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jberry16
10-04-2006, 08:45 PM
Ok, this is on the verge of a rant. Every year my dh step-mom asks everyone in the family including her aunt, sister and her family, her parents, us her 3 kids and their significant others, and our 2 kids and her hubby my dh dad for their wish list for Christmas. Then she types them all up and e-mails them to everyone and we're supposed to each buy a gift for everyone on the list... :grrr: this is a major pain. {We also have to buy for my family which includes my Grandma (just like my mom), Mom, Dad and brother and sister, we dont buy for significant others} All in all we end up buying 18 Christmas gifts before we buy for our own family of 4...is it just me or is this a bit rediculous? I think this just takes the fun out of Christmas. The last 2 years I've said that I'm not buying 18 gifts and for both sides of the family anyone who wants to participate could do a gift exchange, well now they're griping about that. Would it be rude of me to say that we're only buying for those who are here in town, or just for the 4 of us-under my roof??? Am I the grinch?

Stiney
10-04-2006, 08:57 PM
I think the gift exchange idea is very reasonable. I'm one of 12 grandkids on my dad's side. For years we've done a gift exchange just among the kids. I'm pretty sure that my aunts and uncles and my dad and step-mom don't buy for each other, but I'm not sure. But even if they do, that cuts the number of gifts by a lot. One of my aunts draws up the list, and distributes it by email. Since last year, I started buying my gifts instead of having my Dad do it for me, but I'm still in the exchange.

My grandparents still buy something for each of us, but it's usually just a gift card or something now.

Good luck with everything. Christmas shouldn't be so stressful! They sound greedy--like they want more gifts and that's why they don't want the exchange.

snowbear
10-04-2006, 09:28 PM
No, You are not the grinch... Years ago.. ( lets say late 60's early 70's, ) all the adults & kids did a name drawing... We left out the grandparents, but all uncles, aunts, etc..were in the drawing. We set a limit, and it was perfect. Then.. as the family kind of drifted away... married..etc... only the unmarried kids and aunts & uncles were left.. then.. it was just the brothers & sister that exchanged gifts. This made it simple, cost effective and a lot of hassle stopped.

Money and time are the 2 biggest issues. If your sis in law.. has a problem, explain that the reason for the season is not to see how many presents each can have. Suggest a name drawing, and if they don't like it.. explain that gift giving is to be fun, and not stressful.. I would send a special card to the others, or give at Christmas...

Either way, keep to your guns, Buying that many gifts would drive Santa nuts!!!!

But, again.. just my opinion...

janelanespaintbrush
10-04-2006, 09:52 PM
How presumptuous of her. Who made her the boss of gift-giving? It's like she's taking the fun of Christmas and made it an assignment. If anyone's the grinch, I think she is.

If I were you, I'd want to put "having the freedom to make my own Christmas gift-giving decisions instead of being dictated to," on my wish list, but I'm guessing that wouldn't fly well. How about compiling a Christmas shopping list for her too? Since she expects you to buy gifts for her aunt, sister, parents, ad infinitum (who I can only assume you hardly know), how about getting lists from your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. and emailing them to her? If she expects you to buy gifts for everyone on her side of the family who may be only distantly related to you, she shouldn't mind buying gifts for all of your family members too, even though they may not be her immediate family members. How could she argue with that?

geekgolightly
10-04-2006, 10:18 PM
id much rather get and give one nice gift from a family of umteen million than have to buy little crappy gifts and receive tons of little crappy gifts.

i hope that you can convince the family that your way is best. its certainly reasonable.

draw names out of a hat!

cookworm
10-04-2006, 10:23 PM
This is a sticky situation. In my family, we all exchange gifts amongst everyone and always have. I would've resented it if when my husband and I got married if he would've tried to change my family tradition to a different tradition his own family followed, but thankfully, his family does the same. We have many to buy for and it leaves us financially strapped each year, but we figure it's once a year and consider that part of the "spirit of the season" is on giving, and we don't go crazy on the amount we spend per person.

My brother-in-law's family does a name draw, so he and my sister do not see eye to eye on the gift exchange. But that is between a husband and wife; you're talking about somebody that's not in your immediate household calling the shots, and that's just not fair. How does your husband feel about all of this? Is he like-minded with you?

