Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lest You Think It's Just Us

I was reading some interviews with shoppers who took advantage of Black Friday sales to complete, or at least get a good head start on, their holiday shopping for gifts.

What flummoxed me was the number of shoppers who gave their estimated spending for the Xmas season gifts. One woman--mother of two--was thankful because this year she may not spend more than $1500 on her Xmas gifts thanks to the sales. Another couple volunteered that they are going to be able to keep their expenditures at $2100, much less than they thought they would have to spend.

One news broadcaster made the comment that electronics of all types were the preferred gifts this season--counting computer games and computerized games in the genre. He further commented that the "average" for the "cheaper" of these gifts was in the $150-300 range, per gift. Some were, obviously, much more.

So, gift givers out there, is this what we are talking about for Chanukah presents? $150 per gift and up? Is gift now synonymous with megabucks?


Anonymous said...

Even if you spend no where near the amount you mention the numbers can do you in. We have 4 kids, 3 married, 10 grandchildren. We have 3 of our parents living. Husband and I have 7 siblings. We have 24 nieces and nephews and already 31 great nieces and nephews.

We get together over Chanukah the whole family. Even only giving a little something to be yotzai adds up. And you should see what our parents end up spending.

Anonymous said...

Lol, cant imagine spending $1500 on a couple of people, wow I thought gifts were supposed to be just tokens? lol.

alpidarkomama said...

Here it's chocolate and candles, songs and stories, and good food (of course). And I don't have to get up at 3:00 am to get the best deal at the Judaica store! :) :) :)

Sima said...

Last year my and my husband's family eliminated giving any Chanukah gifts that are over $1, which pretty much leaves it to some type of candy or a cute pen or something like that. Just too many of us for everyone to afford gifts for everyone. We're also going to do the same for birthdays except for a bas or bat mitzvah.

We buy something a little bigger for our own kids but still not in the big bucks range.

NonymousG said...

in a word - yes!

the fashionable gifts that peer pressure and advertising dictate to you to buy as a good parent and for the kid to get as a cool kid are expensivr.

Anonymous said...

If you figure out all the gifts you have to give all year, chanukah and birthdays and weddings and anneversaries and new babies and then add up all the money you are supposed to spend according to the amounts you are talking about, that's 2/3 to the whole amount of rent I pay for the year on my apartment. Not going to happen!

Gifts aren't supposed to be mandatory they're supposed to be voluntary, and I'm not volunteering to go broke on gifts.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too hard on the families with what may seem like big holiday budgets. Many families give their children lots of things as xmas presents that they would be buying them anyhow during the year even if there was no holiday, such as socks, briefs, sweaters, wintercoats, sneakers, etc.

What I do think is ridiculous is all the gift giving outside of immediate family, with many gifts being unwanted. I don't mean to be ungrateful, but I have more scented candle sets that I will never burn, bath oils I will never use, etc. from colleagues at work and other aquaintances who I would greatly prefer spend their money on their children or charity.

Marsha said...

We all of us, Jewish and not are reacting to the push of the retailers when it comes to giving gifts this time of year. I remember back when no store, and I mean NO store, would put out anything relating to Xmas or Chanuka before Thanksgiving was over. Sure, people bought gifts, but not so much the type that is purchased today. Anonymous above mentions clothing and some of those gifts were things that were needed anyway and were bought to be given as gifts for the holidays. My grandmother always bought us a pair of pajamas for Chanukah, and nobody cried about the gift.

I also remember when Chanukah was just latkes and the menorah and a handful of Chanukah gelt pennies to play dreidle with, and we weren't deprived of anything important.

I think N got it right when she/he said "the fashionable gifts that peer pressure and advertising dictate to you to buy as a good parent and for the kid to get as a cool kid are expensivr." It's today's attitude and I don't like it. It's not giving a gift when it's forced this way--it's being held up for ransome.

Anonymous said...

So you're not in favor of spending lots of money for gift giving for this time of year. Okay, so how do you do it? How do you control the gifts and the money? I can't even see where to begin, but not giving something is not an option. Suggestions please.

Mikeinmidwood said...

Well if your getting electronics you are most probably buying cameras and camcorders which are 300$ for a normal one.

ProfK said...

Anonymous 4:17,
My suggestion is to look at your budget before anything else and see how much money you have available, that won't put you in pinch with necessities you have to pay for, for giving gifts. Just for illustration, let's say your have $300 that can be spent for gifts right now, $300 that doesn't also have to cover gifts at other times of the year.

Okay, now make a list of all those to whom you would like to give a gift, going in descending order from most important to give to to those who might become expendable. If your list only comprises 10 people then you have approximately $30 for each gift. If that list comprises 30 people, then you've got $10 per person to spend.

Now, be ruthless if that's what it takes--does everyone on the list have to get a gift? For example, we have stopped giving to our nieces and nephews for Chanukah, except for the unmarried ones. Why? Because we now have 23 great nieces and nephews, and all the aunts and uncles decided that only the little ones will get a gift. Hubby and I handle things a bit differently--we buy something that can be used by all the children in one family. One year I found a bound volume containing 16 Dr. Seuss books in one volume. Another year it was the 120 best loved fairy tales. A different year I bought an arts and crafts set that fit all the age groups for each family. So I don't divide the money available by the number of people but by the number of families, plus any individuals who are also going to be gifted, such as my grown children.

I know other families that have a "gift draw" for Chanukah. Everyone's name is put into a jar and each person draws the name of just one person to buy a gift for. Many of these draws put a spending limit on how much a gift can cost.

I'm also going to suggest this: stop thinking electronics for Chanukah. Why? Put it this way, if you buy a camera, to borrow Mike's example, for one person, then what are you going to buy for any others on your list? If you spend $300 on one person then human nature is going to say you're going to have to pony up megabucks for all the others in the same class as that person. You try spending $300 for one child on Chanukah and only $10 on another child and watch out for the fireworks and hurt feelings.

Large ticket items should be left for major occasions for individuals, if you are going to spend that kind of money. Make it for a birthday or graduation rather than for Chanukah.

Saved for last--stop worrying about seeming "cheap" in what you buy for gifts. There are many gifts out there that don't cost an arm and a leg, and that can provide joy and happiness to the recipients. My husband joked around for years that all he wanted was his own box of Yodels that he wouldn't have to share with anyone else. So I bought him his own box, and he still counts it among the best gifts he's ever gotten.

Tuvi said...

here's what I don't get. Lots of people who consider that $100 is a generous and appropriate gift for a couple getting married, some thing that happens once in a lifetime. Maybe some would consider $150. But $300 for a kid for a toy or game that won't be in anymore by next year, so you can repeat the purchase with the latest model next year is business as usual? Not in our house.

Our kids don't get unlimited choices and know better then to ask for expensive items. This year each child could choose 2 CDs from the listings on MostlyMusic. One, who's not so into music asked for puzzle books instead. We told her how much and then we searched with her to find something she'd like in that range. She's happy--she'll be getting 3 big puzzle books. Hopefully we'll have taught them that a gift doesn't have to cost a lot to be a good gift.

WWW said...

My kids are a little older so what we do can work. We all sit down and decide if there is something that we all might enjoy or make use of and we decide on one gift to the family. Last year we all of us went to a Broadway show together. A few years ago we all went to one of the discount stores and bought some games that we could all play together.

Strangely enough we are getting one of those digital cameras this year, but it will belong to all of us and all of us will be able to use it.

sima said...

Try this: forget gifts. Do gelt! Get between 5-10 dollars per person in dollar coins from the bank. Put it in little favor bags. The kids will think they're rich, the adults will smile, and you'll be a star.