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Old December 8th, 2009, 06:46 PM
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Christmas gifts when funds are low?

I have always been a person that likes giving more than receiving for Christmas and Birthdays, of course it's always nice to get something in return b/c I don't like feeling left out. I always try to buy the best gift for each person, whether I know them or not.

So this year, it's been a bit depressing b/c I have 2 nieces (1 & 5 yrs old) and I can't buy for them. :sad: I let my older sister know (their mother) that their presents will be late this year. And my sister says "Christmas is on the 25th for me haha" and "If you don't want to exchange this year, we don't have to".

We're not as close as we should be but as the older sister I think she should have a bit of compassion. But then again I doubt she's capable of that. And it shocked me that she was that materialistic, not giving unless she gets something in return. She does have more money than I do, that I know for a fact.

Anyways, back to my question. My bf is the only one working, so I've proposed this plan to him: grocery luxuries take a nose dive this month, and use the extra money to bake gifts instead. Would this be a good gift idea? Does anyone have any other low budget gift ideas?

I have every intention of buying proper gifts when I finally get a job, cuz that's what I feel like I should do.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 06:53 PM
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i think for the adults that yup baked goods are totally acceptable, or if you have nice handwritting, pick a few poems, go to the dollar store buy some white bristol board, dampen a tea bag and wipe it over the bristol board to make it look like english parchment, then singe the edges with a lighter and write the poem on it, if you do it the size of a sheet of paper you can get inexpensive frames at the dollar store too.

As for the kids, the one year old you could get a couple outfits inexpensiveley at walmart or zellers and a toy for the 5 yr old all for what baking would run you. I know there is a toy warehouse sale in etobicoke at a place called samko. or you could make the kids little gift baskets with toys and colouring books and story books from the dollar store.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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do you sew at all? a nice home made rag doll, animal etc would be appreciated by children that age, you could also use scrap clothing to make outfits for the dolls, if you have no scrap cloth, visit the value village, or salvation army for used clothing and cut up for cloth. You could also make them story books, personalize it using their names in the story, their pets, friends, family etc, print up pictures for the story or draw/color some.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 07:01 PM
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i think your sister should be given coal. i can't believe she would say something like that. Christmas is about family and friends and pets. all our loved ones.

I too can not give gifts this year. my husband is out of work and starting dialysis soon. i have a mother in law living with me not pulling her weight so sadly i can not buy gifts this year.

When you get a job. My thought is you don't have to buy proper gifts. The economy is hard right now and you may have other things to catch up on without having to worry about buying gifts. maybe you could have a dinner for everyone if you feel so guilty about not giving this year.

as for baking gifts i think its a good idea. or maybe who ever house you go to bring a pie or a side dish.

Christmas is not about buying selling though this is what our world has turned it into. makes me sick. I hope you don't feel guilty. Tough times are upon us and we have enough to worry about without buying things for those that are so materialistic.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 07:01 PM
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Why not give recipe ingredients (dry) in an attractive jar with recipe attached? Lots of people love to get that. All they have to do is add the wet ingredients (eggs, butter, etc) and bake.
What you do is find the nicest jars you can find. Maybe dollar store if they have the proper size. Fill with the ingredients for say chocolate chip cookies, layering attractively as you go. Cover the jar with a circle cut out of inexpensive material
(an old tablecloth or cloth napkins), put on a pretty ribbon with the recipe attached to it. For extra colour in the jar you can use rainbow chips or M&M's or Smarties.
You could also (if you are a good cook) give an IOU for one free homecooked meal. You promise to do the cooking and clean up for a person on your list. They buy the food though. Or even an afternoon of housecleaning. An evening or two of free babysitting for that hard to make happy sister. Something along that line.
I'm sure there's lot of other inexpensive ideas floating around among our members. That might give you a starting point.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 07:16 PM
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omgod, please dont feel bad--- christmas is for giving from the heart!! a picture frame from the $$$ store with a nice pic. of her family or pets, its getting way out of hand the best gift is a homemade gift, it comes with time and love happy holidays brenda and the pins
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Old December 8th, 2009, 08:43 PM
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14+ great idea on the jars! I did those one year and they were a big hit!

