please empty your brain below

Totally agree, buying Christmas presents for yourself is the only way to go.

Maybe spend the money on something nice to enjoy with your family, rather than, yunno, stuff.

How about a camel from the Oxfam gift scheme. As it says in the product description "It spits. It bites. It's bad tempered..."


My Brother is one of these people who has too much money, and not enough sense. He buys things whenever he wants them, so he gets very little for Christmas. Another voucher from us I think this year. He only used the one we gave him last year a few weeks back.

Our family have a sensible compromise. Around the end of November, we send out lists of things we actually *want* to each other. As soon as someone buys a specific gift, they let the *others* know (to avoid repetition). The gifts are generally reasonably-priced (ie no single item more than 40GBP or so).

OK, it cuts out the surprise aspect a little, but missing out on the pretending-to-appreciate-inappropriate-gifts charade is a massive advantage.

The only stress is finding things to put on my list. Though fortunately the rest of my family have no such trouble...

I have cancelled the FOTCR for all too. Mr BW and I don't actually (yet ) agree 100\\% on this, which is a very rare occurrence.

I just feel sick when I see people spending money they don't have, on things they don't either need, or want, for more than the 10 seconds after they have bought them or their kids have opened them. The final straw came, for me, a couple of weeks ago when Cleaner BW told me she'd got a part-time job in Sainsbury's so she could afford to buy her kids everything they wanted for the FOTCR.

The FOTCR isn't special any more. Hardly anyone is religious, and everyone buys what they want all year round regardless of whether they can afford it. So, what the hell is the point?

We were where Wayne was at until this year, when I thought - what the hell is the point of telling people exactly what you want (and in many cases where to get it), letting them wrap it up (what a waste of resources, many of which won't get recycled), and transport it to you, when you could just say, 'let's scrap the FOTCR present ritual, save ourselves lots of stress and time and just buy what we want for ourselves, knowing you'll do the same?'

So many people just exchange gift vouchers, or cheques, or end up with stuff they don't want so give away or sell on Ebay, and what's the point in that?

Sorry, in a ranty mood today.

Agree. I really don't want any presents, ever. Not for birthdays or Christmas. Last year I got forced into answering, I mean two days before Christmas, SWMBO has my arm up my back crying down my ear that she can't get me anything because I don't want anything (except a blow job, which really is pushing it a bit far). I saw an advert for Getaway 2 on Playstation2 on the TV so I said I'd like that.

It's still in it's cellophane.

This year, I will just say Whisky. To everyone who asks.

Ah well, there you go. I *love* buying presents for people, as choosing the right present for the right person is one of the very few Life Skills which I actually possess. The art to it is finding something which they like, AND which you like - thus establishing a kind of common bond between you. I usually go for: music, books, posh food, or something useless but truly beautiful.

Having said all that, I prefer doing it for people's birthdays.

Well you could always buy something for me instead ...

Food and drink always make good presents for when you can't think of anything else. My parents could quite happily afford to buy expensive nibbles but don't, so it's a treat if we get them.
We buy what we want, when we need it. Unfortunately I hate the idea of not having parcels to open on Xmas day so usually resort to inane/completely silly/but very cheap tat that proliferates these days.

Yeah, one of the tricks with food/drink/decorative objects is to sidestep issues of cost in favour of issues of uniqueness/rarity etc. An Italian panettone (sp?) from a good deli makes a great and inexpensive present, for instance. As does the Passionate Carrot Cake from the Chatsworth Farm Shop - there's a branch in Kensington - dirt cheap, and the BEST CAKE YOU WILL EVER EAT, ANYWHERE, AND THAT'S A GUARANTEE!

...also, home made compilation CDs, specifically tailored for the tastes of the recipient. What are blank CDs now, 40p or something? But you will have given of your time, and of yourself, and the chances are that your present wil be enjoyed for many months.

On a different note:

"shopping mall"
"shopping precinct"

Precincts don't have to be covered do they? Swinton and Salford precinct's weren't but the Arndale Mall was.

Is it any wonder that suicide rates go up around Christmas time?

