Monday, November 12, 2007

Buying better gifts

If an unappreciated gift falls into a spare closet, does it make a sound?

You might just kick me out of the frugal club. In today's column at Frugal Hacks, I discuss gift giving--and why some handmade gifts may be a waste of our time and energy.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh great queen of frugality, we would never boot thy hiney out of the club.....

we love ya too much...

it was a great post...

now a question, what are your favorite holiday books for the kids....classics in your mind, those that impart the real meaning of christmas..

celina in canada

Melanie said...

Very good points you made and I totally agree!

Anonymous said...

Hi Meredith, I really enjoyed this post. It has been on my mind too lately. We have family members who are able to spend a lot on our family, but we cannot afford to spend that much on them, and I can tell that they expect more. These have everything they want and more, but I think they feel it is unfair subconsciously. I have thought of asking them to do the no-gift thing. I cannot imagine saying just kids (they don't have young children) and not give them anything. I also believe they would be hurt if I were to say let's just stop doing gifts and just give hugs. I've wondered if it was just me, but I'm not the only one who has noticed. So now it is my job to look harder for deals. So what nice and affordable gift ideas do you have for someone who has everything and expects a comparable gift? (One year I was given a $100 Longaberger basket).

Anonymous said...

Dear Meredith,

The blog you link to has a link to a soldier saying that most soldiers are very comfortable and really don't need much. I strongly suggest that readers check out anysoldier.com to see just how much our troops do need letters and packages.

This is a wonderful program and our soldiers send specific request every day.

Thank you so much,

Heather

My Boaz's Ruth said...

anonymous: I did NOT read that blog as the soldiers did not need anything. But, rather, the soldiers do not need what they are receiving. If the blog you point to is asking the soldiers what they want, they are already taking into account what this soldier says.

Meredith said...

If you continue reading the entire linked post, you will find specific items that are wanted by soldiers.

It was an eye opener to me, especially the items that AREN'T wanted.

I ran this article by two friends members who served in Iraq this year--and they both agreed.

Either way, the message is the same: send what is needed, not what you think they need.

Jenn at Frugal Upstate has additional hints for good care packages.

Michelle said...

Yes my husband is a Marine and has done several tours in Iraq (under various conditions) and I found the soldier link to be dead accurate. He said they are always swimming in baby wipes, personal hygiene products, and beef jerky. He also got tired of candy and cookies.

He most appreciated gourmet food items like specialty coffees, nuts, Carr's crackers, smoked salmon, etc. - it was nice to have a taste of luxury over there. Also protein powder (for the weight lifters) and current magazines were always popular.

I agree, talk to real soliders and Marines and find out what they really want and need. The unit chaplain is often a good source for info since maintaining troop morale is one of their primary jobs.

The Mom said...

Hi Meredith, I ready your blog regularly, and I want to ask you a question about frugality. . it's quite a long question, do you have an email address, or you could email me henrietta@momys.com; I'd value your opinion and that of your readers.

I could ask it on my own blog, but I don't think my readers are into the US Frugal Housewife thing
Love
Henrietta

Christi said...

I really enjoyed the article. I've found the same thing to be true for myself and our family.

Homemaker of the 21st Century said...

Great Article!

Kate said...

Thankfully MOST of my family are very gracious and thankful receivers of gifts, even homemade ones. I will admit that sometimes homemade food gifts go to waste in my house, but that's only because hubby and I can't eat them fast enough. We're very thankful nonetheless.

There is one person in my family who tends to be a little ungracious if they don't like a gift. This person tends to get gift certificates or a combined gift for them and their spouse. This person has been a better receiver since not having enough money for gifts one year and gave handmade gifts that were promptly unappreciated by their side of the family.

martha said...

The picture on this post is extravagantly lovely. Where was it taken?

Anonymous said...

meredith, have you seen the felt play foods at mahardrygoods.com? Sushi, canollis, extra cute!

deb meyers

Ewokgirl said...

For the anon who has relatives who expect more expensive gifts, my best advice to you is to continue doing what you're doing and try not to let their expectations get to you. Choose gifts for them carefully with their interests in mind, then give it with love. If they truly are concerned about dollar amounts spent, then there's really nothing you can do to change that attitude. If they're disappointed, they're disappointed. But they're also acting like boors, considering you don't HAVE to give them anything!

The only other suggestion is to set a spending limit with them. No gift can cost more than $25 or whatever amount is comfortable for your family.

My husband and I have no children. My sister and her husband have 4 kids. They don't usually spend as much money on our gifts as we do on theirs. BUT, we also know that their money is used to give their 4 daughters a great Christmas. I wouldn't DREAM of expecting them to spend less on their kids so they can spend more on us. Perhaps your childless relatives don't quite get this.

Meredith said...

The photo above (and also below) were taken at a local patio furniture shop which transforms into a winter wonderland each year.

This is the first time we've toured their trees for ideas. It was a lot of fun.