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Question for those who get together with their adult kids at Christmas...

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 When you get together for Christmas do you get your adult kids gifts?  Do you pick names between sibs or do they give each other gifts. 

 Every year this becomes an issue.  One kid wants to give and receive gifts, it's really important to her.  The other doesn't want to give or receive.  I'm caught in the middle and feeling lousy.

by on Sep. 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM
Replies (41-47):
by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM

We give our adult kids a few gifts, nothing lavish. Most of our shopping money is spent on the grandkids. The adult children (and their spouses) draw names at Thanksgiving. That way, they can exchange gifts but no one is spending too much.

by Lisa on Sep. 23, 2012 at 10:13 AM

My kids always get something from me, even if it is just a $5 package of socks and nothing else.

by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM

I give my adult kids gifts. But my kids give their nieces and nephews gifts instead of each other.

by Jeanine on Sep. 23, 2012 at 7:54 PM


Quoting KartofflMuter:

Christmas used to be so special. It started the day after Thanksgiving. We had up to 3 trees in the house. We have 4 artficial trees in the living room year round. Tey have Red and silver glass hearts on them and German mushrooms,red with white spots. The tallest is 5 1/2- 6 ft tall. Then we had St. Nicholas Eve and Day,when the kids put out their shoes for a small gift at night and on the 6th of Dec., Nicholo -the Hungarian verision,knocks 3 times and leaves a gilded broom by the back door with candies tied to it. I was busy. We had Nativity calendars to open for the count down,decorating,potpourri,  really,Christmas needs 2 months to do a good job.This year,one child said she would come home for a few days with he SO if I could help with airfair. I have no hope for big brother  or little sister. The youngest has adopted another family- all the fun and none of the labor pains. Bitch. I always shop for them anyway even though it's useless. They hate my presents, and I hate giving cash. I bought both of the older ones the complete sets of Red Dwarf, something we watched together when they were 8 and 13. and still liked us. We celebrate on Chistmas Eve,always eating the same dinner. The whole family would eat slowly,the oldest child teasing the youngest by having second helpings. Then  we gathered the gifts. Every time we wrapped one,we decorated the house with it. When the kids came home from school,they ran around the house to check for new additions. Fun. Later,they joined in-still fun. Once we'd gathered all the gifts together, there were as many as 110 under the tree for the 5 of us! Quantity over quality was my motto. The tree never had a chance. It was absolutely wonderful. We would light the angel round and round-no Idea what it's called-I also called it the ting-tingy-you light the candles and the heat makes the angles go around and their chimes hit a bell-ting-tingy. Some nights we got too tired to open them all and left some for the morning. I always gave everyone new Pjs on Christmas eve so the girls would say,"quick-where are my pjs? I'm sleepy."  And I always left a special gift for the morning and candy for the stocking. Why not? Last year,we were so broke,I only sent my daughter Christmas candy and home made cookies-lots of the good stuff, and a few small things. When my son was in college,I made the entire Indian Easter Dinner,packed it up,

took his grandmother who was visiting from Kolkata and the rest of us in the car, and cooked it up in the hotel. The  microwave had a 15 min timer  but everything else was easy. My daughter was 5 years younger and my youngest was 14 years younger so they had an Easter hunt in the room. Son enjoyed his basket (but took his candy back in a Target sack) and who's every too old for gifts or candy?

Stockings,baskets, why not? Why grow old? One year,before my son moved,I hung up a stocking for him-it was black. It just said "coal." I thought it was appropriate. But I won't stop asking him to come home. Besides-I have his sister-ha ha. I shall dangle her before him-like cheese before a mouse.  I've bought her a black silk dress with hand beading-spaghetti straps. She can wear it plain or with tights or over a thin black turtleneck or as a tunic over pants. I bought her a black pashmina shawl embroidered in silver and I got her a kicky little jeweled clutch purse . I'll put a $50 bill in the clutch which will make it very attractive.  This summer  we went on a 4 day vacation and ate at an Indian restaurant on the way home. The owner was also the chef and had a cookbook for sale so we bought multiple copies and had them inscribed by the owner to each child. 2 more gifts.

The rest of the presents will be sentimental and homemade   and take a lot of time and love. If my children don't understand or appreciate them-that's not my problem.  But it's in my nature to do so. Therefore I will do it. 

My mother made lovely handkerchief holders for every teacher we had in school,every year. I asker her for one 45 years ago. It is still breathtaking. My mother was my hero. I treasure everything I have from her. So 

I keep burdening my children with gifts like hand embroidered quilts and hope they don't throw them in the nearest dumpster  because my years are almost up and I don't seem to have left much of a mark anywhere.

