Working long hours to buy gifts for everyone...


  • Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele. Has 29 years experience.


My list is getting smaller how about yours? Do you give out a lot of gifts during the holidays? How many family, friends, or coworkers do you gift to??

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190 Posts

Specializes in GICU, PICU, CSICU, SICU. Has 6 years experience.

I used to do this for years, but somehow felt unrewarding as some members in my family can be really ungrateful. But last year I decided to work Christmas, escape from my extensive family (the easy part as they live abroad) and spent my entire christmas bonus on myself and a few selected people. And you know what I loved it, doing it again this year!

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience.

We have downsized considerably. It's enough that my extended family, about 20 of us, can manage to get together for a couple of days. It's usually a week or two before Christmas. We go shopping en masse. Go to dinner en masse. Concregate at one persons house en masse. I love the noise, the laughter, the chaos of dogs (yes they are invited too) and children running through a 1,500 sq ft house.

The little ones get gifts. The middle generation gets small gifts. Those of us above 50 get the gift of family in a busy world that does not allow us to get together often.

It's two weeks from now and I absolutely can't wait.


1 Article; 470 Posts

OH i USED TO, have huge list, ohmidawg, it was getting crazy! And the size of the gifts, too, was increasing, year by year.

both my and my sweetie both have huge families, and we TRIED a gift-exchange, the year before, but, see,

most of the relatives and inlaws have kids,

so, the parents who had 4 kids, still had to come up with 6 gifts, see, (cuz the kids names were all put into the hat, too, so the kids all had to give a gift, too)

while the single person, only had to cough up money for one gift.

it was kinda lopsided, imo.

A few years ago, i sat everyone down, and announced, "I can not financially afford to give gifts this year. I love you, i love the holidays, but, i can't be making payments til April to prove my love to you. I also can't accept gifts FROM you, since i would feel terrible, being unable to reciprocate, so this year, i am not doing gifts, period. I still plan to throw my annual "Lasagne Party", and still hope everyone comes to it,

but, THAT will be all i am spending money on. I am so sorry, but, we are broke. This doesn't mean i love you any less, at all."

(i still buy gifts for my sweetie, and my very very best friends, but, that is it. and even those gifts, have been turned way way down, from tons of gifts, to just one gift, and 2 or 3 gifts for my adult kids)

some were relieved,:yes: cuz they were like me.

some were upset, :no:cuz they are really really into shopping, gifts, etc, said "it wont' really be christmas without gift sharing." I pointed out, that THEY could all still shop for each other, just scratch ME off the list.

one or two, didn't go along with it, not that first year. but, they all 'get it' now.

I still bake and pass plates of treats to relatives and outer-circle pals, neighbors, etc, but, that's all, just baked goods. Takes me one (1) afternoon to do the baking, (less time than shopping) and it's a tradition, we make same exact cookies every year for decades, and play same holiday movie while we do. We always decorate up the dollar-store baskets, or red&green plates, trim them with candy canes or bows, trim the containers up very nicely, looks so so pretty when we are done.

so, that's what i did. AHhhhh, so so much nicer, this removed 85% of the stress outa the holiday. NOW i can focus on what i really want to focus on this time of year-------enjoying family, finding ways to show love, being together and having FUN, enjoying the scenes of the season and our own family traditions that we've always done, making memories, just being together, and strengthening the bonds we have. To ME, that is what the season is all about,

not shopping.

but, i'm an atheist, so maybe that's why the $hopping was easier to let go of, who knows. But i love most of the traditions that we do year after year, the family times, the Festivus for the Rest of Us, the partying, the merry-making, the memories, the whole thing, love it. I am the one in my huge family,

that throws a big open house holiday party in my home, for all relatives and pals, to come and party together. If i didn't throw it, some relatives wouldn't even see each other all year long! People travel pretty far to get to this party, which is never right on Dec 25th,

but instead, some other weekend, so more ppl CAN get to it.

oh yeah, i love holidays!!

just can't afford to go into hock over it anymore, but, still kept the parts i DO like.

PS----anyone who feels it is hypocritical for an atheist to celebrate the winter holiday, feel free to private msg me, and i'll explain the origins of the holiday to you, and what i am actually celebrating. Peace out!

joanna73, BSN, RN

1 Article; 4,767 Posts

Specializes in geriatrics.

Christmas is just another day for many of us. Unless I'm on a beach, I don't care. Aside from some Christmas cards, I don't buy gifts, and I don't receive any, which is perfectly fine. Christmas is for kids. I refuse to buy into the hype, and I haven't for 20 years. I stay away from all the crowds, and it's such a relief. Christmas is such a stressful time for most people, and for what? It's ONE day.

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr. Has 15 years experience.

