Hard Time Picking Out Christmas Presents

Updated on November 11, 2011
C.C. asks from Conroe, TX
14 answers

Every Christmas I have the worst time picking out Christmas gifts. Lets see....4 great nephews, 1 great niece, 1 grandson, 1 daughter and son-in-law, 1 son, and 1 exchange gift. Son and daughters birthday gifts (both born on Dec 19th) and 1 niece birthday(Dec 28). I buy for them all...but I will buy and then return..don't like it and then rebuy something else. It is all overwelming to me. I don't like gift cards...and I like special thoughtful gifts(not like my sister bought her daughter 4 towels). Do you have this problem...it drives me crazy and both of my other sisters have already finished shopping?

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answers from Houston on

Pick a theme each year and get everyone something in the same category:

2011 Sweaters

2012 CDs

2013 Books

2014 Calendars

2015 DVDs

2016 take up knitting and knit scarves and hats

2017 Candy bar baskets

2018 Blue things

2019 Red things

2020 Ornaments

and so on, and so on

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Perhaps you're dreading the "return cycle" more than dreading the actual shopping?
Why on Earth don't you just put a gift receipt with everything so they can return & exchange if need be?
And personally, I'd re-think the gift cards...they always fit & can be put to good use! :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Don't return. I repeat do not return gifts before you give them. You will
drive yourself crazy. No time. Commit to the gift & stay w/it. :)
Buy throughout the year as you see things & stash where you will remember where they are.

Gift ideas:
gift exchange-gloves, scarf, paperback etc
kids (depends upon their ages) but here are some ideas:
monogrammed re-usable water bottles
cute notepads w/pens
something for their desks
organzizer items for their desks, bathrooms
hair ties, headbands
kid sunglasses
game (like scrabble but age appropriate)
bulletin board for their room
cute canvas pic for their room (cheap at Ross for boy or girl)
cute throw pillow for their rooms
piggy bank w/a start on their savings $5 bill
cute inexpensive lamp
kit to bead their own necklaces/bracelets (again depends upon their age)
sport equipment (mitt etc)
cute socks
cute frames
fuzzy blanket
little wallet or purse for girl
bath toys
hope that helps :)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

The kids in my world just want gift cards b/c their gift budget from me does not allow the kind of gifts they want. Most of the kids have iPod Touches and I get them iTunes cards 15 each for the 13(twins) & 11y/o - 25 for the 16year olds. The boys get Game Stop - 17y/o gets a game of 60 or less, 2 12y/o and one 11y/o get 20 each. They also get "time with me alone" cards and that often means a movie or meal or video game time or nails done for the older girls. I have many to buy for so a strict budget to keep and they all understand that I also do not think the holidays are all about gifts. My 17y/o nephew one of the 13y/o and a few of the younger ones do not live near me and since they do not get alone time very often they may get a larger gift from me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

you should at least get the kids to cut out pics of what they want (maybe ,imit it to 5 items) and glue them to a paper and send it to you with their wishes. That would at least get them taken care of. My son is 33 and I have him and his wife (first christmas) give us a list around Thanksgiving. I then pick what I want to buy and how much to spend. I don't like to wait until then to shop, but at least they get what they want.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

Remember that a Christmas gift doesn't have to be perfect! Is anybody going to shoot you because it isn't exactly right? No! It just has to say, "I love you... Merry Christmas!" For the grownups, think what each adult likes to do, and find something that fits the category. For the children... it depends how much you want to spoil them! :^) But young children don't care how fancy or expensive a gift is as long as they can play with it! And books can be very nice gifts as well.

I get overwhelmed, too. I love to look in the stores and the catalogues, but it's a sensory overload for me rather quickly. I deal with it by saying, "THAT'S the gift!" and having done with it. I try to decide as quickly as I can without impulse-buying. It helps! Give it a try. You don't have to go for perfect; just go for enjoyment.