My 2 cents, for what it's worth, is that you and your husband--no matter what--should be unified on whatever decision you make, and like others have posted, should stick to your guns. Sadly, part of the gift giving process has to boil down to a cost issue (it's only practical!), and if you don't have the means to provide gifts for many people, then that's just how it is, and there shouldn't be anything personal about that. Even if you do have the means but just don't feel like running yourselves ragged buying gifts, that's your option too. I think if it were me--since the relative doing the dictating is on my husband's side--I would ask him to talk to her kindly and tell her that you won't be exchanging gifts with everyone this year. Maybe you and your husband just decide to buy gifts for the kids? I know a lot of families that do that--they only buy for kids under 18 for example and not the adults (although once kids reach 18, they can feel kind of "orphaned" by no longer getting gifts, so that is a sticky subject too). Personally, I would not push a name draw, but that's only my humble opinion. Since it's not in the family tradition to do this, it can create some hard feelings, and that's probably why there's been some griping about it. If your husband talks to his stepmom gently about you guys not exchanging gifts, I think it may be better received...she may not take it as harshly coming from him (but maybe I'm wrong here). Buying gifts for out of town family is a sticky situation too--every family has their own way of handling this, but I would say that if they're not family that you guys are close to and see a lot, then it doesn't make much sense to buy gifts for people, unless you are going to see them around the holidays. Even still, you can get a small "together" gift that just lets people know you're thinking of them--say maybe a box of candy or one of those cheese/meat trays, or a nice candle or a bottle of wine, etc. If your husband's step mom pushes the issue about why you didn't buy specifically what was on the list--although you shouldn't have to answer for personal decisions you and your husband make!--you can just tell her plainly and simply without a lot of explanation or fanfare. I think that the more basic you put things and don't show a lot of emotion about it, the better it will be. Just act very casual and matter-of-factly about it.

I don't know if that helped at all, but I wish you the best in tackling this situation. :hug:

Limey
10-05-2006, 04:02 AM
Hi

Janelanespaintbrush took the words out of my mouth.

I have never heard of anything so bossy - maybe it's the two different cultures but if anyone here sent a family member a list of who they should buy for, they would be told where to go. Sod that for a game of soldiers!

Suggestion: Tell her that except for children, you're donating Xmas gift money to a charity this year. Ask her which is her favourite charity and say you'll donate to it. That should put her on the backfoot and maybe get her to think that Christmas is not just for family and friends.

All the best.

Limey

Celine
10-05-2006, 07:00 AM
If you don't want to do it anymore then don't. Its totally up to YOU to change how the gift giving has been. She can't make you buy for everyone if you don't want to. I would feel the same way you do.

Years ago my dh and I decided we were not going to be buying tons of gifts and putting them all in the mail etc. I have never regretted our decision. :cheering:


Gift giving should be because you WANT to not because you feel you HAVE to.
:wall:

dustinac
10-05-2006, 08:54 AM
we were under pressure too and after struggling to get familys done and then our kids we stopped.. we just told them don't buy for us.. we are only buying for the kids and parents/gparents... thats all.. we get the children something small along with the parents/gparents.. like this year the twins are getting rickrack purses.. the two boys are getting scarves and mittens... I'm not sure what I'm getting the parents/gparents but it will be small too.. we just decided the stress wasn't worth it made some mad but oh well... we had to think of ourselves and what we wanted Christmas to mean for us.. its hard when the others don't see it but you really gotta do whats best for you and your family... :hug:

SandraEllen
10-05-2006, 09:12 AM
That's absurd. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be. I would tell your step-mom that you're not going to participate this year. You're not going to buy gifts and you don't expect any to be bought for you. You might not want to boycott altogether, but you almost have to in order to make a stand so that things can change.

We always used to buy gifts for everyone on my side of the family. and I mean immediate family (mom, dad, brothers, sisters), but there are 4 of us kids and we're all married now. so we just started a name draw a couple of years ago and it's wonderful. instead of spending $10 on each person, we spend $50 and buy them a nice gift. I'm glad that everyone agreed to it. Sometimes it makes me sad because i'd like to buy something for everyone, but this is the way that works best.

We all still buy for my nephew. :)

misstialouise
10-05-2006, 09:30 AM
Ugh..

This style of 'gift giving' really irks me.

DH & I have been asked for a list of things we're after.. but .. we can't think of anything (that would be acceptable for a list at any rate)..

We, however, only buy presents for 'immediate' family.. ie: the people that we will be spending time with on the day.. which consists of my parents, his parents, my sister/BIL and her two kids, and his Aunt/uncle/3cousins...

The 'grown ups' usually get a hamper of homebaked goodies, and the kids get 'stuff'... this brings cost WAY down and everyone gets a little something.

This year, being the first with our baby, everyone knows that Christmas isn't going to be 'present' driven, but they get to spend time with bub.. :D

jberry16
10-05-2006, 09:33 AM
How presumptuous of her. Who made her the boss of gift-giving? It's like she's taking the fun of Christmas and made it an assignment. If anyone's the grinch, I think she is.

