Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Green Bean on September 30, 2013, 08:15:16 AM

Title: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Green Bean on September 30, 2013, 08:15:16 AM
If you have relatives that make PA comments, do you call them out on it? If so, what do you say and how do they respond? Does it matter how close you are to them?

In my case, this happened over text. The comment came from SIL, who I'm not all that close to. It's relatively minor in the whole grand scheme of things, but her comment doesn't help out relationship. However, if I were to say something, I'm afraid it will make me look petty. I'm wondering how other people deal with type of nonsense.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: bopper on September 30, 2013, 08:18:59 AM
What was the comment?

In general we here at e-hell say to take a PA'er at face value.

So if MIL says "Don't bother, I don't want anything" then take that at face value.

If it is a "Must be nice to go on vacation" type comment then you say "Actually it really is.  We have worked hard saving up all year and it is nice to be able to do this."

Also, you can back off from SIL.  Don't reach out, but respond kindly if she does.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: CaffeineKatie on September 30, 2013, 09:02:19 AM
And I find things come across maybe a little harsher in text--something that was a flippant comment when you hear the joking tone of voice seems a little stronger in black and white.  If they did mean to be critical--well, I always find ignoring them is much more effective than any response.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: rose red on September 30, 2013, 09:32:18 AM
Depends on the comment.  Like bopper, I usually take them literally since what can they do about that?  I did exactly as they say.  But if they say something that needs no response (like they are making comments about a politicion), I just ignore them or make an excuse to walk away.  Nothing deflates PA people (or riles them up) than not playing their game.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 09:37:33 AM
Nothing deflates PA people (or riles them up) than not playing their game.

Bingo.  It depends on the specifics of the relationship and what was said, but I generally act as though either I assume they wouldn't be so petty as to truly be PA, or I let them know I am on to them and it doesn't bother me but makes them look dumb. 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: GratefulMaria on September 30, 2013, 09:47:05 AM
This thread http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=123236.0 is great.

I tend to do the cheerful "whatever you say" thing with my mother the rare times she does get PA; no intimate discussions, but the remarks gain her nothing.  The episodes resolve without discussing them, because I want to maintain an emotional distance from her. 

DH used to be quite passive-aggressive, and I did call him on it and we discussed it, but that's because I wanted to stay married to him.  (It worked, by the way.  His self-respect was on the line, and he didn't want to be someone who acted that way to get what he wants.)

Other people in my circle, friends and colleagues, are straightforward and civil, so I don't know how I'd deal with PA behavior from someone less close.  I think if the PA person is more interested in getting their way than improving things, then calling them on it becomes part of a one-way solution.  That's all right, too, I just try to have a Plan B in mind when approaching someone about their behavior.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Green Bean on September 30, 2013, 09:54:11 AM
OP here. Perhaps this wasn't really a  PA comment. I have difficulty always detecting it.

This message was in response to holiday plans. (Drat, those darn holidays. You may have seen my post in the holiday folder.). Her child is singing in their church's Chrustmas Eve service. DH and I are both atheist, a fact his family is disappointed with but accepts. Neither of us wants to go to a place of worship, especially for a holiday. We don't feel comfortable, and that is not where I want to spend my holiday. So I told her that we would skip on the service, but asked what time they would be home afterward. (I personally think it will be too late afterwards, but was hoping they would come to this conclusion independently as well.) Her response was "it disappoints me that you wouldn't want to see nephew sing."  Was that PA? I feel it's a bit manipulative.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 09:57:42 AM
I see it as honest.  Your sister is disappointed that you won't be present to hear your nephew sing.  Presumably he has put effort into preparing and would like for you to experience it with him.  You are choosing to honor your desire to not attend a religious ceremony over hearing your nephew sing.  That is fine, just own your priorities.  Your sister has the right to be upset about it, but I didn't see her manipulating you or being PA at all - just honest.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Zilla on September 30, 2013, 10:00:30 AM
I do privately.  And only with my family.  It depends on what you want to happen ultimately.  If you want the PA comments to stop, then call them out.  But know there is a risk such as in your case with your sil and is it worth the fallout?


For me it's mostly my mom and kids.  I can't stand PA comments and will call them out quietly but firmly.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: artk2002 on September 30, 2013, 10:01:27 AM
I see it as honest.  Your sister is disappointed that you won't be present to hear your nephew sing.  Presumably he has put effort into preparing and would like for you to experience it with him.  You are choosing to honor your desire to not attend a religious ceremony over hearing your nephew sing.  That is fine, just own your priorities.  Your sister has the right to be upset about it, but I didn't see her manipulating you or being PA at all - just honest.

I agree. Nothing PA about it -- just honest disappointment.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: mspallaton on September 30, 2013, 10:01:38 AM
If she knows about your distaste for places of worship (esp. during the holidays) then it is definitely manipulative.  I'm struggling to see if it would classify as PA - but the label is not the important part.

I think the other posters who suggested taking it at face value have given you good advice regardless of the label.  I think the main thing is (from other advice I've read on here): don't JADE.  You don't have to argue with the idea that you didn't want to see the nephew sing - I might go with a "what an interesting assumption" response since she's presumed your motive for not attending.

That and stick to asking when everyone will return from the event - you asked a legitimate question that she has yet to answer.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: mspallaton on September 30, 2013, 10:02:38 AM
I see it as honest.  Your sister is disappointed that you won't be present to hear your nephew sing.  Presumably he has put effort into preparing and would like for you to experience it with him.  You are choosing to honor your desire to not attend a religious ceremony over hearing your nephew sing.  That is fine, just own your priorities.  Your sister has the right to be upset about it, but I didn't see her manipulating you or being PA at all - just honest.

I agree. Nothing PA about it -- just honest disappointment.

I pretty strongly disagree -- she didn't say she was disappointed that the OP wouldn't be there.  She said she was disappointed that the OP "wouldn't want to see the nephew sing".  One is honest, the other is manipulation.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Bethalize on September 30, 2013, 10:03:15 AM
So I told her that we would skip on the service, but asked what time they would be home afterward. (I personally think it will be too late afterwards, but was hoping they would come to this conclusion independently as well.) Her response was "it disappoints me that you wouldn't want to see nephew sing."  Was that PA? I feel it's a bit manipulative.

I think it's straight forward. For me, tolerance is a big thing. I'll not only support what I believe in, I'll be present at the practices of others. I don't go to church or similar myself, but I would make the effort for a public performance like nephew singing. Like TurtleDove said, you choose not attending church over being their to hear your nephew sing. That's your choice to make, but I'd make a different choice. For me, I don't believe, therefore what other people do or say as an act of worship has no impact on me.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Allyson on September 30, 2013, 11:12:11 AM
Seems a bit guilt-trippy to me. The "Don't want to see him sing" as opposed to "it disappoints me that you won't be there to see him sing" is what does it for me. It makes it sound like your lack of desire is about the nephew, rather than your own convictions. I don't think it's egregious of her, and I'd probably say something like, "I'd love to hear him sing in a nonreligious environment."

But, I'd probably just let this one go. She has the right to be disappointed, and you have the right to not allow that to affect your decision.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MrTango on September 30, 2013, 11:17:29 AM
I don't call out PA comments, but I take them at exactly face value.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 30, 2013, 11:23:46 AM
I agree it is an honest response but a judgemental one.

She is dissapointed that your discomfort at being in a house of worship on such a holy evening outweighs your desire to see your newphew sing.

I'd probably respond "I'm dissapointed that the only opportunities we have to hear him sing is at religious ceremonies. Maybe he'll grace us with a solo later."

But I'm curious why if you don't want to spend the evening with them at all, why not just say no instead of playing this game.
From OP: but asked what time they would be home afterward. (I personally think it will be too late afterwards, but was hoping they would come to this conclusion independently as well.)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on September 30, 2013, 11:25:48 AM
Like PPs, I just see your sister's comment as honest. She IS disappointed that you won't be there, and she's telling you so.

As an aside, I think that people generally misunderstand what passive aggression is.

Passive aggression is kind of the opposite of what your sister was doing: it's trying to achieve a certain outcome without ever stating your wishes or feelings directly. PA doesn't necessarily mean being snide or mean, but it does mean trying to manipulate a situation.

For example, let's say that I don't want to go to the supermarket with you. Instead of saying so directly, I spend so long trying to find my keys and doing my hair and all these other things that will 'just take a sec' that the supermarket is closed by the time we are ready to leave. That would be a classic example of passive-aggressive behaviour, and I may not even be doing it consciously. Many passive-aggresive people (in my experience) learn to be that way because they have a deep dislike of conflict, and have no experience of stating their desires/feelings directly.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Green Bean on September 30, 2013, 11:27:01 AM
Seems a bit guilt-trippy to me. The "Don't want to see him sing" as opposed to "it disappoints me that you won't be there to see him sing" is what does it for me. It makes it sound like your lack of desire is about the nephew, rather than your own convictions. I don't think it's egregious of her, and I'd probably say something like, "I'd love to hear him sing in a nonreligious environment."

But, I'd probably just let this one go. She has the right to be disappointed, and you have the right to not allow that to affect your decision.

I did follow up that we would be interested in hearing him sing, but not in a church environment. This was her response, "All I want is for your family to come watch him sing. I do not expect you to stay for the service. I know Nephew will be very disappointed if you all didn't come."

First of all, I can't imagine walking out of a Christmas Eve service. I think that would be horribly rude behavior on our part. Second, every kids' Christmas Eve service I've ever been to had the choir sing throughout the service. Even if we did go, how would we determine what was the right point to leave?

I think it's time to live our values. I already take issue with MIL teaching my daughter to pray. I think it will send confusing messages to her if we now take her to a place that actively encourages it.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Venus193 on September 30, 2013, 11:31:46 AM
Some people are very uncomfortable in a house of worship not their own.  I don't know your reasons for this, but your sister should know and respect them.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on September 30, 2013, 11:33:48 AM
OP here. Perhaps this wasn't really a  PA comment. I have difficulty always detecting it.

This message was in response to holiday plans. (Drat, those darn holidays. You may have seen my post in the holiday folder.). Her child is singing in their church's Chrustmas Eve service. DH and I are both atheist, a fact his family is disappointed with but accepts. Neither of us wants to go to a place of worship, especially for a holiday. We don't feel comfortable, and that is not where I want to spend my holiday. So I told her that we would skip on the service, but asked what time they would be home afterward. (I personally think it will be too late afterwards, but was hoping they would come to this conclusion independently as well.) Her response was "it disappoints me that you wouldn't want to see nephew sing."  Was that PA? I feel it's a bit manipulative.

I would actually say that you are more guilty of passive aggresion, given the bolded. You are asking a question knowing that you will only be truly happy with one answer, instead of stating your feelings and desires directly. You don't want to go to the church, and you don't want to go to her house afterwards (those are absolutely fine decisions, btw, I'm just laying it on the line), but instead of saying so, you're hoping to get what you want without stating it directly.

Now, I've been there. I am (although I am trying not to be) the queen of conflict avoidance (IRL, anyway  ;) ), but I am trying to stop precisely because I realise how PA and annoying such tactics can be (and ultimately, you can't avoid conflict with everyone; your avoidance with one person may precipitate a conflict with another, as I also learned to my cost  :-\).
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Two Ravens on September 30, 2013, 11:39:08 AM
First of all, I can't imagine walking out of a Christmas Eve service. I think that would be horribly rude behavior on our part. Second, every kids' Christmas Eve service I've ever been to had the choir sing throughout the service. Even if we did go, how would we determine what was the right point to leave?

In regards to this point, I am picturing what my church does. There is special music an hour before the ceremony starts. The choir goes to the front of the church, performs, then afterwards, takes their usual spot in the choir lost. There is a clear demarcation of the end of the music and the beginning of the service, and it would not be rude at all to leave at that point. In fact, it may delight latecomers who now have seats.

All of this is beside the point. If you have decided its time to "live your values" then you need to make it clear to your family you will not be going into a church for whatever reason, not arguing about how it would be rude to leave or that you wouldn't know when. Your values outweigh any desire to hear your nephew Christmas Eve.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: JoyinVirginia on September 30, 2013, 11:56:17 AM
Not Pa, but direct.  The focus of this evening will be the church service and the child singing during the service. If you think it will be to late to come by afterward then just say so and visit another day. Just decide what you will do and do it. Maybe they could videotape the performance. My church tapes services for those who cannot attend.
You can understand the in laws perspective. You're mil is religious, you and dh are atheists, suppose your child tells you she has decided she doesn't want to be atheist anymore. That is sort of what the in laws are still responding to. I am assuming your dh was raised in some faith and attending services.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: flickan on September 30, 2013, 12:04:40 PM

I did follow up that we would be interested in hearing him sing, but not in a church environment. This was her response, "All I want is for your family to come watch him sing. I do not expect you to stay for the service. I know Nephew will be very disappointed if you all didn't come."

First of all, I can't imagine walking out of a Christmas Eve service. I think that would be horribly rude behavior on our part. Second, every kids' Christmas Eve service I've ever been to had the choir sing throughout the service. Even if we did go, how would we determine what was the right point to leave?

I think it's time to live our values. I already take issue with MIL teaching my daughter to pray. I think it will send confusing messages to her if we now take her to a place that actively encourages it.

I think you are right on all points.  Walking out of a Christmas Eve service is impolite.  On her end, refusing to understand that you would be uncomfortable at a Christmas Eve service shows a surprising lack of tolerance.  It seems that there is some guilt tripping going on there.  I do not blame you for wanting to stick to your values.

As far as PA comments in general- my family have made passive aggressive needling an art form.  My usual response is to just ignore it.  I'm not afraid to tell my mother off if it comes down to it.  She'll never own up to it but she will knock it off.

My father is a whole other story, but suffice to say once you learn what being baited sounds like it's incredibly easy to decline the bait.

Ignore PA comments or take the at face value.  People who engage in this kind of behavior tend to be a little too cunning to not have a way to make themselves look as though their words have been twisted.  Don't get caught up in it.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: JenJay on September 30, 2013, 12:58:49 PM
I don't think she was passive-aggressive but I do think she was guilt-trippy. If she respected your religious choice (to decline invitations to church events) she could say "I'm bummed you won't get to hear DS sing. Would it be okay if he sang for you at our home later?"

I would have replied to her "I'd love to hear Nephew sing, but you know that I am not comfortable attending church services, and I'd never want to disrespect everyone by getting up and leaving early."

Depending on how old the nephew is I might explain it to him with something like "I heard you were invited to sing at your church's Christmas program. That's amazing! I wish I could have been there, but I'm not comfortable attending other people's churches. If you want to sing for me now I'd love to hear you!"
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on September 30, 2013, 01:08:52 PM
I like JenJay's approach.  From the OP, I got the sense the OP just doesn't want to spend time with the nephew or his family in addition to not wanting to go to the church service.  If that isn't the case, I think JenJay's wording makes that clear.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Pen^2 on September 30, 2013, 02:13:17 PM
Seems a bit guilt-trippy to me. The "Don't want to see him sing" as opposed to "it disappoints me that you won't be there to see him sing" is what does it for me. It makes it sound like your lack of desire is about the nephew, rather than your own convictions. I don't think it's egregious of her, and I'd probably say something like, "I'd love to hear him sing in a nonreligious environment."

But, I'd probably just let this one go. She has the right to be disappointed, and you have the right to not allow that to affect your decision.

I did follow up that we would be interested in hearing him sing, but not in a church environment. This was her response, "All I want is for your family to come watch him sing. I do not expect you to stay for the service. I know Nephew will be very disappointed if you all didn't come."

First of all, I can't imagine walking out of a Christmas Eve service. I think that would be horribly rude behavior on our part. Second, every kids' Christmas Eve service I've ever been to had the choir sing throughout the service. Even if we did go, how would we determine what was the right point to leave?

I think it's time to live our values. I already take issue with MIL teaching my daughter to pray. I think it will send confusing messages to her if we now take her to a place that actively encourages it.

The first message seemed a bit guilt-trippy, but that might have just come across badly in writing and not been meant. But the bolded above screams of manipulation. This is exactly what is called the "good-cop, bad-cop" routine, like the one from the start of Great Expectations. "If you don't do what I want, someone else with emotional/physical power over you will be disappointed, and we wouldn't want that."

I agree strongly with flikan. The sister here isn't being tolerant of the fact that you aren't comfortable in a place of worship, and is saying (initially implying, but now being blunt) that you are instead choosing not to go to slight nephew. That's pretty insulting. Would saying the same thing be accepted if you were a vegan, or devout Buddhist, and your nephew was a butcher doing a demonstration of highly-technical meat preparation at his butchery? "I just want you to watch him set up, I don't expect you to stay for the meat carving part. Sure, it's in a place you aren't at all comfortable in (a butchery), but if you really love nephew you'll do it for him."

