Single and Settling In

Single life has its own unique challenges, personally and financially. Hear how these bloggers are making the single life work for them.

Gifts, Gifts and More Gifts!

  • Comments 8

Those of you who are single should be able to relate to this and maybe even give some good tips on how to work through it.   A couple of weeks ago something hit me.   I was at a very close friend’s home where she was giving a birthday party for her oldest child, whom I adore and consider a nephew.  We went through the opening of the presents and the oos and ahhs and I packed up getting ready to head home.  As I said my good-byes, my friend reminded me about the birthday party she was having for her husband the following week and of course the surprise birthday party at the end of the month for her mother , who I consider a 2nd mother.  I said I’d be there, to all of them, climbed into my car and started home.  Wait a minute.  With just that friend there are always gatherings for birthdays for her and her husband, their 2 kids and her parents, plus Christmas, plus special occasions – like the fact that she is due with her 3rd child so there will be Christenings and such upcoming.  Yet it is just me.  They only have to worry about 1 birthday and 1 Christmas.  This is not about the gifts, believe me.  This is about when is enough?  For years, I have gone along with what was “expected” around holidays and birthdays.  It is Christmas, you give gifts.  Someone’s birthday, you send a gift.  Even when I ask not to give me gifts, I still get them.  How about when me and my siblings decide to go in on a gift for Mom and Dan for an occasion?  Both my brother and my sister are married, when we get a gift for Mom and Dad, it is split 3 ways.  I end up paying as much as my brother and sister who have an additional income in their family and the card says from the 5 of us.  Hmmmmm.  Christmas, Of course I am going to buy for my 5 nieces and nephews, but…I don’t have kids and no one buys for my dogs!  I have tried to suggest doing different things around holidays, such as giving money to a charity that friends/family support or spending a special day with the kids in my life so they will enjoy the memory vs. the toy that will get forgotten in a couple of hours.  Grudgingly people will do it, but secretly I know they are saying they feel bad because I can’t afford gifts.  It isn’t that, it is the principal of why we always feel a need to spend money to show love or celebrate.  So, as the holidays get closer and closer, I would love to know how all you single people deal with the “expectations” of gift giving without being considered cheap or ungrateful.  Until then, I will carry on and watch my girlfriend, her husband, the 2 boys and soon to be girl, her Mom and Dad and of course her darling Grandmother unwrap their Christmas presents from me and then we will uncomfortably sit and watch as I open my gift from them.  Good Grief!

  • One of my first little panic moments about this was gifts. I asked my husband to arrange it that we have an "account" (but really just money set aside) for that reason alone. Folks are just going to have to accept that the gifts won't be as elaborate (ie: expensive) for awhile. Instead I'm going to concentrate on small but meaningful gifts. And always the kids come first! Come to think of it...I do believe the grand-daughter will be making her gifts to give for Christmas this year. And I'm sure a few more creative ideas will come to mind. Yep, time for home-made gifts! lol

    Really, gift giving should be joyous, not stress filled as it has become. I wish you luck in finding the perfect solution for you.

  • For many years my family was in this situation.  We have 1 child and our friends have 3 each so that was 6 birthday and Christmas gifts to the 2 we would see.  As you stated, that isn't the problem but where DO you draw the line.

    One year my daughter suggested that we adopt a family through a local organization and another year we provided items for a local woman's shelter.  Get a list of what the sizes or specific needs are and everyone can buy what they are comfortable with (or dig out of your own closet!).  We got together to wrap the gifts with the kids and put a food basket together and had a great time.

    When it comes to providing simple things that we very often take for granted the true meaning of the holidays or a birthday becomes much clearer.

  • For the holidays, we do a grab bag, let all the kids put their names in a hat, everyone chooses a person to buy for, this reduces buying for 8 kids, just have to buy for two.

    Hope that helps someone.

  • I think any suggestions will help when it comes to the holiday craziness!  I just had a friend e-mail me about Christmas - it is only September!  As it gets closer I would like to bounce some more ideas off each other and like we have said - make the holidays more enjoyable again and not stressful!

  • My friends and I had a very long discussion about the ridiculousness of buying a million and two gifts.  

    We came to the decision to buy only Christmas and birthday gifts for the kids and forgo each other (I'm the only single one). We do buy each other milestone birthday gifts though (i.e. 30, 40).

    We're older, we don't need all the gifts. It's much more fun watching the little ones open them.  Also, if the kids (siblings) are close in age, buy them a gift they can play with together.

    At Christmas, I have a HUGE party with all of the friends (it's a potluck to help save money). There, each person brings one generic $30 gift and we do a Chinese Pollyanna - it's a ton of fun.

    As for family - both my sisters are much younger than me so there's no getting out of paying for the entire gift myself.

  • For all of my efforts to keep things low-key and easy on our loved ones, I have come to realize that it is really about expectations...managing my own.

  • For all of my efforts to keep things low-key and easy on our loved ones, I have come to realize that it is really about expectations...managing my own.

  • However, if you're on the giving end, it's important that you don't overspend your budget. And more importantly, you should have a spending budget

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