Wintery gifts… for yourself!

OK… So being a Jew, I am a little confused about how  Xmas gift giving works.(For Hanuka, we really just get the kids presents, if you happen to get something as an adult, you are lucky!)  From what I gather from TV… people give each other CARS, expensive jewelry, laptops, ipods?

This cant be correct, can it?

So my questions:

1. How extended does the christmas gift list go? Just immediate family? Friends? Co-workers? How far do you stretch the gift giving hand?

2. How much do you spend on each person? Like $500 on spouse? $200 on kid? $100 on parents $20 on neighbors? (I just made up those numbers…so dont yell at me that $500 is a shitload- I know it is!)

3. How in HELL does anyone afford this?

4. Do you have to send Thank You cards? Or is that just  implied?

5. Is buying Xmas gifts on sale allowed in polite society? Normally, I dont like to buy gifts off the sale rack, but when gift buying EN MASSE seems like sales are in order.

6. And last…. Do you ever get back the same thoughtful and quality gifts that you give? Does it make you feel appreciated? A lot of times I buy people gifts, and they pretty much dont give a shit, so I think, shoulda just saved my money and bought myself something! (Especially with baby gifts, I often think “PLEASE dont buy me anything, I will buy my own children clothing, you can buy your own children clothing and it will all be fine!” Everyone I know spends almost exactly the same amount that you spent on them – sometimes in the same stores- and exchanges the gift anyway. Shouldn’t we just save ourselves the hassle?)

Anyway… My holiday gift guide part one: The gifts that are ALWAYS rewarding: Buying stuff for yourself!

1. Leopard Scarf: $250

2. Cashmere Robe: $250

3. Leather Dress: $685

4. Fendi Bootie: $514

5. Sweater Pillow: $34

6. Sermonetta Leather Elbow Glove: $230

7. Pendleton Throw:  $125

8. Bodum Teapot: $39.95

9. Wood & Brass Tray: $59

10. Lanvin bag: On Sale: $1339

11. Leather laptop case: $199

12. Sweater: $78

13. Midas Touch Glass: $25-60

Happy Holidays… Stay tuned for an under $100 version!

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  1. love this idea! I need to make one gift guide for myself.

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      Then you can casually drop it in your family’s mailbox… and see what happens! My husband sometimes reads my blog to find out what to get me!

  2. I’m afraid Christmas for me is occasionally one for you one for me so this list is great!! Loving the leopard scarf, the Sermoneta gloves and I have to admit I already purchased a leather dress for myself this fall (my big splurge). Great list!

  3. I would love to read the answers as well. Living in Israel, I’m pretty clueless about Xmas, holiday flicks aside.
    I love your gift guide. I mean, what’s more glamorous than a leopard scarf and a cashmere robe?

  4. Christmas can be a pin. I try and keep it pretty neutral with friends because we are all tight on cash, but sometimes I cannot help myself!


    Rebecca June

  5. hannah says:

    i need an under $20 version for our hanukah harry..what do you buy someone you know barely anything about???????????

  6. Lauren says:

    Almost everyone I know buys gifts for all members of their immediate family. By immediate I mean parents, siblings, grandparents and in most cases aunts, uncles & cousins. My mother is one of seven so yes it isn’t cheap. Fortunately for the adults, receiving gifts doesn’t stop as you get older you just tend to get less items. Most of my friends (25-27yrs) still get a least one large gift from our parents. I have one friend in particular that still writes a “Christmas List” and gets every single item. Insanity.

    The amount you spend varies depending on the person. I tend to buy my mother and grandmother more expensive items or just items that I know they’ll appreciate. 95% of the gifts I purchase for Christmas are on sale. You would be crazy not to.

    I have never heard of anyone sending a thank you card unless they live far and the gift was mailed. Even then, a call would suffice.

    Hope this helps! and Happy Chanukah! :)

  7. We buy for our parents, siblings on his side, aunts on mine, and the nieces/nephews. Oh, and the dog.

    A few close friends get small gifts (a nice candle, manicure, bottle of wine/liquor).

    I tend to over spend in the children because it’s so darn fun to shop for them. I usually buy them outfits from Janie & Jack (their stuff is so cute that I have to limit my visits). We usually spend about $100 on them. For everyone else, we usually spend between $75 and $100.

    Yes, sale shopping is just fine in my opinion. That usually means someone gets an extra small gift. :)

    I send a thank you when I didn’t see the giver in person (my aunts).

    I think it’s fun to watch people unwrap something you know they’re going to love. I don’t really care about the presents I get, to be honest. Last year, my favorite gift was a calendar my fiance’s sister made me with pictures of my dog. :)

  8. I love to give gifts, but this year it’s going to be a little tougher because I haven’t been working, and yes, obviously buying a bunch of people gifts gets pretty darn expensive! We do gifts for our parents, my brother, his grandparents, his aunts/uncles/cousins, one of my aunts/uncles/cousins (drawn from a hat) on my dad’s side, and probably my godmother/father. I usually do presents for my close friends too, but this year that might end up being baked goods.