It's important to stand your ground and be clear about your beliefs when they aren't the same as your family's, to help make it clear for them and so everyone can respect each other. I think your response about hoping for a solo performance made it clear that you do indeed want to see nephew sing. But even after this, his mother is still trying to manipulate you into going to the church, so I don't think she seriously thinks you don't want to see him sing. I suspect there's something else here--maybe she's worried the audience won't be very large and he'll be disheartened or something. But whatever it is, I think JenJay's advice is pretty good. I'd ignore any further guilt-trippy, manipulative texts from the sister here, or keep responses to, "Yeah, I wish I could hear him sing--he's so wonderful! Please give him love from me!" without addressing her impolite accusations.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Hillia on September 30, 2013, 03:00:04 PM
And she may not understand that even being in a place of worship makes you uncomfortable.  I hadn't thought of it, honestly.  If someone says they are atheist, I hear that as 'I choose not to attend religious services', not 'Simply being in the environment is uncomfortable and a betrayal of my principles'.  I can easily imagine that your SIL is thinking that nephew's performance is completely separate from the venue, and you choosing not to attend is the same as you refusing to attend a performance in the school auditorium.  Maybe a little more explanation would help her understand your feelings? 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: aiki on September 30, 2013, 04:05:59 PM
She says:
  "it disappoints me that you wouldn't want to see nephew sing." 

And you're hearing :
  "it disappoints me that you won't be manipulated into going through the motions of worshipping at my church" 

Which might actually be quite accurate - you know her best, and if she has a history of pulling this sort of move. Either way, it won't hurt her to be disappointed. If you reply at all you could use a conciliatory non-apology

  "I'm sorry you're disappointed. I'm sure there'll be other opportunities to hear nephew sing. We'll look forward to seeing you all at <later event>" 

 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: *inviteseller on September 30, 2013, 07:01:42 PM
Yes, I do call my close relatives out on their PA because they use it as a conversation starter and sometimes they need to know it is not necessary.  As for your SIL, it sounds like DH's family is religious and cannot stand that your family is not.  It is very guilt trippy and possibly manipulative as they try to get you and your DD into church (they are already trying to teach her to pray?  Major boundary overstepping!!).  I would just apologize for her/his feelings on it ( I am sorry your will be disappointed) and move on to scheduling a time to get together for the holidays. 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: shhh its me on September 30, 2013, 07:23:02 PM
I see it as honest.  Your sister is disappointed that you won't be present to hear your nephew sing.  Presumably he has put effort into preparing and would like for you to experience it with him.  You are choosing to honor your desire to not attend a religious ceremony over hearing your nephew sing.  That is fine, just own your priorities.  Your sister has the right to be upset about it, but I didn't see her manipulating you or being PA at all - just honest.

I agree. Nothing PA about it -- just honest disappointment.

I pretty strongly disagree -- she didn't say she was disappointed that the OP wouldn't be there.  She said she was disappointed that the OP "wouldn't want to see the nephew sing".  One is honest, the other is manipulation.

I think it is PA ............I am disappointed  that you wouldn't choice to come see your nephew sing/I'm disappointed you don't prioritize seeing nephew sing over your preference not to be in a church/I'm disappointed you wont be there. Those wouldn't be PA.

I'm not sure I would call it out the PA in this particular case , you're not that close and its a pretty deep and big underlying issue.

 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on September 30, 2013, 07:29:22 PM
Depends.  With very close relationships (DH, kids, my bff) I would call them on it.  Even if just to say "I'm going to trust you didn't mean that to come out as PA as it sounded." thus giving them the chance to retract or reword if indeed it was a case of poor wording or misread tone.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 30, 2013, 07:34:17 PM

...     "I'm sorry you're disappointed. I'm sure there'll be other opportunities to hear nephew sing. We'll look forward to seeing you all at <later event>"  ...

I consider this to be a perfect (and truthful and honest) response.

Normally I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that your SIL is being manipulative, but it does disturb me that they are teaching your daughter to pray when you and your husband have made it crystal clear this is not what you want.  A repeat of that would almost be worthy of a direct cut because it's so totally disrespectful to the two of you as her parents.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: bopper on September 30, 2013, 07:57:21 PM
And she may not understand that even being in a place of worship makes you uncomfortable.  I hadn't thought of it, honestly.  If someone says they are atheist, I hear that as 'I choose not to attend religious services', not 'Simply being in the environment is uncomfortable and a betrayal of my principles'.  I can easily imagine that your SIL is thinking that nephew's performance is completely separate from the venue, and you choosing not to attend is the same as you refusing to attend a performance in the school auditorium.  Maybe a little more explanation would help her understand your feelings?

I was going to say the same thing.  She may think "You don't have to believe in my faith or God, just hear Nephew sing! What does it matter what he is singing?" 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Sharnita on September 30, 2013, 08:11:45 PM
I think in that case I might respond -."We'd love to hearnephew sing incircumstances that don'trequire us to pretend beliefs we don't actually accept. The last thing we would want to do is treat the beliefs of others in that kind of disrespectful manner. We look forward to hearing nephew sing under other circumstances."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Pen^2 on September 30, 2013, 08:13:06 PM
And she may not understand that even being in a place of worship makes you uncomfortable.  I hadn't thought of it, honestly.  If someone says they are atheist, I hear that as 'I choose not to attend religious services', not 'Simply being in the environment is uncomfortable and a betrayal of my principles'.  I can easily imagine that your SIL is thinking that nephew's performance is completely separate from the venue, and you choosing not to attend is the same as you refusing to attend a performance in the school auditorium.  Maybe a little more explanation would help her understand your feelings?

I was going to say the same thing.  She may think "You don't have to believe in my faith or God, just hear Nephew sing! What does it matter what he is singing?"

Hopefully that's all it is, but if OP has said at any point that she doesn't feel comfortable in a place of worship, then it's not reasonable to expect her to behave otherwise, much less guilt-trip/insist. If someone says they don't do X, then even if you can't understand why, then we all realise it's not polite to demand that they do X because to you it isn't a big deal. Etiquette is all about respecting others, after all. Not understanding another person's reasons for not being comfortable with something is not an excuse to dismiss them.

If you haven't said outright that you aren't comfortable going to church, OP, then maybe your family doesn't realise that not following their religion means not going to their places of worship, and you might have to say it explicitly since they mightn't work it out on their own, obvious though it may seem to be.

However, the fact that your MIL was actively trying to teach your daughter to pray when she knew that that isn't how you want to parent her is a massive overstepping of your boundaries, and alone results in a minimum of no time alone with your daughter (she's shown she doesn't respect your beliefs, so there's nothing that says she won't try this again), and a maximum of a cut. There is no excuse for that at all. I hope this was all a misunderstanding as above because they don't really understand what it means to not follow their religion, and not some complete refusal to accept different beliefs. But again, you've made it clear that you enjoy nephew singing and his mother was still implying that if you don't come then you don't enjoy it, so either the religion/belief angle is a part of the impetus here or she's outright calling you a liar.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: flickan on October 01, 2013, 07:14:22 AM
I think in that case I might respond -."We'd love to hearnephew sing incircumstances that don'trequire us to pretend beliefs we don't actually accept. The last thing we would want to do is treat the beliefs of others in that kind of disrespectful manner. We look forward to hearing nephew sing under other circumstances."

I think this is absolutely the crux of the argument.  For me as a Christian, I've never had a problem going to other services but that has been entirely dependant on what level of participation is expected at those services.  I can easily see how an athiest can feel uncomfortable at a church service when people are being asked to bow their heads and pray.  It's one thing to say, well you don't have to go along with it, but picture how it comes off when one person is sitting their twiddling their thumbs while others dutifully pray.  I know at my own home congregation people are not judgemental of whether others participate but in a smaller church it may be noticable and read as disrespectful.  I was never confirmed as a Catholic but because of my upbringing I know that it's acceptable and expected that I will not receive communion.  People visiting a Catholic church for the first time may feel pressured to participate if they don't know better.

When I was a teenager I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend service at a Korean Buddhist temple with a friend.  At that time I wanted only to blend in so I did as I was told to do by my friend; namely prostrated myself before the images of the Bodhisattva and the Buddha before the service.  Nowdays I would know better than to get on my hands and knees before a different god, but I thought only of giving in the appearance of respect.  To blindly follow those instructions were disrespectful not only to the faith I practice but to the Buddha and the Bodhisattva for offering up an empty sign of obsequiousness.  It would have been better to ask how I could respectfully enter the temple as a nonbeliever.

It can be difficult for those who are regular churchgoers to see how certain aspects of the ceremony can make outsiders uncomfortable.  Which is why one should always take people at face value when they say they cannot attend a certain service because of their own beliefs.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: lisztchick on October 01, 2013, 11:08:51 AM
I would be interested to learn two things: the age of the nephew (is it true that he would actually be very disappointed and hurt that aunt, uncle and cousin weren't there? Or is he three years old and unlikely to care or notice one way or the other?) and the role of the nephew in the service. For me, that might play a role in determining the level of PA. For example, if nephew had an lengthy and challenging solo to perform, SIL might have said, "OP, I understand that I'm asking quite a lot, but nephew has been practicing this for months and it really means a lot to him....is there any way you might consider....."etc. But if SIL is asking OP to compromise her beliefs and that of her family to watch nephew sing *insert favorite Christmas carol here!* with fifty other kids lisping along....well, I'm sure it would be very sweet, but hardly worth compromising one's beliefs. If that's what nephew is doing, then that does seem a little self-important of the SIL to request everyone's presence for that. And it may very well be (as others have suggested) a guilt-tripping ploy to get your family to church.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: mime on October 01, 2013, 11:23:09 AM
I don't see classic-PA in the SIL's comment, but maybe guilt-trippy.

First of all, I'm making the assumption that MIL's teaching OP's daughter to pray was not SIL's doing, so it is a different issue... an inexcusable boundary-trampling issue, but still a different issue.

I think SIL's response is honest but incomplete. She's disappointed. True. OP doesn't want to see nephew perform enough to override her decision to stay away from a ceremony of a faith with which she disagrees. With that clarification (that I assumed was implied), it is also true.

IMO calling SIL intolerant is over the top. From the backstory, it sounds like OP has not always taken this stand. If SIL has seen OP at a funeral, wedding, etc in a church, she may not be current on the OP's evolving priorities, and her statement of disappointment really makes sense. I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she was honest but incomplete in her response, and needs to know more clearly where the OP stands. A direct response of "I love nephew and I'd love to hear him sing, but not if it requires attending a ceremony opposed to my values" would help clear things up. Any guilt-tripping after that point is up to the OP to reject as she gets to set her own priorities.

FTR: Unlike the OP: I'm a Christian. Like the OP: there are ceremonies and events I will not attend for anyone because doing so would be incompatible with my beliefs. If I was faced with this situation, I'd assume SIL didn't understand my position and I'd clarify with just a simple and kind statement like the ones suggested, and let it go.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 01, 2013, 11:25:31 AM
mime makes a good point - if the OP attends weddings or funerals in a church I thunk the SIL is legitimately confused.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Green Bean on October 01, 2013, 10:32:32 PM
OP here. I really appreciate everyone's comments. It has made me think about things from a different perspective.

Someone mentioned that they may not understand that I would feel u comfortable attending their church. I never have actually come out to anyone and said I didn't feel comfortable attending. I think I assumed it was obvious, but now see that isn't the case.

I think part of the difference has to do with our upbringings. I attended parochial schools all the way through (K - college) in a more religiously conservative environment. DH, also raised Catholic, was in a less conservative city. So, even though same religion our perspectives differ. Walking away from my faith was a not a decision I made lightly. It was very difficult. Every time I go to a church now, I feel like a hypocrite for being there, and I am very well aware I don't belong there.

His family would always pop out of services early - something unheard of in my upbringing. Ducking early would make me so uncomfortable. SIL truly feels its no big deal and says people do it all the time. That may be the case, but she only sees how her sons rehearsals go. For some reason, I don't even think they are members of this church. I still think it would beyond rude yo leave during a service. And Christmas no less - that's one of the holiest days of the year.

So, DH doesn't like to make waves and has the family role of people pleaser. (That's why he didnt want to speak up sbout the whole prayer thing to his parents. im not sure they even understand we take issue with it and so i seethe every time they encourage her to say grace.) After he talked to SIL, I think he is on the fence for the whole thing.

Someone asked how old Nephew is... He is 5. There could be many, many more years of this ahead of us.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Pen^2 on October 02, 2013, 12:22:36 AM
Thanks for the update, OP.

I think you're right in that since you haven't been explicit about things, they might not understand where you stand. "I don't believe in your religion" doesn't imply "I don't feel comfortable in your religious services" to everyone, and clearly here it definitely needs to be said.

Your in-laws try to encourage your daughter to say grace? I hope you jump on that early before it grows into something potentially problematic. It really sounds like you have a family that needs to be told politely but directly about these things, since they haven't worked it out for themselves. "Oh, we're not bringing our daughter up to be religious, so please don't teach her to say grace/pray/etc."

If they continue trying to force things after you've told them directly, then I'd be worried. That's a whole different kettle of fish, though, and if they're respectful of you and your family then it won't happen anyway. For now, it really looks like they just don't know and you need to tell them.

5 year old nephew? In that case, the only way I can see him being disappointed is if his mother tells him things like, "Everyone will come to see you, except Green Bean because she doesn't want to." I mean, come on. He'll have friends and other relatives who won't be there, for a start, so it's not like he'll be assuming that people who don't come don't care about him. He's not old enough to keep tabs on all the people in his life and whether or not it's reasonable to expect them to be there, and so on. The only way he'll be disappointed is if his mother wants him to be. Her whole "he'll be disappointed if you don't come" is nonsense and is just a form of guilt-trip pressuring.

I think you need to make things very clear to your family now to save yourself more trouble later. Even with that, though, SIL's whole guilt-trippy thing is a bit of a worry, and not entirely explained by her not understanding that her beliefs are different from yours. Maybe just make a mental note of the behaviour in case it becomes a pattern. I hope not. People here have suggested good stock phrases to use in case she tries this again, though, so I'm sure you'll be fine.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Deetee on October 02, 2013, 01:41:21 AM
I agree with the guilt trippy verdict over passive aggressive. I also wanted to come in with what you have already acknowledged, the fact that atheist does not mean the same thing to people.

My family is cheerfully atheist but I will attend weddings and funerals and choir singings in churches. I admire the beauty of the music and ceremony and don't worry about what is behind it. I loved visiting cathedrals in Europe and lit candles and have the donation as it would have pleased my late grandma. But I was raised in a culture of non religion  and didn't have to wrestle with anything. I am content and comfortable in my belief system.

So I would have gone to the church to see the pageantry and listen to nephew but that does not mean at all that you should. One of my strong beliefs is that people should be free to choose and manifest their beliefs as they wish.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on October 02, 2013, 03:34:03 AM
Came back to say:
I don't think that there is a 'one size fits all' solution for snotty comments. However, generally my response falls into one of two categories.

Generally, I'll take the comment at face value, as PPs have suggested. "Why yes, it is nice to be going on holiday! Spain is lovely at this time of year!"

However, sometimes (and I think that the OP's situation is one of those times) I focus less on being right and more on getting a peaceful resolution for everybody.

So, if my mother were to say, "well, it must be great to be so busy that you can't chat for 5 minutes", I'd try to look beyond the words and tone, and listen to what she's really trying to say to me. She's saying (in a bit of a rubbish way, I grant you) that she misses me and wishes we could talk more often. So THAT is the statement I will respond to. "Yeah mum, I miss you too. It sucks that we don't get to talk more, but I promise I'll call you on Wednesday."

In the OP's case, what I'd be hearing is, "I'm hurt and confused that you aren't coming. I had no idea that even being inside a church was an issue for you. I'm proud of my son, and I'd like you to make time to come and hear him sing".

THAT is the statement I'd respond to, and I would do my level best to make time to hear the nephew sing in a non-church setting.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: sammycat on October 02, 2013, 04:53:15 AM
I agree with the guilt trippy verdict over passive aggressive. I also wanted to come in with what you have already acknowledged, the fact that atheist does not mean the same thing to people.

My family is cheerfully atheist but I will attend weddings and funerals and choir singings in churches. I admire the beauty of the music and ceremony and don't worry about what is behind it. I loved visiting cathedrals in Europe and lit candles and have the donation as it would have pleased my late grandma. But I was raised in a culture of non religion  and didn't have to wrestle with anything. I am content and comfortable in my belief system.

So I would have gone to the church to see the pageantry and listen to nephew but that does not mean at all that you should. One of my strong beliefs is that people should be free to choose and manifest their beliefs as they wish.

My situation too.  I wouldn't hesitate to watch a family member in a church based activity if (1) it was convenient for me to do so at that time, and (2) I wasn't expected to partake in any religious part of the event. But I understand that not everyone feels the same way.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: bopper on October 02, 2013, 07:51:17 AM
Maybe it is because this religion is to close to what you gave up.  I would have no problem going to a jewish service even though I am not Jewish.  I go to Catholic services sometimes even though I am Protestant...I partake in the parts that I feel comfortable with but don't do the ones I don't (don't kneel, don't do sign of the cross, don't take communion as not am allowed to, do sing, do say Lord's Prayer, etc).
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 02, 2013, 11:58:56 AM
OP here. I really appreciate everyone's comments. It has made me think about things from a different perspective.

Someone mentioned that they may not understand that I would feel u comfortable attending their church. I never have actually come out to anyone and said I didn't feel comfortable attending. I think I assumed it was obvious, but now see that isn't the case.