Years ago, when I was younger and I made just-above-poverty-level wages, I purchased gifts for everyone in my immediate extended family and my spouse's immediate extended family. I spent what I thought would be 1/2 of my pay check at the time. However, I miscalculated and did not get paid what I thought I would get paid... Therefore, I could not pay bills for the month of December. Sadly, that was not worse part..... The worse part is that NO ONE appreciated my financial sacrifice/stupidity!!!

The kids (not mine, but my relatives) wanted other stuff and did not care about my gifts. The Adults were just as bad.... Not only could they care less as to what I purchased, but they made it clear to everyone else that they thought my gifts were cheap. The gifts I purchased were not cheap to me given my terrible paychecks at the time. However, the relatives I purchased the gifts for made way more money than me and had a different perspective regarding what was and what was not cheap. So, from that Holiday on.... even though I have gotten paid better as the years have gone by (and get paid more then all of them now), I only purchase gifts for my immediate family..... Everyone else gets Christmas cards.

I am sure many of them talk about me behind my back and think that I am cheap given that I can afford to purchase them all nice gifts, but I do not care. I refuse to make the financial sacrifice of saving for ungrateful people.

You see, I learned my lesson from that Holiday.... Not only do I no longer go broke for the Holidays, I pay cash for everything I purchase based upon the cash I save throughout the year. If I do not have the money, I do not make the purchase. My immediate family always has a Christmas that Rocks! Not only do they get gifts that other kids and adults dream of for Christmas, they absolutely appreciate every last thing I do for them to include the baked treats and family traditions (the non-materialistic stuff) I started years ago.

When I and my immediate family were working-class (just-above-poverty-line), the non-materialistic traditions made our Christmas's special because that is all we had.... Now that we have more, it is still the non-materialistic traditions that my immediate family finds special and will beg me to do for them every year.


258 Posts

Specializes in Psych.

My kids get two presents a piece, usually plus a little money. I don't give big gifts for Christmas... we try to keep it fairly even. Birthdays are when the good stuff happens, because you don't have to pay for everyone all at once.

For extended family, I give food, and items that I make (sometimes jewelry, sometimes a hat or scarf, sometimes photo items). My husband's family draws names with a $20 limit. With 4 kids, that was $120... more than I had been spending on gifts for everyone, so we do not participate.

A very cool idea that I saw from Mary Hunt is a 'virtual' gift exchange. Everyone draws names, then you choose gifts for the person you drew with no thought of money. Pictures are then presented in whatever way the giver finds appropriate. Her explanation was very long and totally awesome.. mine probably reads as a little lame.

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

Only thing Im working extra for is a silly circle with a rock on it. Talk about gouging.....

country mom

379 Posts

Has 16 years experience.

Made me think of my dearly departed Granny- she had very, very little money- but she would always make us something on her sewing machine- the best part is that for a graduation gift, she made me a simple block quilt- and in those blocks are bits of all the jammies, teddy bears, pillows, etc that she made throughout the years. I love that quilt, the blocks are little pieces of my childhood.

dudette10, MSN, RN

1 Article; 3,530 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 12 years experience.

I guess I should be thanking my lucky stars that no one in my family or my husband's family expects gifts. Everyone buys for only their own spouses and children, and that's it! Holiday get togethers are "bring a bottle of wine and some appetizers!"

Orange Tree

728 Posts

Specializes in Medical Surgical Orthopedic.

Token gifts are the best gifts. Presents aren't fun in December if your electricty gets turned off in January.


1 Article; 470 Posts

Token gifts are the best gifts. Presents aren't fun in December if your electricty gets turned off in January.

so so so true,

but, if both you and your partner/husband/sweetie,

are both from huge families,

even token gifts, can add up so so fast, when there are about a bazillion ppl on your list!!

but, that'd work for smaller families or smaller groups of pals,

and in exchanges where your candle isn't being reciprocated with a coat or something, ha ha. (has happened to me, cringe)

but yeah, not being able to get through january sure CAN make one regret over-shopping in December.

My mom-in-law shops all year, often buying NEXT years gifts at the post holiday sales. :woot: But, she loves shopping. she does, LOVES it, and focuses on it, like some kind of hobby, and she always knows which store is having what on sale, pours through fliers for coupons and deals, etc etc.

She is incredibly organized, and usually has her holiday shopping done in about August. for real, she's off the hook.

me, i don't like shopping that much anymore, at all, and sometimes anguish over this? or that? and sometimes, end up feeling cheap or something, cuz i WANT to buy item A, but, can't, so i get Item B. just not that fun for me to shop anymore.

but i LOVE partying with them, or spend that one afternoon, baking up our same ol recipe we make every year, love THAT stuff.

guess we all gotta find the things we DO love, and CAN actually do,

and do those things.