Oh the joys of extended families.
I tend to think that once a person has reached adulthood presents are a token of affection/connection, but do not need to be significant or extravagant. Most of us can afford to buy what we want/need.
So. With G’s family we generally buy specifc (requested items) for J. He’s G’s son. We generally don’t buy anything for his mum, unless it’s a year where we are spending Christmas in proximity. We have assisted J in his shopping in the past couple of years. For G’s parents it’s usually a gift or rah of them, not particularly extravagant. They generally get us store gift cards or Amazon credit. For his brother and sister in law, we usually do gift cards, last year it was cinema money. For the nephew and niece, age based presents, usually including iTunes or the like. On the years when we visit Rocky, the presents tend to bigger and more expensive.
My family is messy. With my dad, his partner and my younger brother we do exchange gifts. It’s fun to shop for my little brother, he is young enough that the toy aisle is still awesome. With my dad and partner it can be hit and miss, both ways.
With the family on my mums side- it’s my mum, my stepdad, my sister and her husband and daughter, my brother and wife, my two stepbrothers and their wives, plus this random family that is quasi family for my stepdad ( the B’s- and I am always not sure of how to present for them) Lots of presents, lots of misses. We are all reasonably comfortably off adults. But some ( stepbrothers ) have a more inflated idea of what people will/should buy.
So last year we had a not so secret Santa for my mums side. My brother and sister in law didn’t participate (already had gifts and were ambivalent) and the B’s weren’t invited. It seemed to work ok. This year the B’s have muscled in. They are like surrogate grandparents/uncle to my stepbrothers. There is no such strong connection for my siblings and I. I didn’t know they were in until after we said we were. But, I did let my sister know and she decided to opt out on the grounds they will not be here for Christmas ( as they live on the other side of the country and rarely are). It sounds like my brother and wife also not participating. With my sister, we came to a no presents agreement, my niece will get presents but adult gifts will not be a thing at Christmas.
The thing is, most of us have existing tastes and preferences. Unless specifically given instructions, it can be hard to find an appropriate gift. Most things I really like, I buy (. Or they are too expensive and I don’t expect anyone else to buy them for me). I think we live in an overly consumerist society as it is, I don’t like buying for the sake of it. But handmade gifts don’t do it for everyone ( coincidence that the secret Santa was suggested they year after we went super homemade gifty, I suspect not).
And we have the perfect out. We will be in Japan for Christmas, and won’t be buying presents for each other(but we will be engaging in some serious shopping). I am looking forward to a nice, non-pressurised Christmas Day- in Japan it is a day to eat KFC and sponge cake with strawberries on top and go on dates.
Not sure what my point is. It’s going to be super awkward if all three of us ( my brother, sister and I) tell my stepbrother that wewont participate in the gift exchange. So do G and I take one for the team?
So, the presents that were used appreciated the most from last year? The orange coffee mug J gave me(chosen with assistance from G), which is used by both G and me. And some of the lush stuff I got from the gift exchange.