OP, I do think you need to clarify with your family your feelings about being around any type of religious ceremony. You stated that you didn't want to go to church Xmas Eve because it wasn't how you wanted to celebrate your holiday. So you do plan to recognize Xmas is some sort of fashion, just not as a religious one.

I'm not critizing your choices, but I can say that I am confused by your positions.
On one hand, you feel it disprectful to be in a house of worship on Christmas Eve. But on the other hand you do not seem to find it disrespectful to celebrate a Christian holiday as a secular holiday. I know many non-Christians do, but these same non-Christians wouldn't be bothered by listening to a Christmas serivce.

If the family is having some of the same confusion as I'm experiencing, being honest with them could remove some of the drama around Christmas and Easter.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: weeblewobble on October 02, 2013, 12:48:44 PM
I am the OP for the "Giving PA people what they want" thread.  Honestly, I have found that when people make a grand PA pronouncement, i.e. "I can't invite myself to stay with you indefinitely? Well, fine, I just won't come visit you, then.", the best response is to say, "OK, then."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: darkprincess on October 02, 2013, 03:15:03 PM
After I left the faith of my family I also faced hurt feelings, confusion, manipulative attempts to get me to church and PA comments. Eventually I had to sit down family ( not as a group) and explain things. For the most confused and the most manipulative( not the same people) I had to be very blunt.
I pointed out that I celebrate holidays secularly. I assumed they would prefer I didn't call it dec 25 Santa clause day, but I could if that would help then understand.
I let them know that I felt uncomfortable in the church of my upbringing. Especially because I knew their ritual and what was behind it and I very much was opposed to it. i also didn't want to be disrespectful of their beliefs and going to a service and then walking out in the middle seems very rude.
For things like musical numbers, speaking etc, I pointed out that I was just as unlikely to go to their kids elementary school recital as they were unlikely to go to my daughters elementary recital. This was the accepted practice in our family. Because I do not believe in the religion in question, so for me  this is just another elementary recital that happens to fall on a secular holiday. I made an analogy and asked if they would want to spend Sunday watching my daughter and her friends erect their homemade flying spaghetti monster puppet in front of city hall? This is important to my daughter and she would love the support.

I wasn't trying to hurt them but they needed to understand where I was so they could be tolerant of me just as I am of them. I say you should talk with SIL, but keep this incident in mind because it is possible that she is trying to manipulate you. I have had this happen a lot.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 02, 2013, 03:30:02 PM
I made an analogy and asked if they would want to spend Sunday watching my daughter and her friends erect their homemade flying spaghetti monster puppet in front of city hall? This is important to my daughter and she would love the support.

For some people, though, the answer would be, "I would love to come support her!"  I attend quite a few events for my sister's kids that I don't have any particular desire to attend outside of wanting my neices and nephews to know Aunt TurtleDove cared enough about them to show up.  I am not saying people who make a different choice are wrong, I am just saying that unless it is clearly spelled out that attending a homemade flying spaghetti monster puppet erection is offensive to you it comes across as "I am not interested in flying spaghetti monster puppets and my lack of interest outweights my desire to support you in your interest."  And that's fine, but own that choice then.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 03, 2013, 08:23:27 AM
I made an analogy and asked if they would want to spend Sunday watching my daughter and her friends erect their homemade flying spaghetti monster puppet in front of city hall? This is important to my daughter and she would love the support.

For some people, though, the answer would be, "I would love to come support her!"

Exactly. There are people of all persuasions who may not be at all put off if their friends or relatives are taking part in a ceremony or tradition in some other spiritual tradition.

If you cannot do so, then you need to make this clear to your family, so that you don't get repeated requests, such as invitations to weddings held in religious settings.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: secretrebel on October 03, 2013, 12:04:07 PM
OP here. I really appreciate everyone's comments. It has made me think about things from a different perspective.

Someone mentioned that they may not understand that I would feel u comfortable attending their church. I never have actually come out to anyone and said I didn't feel comfortable attending. I think I assumed it was obvious, but now see that isn't the case.

OP, I do think you need to clarify with your family your feelings about being around any type of religious ceremony. You stated that you didn't want to go to church Xmas Eve because it wasn't how you wanted to celebrate your holiday. So you do plan to recognize Xmas is some sort of fashion, just not as a religious one.

I'm not critizing your choices, but I can say that I am confused by your positions.
On one hand, you feel it disprectful to be in a house of worship on Christmas Eve. But on the other hand you do not seem to find it disrespectful to celebrate a Christian holiday as a secular holiday. I know many non-Christians do, but these same non-Christians wouldn't be bothered by listening to a Christmas serivce.

If the family is having some of the same confusion as I'm experiencing, being honest with them could remove some of the drama around Christmas and Easter.

I know a bunch of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday but wouldn't attend a church service. I am not one of them (I am Christian) but I actually think this applies to about 80% of my social group. To them Christmas is a present giving, food -eating holiday. But church attendance is religious and they would not wish to attend.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: SamiHami on October 03, 2013, 12:37:56 PM
OP here. Perhaps this wasn't really a  PA comment. I have difficulty always detecting it.

This message was in response to holiday plans. (Drat, those darn holidays. You may have seen my post in the holiday folder.). Her child is singing in their church's Chrustmas Eve service. DH and I are both atheist, a fact his family is disappointed with but accepts. Neither of us wants to go to a place of worship, especially for a holiday. We don't feel comfortable, and that is not where I want to spend my holiday. So I told her that we would skip on the service, but asked what time they would be home afterward. (I personally think it will be too late afterwards, but was hoping they would come to this conclusion independently as well.) Her response was "it disappoints me that you wouldn't want to see nephew sing."  Was that PA? I feel it's a bit manipulative.

Not PA at all, imho. She's allowed to be disappointed by that.

Not to wander too far off topic, but I wonder about your aversion to places of worship? Going to one to see someone you love sing doesn't mean you have to actually do any worshipping while you are there. As long as you are respectful of the other people in attendance (no making "there is no god" statements, etc) I don't see any reason to refuse attendance. I only recently (over the past year or so) have come to realize that I do not believe in god myself, but I would not refuse to attend an event that takes place in a house of worship because of that (weddings, funerals and so on).

Anyway, not judging your choices at all. I just wanted to add that perspective into the mix.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 03, 2013, 12:44:52 PM
For some people, religions are morally and emotionally unbearable. There are many reasons for this, but the "you don't have to participate, just observe" assertions do become difficult when you know that sitting there would be a very emotionally negative experience for you to bear.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: SamiHami on October 03, 2013, 12:51:13 PM
I totally get that; there is a big difference between being nonreligious and antireligion. It was just a perspective I was tossing out there since I don't know the OP's POV on the issue.

Of course if it creates discomfort for anyone they should not go. I was pointing out that it's okay to go and just not participate in the rituals (prayer, standing/kneeling and so on) as long as one doesn't actively do anything disrespectful. Like I said, I would still attend a wedding for someone I cared about even if it were in a church; being there doesn't trouble me even though I do not believe in a god. But if I were against religion I would just not attend and send a gift later.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 03, 2013, 03:21:24 PM
I know a bunch of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday but wouldn't attend a church service. I am not one of them (I am Christian) but I actually think this applies to about 80% of my social group. To them Christmas is a present giving, food -eating holiday. But church attendance is religious and they would not wish to attend.

True, but if you want to take this stand, you must make it clear, so that people *don't* get the impression that its just too much trouble to come out to hear Little Johnny do his solo.

It should also be consistent. If you can't come to hear Little Johnny sing at 10, you should not be offended if you're not invited to his church wedding when he's 25.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 03, 2013, 03:38:24 PM
OP here. I really appreciate everyone's comments. It has made me think about things from a different perspective.

Someone mentioned that they may not understand that I would feel u comfortable attending their church. I never have actually come out to anyone and said I didn't feel comfortable attending. I think I assumed it was obvious, but now see that isn't the case.

OP, I do think you need to clarify with your family your feelings about being around any type of religious ceremony. You stated that you didn't want to go to church Xmas Eve because it wasn't how you wanted to celebrate your holiday. So you do plan to recognize Xmas is some sort of fashion, just not as a religious one.

I'm not critizing your choices, but I can say that I am confused by your positions.
On one hand, you feel it disprectful to be in a house of worship on Christmas Eve. But on the other hand you do not seem to find it disrespectful to celebrate a Christian holiday as a secular holiday. I know many non-Christians do, but these same non-Christians wouldn't be bothered by listening to a Christmas serivce.

If the family is having some of the same confusion as I'm experiencing, being honest with them could remove some of the drama around Christmas and Easter.

I know a bunch of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday but wouldn't attend a church service. I am not one of them (I am Christian) but I actually think this applies to about 80% of my social group. To them Christmas is a present giving, food -eating holiday. But church attendance is religious and they would not wish to attend.

Is it that they wouldn't wish to attend or that they'd feel their presence there as disprespectful to the Church?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: EllenS on October 03, 2013, 03:59:13 PM
Personally, I think parsing the exact wording of text messages, to discern whether they are one word away from being PA or not, is looking for trouble, and if you look for offense hard enough, you are sure to find it.

I vote with those who find SIL's disappointment honest and blunt, but not necessarily PA.  I also don't think mentioning the Nephew's feelings is necessarily manipulative.  A 5 year old who loves Auntie Green Bean and has been looking forward for weeks to have his family hear him sing, is no light matter.  He is 5, it's not like he can speak for himself in this conversation.

I would also like to point out, that since you seem to be intentionally calculating a way to NOT see them on Christmas, by offering a non-alternative (maybe I could come to your house but secretly I'm hoping that will be too late), your SIL is actually spot-on.  You don't want to see Nephew sing, you don't actually WANT to see them at all.

You are allowed to not want to go, that is perfectly OK and your choice.  She is allowed to be disappointed about that, and to tell you so. 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Dragonflymom on October 03, 2013, 06:58:47 PM
I know a bunch of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday but wouldn't attend a church service. I am not one of them (I am Christian) but I actually think this applies to about 80% of my social group. To them Christmas is a present giving, food -eating holiday. But church attendance is religious and they would not wish to attend.

True, but if you want to take this stand, you must make it clear, so that people *don't* get the impression that its just too much trouble to come out to hear Little Johnny do his solo.

It should also be consistent. If you can't come to hear Little Johnny sing at 10, you should not be offended if you're not invited to his church wedding when he's 25.

This seems unkind and unnecessary.  Many people who are not comfortable attending a regular or holiday church service, myself included, will make exceptions for weddings and funerals.

Everyone has their own degree of comfort or discomfort with religion, and requiring people to be "consistent" about it - ie if you don't attend Christmas eve church service you can't celebrate a secular family Christmas, you can't attend weddings at church, etc really makes no sense.

If there is otherwise a good relationship, not inviting someone who is uncomfortable attending church services to one's wedding seems like a punishment for having different beliefs, and could well spell the end of the relationship.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 08:06:22 PM
I think if the problem is "I am uncomfortable with church and what it means" it would be the same for a children's Christmas program or a wedding. The OP can have whatever boundaries she wants, but if weddings are important enough for her to overcome her aversion to religion but her nephew's performance is not, she needs to accept that it comes across as "I didn't want to be there for nephew but I did fort friend getting married." Because it seems if it's so offensive to attend church it would be offensive no matter the reason.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Tea Drinker on October 03, 2013, 08:19:17 PM
I think if the problem is "I am uncomfortable with church and what it means" it would be the same for a children's Christmas program or a wedding. The OP can have whatever boundaries she wants, but if weddings are important enough for her to overcome her aversion to religion but her nephew's performance is not, she needs to accept that it comes across as "I didn't want to be there for nephew but I did fort friend getting married." Because it seems if it's so offensive to attend church it would be offensive no matter the reason.

I see a difference, in that even at a religious wedding, most of the guests are there primarily because they want to see these specific people married. At the sort of service discussed here, almost everyone is going to be there for the religious aspects.

I was a bridesmaid in a friend's religious wedding--neither she nor the priest was bothered by the fact that I am not and never have been of her religion. (Nor were most of the guests.) During the rehearsal, the priest just told me "since you aren't a Purple, when we get to this and this bits of the ceremony, just stand quietly." Someone not of that religion might attend a service other than a wedding or funeral to hear the music, but would be very unlikely to be standing in front near the minister.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 03, 2013, 08:58:45 PM
No one is asking the OP to do anything other than attend an event where her nephew is singing. Either the venue is offensive to her, or it is not. If she later attends a wedding at the church I would find her mitivation for not attending her nephew's event questionable.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Dragonflymom on October 03, 2013, 09:04:08 PM
Most church weddings I have attended have not had much at all in the way of a sermon.  Maybe a speech of a few minutes or so.  Rarely any hymns, or at the most maybe one or two.  The regular and holiday church services that I have attended in the past have been much more religious in tone.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 04, 2013, 06:38:33 AM
No one is asking the OP to do anything other than attend an event where her nephew is singing. Either the venue is offensive to her, or it is not. If she later attends a wedding at the church I would find her mitivation for not attending her nephew's event questionable.

It's not the venue that is offensive. The venue is just a building. It's the nature of the service.

I'll put up with a lot more to see a once-in-a-lifetime thing like a friend/family member getting married.

A kid Christmas concert? I'm sure there will be other non-religious opportunities to see him do so (say, for instance, if he goes to public school).
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MindsEye on October 04, 2013, 07:10:22 AM
No one is asking the OP to do anything other than attend an event where her nephew is singing. Either the venue is offensive to her, or it is not. If she later attends a wedding at the church I would find her mitivation for not attending her nephew's event questionable.

Unless you yourself are always 100% consistent in everything that you do, then demanding that someone else be so comes across as a bit hypocritical and snowflakey. 

Everyone has their own scale of where they "draw the line" when it comes to religious events.  And for a lot of people (like me, like, it sounds, the OP) the line is where the focus is on the religious nature of the event.  I will bend to go to a wedding at a church, because the focus is on the couple getting married (though if it were one of those fire-and-brimstone evangelical churches I would probably still give it a pass), and I would go to a funeral at a church because the focus is on remembering the deceased.  But go to a super-packed holiday service where the focus is 100% on the religious celebration?  No way.  Not even to hear a family member sing in the choir.

And honestly, unless the OP has made a point of going to every single one of her nephew's recitals, shows, plays, etc, then the SIL has no reason to get bent out of shape in such a PA, guilt-trippy, way.  I can only assume that it is a dig at the OP's atheism, and that the SIL intended to use the lure of "can't you even come and hear nephew sing?" as a hook to try to drag her back "into the fold" and "see the error of her ways". 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: wyliefool on October 04, 2013, 07:50:23 AM
OP, maybe if you sit the fam down and say 'I have specifically, and w/ full knowledge of all aspects of this religion, chosen to reject it. Therefore, please don't teach DD to pray/say grace and please don't try to browbeat me into attending holiday services. Thanks.'

Because there's a big difference between an atheist like myself, raised w/o much in the way of religious teaching, who will go to church for a christening or whatever and just sit there while everyone does their religious thing, and one like you, who was indoctrinated heavily and has come to reject that indoctrination. I don't care about church one way or the other; you care deeply. Make sure everyone knows it.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 04, 2013, 08:46:32 AM
I know a bunch of non-Christians who celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday but wouldn't attend a church service. I am not one of them (I am Christian) but I actually think this applies to about 80% of my social group. To them Christmas is a present giving, food -eating holiday. But church attendance is religious and they would not wish to attend.

True, but if you want to take this stand, you must make it clear, so that people *don't* get the impression that its just too much trouble to come out to hear Little Johnny do his solo.

It should also be consistent. If you can't come to hear Little Johnny sing at 10, you should not be offended if you're not invited to his church wedding when he's 25.

This seems unkind and unnecessary.  Many people who are not comfortable attending a regular or holiday church service, myself included, will make exceptions for weddings and funerals.

Everyone has their own degree of comfort or discomfort with religion, and requiring people to be "consistent" about it - ie if you don't attend Christmas eve church service you can't celebrate a secular family Christmas, you can't attend weddings at church, etc really makes no sense.

If there is otherwise a good relationship, not inviting someone who is uncomfortable attending church services to one's wedding seems like a punishment for having different beliefs, and could well spell the end of the relationship.

Then it might be a better idea to give another reason why you can't go to Little Johnny's performance, or even just say, "I'm sorry, that won't be possible". Because if you keep saying, "I'd love to support Little Johnny, but I can't bear to be in a church," people may, in good faith, think that you mean that for all situations.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 04, 2013, 09:03:52 AM
I think relatives/people in general should be able to accept, "This type of religious ceremony makes me extremely uncomfortable. Please respect my boundaries."

Religion is not black & white in its acceptances and boundaries, why should non-theism be any different?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: darkprincess on October 04, 2013, 09:46:07 AM
No one is asking the OP to do anything other than attend an event where her nephew is singing. Either the venue is offensive to her, or it is not. If she later attends a wedding at the church I would find her mitivation for not attending her nephew's event questionable.