You could also put together a quick scrapbook of pics from your childhood..lots of cheap scrapbooking stuff at the dollar store!

Decorate a frame!

and most of all Christmas is not about the gifts!
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Old December 8th, 2009, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aslan View Post
As for the kids, the one year old you could get a couple outfits inexpensiveley at walmart or zellers and a toy for the 5 yr old all for what baking would run you. I know there is a toy warehouse sale in etobicoke at a place called samko. or you could make the kids little gift baskets with toys and colouring books and story books from the dollar store.
Dollface...I agree with Aslan, I went to the toy warehouse sale and they have some great deals. They have books for as low as $1 and lots of toys that will not break your budget.
I love 14+ idea of the jars for the adults...
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Old December 8th, 2009, 08:58 PM
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Christmas gifts

You could offer your sister your babysitting services. Offer her one hour certifcates which she can use all at once or as she needs your services. I think teenagers charge about $5.00 an hour now so if you gave her 10 certificates the gift would be worth $50.00.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 08:58 PM
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I think the baking idea is great. Last year at work, instead of buying our clients gifts, we baked cookies and brownies and put them in some inexpensive tins we found at the dollar store. It looked great and the clients loved them!

I think as adults, we should understand, especially in these times, that everyone can't always afford to buy stuff. I myself would appreciate something somebody made for me, be it food or otherwise, a lot more than something bought.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 09:10 PM
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I've noticed that at that age, generally more is better. When my neices and nephews were that age, they just wanted something to open on Christmas morning.

My 6 year old, Zack, LOVES the little matchbox cars. You get a 3 pack for only a couple bucks. Always his favorite present. Also, the video store by our house is always running deals on $5 movies. Maybe you have something in your area like that.

Remember, it's not about quality, it's about quantity. You could wrap 5 coloring books and some cheap crayons and they will be stoked to open something. Plus, at 1 year old, the youngest probably doesn't get the whole idea of presents yet anyway.

For your sister, you can explain that you are unemployed and she should understand... she should ALREADY understand. My parents buy me amazing gifts every year (like in the hundreds of dollars per), but I only have the dough to get them one really awesome something every 3 or 4 years. They understand and are generally happy just to have me around for the holidays.

This year, Christmas is about our kids and that's it. We aren't buying anything for anyone. We say Merry Christmas and they understand. Focus on the kids and remember... just make it so they have stuff to open. Doesn't have to be amazing. Just something to open.

A few years ago we bought our daughter a new bike. Cost us almost $200. We played a joke on them and packed a huge moving box with packing peanuts and a note at the bottom to go out to the garage (where her bike was). It was hilarious to watch the kids dig through mountains of peanuts when there was nothing in the box. After she got the note and went out to the garage to find her prize, we took this picture of Zack...


Sometimes less expensive is better.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 10:55 PM
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Ok bit of a high jack here. My sister is a complete biatch. She pulled something like that with me , soooooooooo I sent her a personal massage unit with no batteries. My husband laughed when he asked why no batteries and I smiled sweetly and told him..She can buy them herself. She has to pay to go $#%^ herself..LOL Rude and crude but I was ticked off. Anyway, check you flyers. You can get some glad candles BOGO free, and make her a little gift basket. Go to the buck store and you can get some cheap but nice girly bath stuff there. Go to makeup places and ask for perfume samples. Sometimes they will even give you face cream samples. Sears and the BAy are good places to go, and Eves Roche.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 11:14 PM
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Remember that buying gifts is not an obligation. I think far too many people expect it and we put so much pressure on ourselves to deliver. Time together with loved ones is far more important. I would suggest you do some baking WITH your nieces - that's something they will remember (well, the older one will!)

And you really can find great things at the dollar store.....last week I found this cool Cars (the movie) puzzle that you colour in first, then take apart and put back together - my 5 y.o. nephew LOVED it!