    I fluctuate in spending. Some of the people (like aunts/uncles/cousins) have official spending limits, so that can be helpful. I can’t imagine spending $500 on my husband, or he on me, but I guess that’s not too far a stretch. I think in my family my parents spent way more on us kids than they did on each other, but I probably wasn’t really aware what their grown-up gifts cost.

    I don’t know how we afford it, but it makes me so happy to pick out the perfect gift for someone. It’s so worth it. I’m with Jeannine; giving gifts is much better than receiving gifts.

    My parents required us to write thank you notes when we were growing up, but I fell off the bandwagon for a while. I’m back on though. I think people SHOULD write thank you notes, but probably not many do.

    Getting a good deal is ALWAYS celebrated in my family, so no one would be bothered by a gift that was on sale. I imagine that’s probably a middle class thing though. Curious about other people’s thoughts on this…

    My family and friends are generally really good people, and I almost always feel like my gifts are hugely appreciated. I don’t get a lot of thank you notes, but get a good number of gushing calls. And even when I don’t, I don’t let it bother me. The holidays are so busy for people; it’s easy for something like that to slip someone’s mind. I’ve been lucky to receive lots of really wonderful gifts too, so I can’t complain there. I’ve also received plenty of duds too, but even so, I can’t bring myself to make up a list. I actually think my parents would be offended! But this year I think my parents are going to fund a trip to Europe, so there won’t be much in the way of wrapped gifts under the tree. That’s okay by me!

    It’s so interesting to see how other people celebrate the holidays! I had no idea adults don’t usually receive Chanukah presents.

  9. This was funny! Having spent my whole life celebrating Christmas, I never really thought about all those things. And you’re right, it’s a LOT of money!!!

  10. Nicole Cohen says:

    Now I feel soooo selfish! Maybe I am just a stinky gift giver? Whenever I buy something for my mom or husband, I get SO excited to give it to them, and in the end, its way bigger of a deal to me than to them.

    But getting presents for cookie is the best…

  11. Tracy says:

    I am Catholic and it bothers me that the whole day is about presents. I have tried many times to convince my family not to exchange gifts, but it seems that is all they care about. I think it should be about spending the day together having a nice meal and remembering what the day is really about. I don’t want or need any gifts. If I want something, I will buy it for myself. I usually end up with unnecessary clutter that I donate. I have the hardest time thinking of what to buy for others. It really is a big headache to me.

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      I can imagine that its really A LOT of work! I freak if I have to buy one present!

      Also, I was thinking about why I dont looooveee giving gifts as much as everyone else. I think its because most of the times that I am giving presents, I feel so obligated to do it. Its mostly wedding and baby gifts- not gifts for my family. Plus I usually wait until I have 6-7 gifts to give at once and at that point I am so annoyed that I had to spend so much money at once!

      When I give presents to my mom or grandma or sisters, I really enjoy it. PS, I bought my mom that leopard neck scarf!

  12. momto3 says:

    My husband & I bought for my parents & his, my 4 sister, 2 of their spouses, his sister & her spouse, their 2 kids and our three kids. Whew.

    We finally quit buying for all of our siblings and just now buy for the kids. When I bought for my siblings it was not much – I’d spend around $10, and tried to find something special – one year they all received small vintage silver Russian samovars that I bought off of eBay (we are Russian) anther year they all received small vintage silver toothpick holders…again from eBay! My sister in law received a silver tas de vin one year- she loves wine…eBay. I purchased these throughout the year with money I made selling on eBay!

    I would love to buy my husband an iPad for Christmas but I won’t…he has gifted me a 6 day trip out of the country, just us no kids (woo-hoo!) – I think this will be our gift to each other…we return the day before Christmas Eve (yikes!).

    My parents have asked us not to buy for them this year. In the past we have purchased them gift certificates to their favorite restaurant, art supplies for my artist dad – things they use that do not sit around and clutter up the house – usually around $50. They spend $500 on each of their 4 children. We can ask for whatever we want but once the money is gone, it is gone…if we only ask for one thing we receive the rest of the money in cash form. ; )

    My in-laws have a picture wall and we add to that each year with a framed collage of kid pictures. We also buy them a bound book of photos. They take the entire family on a trip in the summer and we take a lot of pictures then and use those to make the book – about $50 total. They give us way too much ever year. We also get cash money from them in a homemade card.

    My kids can ask for three things from Santa. They usually get these items. Last year the big ticket items were a drum set for the little man & a computer for the little lady – the youngest was only one last year – she played with the boxes! The only other time they receive gifts, toys, etc is on their birthday. They do not receive extras throughout the year.

    We take an angel off a tree every year and the kids really enjoy giving back that way. We also do a few traditional things to help us remember the REAL reason for the season!

    I shop and hide gifts throughout the year so that I am not spending waaay over budget in December. No thank you notes. Sales are a yes. My sisters were (we no longer exchange) very thoughtful in their gift giving, something we learned from our mom, so yes, I felt/feel loved and special!

    Did I answer all your questions and more??!


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