My grandmother would not attend my wedding because it was not religious. She would not attend my brothers wedding because it was "the wrong religion." Are her motivations questionable when she attends other events with us, secular Easter dinner, secular gift exchange on Christmas, our meet the baby party (which happened at the same time most of the family would have had a baptism or baby blessing."

For my family and me we attend events that happen to occur in a religious venue if the main point of the event is non religious. For example weddings, funerals, spaghetti feeds to raise money for charities etc. we do not attend events where the reason for the event is purely religious. Yes nephew maybe singing, or acting in a play (playing An angel in a living manger scene) but that is not the point of the event. It is not a concert or a play. The event in question is a religious service. Luckily in my family we live just far enough a way that no one feels pressure to go to any nephew or nieces performances unless it is something extrodanary, the lead in the school play, getting a statewide award, a team making state.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 04, 2013, 10:54:49 AM
No one is asking the OP to do anything other than attend an event where her nephew is singing. Either the venue is offensive to her, or it is not. If she later attends a wedding at the church I would find her mitivation for not attending her nephew's event questionable.

My grandmother would not attend my wedding because it was not religious. She would not attend my brothers wedding because it was "the wrong religion." Are her motivations questionable when she attends other events with us, secular Easter dinner, secular gift exchange on Christmas, our meet the baby party (which happened at the same time most of the family would have had a baptism or baby blessing."



Actually, to me, yes, they would be. Even if it were my grandmother.

That's an opinion or judgment that I am entitled to make.

And she is entitled to decide that my negative opinion or judgment on this issue doesn't really matter to her, and to continue to do what she wants in this regard.

We're entitled to disagree with someone and even to make a negative judgment about them based on the evidence and our own ideas of appropriateness, etc., etc. We're entitled to let that influence how close our relationships with them are. After all, we do not share values, and that *always* influences relationships.

And they're entitled to disagree with us, and to ignore our negative judgment.

I didn't see TurtleDove's comment as one that means, "You need to change," but more as one that means, "You  need to be aware that people may react this way."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 04, 2013, 11:27:59 AM
What we're saying is you don't get to tell other people where they draw they line. There are perfectly good reasons why someone wouldn't want to go to a Christmas Concert by a child, but they'd go to a wedding. Those are personal reasons that are just as moral and spiritual as religious reasons. Of course you can decide how you are going to react to that as far as your judgment of their beliefs goes, but to say, "It's all or nothing! No excuses! You can enter the building or you can't - which is it!" is incorrect and intolerant of someone's deeply held non-theist beliefs.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 04, 2013, 11:32:37 AM
Goosey, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that you have to accept the consequences of your actions. If you go around telling people you can't bear to sit in a church, people may, with the best of intentions, not invite you to other functions in church. Which is why the "I'm sorry, but I can't make it that night," response is better than, "I could, but I don't want to."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 04, 2013, 11:36:57 AM
Goosey, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that you have to accept the consequences of your actions. If you go around telling people you can't bear to sit in a church, people may, with the best of intentions, not invite you to other functions in church. Which is why the "I'm sorry, but I can't make it that night," response is better than, "I could, but I don't want to."

I was responding more to the "either the venue is offensive to her, or it is not" fallicy asserted by a previous poster.

But, I DO think the "If you say you don't attend Christmas Concerts, I will assume you won't come to my wedding" issue is a red herring. If you don't invite someone simply because you think they won't come to the ceremony, I don't think you're really going to be that close, so I doubt the invite would be missed!
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 04, 2013, 11:43:38 AM
Actually, if someone had repeatedly refused invitations to come to church functions, even when not expected to take part in worship, I would mark them down as "Invitation to reception only," thinking it would be a courtesy. I would have thought it would indicate that I was paying attention to their preferences.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 04, 2013, 11:56:49 AM
Actually, if someone had repeatedly refused invitations to come to church functions, even when not expected to take part in worship, I would mark them down as "Invitation to reception only," thinking it would be a courtesy. I would have thought it would indicate that I was paying attention to their preferences.

IME, reception invitations and wedding invitations are never separate, so I was assuming that rejection from one meant rejection from both.

I'd have no problem with what you describe, but I would also be careful not to make assumptions about the tolerance levels of your non-theist friends. If it's not going to hurt anything to send them a full invite, why not just do that? They can decline one part and accept the other if they feel they can't attend in good conscience.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 04, 2013, 12:18:06 PM
I think the OP can take from this thread that it makes sense to explain her atheism and what it entails to her sister and inlaws so they understand where she is coming from. It seems lots of people on this board don't fully understand the OP's reasoning and it's probably best for the long term relationship with the inlaws if they do.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: gramma dishes on October 04, 2013, 12:28:56 PM


IME, reception invitations and wedding invitations are never separate  ...

Actually in my experience they often are, for a variety of reasons. 

As one example:
We received an announcement of my nephew's wedding (not an invitation) but we were invited to the reception immediately following the ceremony.  They had chosen to have the wedding performed in the bride's parents' home which could not accommodate many people.  So only immediate family, (parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters) to the actually ceremony, but friends and "other" family (aunts, uncles, cousins) were invited to the reception which was held in a larger venue.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 04, 2013, 12:32:35 PM
I think the OP can take from this thread that it makes sense to explain her atheism and what it entails to her sister and inlaws so they understand where she is coming from. It seems lots of people on this board don't fully understand the OP's reasoning and it's probably best for the long term relationship with the inlaws if they do.

Actually, my own take is that this is likely to result in confusion (as we've seen in the thread). If I were in her shoes, I'd go with "sorry, I won't be able to make that date," and avoid the JADEing that's likely to result.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 04, 2013, 12:33:16 PM


IME, reception invitations and wedding invitations are never separate  ...

Actually in my experience they often are, for a variety of reasons. 

As one example:
We received an announcement of my nephew's wedding (not an invitation) but we were invited to the reception immediately following the ceremony.  They had chosen to have the wedding performed in the bride's parents' home which could not accommodate many people.  So only immediate family, (parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters) to the actually ceremony, but friends and "other" family (aunts, uncles, cousins) were invited to the reception which was held in a larger venue.

Good to know it happens, but if you separated out a wedding vs. reception invitation based on your assumption of someone elses' religious tolerance, that's where you have to be careful. If it's a friend/family member, there should be no problem with asking that person "would you feel comfortable coming to a wedding ceremony" rather than running the risk of excluding someone who would have liked to go.

But this is very, very off topic lol
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: gramma dishes on October 04, 2013, 12:45:29 PM


...   But this is very, very off topic lol

True.  Sorry.  Back to our regularly scheduled ...   :D
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Aeris on October 04, 2013, 04:33:59 PM
I think the OP can take from this thread that it makes sense to explain her atheism and what it entails to her sister and inlaws so they understand where she is coming from. It seems lots of people on this board don't fully understand the OP's reasoning and it's probably best for the long term relationship with the inlaws if they do.

So, if I don't feel I can accept an invitation for complex, nuanced religious reasons that I know many people are either going to be confused by or just flat-out refuse to try to understand, I'm expected to justify myself to them by extensive explanation of my religious beliefs?

Wouldn't this just invite people to argue with me about what my religious beliefs should or should not entail/permit/etc? Isn't that precisely what's happened in this very thread?

What a quagmire. What would anyone be required to invite that sort of scrutiny into their personal belief systems?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 04, 2013, 04:45:05 PM
Well, this is her family, her *closest* family, and they'll be issuing lots of invitations to her, and may find themselves feeling rejected when she doesn't accept him.

TurtleDove didn't say the explanation was required--just that in her opinion "it makes sense" and is "probably best for the long term relationship."

She was talking strategy, not "requirements of etiquette."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Two Ravens on October 04, 2013, 04:50:49 PM
I don't think the explanation has to be particular nuanced either. "I feel very uncomfortable in a church. I'll generally make exceptions for wedding and funerals, but otherwise I'd rather not attend church or religious events."

To me, that is much clearer and kinder than to keep refusing and "hoping they'll eventually get it." Best not to expect people to read your mind.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: EllenS on October 04, 2013, 04:57:57 PM
I don't think the explanation has to be particular nuanced either. "I feel very uncomfortable in a church. I'll generally make exceptions for wedding and funerals, but otherwise I'd rather not attend church or religious events."

To me, that is much clearer and kinder than to keep refusing and "hoping they'll eventually get it." Best not to expect people to read your mind.

POD.

Anyway, I took the bit about refusals= not invited to the wedding, to mean that if you consistently reject invitations without an explanation, it is likely to damage the relationship.  People can't demonstrate respect for your beliefs and choices if the only choice they know about is, I choose not to be around you. 

That is bound to be hurtful, whether you meant it that way or not.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Green Bean on October 04, 2013, 07:08:17 PM
OP again.

I attend funerals to pay my respects to the deceased and to comfort families. (although I've never been to one in a church - always a funeral home. I attend weddings to support people I care about on one if the biggest days I'd their life. I've even attended baptisms.  In my mind, it's easy to separate these events from a church service that is completely focused on the worship. I see now that not everyone feels this way.

Reading all these comments, I realized how the word 'uncomfortable' can have different meanings to different people. I don't find churches offensive. The reason I say I'm uncomfortable is that when I go, I get crabby. Really crabby. It's hard to explain and even harder to understand, but I'll try.  I think about how I don't believe the same tenets of the faith as this large room full of people and that I don't belong. It's a very lonely, isolating feeling, and I don't enjoy it. Then I continue to wonder why I got talked into going, knowing I wouldn't feel that way if I wasn't there.  I don't want to put myself in this situation for a holiday that is supposed to be fun.

Some people have mentioned that it seems like I don't want to celebrate with the family for the holiday. That's not the case at all. I just don't want it to be at church. The service is at 5. I imagine it will last a minimum of 1 - 1.5 hours, then getting out of a crowded parking lot, and then driving to SIL's home. We are looking at 6:30 - 7:00 before we even spend time with anyone. If we skip church, that still gets us there around the same time. My youngest is in bed at 7pm every night. Sure we can extend it a bit, and would without hesitation if we were spending more time with everybody, but that's a bit late for us to be heading out. It just doesn't make sense.

As far as SIL goes, we get along exceptionally well when we are together. The getting together is the issue. In the past 10 years, she has backed out of about 80% - 90% of any activities we plan with her (outside of holidays and her kids birthdays). After about 8 years or so, I stopped trying and left it to DH or her to initiate anything. And no one ever asks us what works for us, but whatever is arranged always works for her. It gets old. I want my kids to know their cousins growing up, but they have more interaction with their out of state cousins who they see a few times a year than the ones that live in the same town. So, as far as Christmas goes... Yes, i'd like to see them. But given the level of effort they give us, I think they could be flexible with the church thing. I'm willing to have brunch on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, whatever works for them to visit her IL's. I just don't want to get together at a time that incorporates a holiday church service, regardless of who is singing, acting, or speaking upfront.

DH talked to his sister, and she mentioned that we could leave right after nephew sings or we could stay. She said there would be kids activities afterwards and they may stay if nephew wants to be with his friends, and my older daughter could stay as well. It feels to me that she wants us to prioritize her son, but that they aren't prioritizing spending time with us at all.

Sorry for the length.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Otterpop on October 05, 2013, 07:46:31 AM
But the priority IS for the nephew's performance that day.  Spending time is secondary to all the activities going on.

My DD is playing in a church band this Sunday.  I've invited my aunt, who is agnostic, to attend specifically to see and support DD.  Going to lunch afterwards, spending time with her is impossible due to multiple services/performances.  Aunt is happy to attend to see DD even though she doesn't particularly like being in a church.  It's just a building to her (Frankly, it's just a building to us too - it's the people we interact with that comprise "the church" and she won't be required to do any of that)  She can leave or stay depending on her level of comfort.

In turn, I go to her (boring) civics activities that involve family attendance.  It's just what we do for family.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 05, 2013, 08:49:08 AM
My DH is agnostic and doesn't particularly enjoy attending church on a regular basis and out of respect to him, I don't ask him to attend every week.  But I do ask him from time to time to attend events that are meaningful to me or the kids.  Like Piratebabe's baptism, my induction into the Daughters of the King (prayer/service group within the Episcopal church), Christmas Eve service (because all 3 were in the pageant), and a service this upcoming December for when our oldest will be confirmed and I'll be received.

He does it because as he says "It's what you do for family" and he's attended Catholic weddings and funerals too in the past.  Now I will say that based on what I know of his spiritual and theological stance, I do think he'd agree with the Episcopal church's stance on things, but I'm not going to push him, either.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Sharnita on October 05, 2013, 09:07:34 AM
It sound's like SIL's philosophy is "That's what OP does for us" not "That's what family does for each other"
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Green Bean on October 05, 2013, 10:01:56 AM
But the priority IS for the nephew's performance that day.  Spending time is secondary to all the activities going on.


This is where I disagree. If this were a school play or a dance recital, the performance would be the primary purpose. But in this case, the sole reason for the performance is to celebrate the religious occasion. If it weren't Christmas, this performance wouldn't even exist.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: mbbored on October 05, 2013, 10:44:23 AM
I think the OP can take from this thread that it makes sense to explain her atheism and what it entails to her sister and inlaws so they understand where she is coming from. It seems lots of people on this board don't fully understand the OP's reasoning and it's probably best for the long term relationship with the inlaws if they do.

So, if I don't feel I can accept an invitation for complex, nuanced religious reasons that I know many people are either going to be confused by or just flat-out refuse to try to understand, I'm expected to justify myself to them by extensive explanation of my religious beliefs?

Wouldn't this just invite people to argue with me about what my religious beliefs should or should not entail/permit/etc? Isn't that precisely what's happened in this very thread?

What a quagmire. What would anyone be required to invite that sort of scrutiny into their personal belief systems?

I agree.

And there's a huge difference between attending a religious service to go a niece or nephew's music performance which, in my opinion, are a dime a dozen, versus going to a funeral or a wedding, which are once in a lifetime events and I imagine most people can see the difference.

My brothers are atheists and don't attend holiday services and as a result, miss my niece and nephew's performances during those services. However, they do attend baptisms, weddings, funerals: the events that are actually important to the individual.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Otterpop on October 05, 2013, 05:56:45 PM
I think the OP can take from this thread that it makes sense to explain her atheism and what it entails to her sister and inlaws so they understand where she is coming from. It seems lots of people on this board don't fully understand the OP's reasoning and it's probably best for the long term relationship with the inlaws if they do.

So, if I don't feel I can accept an invitation for complex, nuanced religious reasons that I know many people are either going to be confused by or just flat-out refuse to try to understand, I'm expected to justify myself to them by extensive explanation of my religious beliefs?

Wouldn't this just invite people to argue with me about what my religious beliefs should or should not entail/permit/etc? Isn't that precisely what's happened in this very thread?

What a quagmire. What would anyone be required to invite that sort of scrutiny into their personal belief systems?

I agree.

And there's a huge difference between attending a religious service to go a niece or nephew's music performance which, in my opinion, are a dime a dozen, versus going to a funeral or a wedding, which are once in a lifetime events and I imagine most people can see the difference.

My brothers are atheists and don't attend holiday services and as a result, miss my niece and nephew's performances during those services. However, they do attend baptisms, weddings, funerals: the events that are actually important to the individual.

If it's a large church, some people only get to perform once, or once in a blue moon.  It IS important to that individual.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: *inviteseller on October 05, 2013, 06:33:23 PM
First off, the kid is 5..he will not be doing a solo of Ava Maria..it will be him and other cute kids butchering their way through some songs.  It is cute, but not a once in a lifetime moment for anyone but the parents.  Also, I bet the only reason he would be disappointed his Aunt is not there is because Mommy told him how sad it was that she refused to come (very PA move).  Also, why does OP have to compromise what she feels ?  No means no..it is an acceptable answer and SIL needs to accept it and move on.  OP does NOT need to explain herself (especially her non religious status to a religious person because that can open herself up to the conversion attempts) because it doesn't matter if nephew is singing in church, school, the middle of the street..if OP doesn't want to go, she doesn't have to nor does that make her a bad person.  My older DD was very involved in orchestra, choir, and school plays and sports.  I would tell the family when the recitals/performances/games would be, where they would be and if they came, great, if they didn't they would ask her about it later.  Everyone in my immediate family and an aunt from her fathers side all came to various things but not everything.  She was never disappointed and gladly showed videos/pics when asked about it.  I didn't guilt anyone into anything either.  SIL needs to take the no for an answer and move on.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: LadyL on October 05, 2013, 08:10:37 PM
I was also raised religious and left my faith after going to a parochial high school and realizing that I am not someone who is capable of believing in abstract concepts like a higher power. It was not an easy or quick process and the treatment I received by members of that religion really soured me on going to any sort of worship service. I don't mind attending funerals, baptisms, weddings, etc. as long as the focus is on the life event of that individual or individuals moreso than on worship. I attended one wedding where there was a lengthy speech urging us all to convert to their religion as well as a sermon that was very "fire and brimstone"  - literally "if this couple is to divorce and break their sacred bond they will experience SHAME and SUFFERING" - not the sentiment I usually expect at a wedding! I felt so, so uncomfortable and will never attend any event in that church again.

