Boring Gift Exchange

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Posted 12/4/2012 by LovMelrose in NSBR Board
 

LovMelrose
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Posted: 12/4/2012 6:13:14 AM
We get together with DH's side every year - we only see them at Christmas. Some live in town some out of state. Some attend in person - others do not but are still included in the gift exchange. This year we are traveling out of state to see them.

We used to buy gifts for everyone but last year we decided to draw names. (happy about this)

So I get the list of who got who and then I ask for some gift ideas.

All I got was a list of stores for gift cards for each person!

Really? What is the point of exchanging gifts at all??? Sure, it will make it very easy on me but pretty boring! Thank goodness it's totally different on my side.

What do you do with your family at Christmas that you don't see otherwise? I was thinking about sugggesting a white elephant exchange or something fun.



Patty


elaynef
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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:17:28 AM
I know I am in the minority of peas, but I would rather go home with a gift card (or, gasp,) money, than a gift that was going to go in a drawer for several years, then to goodwill.
I have 12 grandchildren and 6 adult children....most of them get money because that is what they want. If they want something else they email me a link and I buy it.


And the King will tell them, when you did it to one of the least of these,you were doing it to me.

http://enterwiththanksgiving.blogspot.com/

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StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:22:43 AM
Shopping is fun to me. I have 5 kids and 7 grand kids and I still ask them what they want and try to stay within those ideas. But I am close with all my family and I know they things they like and want. One day I might be to old or tired or whatever to shop but right now sitting around the tree christmas morning opening presents after breakfast is how we do it. If someone wants just a gift card I probably would not buy anything at all. You may as well just ask for cash.


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GrinningCat
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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:29:50 AM
Gift cards are not boring. I'd rather get a gift card to a store or event that I love than some thing that the giver felt I needed or thought I should have as a girl (for the love of pete, stop giving me scarves. The only scarves I wear are crocheted or knitted. Silk scarves and their ilk are nasty. I won't wear them. Stop it). It's not just exchanging cash (that said, I don't understand the outrage about giving cash on this board), it's actually getting something for the person. Giving a gift card is NOT like giving cash. It's giving the person access to a place and items that they either love or want to try. It's not cash. A gift card is just as tangible as a sweater or a statue or a f***ing silk scarf.

miss_lizzie
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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:41:50 AM
Gifts are supposed to be what the receiver wants, not what I think the person should have, so I'd happily give a gift card. Truth be told, I much prefer receiving a gift card over a present I may or may not like.


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Christine58
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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:42:26 AM
Find the thread here about the fun ways to package GC.



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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:49:20 AM

Gifts are supposed to be what the receiver wants, not what I think the person should have,


That is simply not true. But it shows what people have come to. Really, really sad.

peanutbubbamom
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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:59:04 AM

Gifts are supposed to be what the receiver wants, not what I think the person should have,


This one sentence speaks VOLUMES about why people in this country have this incredible sense of entitlement.

It's not all about YOU and what YOU want....the sooner the general public wraps their brain around that idea, the more enjoyable this world will be to live in.

Just T
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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:59:23 AM

Gifts are supposed to be what the receiver wants, not what I think the person should have,
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



That is simply not true. But it shows what people have come to. Really, really sad.


I get what she is trying to say. I think that most people, when they purchase gifts, want to give something the recipient will love. Otherwise, why buy a gift at all? I think it is silly to buy a gift just because YOU the giver thinks the person needs it with no regard for whether said person truly needs or even wants said item. For example, the year my now 17 yo daughter was in 5th grade, my mom got her a purse for Christmas. My daughter has always been a huge tomboy, didn't like purses (still doesn't!), and my mom knew that. When my daughter opened it, she was very gracious and said thank you, and my mom replied: I know you don't like purses, but every girl needs a purse! in a really snotty tone of voice. Guess what? My mother's gift that she thought my daughter "needed" hung on the post of her bed, never used. Her money would have been much better spent on something that she didn't know in advance my daughter wouldn't like or use.

I do believe in being gracious about what you are given, and I rarely return things. But, I still think that gifts should be purchased with some thought and care, not just for the sake of buying a gift.

ScrappinMyLife
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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:00:08 AM
I agree with GrinningCat.
Gifts cards are not boring. In fact I think gift cards are the complete opposite of boring.
A gift card, means the fun of shopping, choosing whatever you want, and someone else pays for it.