And I think you can leave your sister off your list this year...that's stress you just don't need.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Shaykeija View Post
Ok bit of a high jack here. My sister is a complete biatch. She pulled something like that with me , soooooooooo I sent her a personal massage unit with no batteries. My husband laughed when he asked why no batteries and I smiled sweetly and told him..She can buy them herself. She has to pay to go $#%^ herself..LOL Rude and crude but I was ticked off.
Too funny!! Wish I had thought of that for my sister.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 08:10 AM
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lol, those that know me will figure out what i'm going to suggest. Dollface and MWW i have a gift you can make, will only cost you the price of a stack of dvd's( can get the walmart brand for about $25 for a spool of 75). If you want to pm me i will tell you what i'm talking about, and exactly how to do it. This gift will also take care of the little ones( and the mom will thank you when she gets to plop them down infront of the tv for a couple hours).
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaykeija View Post
Ok bit of a high jack here. My sister is a complete biatch. She pulled something like that with me , soooooooooo I sent her a personal massage unit with no batteries. My husband laughed when he asked why no batteries and I smiled sweetly and told him..She can buy them herself. She has to pay to go $#%^ herself..LOL Rude and crude but I was ticked off. Anyway, check you flyers. You can get some glad candles BOGO free, and make her a little gift basket. Go to the buck store and you can get some cheap but nice girly bath stuff there. Go to makeup places and ask for perfume samples. Sometimes they will even give you face cream samples. Sears and the BAy are good places to go, and Eves Roche.
Good one.

I love the home made baked goods idea, and the dry goods in a jar. Working full time does not give people a whole lot of time so I am sure it would be so appreciated to get gifts of that nature.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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I think homemade gifts are the BEST. Either paintings, sewing an apron, making a knit scarf, baking some gorgeous X-mas cookies, or even throwing together your own little cookbook are more valuable than any bought gift hands down.

For children however, I would definately look into educational items such as books, crayons, paints, puzzles etc that are not too expensive. If you are gift giving after X-mas then you can purchase something even cheaper.

Our family (the adults) do not buy for one another. But we do make something from the heart. For the kids we do get gifts but at a 25$ limit.

Don't feel at all guilty or ashamed if you cannot give a gift. Holidays are about family gatherings and sharing time together.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 11:57 AM
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I'm with the others, it's all about being together. I would go inexpensive for the 5 year old, some books, colouring books and crayons, matchbox cars. For a few bucks you could put something great together. The 1 year old doesn't even know! A bib, or a kiddy book - cheap (but make sure it's safe). As for your sister. Forget about her! My family often got nothing for Christmas from me as I was raising a child on my own. They gave generously from their hearts and knew my situation. Give your sister a nice picture frame with a current photo. That was always my mothers favourite gift from me. Oh, and don't even worry about making it up later with the gifts. That is so not the point. If you have the extra cash later and are worried about it go out and buy the gifts early for next year in case it's a disaster for you again. But I would certainly not give them Christmas gifts in March just because you think you should. Christmas should be a feeling in your heart, not a pinch in your wallet.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:06 PM
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Awwwwwwwww you guys!!! You guys are the best!! I love this forum!

Aslan: Thanks for the heads up on the warehouse sale! Will have to check that out You will have PM soon about the DVDs although have no idea what you're suggesting lol

Melinda: Not a sewer here, altho my bf can sew his own pants, I doubt he can do anything else.

Magicwildwolf69: Coal!! That would send the right message I remember about 8 years ago, at Walmart in the Christmas candy aisle I found some coal candy that was in a santa bag and it was gum. Don't think they made it again after that year. But seriously, her comments really cut me but that was probably her intention. Maybe I could pull a re-gift with her since my little sister gave me wine glasses and I don't drink wine lol. In my next post I will go into more detail about her and maybe I can get some suggestions on how to deal with her.