Another time my MIL bullied us into coming to Easter mass with her, I figured I'd come along and observe. She kept nudging me to sing along with the hymns and recite the prayers. I had to leave the service abruptly because I felt trapped, bullied, and about to have a panic attack. I know my MIL is "special" and not everyone acts this way but it's pushy people like that who make us wary of those like the OP's SIL who don't seem to have much respect or compassion for our religious beliefs (or lack thereof). First it's "Oh come see little Johnny sing" and then it's "Oh why aren't you going up for communion" or whatever. Or at least that's the kind of thing I worry about from people like that.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: EllenS on October 05, 2013, 09:25:47 PM
The OP's update with more detail about her relationship with SIL certainly explains a lot and does make it seem more PA, than if a similar comment had come from someone who does try to get the family together and invest in the relationship.

The point about OP giving some explanation of her feelings about church, is not an etiquette requirement, but in the interest of good communication and furthering a relationship - not wanting to come across as rejecting or trying to distance herself.

If that is not the goal, no need to explain anything.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: mbbored on October 06, 2013, 01:03:50 AM
I think the OP can take from this thread that it makes sense to explain her atheism and what it entails to her sister and inlaws so they understand where she is coming from. It seems lots of people on this board don't fully understand the OP's reasoning and it's probably best for the long term relationship with the inlaws if they do.

So, if I don't feel I can accept an invitation for complex, nuanced religious reasons that I know many people are either going to be confused by or just flat-out refuse to try to understand, I'm expected to justify myself to them by extensive explanation of my religious beliefs?

Wouldn't this just invite people to argue with me about what my religious beliefs should or should not entail/permit/etc? Isn't that precisely what's happened in this very thread?

What a quagmire. What would anyone be required to invite that sort of scrutiny into their personal belief systems?

I agree.

And there's a huge difference between attending a religious service to go a niece or nephew's music performance which, in my opinion, are a dime a dozen, versus going to a funeral or a wedding, which are once in a lifetime events and I imagine most people can see the difference.

My brothers are atheists and don't attend holiday services and as a result, miss my niece and nephew's performances during those services. However, they do attend baptisms, weddings, funerals: the events that are actually important to the individual.

If it's a large church, some people only get to perform once, or once in a blue moon.  It IS important to that individual.

I'm not saying that performing at church is not important to the individual, but it can't possibly compare to getting married or having a funeral.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Yentush on October 06, 2013, 05:13:17 AM
I am very religious.  I am considered "Orthodox" in my religion.  However, I see things from all sides.

Take out religion and let us make this scenario.

The op is a Vegen.  She is very avid and truly believes that this is the way to live.

Her nephew is performing at a streak-house.

Now, would everyone here give the same replies?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: gramma dishes on October 06, 2013, 06:18:57 AM
A streak-house sounds interesting!  I'd go just to see what goes on there!  Will it be televised?  Exactly what does his "performance" involve?   ;D

I presume you meant a steak house, and you make a good point.   ;)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 06, 2013, 06:44:07 AM
The OP's update with more detail about her relationship with SIL certainly explains a lot and does make it seem more PA, than if a similar comment had come from someone who does try to get the family together and invest in the relationship.

The point about OP giving some explanation of her feelings about church, is not an etiquette requirement, but in the interest of good communication and furthering a relationship - not wanting to come across as rejecting or trying to distance herself.

If that is not the goal, no need to explain anything.

I agree with this. Without the background I couldn't find a PA slant but with it, it could have been that.

I also had no inclination the OP desired to be home by 7pm.

I say you just tell the family that bed times will prohibit activities on Xmas Eve but your happy to host brunch that morning.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Yentush on October 06, 2013, 02:11:53 PM
A streak-house sounds interesting!  I'd go just to see what goes on there!  Will it be televised?  Exactly what does his "performance" involve?   ;D

I presume you meant a steak house, and you make a good point.   ;)

Well, maybe he will streak across the stage  ::)

Sorry, I am terrible at typo's.  Steak House
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Two Ravens on October 06, 2013, 03:17:27 PM
I am very religious.  I am considered "Orthodox" in my religion.  However, I see things from all sides.

Take out religion and let us make this scenario.

The op is a Vegen.  She is very avid and truly believes that this is the way to live.

Her nephew is performing at a streak-house.

Now, would everyone here give the same replies?

I'm not sure the replies would be so different. I am sure there are some vegans/vegetarians who would go to a steakhouse to see a performance as long as they were not force-fed meat.

However, it would still be perfectly polite for the vegan to say, "I'm not comfortable there. I'll see him when he performs at the Farmer's Market next month."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: baglady on October 06, 2013, 04:27:07 PM
I'm on the "not PA but guilt-trippy" train.

What if you explained that as much as you'd love to hear nephew sing, worship services make you so uncomfortable that you would be unable to appreciate his singing? Compare it to a venue that might make SIL uncomfortable to a degree that she would feel the same way -- say, Cousin X's poetry reading in a smoky bar if she hates smoke.

I'm a former Catholic, now agnostic, and I know how uncomfortable it can be to attend a worship service and not participate. Even if nobody is looking at you and wondering why you aren't kneeling/standing/praying/taking Communion with everyone else, it can *feel* as if everybody is.

Did I read correctly that nephew is only 5? If so, he isn't even in real school yet. If he likes to sing, he'll probably be involved in school performances and might even get solos, if he's a good singer (for a kid). Even if he goes to parochial school and the performances are in church, those are not worship services. I'm assuming that your problem is with attending an actual worship service, not with simply being in a church building.

Explain to SIL that you would dearly love to hear nephew sing, but you simply can't make this one, and ask her to keep you posted on other opportunities to hear him.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Deetee on October 06, 2013, 09:58:47 PM
I am very religious.  I am considered "Orthodox" in my religion.  However, I see things from all sides.

Take out religion and let us make this scenario.

The op is a Vegen.  She is very avid and truly believes that this is the way to live.

Her nephew is performing at a streak-house.

Now, would everyone here give the same replies?

I'm not sure the replies would be so different. I am sure there are some vegans/vegetarians who would go to a steakhouse to see a performance as long as they were not force-fed meat.

However, it would still be perfectly polite for the vegan to say, "I'm not comfortable there. I'll see him when he performs at the Farmer's Market next month."

I agree. I think a vegan in a steak house would have almost the same range of personal feelings as a non-believer in a church. Some people would be extremely uncomfortable and unable to attend in any degree of comfort and other would be completely fine observing.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 07, 2013, 08:51:27 AM
I think the OP can take from this thread that it makes sense to explain her atheism and what it entails to her sister and inlaws so they understand where she is coming from. It seems lots of people on this board don't fully understand the OP's reasoning and it's probably best for the long term relationship with the inlaws if they do.

So, if I don't feel I can accept an invitation for complex, nuanced religious reasons that I know many people are either going to be confused by or just flat-out refuse to try to understand, I'm expected to justify myself to them by extensive explanation of my religious beliefs?

Wouldn't this just invite people to argue with me about what my religious beliefs should or should not entail/permit/etc? Isn't that precisely what's happened in this very thread?

What a quagmire. What would anyone be required to invite that sort of scrutiny into their personal belief systems?

No, I am not saying the OP needs to justify her religious beliefs or lack thereof.   To me it isn't so much *what* her reasons are but rather that she actually *has* reasons outside of "I don't feel like being supportive of nephew so I'm not going to go hear him sing."

I am saying that if she just says, "No, I don't want to hear nephew sing" I can see why her relatives would find that off putting.  The OP said she had not explained what was troubling her about attending the performance.  As another poster pointed out, I am not saying the OP *needs* to explain anything, about her beliefs or otherwise.  I am saying that I believe that if this is a relationship she would like to invest in it probably makes sense to explain that it's not that she is not interested in hearing nephew sing, it's that her convictions are preventing her from hearing him during a church service.  Assuming the relatives are reasonable people, this should be all it is. 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: White Lotus on October 07, 2013, 11:17:43 AM
Generally, OurSect Buddhists (and just so you know, Buddhas are not deities; they are enlightened teacher souls who help us also become enlightened.  The misconception lies in translation) don't attend services at other temples/churches.  We may go to weddings, funerals and the like, and for close family/friends, and sometimes we do.  Sometimes we decline, and send a note and/or a gift.  Sometimes we are invited to the reception/wake only, and we go.  We can and do memorial services at our temple (they are no big social deal in that there are no guests, no wake, etc., unless the decedent is a member, but spiritually very meaningful to us.)
We would decline this invitation as it is not a major life event for Nephew, and say we would love to hear him sing another time, perhaps at our annual Solstice/New Year's party?  So much of "Christmas" stems from older religious practices (Sol Invictus, Mithras, Druids. Etc.) that it is very easy to confuse the "secular" Solstice based Christmas with the Christian Christmas, and many people don't get that some do the Pagan parts happily but won't do the Christian parts.  It confuses them, and that is part of what OP is running into, I think.  Since none of it is Buddhist, we don't do any of it.   Don't worry.  We still have parties and presents.  We just do it in celebration of the New Year, in a tradition that predates even Sol Invictus.  OP, stick to your guns and suggest an option.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Sharnita on October 07, 2013, 11:47:52 AM
As a side note. it strikes me as a bit confusing that people see baptisms as being "not as religious" because those are generally times when the "audience" is called on to affirm that they agree with the teachings of the church and will do their best to support and uphold those teachings as part of the child's upbringing.   Even at Christmas and Easter services I don't see pastors and priests ask for as much confirmation of belief and affirmative action from those in the pews as I do at baptisms.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 07, 2013, 11:54:44 AM
I agree with Sharnita. To me a baptism, confirmation, or wedding is asking people to give support to the people involved who are taking vows (or their sponsors are on their behalf) before God. Christmas concerts are more of an "all are welcome" celebratory event with focus on songs and pageantry. Advent and Lent are more about doctrine in my experience. So for me, a pastor's daughter and pastor's wife, it would seem odd for an athiest to be okay with attending a wedding but not a Christmas Eve concert. Mind you I am not saying it is wrong, I am saying it is counterintuitive to me and I would be confused if an individual did not explain her reasoning. Then again, I wouldn't care unless it were a relationship that was important to me, and etiquette isn't really the issue then.

I edited to clarify that I was referring to Christmas concerts, like a performance of Handel's Messiah or something, and not the actual Christmas service, although I still find the Christmas services to be less requiring of holding the actual beliefs expressed than a baptism, for example, where the congregation is asked to support the person being baptized in his or her faith.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 07, 2013, 12:19:05 PM
As a Christian, I have never seen Christmas *services in a church* as being about pageantry, etc.

They're about the beginning of the core of my religion's beliefs. They're VERY religious to me.

I can absolutely understand someone attending a wedding to witness a life event for someone.

Baptisms do seem different to me than weddings, because a baptism is *only* a religious event. It's not really a "life" event the way a wedding is. Being baptized doesn't change your life. It changes your soul.

There's no reason to attend a Christmas service in a church other than to worship.

A Christmas *concert*, yes, but a service? That's worship.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 07, 2013, 12:25:51 PM
A Christmas *concert*, yes, but a service? That's worship.

This I agree with.  Perhaps I misunderstood what it is the OP is being asked to attend? 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Green Bean on October 07, 2013, 01:25:55 PM
A Christmas *concert*, yes, but a service? That's worship.

This I agree with.  Perhaps I misunderstood what it is the OP is being asked to attend?

We are being asked to attend the Christmas Eve worship service, not a holiday concert.
Given this is nephew's first year singing and his young age, I'm hesitant to have this become the start of an annual family tradition.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TurtleDove on October 07, 2013, 01:43:52 PM
We are being asked to attend the Christmas Eve worship service, not a holiday concert.
Given this is nephew's first year singing and his young age, I'm hesitant to have this become the start of an annual family tradition.

I think just be straight with your sister that your beliefs do not allow you to attend a religious service.  So long as you are comfortable with your position, don't allow her to guilt you, meaning, she might try, but just let it roll off your back.  Make it clear it is not that you don't want to hear nephew sing, but just that you cannot go to the religious service.  If the relationship is important to you, I think it makes sense to make it very clear that this is not about nephew but about your convictions, and those are not going to change.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 07, 2013, 03:51:23 PM
If she tries to badger you, having a "cut and paste" reply can be a real help.

You don't have to think on your feet, and the background message is *always* "you will never be able to change my mind."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Jocelyn on October 12, 2013, 05:36:25 PM
My BIL once asked his mother what she wanted for her birthday. She did they old 'oh, don't waste your money on little old me' line several times, he kept asking and finally she named a very common household product (name changed to protect identities). It is the sort of product that all of us buy on a regular basis and use frequently. So he bought her a big boxful. When she opened it, she cried.
The families remain divided on whether he was clueless, and should be given a pass, or whether he was deliberately trying to be rude. I think he just got tired of being gamed.
And personally, considering that said product is useful, and he bought a goodly supply that wasn't at all cheap, that it was as good a present as any. Especially considering the odds are excellent that there was something she had in mind that she wanted, but he was supposed to figure it out on his own, so that whatever he bought was going to be the wrong gift. But then, I would rather get a big box of Useful Product That I Use Weekly (my brand) than Something I Have No Desire To Own, or Stinky Cheap Perfume, or something like that.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 12, 2013, 08:16:36 PM
My son gets really offended when people ask him what he wants. He considers it "not his job" to tell you what to buy him--you're supposed to pay enough attention to him that you can figure it out.

Of course, he hasn't said this to anyone outside our family (and he's 15 so still lives at home, so it's not that we don't have any opportunity to observe him).

But I kind of agree with him that it's not that fun a gift to receive if you "order" it. I'd think that one of the messages was, "don't ask me--think of it yourself. That's the gift-giver's job, and that's why 'it's the thought that counts' *means*--not that you thought to give me any gift at all, but that you thought to give me -this- gift."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Venus193 on October 12, 2013, 09:10:28 PM
I completely agree with that, Toots.  It feels like nobody's paying attention if they have to ask you what you want.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Sharnita on October 12, 2013, 09:21:07 PM
As far as the gift thing, it becomes a chicken/egg question. Did he start asking what she wsnted as fter she reacted to a gift with.a nasty response or did she become nasty when he.asked what she wanted? If she was nasty about gifts he picked out then it is unreasonable to object to his asking for ideas. And it seems really strange to answer and get huffy because he takes it seriously.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Firecat on October 13, 2013, 09:36:33 AM
My son gets really offended when people ask him what he wants. He considers it "not his job" to tell you what to buy him--you're supposed to pay enough attention to him that you can figure it out.

Of course, he hasn't said this to anyone outside our family (and he's 15 so still lives at home, so it's not that we don't have any opportunity to observe him).

But I kind of agree with him that it's not that fun a gift to receive if you "order" it. I'd think that one of the messages was, "don't ask me--think of it yourself. That's the gift-giver's job, and that's why 'it's the thought that counts' *means*--not that you thought to give me any gift at all, but that you thought to give me -this- gift."

I disagree, actually. When someone asks me what I'd like for a gift-giving occasion, I take it as an indication that they care enough about me to want to get me something I'll enjoy and/or use. I'll typically offer a few suggestions, and the gifter is free to choose something from that list, or get something else if they prefer, but at least they've got something to work with.

The expectation to "guess" honestly seems a bit PA to me, but different people, different families, etc., have different "cultures" when it comes to giving gifts, so I think it's partly a "know your audience" kind of thing.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Minmom3 on October 13, 2013, 10:22:47 AM
My mother was always one of those people who wanted you to intuit what she'd like.  Then, if your choice was 'close but no cigar', she'd pick it apart verbally, and you, with your defective choosing skills, and be completely oblivious to the offense and hurt her words caused.  It did not make choosing things for her a comfortable experience.....   >:(
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: BarensMom on October 13, 2013, 12:40:54 PM
With the above "you have to guess, but woe betide you if you get it wrong" people, it would be gift cards or nothing from me.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: violinp on October 13, 2013, 12:51:49 PM
My son gets really offended when people ask him what he wants. He considers it "not his job" to tell you what to buy him--you're supposed to pay enough attention to him that you can figure it out.

Of course, he hasn't said this to anyone outside our family (and he's 15 so still lives at home, so it's not that we don't have any opportunity to observe him).

But I kind of agree with him that it's not that fun a gift to receive if you "order" it. I'd think that one of the messages was, "don't ask me--think of it yourself. That's the gift-giver's job, and that's why 'it's the thought that counts' *means*--not that you thought to give me any gift at all, but that you thought to give me -this- gift."

I disagree, actually. When someone asks me what I'd like for a gift-giving occasion, I take it as an indication that they care enough about me to want to get me something I'll enjoy and/or use. I'll typically offer a few suggestions, and the gifter is free to choose something from that list, or get something else if they prefer, but at least they've got something to work with.

The expectation to "guess" honestly seems a bit PA to me, but different people, different families, etc., have different "cultures" when it comes to giving gifts, so I think it's partly a "know your audience" kind of thing.