What's boring is receiving something I don't want, need, or is not my taste or style, and then having to graciously smile, say thank you and act thrilled, while silently wondering wtf? made them think I like this particular item.

I do truly appreciate the receiving of a gift(the whole...it's the thought that counts), however if the said gift is not going to be used or enjoyed by the recipient, it seems like it would be a waste of the givers time, money and efforts.

What I find especially baffling, is when I do provide an actual list of tangible items(of various pricing), then the giver who requested the list, gifts me with something completely random and off the wall, and not on the list at all. Why ask for a list, if you have no intentions of using it.

Like all things, gift giving is in the eye of the beholder. To each their own. Some love gifts cards and some don't.


peanutbubbamom
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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:05:36 AM

I do believe in being gracious about what you are given, and I rarely return things. But, I still think that gifts should be purchased with some thought and care, not just for the sake of buying a gift.


ABSOLUTELY! I'm not suggesting that it goes the other way, either; that it's all about the giver and what THEY want to give. It doesn't work when the pendulum swings that far either way. The giver is choosing to give you a gift. That would mean that he/she knows you somewhat well enough to make a decision about what it is that you may like. There are hits and there are misses. But, to say that gift giving is all about the receiver and what he/she WANTS is absurd. Gift giving does not mean that everyone is my personal shopper (I give them my list of items and they produce said items on Christmas). It's about the thought and time that went into making that choice. Some givers are just as much at fault when they don't put fort that time and effort. And, when those misses come, as they inevitably will, it's an opportunity to practice our graciousness, lol.

Bumpea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:22:12 AM
I love gift cards! Last year I received one to my favorite little clothes boutique and had the BEST time shopping guilt-free. The gc wasn't just a cash exchange, it was the gift of a fun shopping experience and I came home with things I absolutely loved and will use for years. I also always have a thought of the gifter whenever I wear one of the items I bought.

That's a pretty great gift, IMO.

L

pheestand
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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:26:51 AM
This thread makes me chuckle a bit regarding our "gift exchange" with my BIL and SIL. We live 6 hours apart in two different states, barely get to see each other, except when we bump in to each other at my MIL's house for Christmas. They hand us an envelope with a $100 visa gift card, and we hand them an envelope with a $100 visa gift card.

I happened to find the gift card they gave us last year packed away with the Christmas decorations. I used it to buy groceries last week- and I bought their $100 visa gift card in the same transaction for this year.

It's the gift that keeps on giving...





megmc
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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:41:57 AM
Grinning....just send those scarves to my Daughter, she loves them.

Bridget in MD
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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:49:25 AM
I can see both sides. My inlaws write each one of us a check. The last few years, my husband goes and buys gifts for my kids so they have something to open (from his parents) b/c seriously, what fun is opening up a check on Christmas day? I think it completely misses the point of Christmas. That says to me, it's easier for me to write a check than spend 15-30 min thinking, "hey! My DGS or DGD might really enjoy this gift from Grandma & Grandpa." Hell, even if they bought a board game we could all sit around and enjoy together would be better than money. But for us to even have that happen, we'd have to buy it, and wrap it and bring it with us.

On the flip side, a giftcard or even money means we can use it for exactly what is wanted/needed.

So I don't know the answer.



Bridget =)

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elaynef
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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:31:13 AM
Thrift stores would not be nearly as exciting if everyone gave gift cards/money. So, I say, go ahead and get everyone what you think they would want!


And the King will tell them, when you did it to one of the least of these,you were doing it to me.

http://enterwiththanksgiving.blogspot.com/

LovMelrose
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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:55:18 AM
How sad would my tree look if all I had under it was a stack of envelopes with giftcards??

I personally don't mind receiving gift cards - I'd rather have that then something I won't use (that's me being selfish) but giving gift cards is still boring to me. I'm not saying I don't or won't do it but it's not very fun to watch someone open a giftcard.

I wouldn't want to give a gift "I want them to have" as I have no clue - that's why I asked for an idea list. It doesn't have to be specific either - can't they at least tell me what their favorites are? Color, movie, music, candy, hobbies?

I think the bottom line with this side of the family is that we are all giving "gifts" just because we drew their name. Not necessarily that we "want" to buy a gift for that person. In fact, 2 years now I have had the same person who happens to be my husbands cousins husband. Who is this??? I have never seen this man since their wedding day 6 or 7 years ago - he just so happens to be working every single Christmas we get together and has never ever attended.