Don't let them bring down the SPIRIT of Christmas too. Unless you have 20 kids, it's dumb to pick a name out of a hat. My youngest,who hates me,was born on Dec 28, never suffered because she had a holiday birthday (

Just don't ask her.) I made a point of buying her gifts in June or July and wrapping them in anything but red or green.  If your kids don't want to give gifts, then wrap up something neutral (bath salts) or funny (50 shades of Gray) depending on who it is and for whom and give it to the non-co-operating child and say,"it's Christmas. Do it for mom. Santa left this. No-I don't know what's in it. There you go. " You know your kids and the things they used to love. Or hate. How about a DVD of Dirty Dancing? or Raiders of the Lost Ark or ET? Those 2 were my son's first 2 movies.  Or if you know something they absolutely HATE-buy that-as a joke. You'll get a big grown and a laugh. Be sure to buy 2 or 3 that the person does like to put in the package underneath. Someone in the room will like the bad movie and if you go on Amazon-look for the alternate movies. new and used. They range from as little as .1 . Shipping is 2.99. and 3.99. Everytime I see a really great movie,I buy it this way. Shipping is almost always higher than the cost of the DVD. Get the kids home-that's the hard part. After that,the rest is easy.

 OMG, you have such an imagination.  Your house must have been great fun!  You'll have to post pictures of your trees this Christmas.  I love Swedish Angel Chimes too!  Thanks for all the ideas.

by Esme on Sep. 24, 2012 at 2:23 PM

 I dont blame him then, If I were going through all that I wouldnt want to have a merry Christmas either.   Poor guy.  ; (

Quoting jabs54:


Quoting kam013:

Quoting jabs54:


Quoting kam013:

Yes, we all exchange gifts at Christmas time.  The kids buy for us, us for them and they buy for each other.  We obviously provide gifts for our Grandson and DS buys for him as well.

I make stockings for all of them including their SO's and Grandson. 

I provide the "family" gifts for Grandparents, Neices, Nephews and such and put all of our names on it.  Their are too many to expect my kids to buy for all of them, so it's easier this way. 

Do you know what it is specifically that is causing the issue for the one who doesn't want to participate?  Is it the cost involved, the shopping or just a genuine disinterest?  Just asking because maybe there is some way to help ease the situation.

 Good's complicated.  I think it's a little (or a lot) of both.  Last year my oldest dd and I just bought gifts for everyone.  My son and dil did not bring gifts and they got very ticked.  I guess maybe they were embarrassed?  So this year I thought I would ask them what they want to do, exchange names so the cost isn't so much or what.  He "went off" saying Christmas ISN'T about giving gifts and ADULTS don't need gifts.  There is also an underlining problem with him that has clouded his opinion on EVERYTHING.  He bought land and built a house on a farmers land and shares the driveway with him as his fields surround his house.  Turns out the farmer is nuts.  He has been harassing him for the last 5 years.  Drives up and down the driveway spinning his tires at 4:00 in the morning and constantly spying on them and swearing at them.  He is known for running people off the road and shooting animals.  He has threatened to kill people.  My son is so concerned for his family that he can't think of anything thing else.  It has consumed him and we fear he (my son) is going to "lose it".  I vacillate between feeling sorry for him and getting angry at him for allowing this to ruin his life.  Sorry for the long explanation ;)


I'm so sorry your son is going through so much, it must be very stressful and scarey for the whole family.  I hope they can resolve the issues without any further trouble.  

Regarding the holidays, we go through a lot of this on DH's side of the family.  Personally I would ask him if you could talk to him about the holidays.  Sit down and explain that you understand it's not about spending money, but you take pleasure in getting them gifts, as does your daughter.  Ask him specifically what makes him uncomfortable about it and if there is any way to remedy to situation without a family argument.  Provide him with some options or suggestions to cut down on costs if that's the primary issue.  

Some suggestions off the top of my head would be:  

1) draw names 2) give joint gifts, something for their house or something they can do together (dinner, movie) 3) Homemade gifts, family pictures, scrapbooks, goody baskets, etc.  4) Just buy for the younger family members  5) stockings with little inexpensive items or humorous items (inside jokes that sort of thing) 6) cookie/dessert swap, each family member bakes cookies for the others to take home 7) Ornament swap, have each family member give the others a new ornament for their tree (great new tradition).  A lot of thought can go into these small gifts which make them very special.  

See if any of these options hold a stronger appeal to him.  If still a no go, I would ask your daughter to respect his wishes and not do any gifts for them, but I would not prevent her from buying for other family members is she still chooses to, including any children he may have.  

We have done several of the above options over the years and we have always managed after some compromise to get everyone on the same page and had a fun-filled holiday.  I hope you can work it out!!   

 Those are great ideas.  I guess my dd and I will exchange gifts at another time.  She and I will still buy gifts for my grandkids (her nephews and neice) that they will open at our party.  My son is so easily angered right now noone wants to talk to him.  Asked him to come to a extended family get together in a couple weeks and he blew up over that?!  His behavior is over the top... :(


by Member on Sep. 27, 2012 at 1:50 PM

 This sounds very complicated but -money aside-I would talk to his wife and do some research on Google and  give him a gift certificate to a good property lawyer .

by on Sep. 27, 2012 at 7:41 PM

We(dh and I and my extended family) get gifts for all the kids under 18 atm there is 9 of them so they get a lot, the adults exchange names and buy/make for that person.  We have a large family when we all get together.  Dh and I do get our moms gifts tho'.  Everyone likes doing it this way and no one feels bad about not being able to afford to buy gifts for everyone. When our kids turn 18 they are adults so they have the choice of exchanging a name or not....if they decide not to that is their choice.

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