POD. I don't have the energy to try and worry if I've guessed wrong or not. My family members wouldn't be mad, certainly, but I would feel horrible if I got them something they don't like or won't use, and the rest of my family is the same way, so we ask each other for ideas, at the very least, and usually give a wishlist of some kind, because then we know that we're getting stuff that will be liked and appreciated. That's how our family operates, but I know that other people and families love that whole guessing and mystery thing about gifts, so they should do what makes them happy.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: flickan on October 13, 2013, 01:00:21 PM
My BIL once asked his mother what she wanted for her birthday. She did they old 'oh, don't waste your money on little old me' line several times, he kept asking and finally she named a very common household product (name changed to protect identities). It is the sort of product that all of us buy on a regular basis and use frequently. So he bought her a big boxful. When she opened it, she cried.

As a grown up woman she should be ashamed of herself.  Who bursts into tears upon receiving a gift?  It's not as though he was trying to insult her.  I'd be thrilled to get something I use all the time-- heck a 5lb bag of couscous would be more beneficial to me than a fancy cracker and cheese gift basket, no matter how much more the latter said "holidays"

As for intuiting what people want.  My own mother still calls me up to ask me what I want for Birthday and Christmas and I give her some ideas.  If she doesn't ask me what I want I get something useless.  I've never told her this but she's come to realize over the years that she just doesn't know how to shop for me. I've never given it a second thought and I receive all gifts with genuine enthusiasm but she's the type that will impulse buy something cute and useless for me and it will end up sitting in the closet whereas that $20 gift certificate to the local grocery stores will benefit us significantly.

And if you ask her what she wants she'll insist upon nothing, which is silly.  So I buy her cozy socks, warm jackets, and moderately priced jewelry, which are the three things she loves the most.  I don't really see a disparity we're just completely different people when it comes to giving and receiving gifts.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: shhh its me on October 13, 2013, 01:35:43 PM
My son gets really offended when people ask him what he wants. He considers it "not his job" to tell you what to buy him--you're supposed to pay enough attention to him that you can figure it out.

Of course, he hasn't said this to anyone outside our family (and he's 15 so still lives at home, so it's not that we don't have any opportunity to observe him).

But I kind of agree with him that it's not that fun a gift to receive if you "order" it. I'd think that one of the messages was, "don't ask me--think of it yourself. That's the gift-giver's job, and that's why 'it's the thought that counts' *means*--not that you thought to give me any gift at all, but that you thought to give me -this- gift."

I disagree, actually. When someone asks me what I'd like for a gift-giving occasion, I take it as an indication that they care enough about me to want to get me something I'll enjoy and/or use. I'll typically offer a few suggestions, and the gifter is free to choose something from that list, or get something else if they prefer, but at least they've got something to work with.

The expectation to "guess" honestly seems a bit PA to me, but different people, different families, etc., have different "cultures" when it comes to giving gifts, so I think it's partly a "know your audience" kind of thing.

POD. I don't have the energy to try and worry if I've guessed wrong or not. My family members wouldn't be mad, certainly, but I would feel horrible if I got them something they don't like or won't use, and the rest of my family is the same way, so we ask each other for ideas, at the very least, and usually give a wishlist of some kind, because then we know that we're getting stuff that will be liked and appreciated. That's how our family operates, but I know that other people and families love that whole guessing and mystery thing about gifts, so they should do what makes them happy.

I can empathize with both sides.   Anyone close to me should know books especially cookbooks and kitchen gadgets are great gifts for me but most wouldn't know which books or gadgets or that this year I really need a new comforter.   Even someone who spent time with me and did the "ohhh hey she was really eying that purse " thing would be really wrong , yeah ok I liked the purse but there are about 150 other things I'd want/buy before the purse.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Allyson on October 13, 2013, 03:10:58 PM
I think gift-giving is a skill like any other. Some people are amazing at always finding the right thing. But others are just bad at it, and it has nothing to do with their liking or caring for the person involved. Considering how many stories we get here about people who's partners/families do nothing, even when specifically asked, I think it's a hugely different thing.

Making someone else's ability to find the perfect gift about the relationship as a whole seems like a mistake to me. There are definitely situations where a gift would 'say something' about the relationship, but just having to ask every time and not getting the right thing is not it. Gift-giving also can be a major source of angst and unhappiness for both parties, and if that's the case, I think circumventing it by getting a clear direction is for the best.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Amanita on October 13, 2013, 03:13:24 PM
I prefer being asked what I would like- I'd rather that and have it be less of a "surprise", then end up with some knicknack I'll never use, or piece of clothing that's completely not my style, that I won't ever wear.

As for the "You have to guess what to get me, and heaven help you if you guess wrong" types, I wouldn't want to give them gifts either. It would be money in a card or a gift card, and if they complained, I hope I wouldn't get sent to E-Hell for telling them why. "Look, when I try to pick something out for you, it never seems to go over well, so this way you can get exactly what you want."
And if they continue to complain, then no gifts after that.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 13, 2013, 04:57:01 PM
My son gets really offended when people ask him what he wants. He considers it "not his job" to tell you what to buy him--you're supposed to pay enough attention to him that you can figure it out.

Of course, he hasn't said this to anyone outside our family (and he's 15 so still lives at home, so it's not that we don't have any opportunity to observe him).

But I kind of agree with him that it's not that fun a gift to receive if you "order" it. I'd think that one of the messages was, "don't ask me--think of it yourself. That's the gift-giver's job, and that's why 'it's the thought that counts' *means*--not that you thought to give me any gift at all, but that you thought to give me -this- gift."

I disagree, actually. When someone asks me what I'd like for a gift-giving occasion, I take it as an indication that they care enough about me to want to get me something I'll enjoy and/or use. I'll typically offer a few suggestions, and the gifter is free to choose something from that list, or get something else if they prefer, but at least they've got something to work with.

The expectation to "guess" honestly seems a bit PA to me, but different people, different families, etc., have different "cultures" when it comes to giving gifts, so I think it's partly a "know your audience" kind of thing.

POD. I don't have the energy to try and worry if I've guessed wrong or not. My family members wouldn't be mad, certainly, but I would feel horrible if I got them something they don't like or won't use, and the rest of my family is the same way, so we ask each other for ideas, at the very least, and usually give a wishlist of some kind, because then we know that we're getting stuff that will be liked and appreciated. That's how our family operates, but I know that other people and families love that whole guessing and mystery thing about gifts, so they should do what makes them happy.

I can empathize with both sides.   Anyone close to me should know books especially cookbooks and kitchen gadgets are great gifts for me but most wouldn't know which books or gadgets or that this year I really need a new comforter.   Even someone who spent time with me and did the "ohhh hey she was really eying that purse " thing would be really wrong , yeah ok I liked the purse but there are about 150 other things I'd want/buy before the purse.

In my experience people who like to be asked prefer receiving gifts that are a high priority for something they would buy for themselves.

Those who prefer surprises are like me and I much prefer to receive a gift that I most likely wouldn't have bought for myself.

So in your example, I'd enjoy receiving any cookbook especially if the person picked it out because they thought I'd enjoy it. Like if after a vacation in Spain my sister finds a really good Spanish cookbook that I might have never come across. Or if I need a comforter, I'm going to be buying the comforter so the purse would be a luxury I couldn't afford.

The only people who ever gave me gifts for things I needed was my parents.

This discussion always reminds me of a guy I knew who bought his girlfriend a new set of tires for Christmas. He even arranged with her Dad to sneak her car to the tire store to have them put on on Xmas Eve and wrapped bows around each one. The guy was only 19 and this was a huge expense. He couldn't figure out why she wasn't thrilled since she had been complaining about needing new tires for a month.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Firecat on October 13, 2013, 06:51:40 PM
My son gets really offended when people ask him what he wants. He considers it "not his job" to tell you what to buy him--you're supposed to pay enough attention to him that you can figure it out.

Of course, he hasn't said this to anyone outside our family (and he's 15 so still lives at home, so it's not that we don't have any opportunity to observe him).

But I kind of agree with him that it's not that fun a gift to receive if you "order" it. I'd think that one of the messages was, "don't ask me--think of it yourself. That's the gift-giver's job, and that's why 'it's the thought that counts' *means*--not that you thought to give me any gift at all, but that you thought to give me -this- gift."

I disagree, actually. When someone asks me what I'd like for a gift-giving occasion, I take it as an indication that they care enough about me to want to get me something I'll enjoy and/or use. I'll typically offer a few suggestions, and the gifter is free to choose something from that list, or get something else if they prefer, but at least they've got something to work with.

The expectation to "guess" honestly seems a bit PA to me, but different people, different families, etc., have different "cultures" when it comes to giving gifts, so I think it's partly a "know your audience" kind of thing.

POD. I don't have the energy to try and worry if I've guessed wrong or not. My family members wouldn't be mad, certainly, but I would feel horrible if I got them something they don't like or won't use, and the rest of my family is the same way, so we ask each other for ideas, at the very least, and usually give a wishlist of some kind, because then we know that we're getting stuff that will be liked and appreciated. That's how our family operates, but I know that other people and families love that whole guessing and mystery thing about gifts, so they should do what makes them happy.

I can empathize with both sides.   Anyone close to me should know books especially cookbooks and kitchen gadgets are great gifts for me but most wouldn't know which books or gadgets or that this year I really need a new comforter.   Even someone who spent time with me and did the "ohhh hey she was really eying that purse " thing would be really wrong , yeah ok I liked the purse but there are about 150 other things I'd want/buy before the purse.

In my experience people who like to be asked prefer receiving gifts that are a high priority for something they would buy for themselves.

Those who prefer surprises are like me and I much prefer to receive a gift that I most likely wouldn't have bought for myself.

So in your example, I'd enjoy receiving any cookbook especially if the person picked it out because they thought I'd enjoy it. Like if after a vacation in Spain my sister finds a really good Spanish cookbook that I might have never come across. Or if I need a comforter, I'm going to be buying the comforter so the purse would be a luxury I couldn't afford.

The only people who ever gave me gifts for things I needed was my parents.

This discussion always reminds me of a guy I knew who bought his girlfriend a new set of tires for Christmas. He even arranged with her Dad to sneak her car to the tire store to have them put on on Xmas Eve and wrapped bows around each one. The guy was only 19 and this was a huge expense. He couldn't figure out why she wasn't thrilled since she had been complaining about needing new tires for a month.

And I would have been thrilled...and touched that he went to so much trouble to make it a surprise! I mean, I really like the gifts that are a lovely surprise, too (maybe I mostly just like getting gifts!), like the cookbook example. But I also like gifts that are things I need, because if someone gives me something I need, then I can think of that person whenever I use it, plus that means I can use the money I'd have spent on the thing I need for something else.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: gramma dishes on October 13, 2013, 08:15:15 PM
^^^  I think it was sweet too!  To me it would have meant "Oh!  He's wants to keep me safe!" 

Poor guy!  I would have thought he was a keeper!   ;D
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 14, 2013, 12:18:54 AM
My son gets really offended when people ask him what he wants. He considers it "not his job" to tell you what to buy him--you're supposed to pay enough attention to him that you can figure it out.

Of course, he hasn't said this to anyone outside our family (and he's 15 so still lives at home, so it's not that we don't have any opportunity to observe him).

But I kind of agree with him that it's not that fun a gift to receive if you "order" it. I'd think that one of the messages was, "don't ask me--think of it yourself. That's the gift-giver's job, and that's why 'it's the thought that counts' *means*--not that you thought to give me any gift at all, but that you thought to give me -this- gift."

Unless he had really obvious hobbies (e.g. I knew him to be a huge reader) such a person would quickly get nothing but gift cards from me. I simply don't have the knack of finding out what a person would like unless it's book related, and would rather play it safe and give them something I knew they could use.

I do think it is "his job" to point people in the right direction when asked. He doesn't have to give a shopping list, but something like "I like boardgames / big cats / to read / watch movies / listen to new music / the colour blue".... Just anything to give me a starting point.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Venus193 on October 14, 2013, 08:31:33 AM
I'm a fan of the Amazon Wish List.  I have three friends with them and their wants are therefore never a mystery.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: wolfie on October 14, 2013, 09:07:45 AM
^^^  I think it was sweet too!  To me it would have meant "Oh!  He's wants to keep me safe!" 

Poor guy!  I would have thought he was a keeper!   ;D

At this point in my life I would think it was sweet and he was a keeper. At 19 - I doubt I would have thought the same thing.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Firecat on October 14, 2013, 09:47:41 AM
^^^  I think it was sweet too!  To me it would have meant "Oh!  He's wants to keep me safe!" 

Poor guy!  I would have thought he was a keeper!   ;D

At this point in my life I would think it was sweet and he was a keeper. At 19 - I doubt I would have thought the same thing.

At 19...I think I still would have thought the same, or largely the same. But that's partly because my dad worked as a mechanic for many years before he retired, so I grew up with a maybe slightly different perspective on things related to cars, etc.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Jones on October 14, 2013, 10:13:06 AM
At 19, if my boyfriend had pulled off the tire gift, I probably would have proposed on the spot :)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 14, 2013, 10:30:47 AM
^^^  I think it was sweet too!  To me it would have meant "Oh!  He's wants to keep me safe!" 

Poor guy!  I would have thought he was a keeper!   ;D

Oh her Dad thought he was a keeper. She knew if she delayed long enough her Dad would buy her new tires. She wanted something sparkly from her boyfriend. His mom warned him about the gift, that his girlfriend wasn't a pragmatist.

But the poor guy was a little present shy after that. I was his girlfriend for the next 3 years and ended up with more jewelry than I I needed or wanted. His mom's standard joke was "well, I saw son wrapping your gift, I'm pretty sure a set of tires wouldn't fit in there." Gosh I miss that woman, she was such a hoot.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 14, 2013, 11:43:41 AM
Quote
Those who prefer surprises are like me and I much prefer to receive a gift that I most likely wouldn't have bought for myself.

And hopefully they're like me, and my kids, and really appreciate the level of thought that went into the gift, even if it turns out that they aren't going to use the gift after all.

Quote
I do think it is "his job" to point people in the right direction when asked. He doesn't have to give a shopping list, but something like "I like boardgames / big cats / to read / watch movies / listen to new music / the colour blue".... Just anything to give me a starting point.

Ah, but his point was that if we are close enough to give him a gift, we should already KNOW things that are this general!
     He shouldn't have to tell us that--we should open our eyes and ears, and engage our brain, and gather that info ourselves. 
       And he is right. He is the son and brother in our household. He is the grandson and the cousin. Those are the people who are buying him gifts, and if we don't already know that he likes the color green, video games and Legos, then we are doing a poor job of paying attention to him.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: BigBadBetty on October 14, 2013, 11:45:16 AM
^^^  I think it was sweet too!  To me it would have meant "Oh!  He's wants to keep me safe!" 

Poor guy!  I would have thought he was a keeper!   ;D

I got tires as a gift from boyfriend. I was thrilled! I was in my 30s. I still have the boyfriend. Now, I had some trouble convincing him that I wanted tires for Xmas because so much dating advice says not to. Of course, I saw advice saying don't buy your wife appliances. I was thinking how much I would love a new stove for Xmas, but that is just too expensive for a gift.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on October 14, 2013, 12:59:10 PM
I'm not good at picking gifts for The Sweetie, and it's taken some processing between us. She appreciates that I try, but I had a hard time getting over my disappoinment, because I consider myself a good gift-giver.

Now we do a lot of "virtual gifts," where we just show each other a "gift" online or in a store. (I emailed her a link to the Ninjabread cookie cutters.) Yesterday at a toy store, I spotted a $200 Steiff version of the original Tigger (she's very energetic, so her nickname is Tigger). I had her follow me, eyes on the floor, until we got up to it, then I showed it to her, she went "Cool!" and we left.



Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: EllenS on October 14, 2013, 01:58:43 PM
My mother used to say that she knew my father was about to propose because he gave her a warm coat for Christmas.  It was not at all something she wanted or would have picked for herself, but she understood what it meant in HIS mind.

Wanting to be understood is extremely important when you are 15, especially when so many young people feel misunderstood by their families.  I think it's wonderful that Toot's son is so self-aware, and that his family all seem to communicate so well and value each other.

However, I think between grownups, a relationship is going to be very very difficult if the "understanding" is always supposed to flow only in one direction.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 14, 2013, 11:56:28 PM
Quote
I do think it is "his job" to point people in the right direction when asked. He doesn't have to give a shopping list, but something like "I like boardgames / big cats / to read / watch movies / listen to new music / the colour blue".... Just anything to give me a starting point.

Ah, but his point was that if we are close enough to give him a gift, we should already KNOW things that are this general!
     He shouldn't have to tell us that--we should open our eyes and ears, and engage our brain, and gather that info ourselves. 
       And he is right. He is the son and brother in our household. He is the grandson and the cousin. Those are the people who are buying him gifts, and if we don't already know that he likes the color green, video games and Legos, then we are doing a poor job of paying attention to him.

I don't know any of those things about my cousin or grandfather, aunt or uncles, or my in-laws. DH, my sisters and parents (Mum at least... dad, not so much), yes, but that's about it. And it's rather hurtful to be told this means I don't pay sufficient attention to them, I just don't have the knack of extrapolating from incomplete data like that.

And that's the thing - not everybody does. Not because we don't care, but it's a gift or a talent like any other, and we're just not that good at it.