14+kitties: The dry ingredients in a jar is really different and yet so simple, it sounds amazing! Thank you for that suggestion. I think something like that could make the guilty feelings go away! They get to keep the jar and use what's inside

the gang: Do you mind passing that msg along to my Scroogey sister? lol I don't think she got the memo . After all the wonderful responses from everyone, I think I'm feeling less and less guilty. I will just concentrate on the ppl who don't care if they don't get as much in return as usual!

coppperbelle: That's an idea also, but I doubt she would take me up on that offer. I will explain I promise! And I live about 60-90 mins away from her, she would probably use that as an excuse to her advantage no doubt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ancientgirl View Post
I think as adults, we should understand, especially in these times, that everyone can't always afford to buy stuff. I myself would appreciate something somebody made for me, be it food or otherwise, a lot more than something bought.
Very well said AG!!

Equla: That is the cutest picture!! I bet he had a lot of fun I have sent her a msg via facebook (sent on sunday) and haven't received a reply so either she hasn't read it yet or maybe she's had an epiphany but somehow I doubt it.

Shaykeija: We can exchange sour sister stories!

Chaser: I'll have to keep an eye out for a puzzle like that! Hopefully a princess one for my 5 yr old niece, Mia

DogDancer: After reading your reply, the only person I will buy late for is my bf, basically a mutual agreement The ingredients in jars will make the perfect change up christmas gifts for this year
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Old December 9th, 2009, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by aslan View Post
lol, those that know me will figure out what i'm going to suggest. Dollface and MWW i have a gift you can make, will only cost you the price of a stack of dvd's( can get the walmart brand for about $25 for a spool of 75). If you want to pm me i will tell you what i'm talking about, and exactly how to do it. This gift will also take care of the little ones( and the mom will thank you when she gets to plop them down infront of the tv for a couple hours).
hmmm well my attention is snagged pm coming your way
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Old December 10th, 2009, 12:31 AM
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I once made a mixed bag of crafty stuff for a six year old girl. Glitters, glue, feathers, beads, hemp twine, etc... with a little picture frame. She absolutely loved it, and I got most of the items at the thrift shop and gathered some extra bits from my own craft stuff. I think all in all it cost me $3 and she was busy with it for days.

For my 5 year old god daughter I made a little table cloth, a matching tea towel, tea cozy and tiny place mats for her tea set. Cost me $2 in fabric from the Salvation Army.

Kids love the dry ingredients jars too - they can make the cookies with adult supervision - and then they get to share the cookies with everyone, play hostess and feel really big about themselves. Even if it's a batch of sugar dough cookies they get to decorate with some coloured sugars and chocolate sprinkles... or even candied lemon rind (grate the rind, add berry sugar until it's not clumping anymore, let sit overnight).

I hope your sister gets a clue. Unbelievable. Perhaps she needs to watch a Christmas Carol again or something. *shakes head*
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Old December 10th, 2009, 07:09 AM
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For the 1 and 5 year old I would make a cardboard castle or ship. My kids can't get enough of kid sized forts, and these are time consuming to make.
See if you can get some large packing boxes, and lots of duct tape, decorate it and voila. One of my kids favorite toys were always tents, forts or tubes- things to crawl in and play imagination. You can't buy stuff like this from the store.
On that same note, take some old sheets and sew some ribbons on the ends so the kids can have tie offs to make sheet forts- we are always improvising and trying to use cloth pins and elastic bands.

One of the most thoughtful adult gifts I have received was a cook book, handwritten in a dollar store notebook. It was all my family recipes that I don't have mastered yet, and it is still something I use all the time. You could call your Mom, or aunts etc and document all those recipes that you remember from Christmas or childhood. Throw a couple of pictures in there for fun and voila!
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Old December 11th, 2009, 02:19 AM
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Thank you everyone for the ideas and suggestions! All are very appreciated

Now back to my sister. Maybe you guys have some suggestions on how to deal with her?

Background Info: Our parents are divorced. She was 9 and I was 3 at the time. She remembers it and I don't. I actually like the way my life has turned out with them being divorced and remarried. My mom got married to our step-father and they had a daughter. We now had a younger half-sister. My dad eventually got married to my step-mother, no children but she has 2 daughters so in total I have an older sister, a younger half-sister and 2 older step-sisters .