So I guess giftcards it is. Seems stupid to me but whatever. I have plenty of others to have fun shopping for!






Patty


GrinningCat
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:15:31 AM

How sad would my tree look if all I had under it was a stack of envelopes with giftcards??


So have fun packaging them up. There are tons of ideas for fun ways to give gift cards. I like to put my gift cards with some chocolate or candy... big candy bars are the best. One year I gave Pez dispensers with the gift cards.

You can absolutely still have fun with gift cards, if you want to.

short1cake
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:15:44 AM

Gifts are supposed to be what the receiver wants, not what I think the person should have, so I'd happily give a gift card. Truth be told, I much prefer receiving a gift card over a present I may or may not like.


I've received 2 gifts that I NEVER would've wanted, picked out, or even thought about that ended up being 2 of the most utilized gifts I've ever received.

One was an electric roaster. It was HUGE, and it's just me and my husband. I thought we'd never use it and thought it was a silly gift. I was grateful, and I knew that it was a quality gift, but such a big roaster for 2 people... Anyway, I used it one day while making beef vegetable soup and from there, it got used frequently. I was able to make the soup, and freeze the extra for a later date. Then I started doing it for chili and anything else I could make in bulk. It saved me a lot of time and work.

The 2nd thing was a steam cleaner. I had all hardwood floors. My mom bought each of us (3) one. I just kind of thought that she was just doing it to make sure she bought us "equal" gifts again. Then my dog tracked mud all over the furniture, so I drug it out. I saw how much dirt I got out of the furnitre, so I started cleaning it routinely. Now, I just moved into a new house 2 months ago, and I steam clean the carpets about once a week. I love that thing, and steam cleaning makes the house smell so much fresher, especially when you have 2 large dogs.

So, I've learned that I might think I don't need something, but some of the gifts that I didn't want turned out to be the most useful.

irishscrappermom8
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:29:01 AM
DH's mom moved back to our town and his sister and her family live here as well as DH's aunt and uncle and their domains his wife plus us. DH's other sister lives in FL and is coming up for Xmas so there will be quite the group.

We are doing a "dirty Santa" - sounds like a white elephant to me.

We will get my nieces a gift ($$) they are in their twenties, and I have a crafty project in mind for the adults of the families.




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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:35:55 AM
While a gift card exchange is just one step above handing them cash, you CAN make it fun. Wrap it in a series of boxes. One year I gave my newphew 12 boxes to open (12 days of Christmas theme) and wrote him a note in the tag on each of the boxes and the gift card was taped to a brick in the bottom box and he had no idea it was a gift card until he saw the gift card.

We laugh about it anyone someone has a HUGE box to open at Christmas now and it as been a few years since I did that.



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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:37:24 AM
I look at gift cards as just trading money. If you are mailing it to someone, you are actually losing money.

The only way I give gift cards is if they are part of something else. I've given Barnes and Noble gift cards with a bookmark, Best Buy with a mix cd (music we both like).





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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:38:00 AM
I always get my nieces giftcards for Christmas. They're 14, 12 and 8. The 8yr old would pretty much be happy with anything as she's got a very laid back personality. The older two like stuff from Aeropostale and/or America Eagle. So they will most likely receive a giftcard from one of those two stores. That way, my sister can take them shopping and let them pick out what they want. I'm sure I could pick them out a top or something that they'd like but it's more important that they choose it themselves.




JamieH
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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:24:17 AM
This:

[Gifts cards are not boring. In fact I think gift cards are the complete opposite of boring.
A gift card, means the fun of shopping, choosing whatever you want, and someone else pays for it.

What's boring is receiving something I don't want, need, or is not my taste or style, and then having to graciously smile, say thank you and act thrilled, while silently wondering wtf? made them think I like this particular item.]

and this:

[What I find especially baffling, is when I do provide an actual list of tangible items(of various pricing), then the giver who requested the list, gifts me with something completely random and off the wall, and not on the list at all. Why ask for a list, if you have no intentions of using it.]

If somebody wants a gift card(maybe they are saving up for something), that's fine with me. I package it up in some cute way and add something like nice hot chocolate mix,coffee,etc.


