how to put an end to it! Gift unwrapping time was always so awkward!

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  2. He graduates with his masters in the spring and has applied to 4 schools for his doctorate. If he gets what he really wants he will be at Eastman in NY! Too far away for me!

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  3. I think I’m cutting out teachers’ gifts next year. I didn’t spend much but when you add up all the teachers my kids have including dance, sports, etc I needed 18! 😳 Thinking about making them draw them pictures or something.

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  4. That sounds like a sane logical Christmas although at some point you will have to cut Andrew off! 🙂 I learned something new about store gift cards this year. You can’t use them to pay on your account. You have to use them to buy something directly. Practically speaking that means you can’t use rewards or discounts you get. Boogers. Next year all I want is a Starbucks gift card. I can transfer to my account and get all the perks!

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    • It will be a sad day when I have to cut him off! He is the baby you know. Maybe he’s holding on because he knows that day will come! Ha! He got a Starbucks card in his stocking and then informed me he now has about $200 in Starbucks cards because he received a lot for his birthday on the 3rd from various friends. That’s ok. With as much traveling scheduled for next semester they will be used!

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  5. Our family tends to make a major effort to spend time together, so food & fellowship gets more priority than actual gifts. That said, we also give stocking-stuffer type gifts. If you’re looking for ideas, the guys received Saberlight Rechargeable Flameless Plasma Beam Lighter – rechargeable – no butane – splash-proof – windproof
    and the ladies were given Blovec Wooden Puzzle Box Brain Teaser Magic Drawers Gift Wooden Secret Compartment Brain Game for Adults with earrings inside…. they had lots of fun figuring out how to open them.
    “Big gifts’ are given at birthdays.

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