Fighting About Buying Christmas Gifts 040

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Different family backgrounds and traditions can clash when brought into a new marriage.

Carrie values gift giving and receiving. I do not!!!! šŸ˜‰

I could literally go years without buying a gift for anyone, including myself. I don’t want more stuff in my life.Ā Carrie enjoys giving and receiving gifts. (yuk!)

On this episode we fight about how many gifts to buy and how much to spend. Setting expectations that you both agree to for holiday spending helps avoid holiday fights!

-Derek, Carrie, Amelie.

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  • Carnette

    Hey Derek, first of all, let me say, God bless Carrie and I thank Him for giving her such a big heart, but I think I am more with you on this one! Maybe for different reasons, but I do not like holiday gift giving OR receiving at all. I remember one year when the kids were younger and I was a single mom, working many jobs and struggling to keep food on the table, I felt obligated to buy gifts for them so they would’t feel “left out” you know. Stupid thinking, I know. I feel so much differently about that now! Any way, long story short, I spent $800 dollars on gifts for my kids that year (that I could not afford by the way), and struggled even more for the next year to make it up. The worse part is that after about a week or so, I really could not see where the money was spent! Fast forward many years and another life… This year I am trying to talk my husband and kids into telling everyone who usually send gifts, to instead please just send us a newsletter or card to let us know how they are doing and we will do the same. (yea, about that news letter, I’d better get started). Then on Christmas day, read the friends and family newsletters that were sent and think of them and pray for them. Then stuff the stocking stuffers (everyone is in on this activity, not just mom and dad), with fruit, nuts, (no candy), home made goodies, and some little interesting things that mean something but don’t cost anything. Maybe some home made games, crafts, coupons that actually make the child the giver and help teach them to be thoughtful, mindful and considerate of others, or something that will evoke conversation around the dinner table, something that will help us get to know one another better, something that would evoke gratefulness. If you have any ideas, I’m open! :-) Around the dinner table, we would talk about the true meaning of Christmas, which yes, had to do with giving, but not how it is portrayed today!!! Read scripture and talk about how we could better serve God in doing for others! Even if I had money to buy gifts I would not want to. Don’t know, just always had a conviction about that! I think I would rather give meaningful gifts when needed or just out of love throughout the year rather than meaningless gifts out of obligation or in expectation of something in return just because it’s Christmas. (yuk)!!! This may be a hard sell for my family, but I am going to go for it! I could say so much more, but fear I have taken up too much space already. Hope you three have a wonderful Christmas and please send us a news letter or card and tell us about your year! :-) I actually think you guys have done a great job in keeping everyone informed on your whole life! Thank you! Love you people!!! and thanks for the post Derek, this was actually therapy for me! ha, ha!

    • The Roamer

      Wow a newsletter that’s a novel idea.

      I am also not a fan of gifts. Specially when forced. I remember once I sent a care package random time of the year because I collected some things that reminded me of that person. Those are more worthwhile gifts in my opinion.

      I like this newsletter idea I will have to implement next year

  • Shannon

    Ditto Derek, I strongly dislike buying gifts for other people! I could go my whole life without giving/getting gifts at all. When I was 13, I tried to convince my parents to stop doing holiday gifts (I knew it was a struggle for them). Right now only the nieces and nephews get Christmas gifts (6 total, but more coming), but honestly I just buy something for the sake of buying something for the kids. It’s stressful, it’s not fun, I’m not there to see them open it. It’s really just a PITA. Bah Humbug. Yes, we have even announced to the adults, “Let’s not do gifts this year,” and they still mailed gifts. A friend asked me to start a gift ball exchange thing – it’s an antique ornament that opens and you put little items in it, then give it to a friend. Her mom used to do this with a friend. Friend and I would have to use the post office since we’re in different states. She sent me it filled with amazing leaf earrings and cute chap stick. Took me a whole year to fill it with something and send back, only after she reminded me, “Um are you going to do that gift ball thing with me?” Ugh! I may have to let her down that I am not good at it. Just extra stress in my life.

    • Derek C. Olsen


      When gift giving becomes stressful, perhaps that’s a sign that the true meaning has been lost. The good news is it’s easy to re-gain the true meaning of gift giving because the gifts don’t have to be costly.