Christmas Decorations

"Apparently they won't be having any Christmas
decorations in Vietnam this year, although they may be hanging glitter"!

A cunning plan and one I should agree on with my brother this year. This may save me a recurrence of the abject horror of the whole "Homer Simpson Cufflinks" debacle!

most of us lead dull lives of repetition and boredom (cue middle class liberal chants of "speak for yourself"). get up, go to work, come home, blog, watch telly, go to bed. pay the bills, put some money aside for a holiday then spend the rest on consumer tat that cheers us up for awhile. then december arrives and all the boredom is somehow more colourful and covered in glitter. the shopping becomes a bit more fun and full-on and food becomes even more of a pleasure than usual. i go with the flow and try to extract as much pleasure from december as i can. i let tesco's bully me and hmv rob me. i love the toy adverts and the christmas-telly teasers and the radio times and baileys over ice and seeing kids on bikes on christmas day and wearing a nice shirt and trousers for lunch on the 25th. i know it's all wrong but i dont care.

i'm off to bluewater tomorrow.

BW, to clarify: we only get presents for immediate family (which is 5 adults and 1 child these days) who all live locally, so transporting is negligible (ah, except for me, cos I live in Germany, but I tend to speed-buy presents when I arrive in London 2 days before the 25th, or get them online and sent directly to London).

And we've been recycling paper since the dawn of time - some sheets in my mum's Xmas box have been re-used 4 or 5 times.

Now then, no-one else has asked: but what is "the FOTCR"??

Look it up in Wiki. I added it to the internet slang entry earlier.

GW - I jolly well hope that you credited it to me then!!! It stands for 'Feast of The Cash Register' (some people started using it, and incorrectly quote it as 'Festival OTCR'. I used it with a TM next to it last year, but I forget the code for that, and CBAT to look it up again. Actually, I think it originated from Dave Allen way back in the 70s...

Bah Humbug!

dave - good luck at bluewater, oh deary! it may be a tad busy.

i love the FOTCR acronym. If my family and friends liked the idea of buying something for themselves instead of giving presents it would be a little better - they're not at all bah humbug kind of people. It'd be far more sensible than ending up with unwanted presents!

I'm well easy to buy for. If people are stuck I tell them wine, book tokens or smellies. People think they're boring, safe presents but they always get used.

Second-hand bookshops! I could always, always, always find something to buy in a semi-decent one of those. (But otherwise I agree with you - Christmas presents are the direst things.)

Blue Witch: I wasn't sure where it came from, so I left it uncredited, but the best thing about Wikipedia is that you can go in there and edit it yourself! Amyone can!

My stepmother, a pensioner, spends $500 AUD of money she doesn't have on christmas gifts for her five grandchildren All of the grandchildren are under the age of 7. I get cranky every year, and point out that she denies herself all year, the children get a truckload of gifts from the rest of the family, children that age don't know the difference between a $10 or $100 gift, etc. but to no avail.

I am not buying gifts for anyone this year, instead I will make a donation to a charity for the amount I would usually spend (around $1000).

According to my family, I am a big spoilsport and will ruin Christmas for everyone. Tough.

We are having a massive family split about this. Bossy sister has done her shopping and has bought 'small things' y'know smellies etc. I have stated I want nothing for Xmas, and double for birthday, explaining that this is specifically so that I can buy a substantial object that I want (an MP3 player) that I couldn't really justify as a luxurious necessity or necessary luxury.

Brother has instructed me and Mother only to buy for baby nephew. Mother has decided she is too old to be acquiring things. Partner sees pressies as a waste of time and money. I tried to get a composter for his birthday, but it came early. I considered getting him a cheap digicam for Xmas, one that we could take places where my more expensive one might be nicked, but he pointed out we'd be better getting it in duty free..

Sister asked what he wanted for Xmas, and he said Sunshine. Mother's present to her youngest grandchild is a contribution to a new pushchair; I shall be buying clothes a size too big.

(Thanks for the space to moan here - I can't on my own blog because sister reads it...!)

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