Until the day my sister got married, she dealt with my father when she had to but ultimately always had an excuse when it was time to visit him. We alternated weekends for visitation. Then she got married, and told him lies about the wedding. He never got to walk her down the aisle and so my dad and his side of the family felt like they had to sit at the back of the church. He was told there wasn't going to be a receiving line at the reception but there was. I was in the wedding party too but wasn't told any of the details. She also had the plan to back his table sit at the back of the hall, but either the hall screwed up or there was a divine intervention, his table was right up front next to the immediate families' tables! Way to go Grandpa!

Basically, in my eyes, she used her marriage as an escape from him, and has disowned him. They haven't spoken since the wedding. And he has never seen his grandchildren aka her children, Mia (5) and Ava (1). Her justification has always been "he abandoned me!" so I guess she thinks she can do the same to him.

Now her problem with me probably stems from the fact that I never followed in her footsteps of disowning our father. And from an outside source, observations have shown that she is very threatened of me. Why? I have no idea but I do see this being true. When I was 14-16, she was picking on me one day and I told on her. That was the day my sister broke mine and my mom's bond. You see, I am a middle child and so is my mom. She knows what it's like to be a middle child so that was our bond. I think my mom sees my sister as a force not to be reckoned with, so that day when my sister yelled at my mom, for the last time, that she always took my side, was the last time she ever defended me. I felt totally alone and felt like my mom just left me at my sister's mercy. So of course this escalated even after my sister had married and moved out. I suspect she was always feeding my mother things to push my buttons which made me move out of my mom's house suddenly in 2004 and I moved in with my dad. I know it hurt my mother badly, and just last month we are starting to get somewhere and work through our issues. But since I was with my dad, I'm sure my sister used this even more to her advantage and always had some snarky comment to brainwash my mother more against me.

Anyways, most of the time I just ignore her and go my merry way. And sometimes I wish I could stand up to her. I do know that if she tries to "suggest" anything about MY wedding (whenever that is) about MY father, I WILL tell her where to go! She had her day and MY day will be about ME. She doesn't have to come if she can't work through her immature issues! And this ais another thing that I think my mother knows. If she ever tried to stand up to my sister in some way my sister didn't like, she would know that she would never see her grandchildren ever again.

See how evil my sister is?

Any advice?

Please feel free to share your own stories if you wish
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Old December 13th, 2009, 03:16 AM
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If it were me I would stop associating with her altogether. People like that, family members especially, end up causing more conflict than anything else, and it's just not worth it, IMO.
I know that would be hard since you have nieces, but it may be better than the blow up their eventually going to witness . And it might be better to do it now rather than later, when they're older and actually start wondering about why you're suddenly not talking to their mom. Hopefully you don't feel bad about me suggesting this, It's just what I would personally do.

When I was about 4 my dad and my aunt stopped talking to each other after she did one of the worst things you can do between family, she sued him because she felt he'd ripped her off (Not even gonna get into who did what, lets just say HE won in court and as far as I know hadn't done anything wrong, so was obviously pissed off at her). Afterward she wrote a letter apologizing and trying to get him to keep talking to her, but he kept out of contact with her for many years after this. It wasn't until I was about 12 when they started talking again and I started seeing her again.
I never felt bad about her not talking to me for several years (though she did send me gifts and letters with them, I just did not receive them in person) and understand from both of them that it was EACH OTHER they couldn't get along with. Since I was so young when they stopped talking I never missed seeing her in person and by the time they started talking again I was old enough to understand the situation. I honestly think this was better than if they'd kept communicating with each other and I saw them yelling and fighting constantly, which I have no doubt would've happened.

Your sister sounds like a very immature person, and it's sad that she can't put other's feelings ahead of her own at all. I kind of wonder what effect that will have on her children since children need a parent that is able to forget about their own emotional needs for awhile and worry about the child.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 09:53 PM
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MyBirdIsEvil: You are absolutely right in your whole post! I don't feel bad at all by your suggestion, cause I've heard the suggestion before. I am just torn b/c of my nieces. Total lose-lose situation, but I do need to do something. Just don't know if I can bring myself to do it.