So if people like your son wants presents other than gift cards to iTunes, amazon or whatever - they need to help us out.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Allyson on October 15, 2013, 01:12:06 AM

And that's the thing - not everybody does. Not because we don't care, but it's a gift or a talent like any other, and we're just not that good at it.


Exactly! This young man may be a naturally good gift-giver--he realizes things about his family, immediate and extended, and his friends, and is able to extrapolate those things into good gifts. That's awesome! But I think perhaps he should be thinking about it as 'this is a skill I have, it's a positive, not a neutral'.

In general, though, I think 'they should just know' is a dangerous place to go, as people have wildly different conceptions of what someone should 'just know', often based on things that are obvious *to them*...and they don't even realize that's not so for everyone.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 15, 2013, 01:41:07 AM
Exactly! This young man may be a naturally good gift-giver--he realizes things about his family, immediate and extended, and his friends, and is able to extrapolate those things into good gifts. That's awesome! But I think perhaps he should be thinking about it as 'this is a skill I have, it's a positive, not a neutral'.
Exactly! It's a terrific talent to have, and I wish I had it!

Quote
In general, though, I think 'they should just know' is a dangerous place to go, as people have wildly different conceptions of what someone should 'just know', often based on things that are obvious *to them*...and they don't even realize that's not so for everyone.
Agreed. You set yourself up for all kinds of disappointments that way.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 15, 2013, 05:53:35 AM
^^^  I think it was sweet too!  To me it would have meant "Oh!  He's wants to keep me safe!" 

Poor guy!  I would have thought he was a keeper!   ;D

Me too!   I think it's a great skill to have, gift giving.  He listened to what she had said about needing new tires and that she was having trouble affording them, and took care of it for her. 

My DH is good at doing that too.  I've found that unless there's something I really want, I don't really need to ask.  A couple years ago I did tell DH I'd really like a Kindle and got one, but other than that I just let him decide on his own.  One year I had mentioned I wanted a nice warm winter coat. I got a pretty faux fur coat with a nice hood on it. :)  Last year I got a nice camera. :)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Two Ravens on October 15, 2013, 07:04:12 AM
Quote
I do think it is "his job" to point people in the right direction when asked. He doesn't have to give a shopping list, but something like "I like boardgames / big cats / to read / watch movies / listen to new music / the colour blue".... Just anything to give me a starting point.

Ah, but his point was that if we are close enough to give him a gift, we should already KNOW things that are this general!
     He shouldn't have to tell us that--we should open our eyes and ears, and engage our brain, and gather that info ourselves. 
       And he is right. He is the son and brother in our household. He is the grandson and the cousin. Those are the people who are buying him gifts, and if we don't already know that he likes the color green, video games and Legos, then we are doing a poor job of paying attention to him.

I don't know any of those things about my cousin or grandfather, aunt or uncles, or my in-laws. DH, my sisters and parents (Mum at least... dad, not so much), yes, but that's about it. And it's rather hurtful to be told this means I don't pay sufficient attention to them, I just don't have the knack of extrapolating from incomplete data like that.

And that's the thing - not everybody does. Not because we don't care, but it's a gift or a talent like any other, and we're just not that good at it.

So if people like your son wants presents other than gift cards to iTunes, amazon or whatever - they need to help us out.

And, even of people knew that, and got him a copy of the newest Green Lego video game, chances are if he likes those things so much he already has it, or has 10 other people buying it for him.

Plus, we have all heard stories on here of a hapless person who once casually mentioned that she likes teacups and kittens, and thus doomed herself to receive nothing but teacups with kittens on them for years on end.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 15, 2013, 08:08:20 AM
And, even of people knew that, and got him a copy of the newest Green Lego video game, chances are if he likes those things so much he already has it, or has 10 other people buying it for him.

Plus, we have all heard stories on here of a hapless person who once casually mentioned that she likes teacups and kittens, and thus doomed herself to receive nothing but teacups with kittens on them for years on end.

Also a very good point!
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 15, 2013, 08:18:42 AM
And, even of people knew that, and got him a copy of the newest Green Lego video game, chances are if he likes those things so much he already has it, or has 10 other people buying it for him.

Plus, we have all heard stories on here of a hapless person who once casually mentioned that she likes teacups and kittens, and thus doomed herself to receive nothing but teacups with kittens on them for years on end.

Also a very good point!

About 10 years ago, my sis's and I all gathered for an early Christmas celebration and my 13 year old nephew received 3 copies of the newest Madden football game. Unfortunately, he had already bought it on it's release date with the birthday money we had all given him a few months prior. We learned to coordinate gifts for him after that. Teen boys are the absolute worst to gift to. As a mom of a 16 year old, I've struggled for the last 4 years on gifts for him. Video games, camping and golfing items seem to be the main thing now and lots of those are out of the price range for what I'd expect an aunt or uncle to gift him.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Jocelyn on October 20, 2013, 05:55:54 PM

       And he is right. He is the son and brother in our household. He is the grandson and the cousin. Those are the people who are buying him gifts, and if we don't already know that he likes the color green, video games and Legos, then we are doing a poor job of paying attention to him.
Well...people may know that green is my favorite color, but my family wouldn't necessarily know whether I want another green sweater or not. Or if I wanted emerald green or olive green. They know I love to read, but without consulting my Amazon wish list, how would they know which books I want to read next? Or that my Kindle is so overloaded, I don't want books this year?
Maybe you can know these things about someone you live with and see frequently, but if you're buying for someone you only see a couple of times a year, and it's been so long since you've seen their home, you don't know what colors they're using right now.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Tea Drinker on October 20, 2013, 07:58:04 PM

       And he is right. He is the son and brother in our household. He is the grandson and the cousin. Those are the people who are buying him gifts, and if we don't already know that he likes the color green, video games and Legos, then we are doing a poor job of paying attention to him.
Well...people may know that green is my favorite color, but my family wouldn't necessarily know whether I want another green sweater or not. Or if I wanted emerald green or olive green. They know I love to read, but without consulting my Amazon wish list, how would they know which books I want to read next? Or that my Kindle is so overloaded, I don't want books this year?
Maybe you can know these things about someone you live with and see frequently, but if you're buying for someone you only see a couple of times a year, and it's been so long since you've seen their home, you don't know what colors they're using right now.

"Another green sweater" is a good point. I like purple, and I have a bunch of purple clothing: but that doesn't mean I want all my clothes to be purple. And I'd rather have a black, cobalt blue, navy, or dark green sweater that fits really well than a purple one whose sleeves are too tight (something that's hard to tell without trying a garment on).

If the gift recipient is a teenager, it's also tricky because tastes change faster at 15 than at 35: they may have decided that they don't like green anymore, or gotten bored with Legos.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 01:20:46 PM

Now we do a lot of "virtual gifts," where we just show each other a "gift" online or in a store. (I emailed her a link to the Ninjabread cookie cutters.) Yesterday at a toy store, I spotted a $200 Steiff version of the original Tigger (she's very energetic, so her nickname is Tigger). I had her follow me, eyes on the floor, until we got up to it, then I showed it to her, she went "Cool!" and we left.

That's really cool!
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 01:30:07 PM
Quote
I do think it is "his job" to point people in the right direction when asked. He doesn't have to give a shopping list, but something like "I like boardgames / big cats / to read / watch movies / listen to new music / the colour blue".... Just anything to give me a starting point.

Ah, but his point was that if we are close enough to give him a gift, we should already KNOW things that are this general!
     He shouldn't have to tell us that--we should open our eyes and ears, and engage our brain, and gather that info ourselves. 
       And he is right. He is the son and brother in our household. He is the grandson and the cousin. Those are the people who are buying him gifts, and if we don't already know that he likes the color green, video games and Legos, then we are doing a poor job of paying attention to him.

I don't know any of those things about my cousin or grandfather, aunt or uncles, or my in-laws. DH, my sisters and parents (Mum at least... dad, not so much), yes, but that's about it. And it's rather hurtful to be told this means I don't pay sufficient attention to them, I just don't have the knack of extrapolating from incomplete data like that.

Please don't take my comment--which was deliberately full of third-person pronouns, and *not* the "universal 'you' " as a judgment on *you* or on *your* family.

Quote

And, even of people knew that, and got him a copy of the newest Green Lego video game, chances are if he likes those things so much he already has it, or has 10 other people buying it for him.


And if my son got 3 copies of the newest Green Lego video game, he'd be pleased. He's perfectly content with having people try and miss. That's not hurtful to him.

It's the being asked, "what do you want for Christmas" that bothered him. I think it makes him feel that the asker isn't bothered enough to even try. And if his cousin asked for a few ideas, or general I think he'd be willing to give them.

And yes, his broadest interests are available to his cousins. He's a 15yo boy (which carries its own set of ideas in and of itself), and they see him 6 times a year. That's enough to have *that general* of a list of ideas. People who see him less often aren't the people who give him gifts. (which is why I spoke only of him and his life.)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 23, 2013, 02:49:51 PM
Please don't take my comment--which was deliberately full of third-person pronouns, and *not* the "universal 'you' " as a judgment on *you* or on *your* family.

Ok, I won't. Thanks.

Quote
And yes, his broadest interests are available to his cousins. He's a 15yo boy (which carries its own set of ideas in and of itself), and they see him 6 times a year. That's enough to have *that general* of a list of ideas. People who see him less often aren't the people who give him gifts. (which is why I spoke only of him and his life.)
I'm completely baffled by the bolded. My now 20yo male cousin is without a doubt the most difficult person to buy presents for - and has been so since he outgrew toys - which unfortunately included Lego. I see him a lot more often than 6 times a year, but that doesn't seem to help me any.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of ideas does being a 15yo boy carry in and of itself? Other than perhaps popular action movies, I can't think of anything I'd assume was an obvious choice. Like I said, I really suck at this.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: cwm on October 23, 2013, 03:05:38 PM
Please don't take my comment--which was deliberately full of third-person pronouns, and *not* the "universal 'you' " as a judgment on *you* or on *your* family.

Ok, I won't. Thanks.

Quote
And yes, his broadest interests are available to his cousins. He's a 15yo boy (which carries its own set of ideas in and of itself), and they see him 6 times a year. That's enough to have *that general* of a list of ideas. People who see him less often aren't the people who give him gifts. (which is why I spoke only of him and his life.)
I'm completely baffled by the bolded. My now 20yo male cousin is without a doubt the most difficult person to buy presents for - and has been so since he outgrew toys - which unfortunately included Lego. I see him a lot more often than 6 times a year, but that doesn't seem to help me any.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of ideas does being a 15yo boy carry in and of itself? Other than perhaps popular action movies, I can't think of anything I'd assume was an obvious choice. Like I said, I really suck at this.

Maria, I agree with you. I can't see what gender and age have to at all with what gifts someone would like. My sister and I were very different. My wish list at 15 (as a girl) was my own tent, my own kayak complete with paddles, probably some books, and maybe a video game system. My sister's at the same age was clothes, different books entirely, body products, and her own kayak. A friend of mine at the same age wanted porcelain dolls, clothes for them, and anime. A friend of my sister wanted nothing more than sewing and crafting supplies.

OTOH, you can see someone every day and still have no idea what to get for them. Case in point, my mother. I had people asking me what her favorite cake was, what her favorite cookies were, what kind of snack foods she liked. I have no idea. I've rarely gone a week without speaking to her, I've lived with her most of my life, and to this day all I can say about her food preferences is that she doesn't like raisins. I have no idea what to get her for her birthday or Christmas because she's always gracious about everything and has likes all over the place. I hate trying to find the "right" gift for her because there seems to be no "wrong" gift, leaving everything wide open.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 23, 2013, 03:11:46 PM
I also agree. I don't think that people who don't know exactly what book I'm looking for, or whether I'd prefer a new sweater over an iTunes card, are not paying attention to me appropriately. Perhaps some people can do that; not everyone has that skill. And if someone is going to be hurt that (gasp) someone asked them what they want, how devastated are they going to be if the person guessed wrong?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 03:12:25 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

Also, I'd be totally tempted to get a 20yo a small Lego something every year. Just because I believe that everyone deserves to get a toy for Christmas.

(I think 20yo's are harder than 15yo's. The stereotypes are less helpful. Stereotypes are always risky, but at 20, they all but cease to apply.)


Again, my son would be OK with the idea that his cousin got him something that was a really good attempt. He wouldn't be OK with the idea that he was supposed to give a family member a shopping list. For a faraway grandparent, he'd compile an *ideas* list.

I know that picking out presents isn't everybody's skill. They don't get to use "the thought behind the present" as a way to communicate their affection. It doesn't mean they don't *feel* that affection--not at all! It simply means they cannot use that tool. And if their target sees value in that "love language," they're going to be left hungry. Which won't be horrendous if they're getting "fed" (in terms of affection) in other ways.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 23, 2013, 03:40:20 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

Out of those suggestions literally none of them applied to my cousin at age 15 :P Well, perhaps the iTunes gift card (although I don't know if he has any iProducts), but I thought the entire idea was to get beyond gift cards. Gift cards I can do, no problem. But I don't consider them any more special than just plain cash (unless it's a very specialized gift card of course).

I understand the love language thing, I really do, and it sucks when somebody like your son meets somebody like me. I get a minor panic attack just thinking about trying to buy him a present. What I want to stress is that people like him need to understand is that not everybody is able to adhere to their wishes, and while people like me would be rude to insist on a "shopping list" (even if that's what I would prefer... as long as there were enough things on it that he couldn't guess what I'd buy ;D ) people like him would be equally rude to refuse giving an "ideas list" (which I know your boy does, so that's all good :) ).
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 03:43:59 PM
Remember what I said about him: He wouldn't be terribly upset if a family member of his genuinely tried and missed.

He was greatly offended when someone who ought to know him pretty well wanted a gift request from him. So as long as a person didn't *ask* him what he wanted, he wouldn't be hurt at all. He might not enjoy the gift as much, it might not be as "nourishing" a gift exchange, but he wouldn't be *hurt*.

And it's not that he's judgmental and thinks that person is a horrible human being--his -feelings- are hurt. 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Curious Cat on October 23, 2013, 03:46:09 PM
Remember what I said about him: He wouldn't be terribly upset if a family member of his genuinely tried and missed.

He was greatly offended when someone who ought to know him pretty well wanted a gift request from him. So as long as a person didn't *ask* him what he wanted, he wouldn't be hurt at all. He might not enjoy the gift as much, it might not be as "nourishing" a gift exchange, but he wouldn't be *hurt*.

And it's not that he's judgmental and thinks that person is a horrible human being--his -feelings- are hurt.

If someone was greatly offended that I asked what they would like for a gift they wouldn't have to worry about it twice.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 23, 2013, 03:48:46 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

But how do you know if he's got Action movie X or video game Y? There are a lot of them, and the kid who wants COD may think that Mario is for wimps. Another boy may adore Mario. In fact, they may be the same boy, six months apart.

Also, I'd be totally tempted to get a 20yo a small Lego something every year. Just because I believe that everyone deserves to get a toy for Christmas.

Annnnd you've just reminded me of my brother who had an absolute meltdown at 20 because someone gave him a desk toy. Doesn't always work....  

(I think 20yo's are harder than 15yo's. The stereotypes are less helpful. Stereotypes are always risky, but at 20, they all but cease to apply.)


Again, my son would be OK with the idea that his cousin got him something that was a really good attempt. He wouldn't be OK with the idea that he was supposed to give a family member a shopping list. For a faraway grandparent, he'd compile an *ideas* list.

I know that picking out presents isn't everybody's skill. They don't get to use "the thought behind the present" as a way to communicate their affection. It doesn't mean they don't *feel* that affection--not at all! It simply means they cannot use that tool. And if their target sees value in that "love language," they're going to be left hungry. Which won't be horrendous if they're getting "fed" (in terms of affection) in other ways.

An important skill for the gift-receiver to learn is to not expect perfect gifts. Once they master that, they can receive presents in the spirit intended, rather than throwing tantrums that "Uncle Joe doesn't know that I'm *over* Pokemon, and only play FPSs now. He must not love me. Waaaaaah!"

I can only pod Curious Cat, that "If someone was greatly offended that I asked what they would like for a gift they wouldn't have to worry about it twice."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 03:50:01 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

Out of those suggestions literally none of them applied to my cousin at age 15 .

Don't you see? I think it's quite likely that you *do* know your cousin pretty well. If you know him well enough to be able to say that none of those stereotypical gifts would be appropriate for him.

Maybe you don't have a lot of practice translating into products, but you if can *reject* a product, then perhaps you can look at a list of 25 products and reject all the ones that don't work. Whatever's left is a reasonable gift.

I think sometimes people place too much pressure on themselves. They think each gift has to be a wonderful gift. It doesn't.

cwm's post is, I think, an example of that.
(though, unfortunately, this particular wording can come across as a criticism of the gift recipient)


Quote
OTOH, you can see someone every day and still have no idea what to get for them. Case in point, my mother. I had people asking me what her favorite cake was, what her favorite cookies were, what kind of snack foods she liked. I have no idea. I've rarely gone a week without speaking to her, I've lived with her most of my life, and to this day all I can say about her food preferences is that she doesn't like raisins. I have no idea what to get her for her birthday or Christmas because she's always gracious about everything and has likes all over the place. I hate trying to find the "right" gift for her because there seems to be no "wrong" gift, leaving everything wide open.