If the towels your sister gave were monogrammed, I'd take towels for a present!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Do a little window shopping now. There are a lot of ideas in the ads that you haven't thought of yet. Go to the Toys R Us, Target, WalMart, Kohls ads. Write down the things that stand out and scream somebodys name to you. Then tomorrow, look at JC Penny, Game Stop, KMart, Sears ads. Do the same thing. Then you get that buyers remorse out of the way before you buy it. Pick in your head and live with it a few days. Bookmark the ideas and have someone take a 2nd look at them with you. Then, you have a good guide to shop by and you wont have to 2nd guess your purchases or decide on the spot in a hurry.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

What I do is hit the stores 3-4 days after Christmas and get a bunch of cool stuff for 75% off. I keep that in my attic or closet in case of emergency throughout the year and what is left at CHristmas is wrapped and assigned to someone. For adults I have found that the hot item I give is making photo books from sights like snapfish ( who currently has a buy one get 2 free sale going on) and other sights like that. I take pictures at all the occasions and for the people I want to include pictures of that I don't have I take them from their facebook pages. Every year those photo books are a hit. It is special, thoughtful, and cool! There are lots of other photo gifts that hit home the same way. Now with the kids, well , you have gotten some good ideas for them already!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

oh my Gosh YES. I hate picking out gifts, I think thats an area where my perfectionism comes into play, and since i can't ever find the perfect enough gift for some people it makes me feel just awful.

And it seems like people just buy themselves what ever they want when ever they want it. What's left?



answers from Austin on

Ask them for a "wish list", with several items to choose from. That way you can give them what they really want, and simplify your shopping. To me a gift is something I really want, but don't buy for myself, so I love it when people ask me what I wish for. You are still being thoughtful, in that you are considering what the other person really wants, plus you are making the holidays less stressful and enjoyable for all. If you have wish lists in hand, you can probably even order most of everything off Amazon and then you don't have to spend so much time & gas hunting for the perfect gift.



answers from Chicago on

I understand! I love, love, love to buy gifts but I'm always searching for the perfect gift and even if I've found something I think the recipient would really like I keep shopping up until I literally give the gift - and this usually ends up with my having bought a few gifts for the person and then having to decide which one(s) to give and then return the rest. This also backfires on me when I go gift shopping for my daughters because they usually end up getting everything I bought which is way more than I had originally planned on buying! Frustrating, isn't it?



answers from Washington DC on

I shop throughout the year.
My mom and sister are getting candied jalapenos.
My SIL's kids are all getting little hooded towels from COstco.
If something jumps out at me and says BIL, then I get it and put it in the gift closet. I will go through that sometimes this week or next.



answers from Victoria on

I am the worst. It has gotten to the point I dont buy for my younger cousins at Christmas as they are spoiled and very unappericiative. Even cash money its like "eh thanks" like they are bothered they have to carry it around or they wanted more money?? IDK but I suck at it! James Avery was my go too for womens gifts but the charms are like fifty bucks each! I remember when they were twelve and thirteen dollars. So that is now out. My main problem is I dont truly know what these ppl like. Example: For my sil birthday (one of the first we had for her after she married my brother) I gave her a apron with the expression "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it". While the saying was totally up her alley the apron was a womanly household wife thing that I had no idea how extream liberal and down with men she was and they all had a great big laugh at it. I was so embarassed. I hate buying gifts so much I have learned to do gift certificates. They can be more personal that just to sonic. For example my best friend eats Chick-fil- A every friday so a gift certificat to there would be great. My younger cousin loves paint ball (again gift certificat) My husband loves a tool shop...ta da certificate. While it is just a lame certificate its to a place they love or love doing and you wont have to return anything and they will def use it. btw i love movies and for my birthday and christmas got certificates to the movies and have not had to pay for almost two years for a movie!!!!


answers from Houston on

TOO many gifts. Speaking for myself, we have limited gifts to immediate family. Have that conversation with everyone and I would bet, everyone will be relieved because I'm sure they feel the pressure like you do. Good Luck

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