And yes she is very immature cuz what she is doing is only hurting her kids more, when she thinks she is just hurting my dad. He's tried to contact her in the past to no avail, he's over the hurt and is only bothered when she goes out of her way to bug me. This will only bite her in in the @$$ later and probably provoke her to snark against me more tho. The thing is if me and my bf get engaged/get married/have kids, our kids will be more spoiled b/c BOTH our parents are divorced and re-married will suck to be immature by then even more!
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Old December 16th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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14+kitties 14+kitties is offline
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So I had a visit from a friend today. Guess what she brought me.
Yummy!!! Thought I'd post a couple of pics for you so you could see what I was thinking about.
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If you ever see a little book like this grab it!! I found this one recently and will be trying to find time to make a few of these for small gifts.
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I can't wait to make my lemon raisin bread!!!!
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Old December 16th, 2009, 07:25 PM
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That book looks great. I've seen things like that at specialty shops.
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  #28  
Old December 16th, 2009, 08:25 PM
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In light of recent events in my life, I thought I would say something else about the situation.

My father had many demons when I was little. In short, he was 36 and my mom was 20 when I was born. I asked my mom once why she was involved with him and she said simply, "He was the one with the drugs." They tried and lasted about 2 years after I was born. Until I was about 14, he tried to stay in touch (could call collect to our house any time), but abruptly stopped calling that year. Since he was very transient and living in some very bad places, I had no way to get in touch with him (short of calling every motel in Reno). I kind of gave up a few years later and started recognizing my stepfather as my "dad."

Two weeks ago he ran into my aunt in Reno and gave her his new phone number to give to me. At first it was really tough to call him (it's been 12 years), but in the end we were really happy to put the past behind us and just start over where we left off. I guess it took a little missing for that to happen.

The old adage says, "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." It makes it sound like family is a burden, but they are important. You kind of don't see it until they are gone. I know its tough sometimes, but rather than adopting a " it" attitude, maybe there is a reason she is so hard to deal with that doesn't have anything to do with what everyone thinks.

Don't get me wrong, some people are just difficult. I don't think you should kiss her butt, but maybe understand what the underlying issues are.

Just a thought.
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  #29  
Old December 18th, 2009, 02:03 AM
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14+, those jars look soo attractive with the contrasting colours!! I would love to get my hands on that book, I'll have to keep a look out!

Equla, totally get what you are saying. And it's not like I haven't tried either. But it is hard to approach someone when they have a wall up constantly. And when previous experience taught you to be wary of this person at all costs especially when that person is being nice, but the pattern, was only when they wanted something. Also, not sure if I mentioned this, but if you took my mom out of the equation and it was just me and my sister in the room, her wall comes down and it's like I actually have a sister; one who gives advice, one who cares, and one who gives you her old clothes. But as soon as my mom is there, I feel like a force field has come up between me & my mom with my sister. And if my sister can help it, the convo revolves around her at all times.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 03:27 AM
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Finally received a reply from my sister. She didn't address anything that I said to her. Thinks I'm making stuff up in my head. And apparently I have done things that are the opposite of precious to my neices and to not even use the word to describe them. (I said "it depresses me to think that I can't give my precious neices any gifts"). But she does contradict herself by saying that Christmas is about family and traditions. So if that is true, what was the point in saying those comments to me? Her excuse was that she was trying to put the coats & shoes on her kids and couldn't have a normal conversation about it. Bottom line: she is immature and took the snarky way out instead of saying "hold on and we can talk in about 5 mins".

It was really upsetting to get her reply, but I saw my dad tonight and my step-sister also gave me advice. I consider my step-sister to be my real blood sister more than my so-called sister. I'm not even going to reply to her cuz she clearly can't read my email the way it was meant to and was basically just looking for a fight. So if she wants a reply she can call me or wait face-to-face.

I was thisclose to not ever wanting to see her again or get anything from her.
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