JMHO,
JamieH




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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:31:07 AM
I love the gift of shopping! If I get a GC it's fun money where if I get cash, I do something responsible. If I get something I don't like, I give it to someone who will like it or donate it rather than have it gather dust in a closet or clutter up my home.

But I promise you I write a gracious thank you card first.

In fact, I try to give and not receive gifts as much as possible 1-b/c I love to get people what they want and 2-b/c I know I am tough to shop for and don't really need anything I don't already have and if I want it, I'll get it for myself at some point.

Don't ask for ideas if you don't want to get what they want.

And if people are complaining about recipients being 'entitled' then you should never be asking anyone for a list.



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pahina722
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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:43:43 AM

What I find especially baffling, is when I do provide an actual list of tangible items(of various pricing), then the giver who requested the list, gifts me with something completely random and off the wall, and not on the list at all. Why ask for a list, if you have no intentions of using it.

Absolutely! I have no problem with you trying to buy something for me that you think I'll like, but when I give you a list of possible items which you totally ignore to buy me a vibrating back massager (for the second year in a row), I question how much you actually care.

As far as the original posts, I understand why you find gift cards boring. If the family has gotten to the point of exchanging equal value gift cards, what is the point? Just keep the money, wish each other "Merry Christmas," and enjoy spending time together. However, gift cards can be wonderful if, for example, you know that the recipient is saving up for a large purchase. Perhaps you can't buy the WHOLE gift, but your gift card to the appropriate store will get the recipient closer!


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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:59:53 AM
I'm with Batya on this one.


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asr70
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Posted: 12/4/2012 12:12:31 PM
I agree with Batya.

We got my mother a GC to the movies. It is something she likes to do and will be happier received than a stupid set of holiday towels. We bought the in-laws a GC to a clothing store they prefer to shop at, but money is tight so they don't as often as they'd like.

I don't ask for gifts - I don't need anything, but if you 'need' to get me a gift I'd rather a GC so I could have the fun of picking out things I wouldn't normally buy for myself because I am trying to be more frugal with our money. The GC is a free pass I'd be thrilled with.




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Posted: 12/4/2012 12:43:05 PM
This made my mil so mad that she banned all gift cards from our Christmas party. You must buy a gift or you can't be in the exchange! I admit at first we were cranky and grumbly, but then conceded hER point and and we now have a ton of fun shopping on our budget for the perfect gift!


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Posted: 12/4/2012 12:58:46 PM

Gifts are supposed to be what the receiver wants, not what I think the person should have, so I'd happily give a gift card. Truth be told, I much prefer receiving a gift card over a present I may or may not like.



ITA I have one friend that likes to exchange gifts for Christmas and Birthday every year and while I can tell she had me in mind for the gift, I simply didn't like the gift ever, year after year. I've adjusted my attitude and just appreciate the gesture and have no expectations of liking her gifts so I won't be disappointed.

Another friend once bought me jewelry and said she knows I like unique pieces, well that unique piece I didn't like.

I've made it easy for my friends, told them just get me something off my amazon universal wishlist or told them I don't want to exchange gifts. I don't find it fun to shop for them, I'm baffled on what to get them and have to pretend to like what they get me. It's so much easier when I know exactly what they want. You might say in an off hand comment that you need slippers, but I buy a design you don't like. So why waste my money if you never use it.

I had a boyfriend once buy me a gift card to my favorite clothing store, to me it said he paid attention to when I talked about shopping. I loved the giftcard because I could buy whatever I want at my favorite store.




tara6212
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Posted: 12/4/2012 1:03:31 PM
I'm finding the differences in opinions on this thread really interesting.

Some of you indicated that thinking like the gift should be what the receiver wants is evidence of entitlement. I honestly never thought of it that way. I see more entitlement in the idea that I want to buy someone a gift that is fun for me to buy them rather than something I want them to truly enjoy. It actually feels rather selfless to me to be focused on the wants of the receiver vs. the desires of the giver.

I give gift cards to my nieces and nephews when they are requested and I try to find fun ways to present them. My teenage daughter loves to get gift cards so that she has something to spend when she hits the mall with her friends. Thankfully, her grandparents and aunts & uncles dont seem to mind.

