Ho Ho HELP – how do you avoid crap Christmas presents?

I don’t know the answer to this question. I’m hoping that you do because I received a most excellent Group Therapy email on this exact subject:

Nicole writes….

As its nearly Christmas I’m starting my Christmas shopping list for family and friends. I always ask relatives what their kids want and I ask them for a wish list. Specific. Brands, sizes, colours, makes, models. I want their kids to like their presents and I dont want to waste my time and money buying stuff they will think is crap.

My problem is this is never returned.

My kids always get crap. Stuff they hate. Toys that are for kids 3 years younger than they are. Clothes they will never wear. Or worse still clothes they love that I would never let them wear. I dont want my 7 year old daughter dressing like a hooker.


Can I say anything? Can I suggest or hint ? Or do I just leave it and keep stewing on it? Maybe I should stop asking them what they want ? Does this just happen to me ?

Nicole, if we were friends this would not happen to you because I would not give you any presents. Call us tight, call us lazy, call us scrooge but my friends and family and I have long had an understanding: no presents for adults among family and no presents for friends’ kids.

Our reasoning is this: Christmas shopping is a huge stress. We all have enough stress in our lives. And what do you get at the end of it REALLY? Some smelly candles and a bunch of other stuff you could so easily have lived without. Now we can also add The Environment as a reason for this policy. The world does not need more smelly candles in it. Consumerism be gone.

As for the kids, you can”t stop family from buying pressies for your kids. And you want to buy some for them too. it is CHRISTMAS after all. Not punishment.

But kids these days get SO MUCH STUFF. Stuff, stuff everywhere. And back to the stress and environment…..my friends and I all agreed a few years ago that our kids will be getting enough presents from relatives so we could skip it for each other’s kids.

Over to you, what do you suggest and how do you handle it?


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