Author Topic: Weird Christmas stuff  (Read 458 times)

Offline Amie

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Weird Christmas stuff
« on: December 19, 2017, 01:49:58 PM »
My husband and I are having a debate as to what is "normal" Christmas giving behaviour. I'd have put this as a poll, but polls aren't so easy to do on this forum anymore. So tell me, which do you think is normal:

A) your in-laws phone you a month before Christmas, asking what you want, and requesting cash for their kids (the item you request must equal the amount of cash you send to their kids, more or less exactly). They then continually harangue you until you come up with an answer ("it's okay, I don't need anything, and I'm happy to give your kids the money you have requested anyway" is not an acceptable answer)

B) you just buy things, and try to put some thought into it, and hope you pick something the other party will really like, but you want to surprise them, and don't want to put pressure on them, so you don't ask what they might want more than once (if at all)

C) you agree not to exchange gifts, because neither party really needs anything, and the purpose of Christmas is getting together and having a happy time, not presents

D) something else.

My position is that B and C and possibly D are normal, whereas A is a colossal waste of time and makes Christmas into a stressful chore. If I have to spend 30 on you, and you have to spend 30 on me, then why not just go for C and decide for ourselves whether we want stuff?

My husband's family are diehards for A. My husband says, "that's how everyone does it, don't they?". I said, "not my family" (they do B or C). So I thought I'd put it to the test: who are the raving freaks, my family, or my husband's family? ;)
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Jo Bannister

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Re: Weird Christmas stuff
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2017, 03:52:51 PM »
Definitely B.  And preferably, spending more thought than money.  Useless is fine as long as it's fun.

Cash is probably best for teenagers - but it's a treat, not a right.  Anyone caught weighing up what other people spent will be excluded from next year's festivities.

If young people (ie without much income of their own) are desperate for something in particular, it's fine to ask.  Otherwise you get what you're given and like it.

In the family, it's OK to buy something for yourself and tell your (usually male) relative he's bought it for you.  This saves both of you a lot of grief.

Not exchanging gifts is OK too, but it does away with the fun of opening them.  Token gifts specifically matched to the recipient are best in most circumstances.  (One of my triumphs was a book on hen diseases for someone taking on her first pair of layers.  This year a friend who complained she felt like an old fossil is getting - you guessed it - an old fossil.)


graphophobia

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Re: Weird Christmas stuff
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 08:37:20 PM »
A vote for option 'C' from me- Christmas for me is all about the food and company, gifts are for the little kids only and not usually anything very expensive. I think option A sounds a bit controlling- a gift should be at the discretion of the giver, not under instruction from the recipient (and I say that as someone who once got two out- of- date chocolate Easter bunnies and a packet of white ankle socks as a birthday present.)

Offline Amie

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Re: Weird Christmas stuff
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 08:56:41 PM »
They drive me nuts every year :)

I don't mind giving the money to their kids (I used to try to buy their kids gifts, but one year I bought something one of my nieces didn't like, so the next year they said "buy something pink and Barbie". But I bought the same thing as her parents, and it was supposed to be her "big gift" and she had two, so from then on they said, "just give us money")

The thing that annoys me is having to think up presents for myself. Saying, "I don't need anything" is not acceptable. My husband has four siblings with families and each ask each year, "what do you want for Christmas" and I have to come up with the exact thing (preferably purchasable on Amazon). My MIL, though she's a lovely lady, does the same. This year, when I said, "I don't know", she said, "well, could you buy yourself something and I'll give you the money after". Last night my husband was stressing because one of his sisters sent a text during dinner, and I didn't want to break off and wrack my brains to come up with something (I think from now on I'll just say Amazon vouchers. So I can give each of their kids 50, and they'll all give me 50 vouchers for myself, and the net effect is that I've had to buy myself vouchers that I don't want, which seems a bit unnecessarily laborious)

They see Christmas gift giving as a chore to complete, and the feeling rubs off on me. Le sigh :(
"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Kafka

Dansinger

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Re: Weird Christmas stuff
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2017, 03:55:38 AM »
I don't do Christmas, but if I did, I'd vote for C.

We live in a world of opposites. There's those of us who have wants, not needs. And then there's those who have needs and no means to fulfill them. I'm one of the lucky ones. I can do very well without presents that I don't need anyway.

Offline Spell Chick

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Re: Weird Christmas stuff
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2017, 06:47:43 PM »
We are B through D here.

A is just too much like bill paying.

I do try to keep things equal between say all the grandkids, so I don't spend too much on one kid and get another next to nothing, but it is ME keeping tabs with myself.
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