Bromache
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Posted: 12/4/2012 3:12:25 PM
Oh, man. Whenever I see this issue discussed, I think of the time a few years ago when I worked in a clothing store. It's a store that's definitely geared to adults, and more conservative and/or casual in style. (Mark's Work Wearhouse, for those Canadian Peas who will know what I mean.) A grandmother came in and had me help her find a gift for her teenaged granddaughter. She mentioned that the girl had asked for a gift card for the local mall (can be used in any store), but she decided that she didn't think the girl should be dressing in clothes from those stores, and she'd rather get her a cashmere sweater set. It was very hard to bite my tongue. I'd bet a lot of money that that sweater was returned before New Year's.

What's the point of that? Ignoring what was asked for and then getting something that is totally inappropriate? Way to set everyone up for disappointment! I don't get it.

Put me in the camp that would much rather have a gift card than a generic, not-well-thought-out gift. Or nothing. Please, just don't waste your money and time on something YOU think I should have, rather than what I would actually like. If you don't know me well enough, please just give me you well wishes.

tiffanyo
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Posted: 12/4/2012 3:51:09 PM
I would rather receive an actual gift personally, but I like gift cards too. What I don't like is one big check written to DH which just disappears into household funds. At least with a gift card I "have" to use it to treat myself! That probably sounds really selfish but there it is.

My mom asks for gift cards to her aesthetician for every holiday. I always get her a small something as well, but if my sister and I both do gift cards she ends up being able to do things she wouldn't splurge on for herself, and that works for me!

If the recipient likes shopping I guess I think of it as giving the experience of the outing as well. If it is to a restaurant or a theater, that is giving the experience too!
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Posted: 12/4/2012 4:20:06 PM
Because we live so far away from my brother and his family and from my brothers-in-laws and their families, we just exchange cards now. It made it much easier honestly since we don't see them but once a year or sometimes once every three or four years. If we were seeing them in person at Christmas, it would be different.

ETA: In terms of giving a gift to a distant relative (like my husband's cousin's spouse we've only met once), in MY family that wouldn't happen unless we saw them on a regular basis.

Mary in OK




modie-may
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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:08:20 PM
I used to not like giving GC's or cash but this past year I have totally changed my mind. Money is really tight for us at the moment so a GC, be it for a store or a
Visa/American express card would be gold for me. I got sent a visa card from my parents, I've not used it yet but with things that are coming up, I know that I can use that for groceries while paying out for other things. A Target card may be a boring gift from the givers view but to me it could mean warm sheets, new underwear for the children or even a present for one of the children's birthdays. Maybe by giving gift cards, you could be covering an everyday expense so they can pay a bill or helping them buy a needed item that they just can't justify right now.

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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:14:46 PM
I'd go with the gift card. It's what they want.


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PlanningPea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:04:47 PM
I don't know if this makes sense, but I will usually buy a small gift from the same store.

For example, I was buying a Forever 21 gift card for a teen at her mother's suggestion. In addition I picked out a small purse to wrap with it and included a gift receipt. I figure she will be going to the store anyhow to use the gift card, so it's no big deal to exchange the purse if she doesn't like it. I do always tell them to please exchange it if they like, so no one feels obligated to keep something they do not like.


Dawn

"For I know the plans I have for you..." Jeremiah 29:11

SMayer
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 432,055
July 2009
Posts: 2,346
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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:11:57 PM
I'm fairly boring, but I prefer getting gift cards. I can get what I want, in the correct size, color, sytle, etc.

We did a game with GC's last year. I used Cricut to make GC holders and everyone who wanted to participate brought a $25 GC (except my nephew brought a $15 card and my sister brought a $50 card), we had so much fun. I used my Tractor Supply card to help pay for new boots!

katethecatlover
BucketHead

PeaNut 458,516
March 2010
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Loc: Australia

Posted: 12/5/2012 5:17:39 AM
In a perfect world, we would choose gifts that are personal and exactly what the recipient wants.

In the real world, we get lots of our wants satisfied anyway. If we want it, we buy it ourselves. Makes Christmas more difficult.

I fought the money / gift card idea for years, but I've given in. Do we want to buy something the person wants, or doesn't? What is the purpose of the gift? While I never liked giving money, I quite like getting it, because I love shopping. The point is to give the person something they want, rather than landfill. I must admit, I don't want to decorate my house / wear / eat/ listen to / watch etc what others like. When we had very little, any gift was welcome. Now - we want what we want.
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