If I were you, I'd want to put "having the freedom to make my own Christmas gift-giving decisions instead of being dictated to," on my wish list, but I'm guessing that wouldn't fly well. How about compiling a Christmas shopping list for her too? Since she expects you to buy gifts for her aunt, sister, parents, ad infinitum (who I can only assume you hardly know), how about getting lists from your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. and emailing them to her? If she expects you to buy gifts for everyone on her side of the family who may be only distantly related to you, she shouldn't mind buying gifts for all of your family members too, even though they may not be her immediate family members. How could she argue with that?

I really like that idea and just might have the balls to use it. Knitting takes balls, at least thats what a license plate frame says. Thanks

Chel
10-05-2006, 09:41 AM
In my family, we had a tradition of passing the gift giving down the generations. When you had a child, you no longer received a Christmas gift-your child did. This went on for generations. Sadly, my brother and I are the black sheep of the family... so when my *perfect* cousin had a child and he stopped receiving gifts, the family excluded my brother and I as well. Of course we are expected to buy for my cousins child as tradition dictates.

Not that I am upset over not receiving gifts, I was hurt that a tradition that was carried on so long was ended because my family basically doesn't like me and my brother. He and I have done nothing to deserve this treatment. They also do not give gifts to my brothers child because my brothers wife and son are not of the same race. As a matter of fact they have refused to even meet the child-even his own grandmother.

Christmas traditions shouldn't be mandated. They are symbols of love shared by people who give out of that love-not out of expectation.

jberry16
10-05-2006, 10:21 AM
In my family, we had a tradition of passing the gift giving down the generations. When you had a child, you no longer received a Christmas gift-your child did. This went on for generations. Sadly, my brother and I are the black sheep of the family... so when my *perfect* cousin had a child and he stopped receiving gifts, the family excluded my brother and I as well. Of course we are expected to buy for my cousins child as tradition dictates.

Not that I am upset over not receiving gifts, I was hurt that a tradition that was carried on so long was ended because my family basically doesn't like me and my brother. He and I have done nothing to deserve this treatment. They also do not give gifts to my brothers child because my brothers wife and son are not of the same race. As a matter of fact they have refused to even meet the child-even his own grandmother.

Christmas traditions shouldn't be mandated. They are symbols of love shared by people who give out of that love-not out of expectation.

imho, that's just a bunch of horse $%^t. What they've done to you and your brother, that makes me angry. But I guess that it's a good thing you have your brother and his family to celebrate with. I hope you have a Merry Christmas :hug:

Old Knitter
10-05-2006, 10:58 AM
Last year we decided to chip in a $20.00
a head for each adult in the family you would have bought a gift for and put it in a pot. Then we each put a name of a charity in a bowl and picked one. The one picked received the money. It felt great!

We shopped for all the children under 18 as we usually would have done.

I actually saved so much money, because although I might have given token gifts to some relatives that were less than $20.00, for the most part I spent so much more on others, especially my mom and my children.

We are doing this again this year and I hope forever.

(I do have to say my 15 year old grandson is getting nervous as he sees his 18th birthday looming.)

rebecca
10-05-2006, 01:39 PM
It breaks my heart when I hear of gift giving squabbles during this wonderful time of year. I'm sorry to say that the holiday has become so commercialized that it often takes away from the true meaning of Christmas. It certainly isn't a time for such issues!
Were I you, I would talk with the other family members and politely tell them that this was not ever your's or your husband's idea and that you all were never consulted and that ya'll just are not comfortable doing this type of gift giving.
We used to celebrate by giving gifts to the entire family, then, as kids have grown up and some now have kids of their own we all agree it give to the kids. Lonnie and I give to our kids, then usually something small for the 'house' for a 2 or 3 family couples that celebrate with us and my sister and I always do something special for one another, not expensive, special. Lonnie and I don't give gifts to one another on Christmas, we go out of town the day after for our Christmas vacation and give one another the $ we have been saving and we get what we want.
Anyway, our entire family have agreed that it's so much more fun to not be pressed with having to give a gift to everyone!
I'm so sorry that you are faced with this and do hope that you get this situation taken care of before the holidays so that you can have a wonderful Christmas :hug:

cookworm
10-05-2006, 01:46 PM
Tell her that except for children, you're donating Xmas gift money to a charity this year. Ask her which is her favourite charity and say you'll donate to it. That should put her on the backfoot and maybe get her to think that Christmas is not just for family and friends.

Limey--a GREAT suggestion!!!! :notworthy:

Pixywhispers
10-05-2006, 02:20 PM
I wouldnt say anything about the charity giving until they get their "gift". I agree what the family is doing is wasteful. You can set an example and still fulfill their silly lists. Maybe when you send in your lists you could write "I would like for you to please waive a gift for me and send what you would have spent to this charity. (Insert relegious remarks). Thank you." There is so much waste. So sad.

I really like the charity idea. You will probably spend less money.

In our family we gift to all the kids, then the adults pool what we would have spent on a nice gift for one person and give it annonymously to a family in need.