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Old 10-04-2006, 08:45 PM   #1
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OT: Christmas gift giving
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... 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 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?
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Old 10-04-2006, 08:57 PM   #2
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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.

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Old 10-04-2006, 09:28 PM   #3
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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...
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Old 10-04-2006, 09:52 PM   #4
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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?

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Old 10-04-2006, 10:18 PM   #5
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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.

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Old 10-04-2006, 10:23 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 10-05-2006, 04:02 AM   #7
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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.

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Old 10-05-2006, 07:00 AM   #8
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Go ahead
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.

Gift giving should be because you WANT to not because you feel you HAVE to.
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Old 10-05-2006, 08:54 AM   #9
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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...

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Old 10-05-2006, 09:12 AM   #10
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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.
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