Every year my mother-in-law asks for, no, she DEMANDS I provide her with a list for my children of ideas for her to buy for them for Christmas. Every single year her behavior reminds me why I HATE this tradition of “The List.” It also sucks the last bit of joy I had for this holiday right out of me. We painstakingly come up with a list of ideas (always referring back to her previous gripes about “The List” so we can make her life easier) and she continues to complain, no matter what. Her issues are: she doesn’t like what they have chosen to want or need, she thinks everything is too expensive (or too cheap!), it’s not “nice” enough, it’s not what SHE wants to buy, it’s too hard to find (she likes to wait until the last minute), it’s not “normal” for people to want such things and again, it’s not what SHE wants to buy….and on and on and on. After giving her the list I am bombarded by endless phone calls and complaints about “The List” and I am sick of it.
I have spent my last Christmas listening to her whine about what her grandchildren asked for, whine about how hard it was to shop from the list and whine about how the stuff they asked for isn’t what she wants to buy. Isn’t the idea to give people something from the list that they might actually want or need? My children are not Gimme Pigs either, they ask for things that are reasonable and affordable. They know that cash and gift cards are out because this particular grandmother refuses to do that for them (even though she does it for her other grandchildren) so they are required to come up with list after list after list only to hear her complain bitterly every year. The joy of Christmas is being killed for them, too.
So, we have decided to boycott the list. Cast us off to e-Hell if you must for being rude and not playing nice with a family member, but if we continue to play her sick manipulative game it will make us hate Christmas. Are we horrible for taking this stand? 1123-10
I generally think that Christmas Wish Lists should be treated like wedding registries, i.e. the “Push/Pull” rule comes into play. One should not “push” a wish list on any potential gift givers but rather the information should be “pulled” from the recipient. I have kept a personal wish list Word document on my family’s shared server for decades. It’s there to access as they wish but they are free to ignore it, too. I know where their wish lists are as well, but I rarely base my gift giving on the lists.
In the OP’s case, I suggest supplying a wish list that be accessed at any time online (such as Amazon.com), direct Grandmom to it when she asks and then ignore all future whines about the content of the wish lists. Grandmom is under no obligation to shop from the wish lists or give gifts she is not happy giving. Children should be taught that wish lists are not mandatory shopping lists, to not expect that others have any obligation to fulfill their desires and to be grateful for what they do receive.