I do think it's more powerful when a gift reflects your knowledge of a person. But cwm's post actually says it, word for word: "there seems to be no 'wrong' gift." That's because there isn't.
There might be "more-right gifts," but there is no wrong gift.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 03:51:32 PM

An important skill for the gift-receiver to learn is to not expect perfect gifts. Once they master that, they can receive presents in the spirit intended, rather than throwing tantrums that "Uncle Joe doesn't know that I'm *over* Pokemon, and only play FPSs now. He must not love me. Waaaaaah!"

Which, as I've said repeatedly, *my* son does not do (throw tantrums). In case you were using him as a continuing example.

There are people who do, of course.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 23, 2013, 03:53:39 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

Out of those suggestions literally none of them applied to my cousin at age 15 .

Don't you see? I think you *do* know your cousin pretty well. If you know him well enough to be able to say that none of those stereotypical gifts would be appropriate to him, then you know him well enough to buy a gift.

Maybe you don't have a lot of practice translating into products, but you if can *reject* a product, then surely you can look at a list of 25 products and reject all the ones that don't work. Whatever's left is a reasonable gift.

I think sometimes people place too much pressure on themselves. They think each gift has to be a wonderful gift. It doesn't.

cwm's post is, I think, an example of that.
(though, unfortunately, this particular wording can come across as a criticism of the gift recipient)


Quote
OTOH, you can see someone every day and still have no idea what to get for them. Case in point, my mother. I had people asking me what her favorite cake was, what her favorite cookies were, what kind of snack foods she liked. I have no idea. I've rarely gone a week without speaking to her, I've lived with her most of my life, and to this day all I can say about her food preferences is that she doesn't like raisins. I have no idea what to get her for her birthday or Christmas because she's always gracious about everything and has likes all over the place. I hate trying to find the "right" gift for her because there seems to be no "wrong" gift, leaving everything wide open.

I do think it's more powerful when a gift reflects your knowledge of a person. But cwm's post actually says it, word for word: "there seems to be no 'wrong' gift." That's because there isn't.
There might be "more-right gifts," but there is no wrong gift.

But you say your son was upset that someone merely asked what he most wanted. If he's that offended that that person "should know him well enough to select a gift," I would expect him to be also offended if that person came back with a gift that was completely the opposite of what he expected the giver should have known he wanted.

While I believe your son may accept gifts without "tantrums," he does seem to take offense at people who are merely trying to make sure they please him.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 03:56:28 PM

But you say your son was upset that someone merely asked what he most wanted. If he's that offended that that person "should know him well enough to select a gift," I would expect him to be also offended if that person came back with a gift that was completely the opposite of what he expected the giver should have known he wanted.

That's an interesting assumption on your part.

I have repeatedly and explicitly said that he would not.

Please bow to my own knowledge of and explicitly and carefully repeated statements about my own child. I was very careful to draw distinctions between the specific (my actual child and his actual family), and any of the other people on this board. I expect the converse courtesy.

FYI--my son doesn't expect the person to know exactly what he wants. He thinks they should have ideas on their own. It ruins the fun for him when he tells someone what to get him. And it hurts his feelings when they indicate that they don't want to think of ideas.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Olympia on October 23, 2013, 04:02:22 PM
POD. I don't have the energy to try and worry if I've guessed wrong or not.

I'd go further. I don't have the energy to try and worry about someone who would get offended that I asked for gift suggestions. Unless it was an obligatory gift-giving event, I'd pass.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 23, 2013, 04:04:32 PM
So, he would be offended if someone was checking to see if he wanted something specific or had any request to make sure they got him something he wanted because, as you say, he thinks that they should just know through familiarity ... but he WOULDN'T be offended if they got him completely wrong even though that clearly demonstrates a lack of familiarity with his likes/dislikes.

There seems to be a disconnect there.

I don't even know what to buy my husband. And he doesn't know what to buy me. When we have a birthday, we usually go shopping together and get presents that way. Works that way with Christmas, too. Problem is, we simply buy what we want for ourselves, so gift-giving becomes a problem.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Curious Cat on October 23, 2013, 04:05:10 PM
POD. I don't have the energy to try and worry if I've guessed wrong or not.

I'd go further. I don't have the energy to try and worry about someone who would get offended that I asked for gift suggestions. Unless it was an obligatory gift-giving event, I'd pass.

And honestly if I was told that their feelings were hurt that I dared ask I'd be concerned that they were oversensitive.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 23, 2013, 04:05:39 PM
Remember what I said about him: He wouldn't be terribly upset if a family member of his genuinely tried and missed.

He was greatly offended when someone who ought to know him pretty well wanted a gift request from him. So as long as a person didn't *ask* him what he wanted, he wouldn't be hurt at all. He might not enjoy the gift as much, it might not be as "nourishing" a gift exchange, but he wouldn't be *hurt*.

And it's not that he's judgmental and thinks that person is a horrible human being--his -feelings- are hurt.

He might not mind, but I would. I would much rather give a safe but boring present than risk striking out. It's great that he doesn't mind, but that doesn't limit the pressure that I feel. A pressure that makes gift shopping a chore to dread no matter how much I love the recipient.

(The exception is if he's a reader. I tend to be strangely good at matching people to books, but that's about it.)

I can see where Twik is coming from, and no offense is intended - this is no longer about your son specifically, but about the mindset in general. In my head - and this is where the pressure comes in "She should know me well enough to buy me a present without me giving her ideas" = "She should know me well enough to know what I would like". So being hurt that I fail in the former would - again in my head - equal being hurt that I fail in the latter. An assumption, I know. I'm just telling you how I work.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 23, 2013, 04:05:46 PM
Let's not make this specific about your son, who I'm sure was gracious and pleasant, even if disappointed to be asked. But in general, if I heard someone was offended that I'd asked him what he wants, I'd be terrified that I might offend him with something that didn't meet with some other unspoken criteria. Because he was asked with the intent of getting him something to please him. That's the "love language" bound up in that question, and getting feedback that it was offensive would be very hurtful.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:09:33 PM
So, he would be offended if someone was checking to see if he wanted something specific

That's not what he said; I didn't think it was how I described it. He was offended because someone said, "What should I get you for Christmas?" Or "what do you want" in a way that indicated they wanted him to name one specific item.

Quote
or had any request to make sure they got him something he wanted

Again, a restatement that misrepresents the subtleties here.

But then, you guys aren't related to him, so it doesn't really matter what you think of him


Quote
There seems to be a disconnect there.
People are funny that way--lots of us are inconsistent.
It doesn't seem that inconsistent to me, that what he doesn't want is for someone to pawn off the "work" of picking a present on him--that the underlying message of that is not "I don't know you as well as we both wish I did," but rather, "I can't be bothered." The first is not nearly as hurtful as the second.

Quote
I don't even know what to buy my husband.

I don't either. My son's philosophy, I think, would be that I should give myself some time to stop and think, and then just take a stab at it. But I think my son would say that I shouldn't go to my husband and ask him to name something that I can wrap up and put under the tree.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 23, 2013, 04:10:13 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

Out of those suggestions literally none of them applied to my cousin at age 15 .

Don't you see? I think it's quite likely that you *do* know your cousin pretty well. If you know him well enough to be able to say that none of those stereotypical gifts would be appropriate for him.

Maybe you don't have a lot of practice translating into products, but you if can *reject* a product, then perhaps you can look at a list of 25 products and reject all the ones that don't work. Whatever's left is a reasonable gift.

That's my entire point! Wanting ideas does not mean I don't know somebody well. It means I am unable to extrapolate from what I know about them to what I should buy them as a present.

Seriously, unable. It would seem that the disconnect comes in when people don't understand that it's an ability issue, not a willingness issue. So say I look at a list of 25 products (assuming I can even comebup with that many) and reject them all - I am then no closer to finding a suitable gift than I was before I started.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:14:21 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

Out of those suggestions literally none of them applied to my cousin at age 15 .

Don't you see? I think it's quite likely that you *do* know your cousin pretty well. If you know him well enough to be able to say that none of those stereotypical gifts would be appropriate for him.

Maybe you don't have a lot of practice translating into products, but you if can *reject* a product, then perhaps you can look at a list of 25 products and reject all the ones that don't work. Whatever's left is a reasonable gift.

That's my entire point! Wanting ideas does not mean I don't know somebody well. It means I am unable to extrapolate from what I know about them to what I should buy them as a present.

Seriously, unable. It would seem that the disconnect comes in when people don't understand that it's an ability issue, not a willingness issue. So say I look at a list of 25 products (assuming I can even comebup with that many) and reject them all - I am then no closer to finding a suitable gift than I was before I started.

I just wanted to say to you that I *do* get that it's an ability issue and not a willingness issue.
I guess I just wanted to reassure you that your ability might be stronger than you realize, or that (hopefully) the other "messages" that you send your nephew overshadow any missteps that might happen with a present.

And also: ability vs willingness.

I think that's where the problem lies for my son. When he's asked so very specifically to name one item, it feels as though the person isn't willing to try to please him. And that hurts his feelings; he feels a little rejected. Of course, he isn't everybody--and I never intended to say that he was. It's just one particular philosophy.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 23, 2013, 04:14:38 PM
So, he would be offended if someone was checking to see if he wanted something specific

That's not what he said; I didn't think it was how I described it. He was offended because someone said, "What should I get you for Christmas?" Or "what do you want" in a way that indicated they wanted him to name one specific item.

This changes things completely. I can totally understand not wanting to tell people one specific thing they should get him - I wouldn't want that either! I wouldn't even want to be told that!

What I thought you were saying - and what I've been arguing against the entire time - is that your son would be offended/hurt by being asked for ideas at all... As in "Hey, can I have your wishlist?" - expecting an amazon-type list of perhaps 10-20 items.

If your son would have no problems with that kind of request - then we're all good :)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 23, 2013, 04:15:21 PM
People do have funny reactions to presents. I mentioned my own brother, who at an early age, threw what really *was* a tantrum over being given a "desk toy" for Christmas. I remember him raging, "Don't they know me at all?" It pretty well ruined his day.

I have the desk toy in my own desk to this day. It's genuinely cool. I think the same person gave me socks that year.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:17:55 PM
People do have funny reactions to presents. I mentioned my own brother, who at an early age, threw what really *was* a tantrum over being given a "desk toy" for Christmas. I remember him raging, "Don't they know me at all?" It pretty well ruined his day.

I have the desk toy in my own desk to this day. It's genuinely cool. I think the same person gave me socks that year.

Poor brother!
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: dawbs on October 23, 2013, 04:19:01 PM
Let's not make this specific about your son, who I'm sure was gracious and pleasant, even if disappointed to be asked. But in general, if I heard someone was offended that I'd asked him what he wants, I'd be terrified that I might offend him with something that didn't meet with some other unspoken criteria. Because he was asked with the intent of getting him something to please him. That's the "love language" bound up in that question, and getting feedback that it was offensive would be very hurtful.
Yep--
There's also the problem that while PersonA may be "FINE" with the fact that they got 3 green-lego themed video games, all from people who know and love them, PersonB, who gave the 3rd iteration of that game may not be 'fine' with going through the effort to suss out desires, hunt something down, find something, give it to someone (who is appropriately gratified by the gift)--and knows that, for all practical purposes, that effort was essentially buying PersonA the chance to stand in line for 2 hours to return the video game for a Bestbuy gift card.

(because some "love languages" are tied up in the 'result'--so it's great that someone is polite and wonderful about getting a duplicate/the wrong gift/etc...but I'll be honest, when I try REALLY hard to get the right gift [which is sometimes a lot of work and a lot of valuable time] and it falls flat, it doesn't matter that the recipient is awesome about it, I'm not especially happy about how it turned out)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 23, 2013, 04:19:25 PM
So, he would be offended if someone was checking to see if he wanted something specific
That's not what he said; I didn't think it was how I described it. He was offended because someone said, "What should I get you for Christmas?" Or "what do you want" in a way that indicated they wanted him to name one specific item.
I understand that, but I DON'T understand why it's a problem.


Quote
Quote
There seems to be a disconnect there.
People are funny that way--lots of us are inconsistent.
It doesn't seem that inconsistent to me, that what he doesn't want is for someone to pawn off the "work" of picking a present on him--that the underlying message of that is not "I don't know you as well as we both wish I did," but rather, "I can't be bothered." The first is not nearly as hurtful as the second.
Based on the information given, I do think that people who take offense at being ask what they wanted are looking for that offense and ignoring a kind and practical gesture from those who are not good at gift-giving, even with those they are most intimate with..

Quote
Quote
I don't even know what to buy my husband.

I don't either. My son's philosophy, I think, would be that I should give myself some time to stop and think, and then just take a stab at it. But I think my son would say that I shouldn't go to my husband and ask him to name something that I can wrap up and put under the tree.
My husband would rather I not "take a stab" at it and spend money to get him something he isn't going to use. He would rather I show the consideration of getting him EXACTLY what he wanted for me to wrap up and stick under the tree.

I admit, I am bristling a little at the implication that I am flippant and uncaring in my gift-giving to my husband because I don't just guess. My gifts to him are given out of love and respect. Just because he knows exactly what they are doesn't lessen their significance.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 23, 2013, 04:22:39 PM
People do have funny reactions to presents. I mentioned my own brother, who at an early age, threw what really *was* a tantrum over being given a "desk toy" for Christmas. I remember him raging, "Don't they know me at all?" It pretty well ruined his day.

I have the desk toy in my own desk to this day. It's genuinely cool. I think the same person gave me socks that year.

Poor brother!

It was rather funny, really. I think we have it on video.

Brother: Rant, rant, rant.

Twik: Oooh, you push it here, and this wire does that.

Brother: Rant some more

Twik: ... and then the whole thing flips over. Neat!

Brother: Why would anyone want this stupid thing?

Twik: ... trade you?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: violinp on October 23, 2013, 04:24:04 PM
So, he would be offended if someone was checking to see if he wanted something specific

That's not what he said; I didn't think it was how I described it. He was offended because someone said, "What should I get you for Christmas?" Or "what do you want" in a way that indicated they wanted him to name one specific item.


And, see, I personally would not be offended if asked the same question. It's just a difference in personality, I think. However, though I'm sure your son would be perfectly polite about receiving a gift that wouldn't necessarily be everything he wanted, many people would be upset about not being able to guess what he would really like. That's half the fun of buying a gift for someone - knowing what they like and using that to get the perfect gift. As someone for whom giving gifts is a love language, it would deeply hurt me if I bought something for a loved one and then they didn't really like it or it was something useless to them.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 23, 2013, 04:26:10 PM
I just wanted to say to you that I *do* get that it's an ability issue and not a willingness issue.
I guess I just wanted to reassure you that your ability might be stronger than you realize, or that (hopefully) the other "messages" that you send your nephew overshadow any missteps that might happen with a present.

Cousin - not nephew. My nephew is 9 and super-easy to buy presents for :)

The latter has never been an issue. I don't fear that he'll think I don't love him for not knowing what to get him. But that goes equally for getting him something wrong (which would be a huge waste of both time and money) as for asking him for ideas.

The PP who mentioned that the result is important too when it comes to love languages is spot on.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Olympia on October 23, 2013, 04:28:10 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

If the giver has to rely on a list of stereotypes for ideas, then by your own standards, doesn't that mean the giver doesn't know the recipient well enough to know what the recipient wants?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Goosey on October 23, 2013, 04:35:09 PM
This philosophy also implies that the desire to give a gift, the purchasing of a gift, and the presentation of a gift are meaningless without the extra effort of reflection to pick the right gift - whether or not that's within somebody's ability.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: SlitherHiss on October 23, 2013, 04:39:20 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

If the giver has to rely on a list of stereotypes for ideas, then by your own standards, doesn't that mean the giver doesn't know the recipient well enough to know what the recipient wants?

This. I'm trying and failing to understand your logic, TootsNYC.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: anonymousmac on October 23, 2013, 04:41:31 PM
Before this thread gets locked, I just want to say that I understand and agree with what TootsNYC is saying.

I think that gifts are meant to communicate thought, attention, and kindness.  It doesn't matter as much whether you find the "perfect" thing for someone, just that you give something out of the warmth of your heart to show that you care about them and want them to be happy.

When you turn gift-giving into a shopping list, "tell me what to get for you, and I'll wrap it up", it kind of sours the feeling of spontaneous generosity, of "Hey, look, I got you something because I care about you!"  It makes it clear that you feel an obligation to give a gift, and want to check it off.  You're trying to do something nice for someone, but you're putting on them the obligation to think of something and making them tell you what to do, instead of thinking of it yourself.

To me, it makes the gesture feel hollow if someone wants me to tell them to buy me something, instead of just giving me something they think I'll like.  "I'm supposed to get you a present.  Ok, what do you want me to get you?  Ok, here you go."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:41:55 PM
So, he would be offended if someone was checking to see if he wanted something specific

That's not what he said; I didn't think it was how I described it. He was offended because someone said, "What should I get you for Christmas?" Or "what do you want" in a way that indicated they wanted him to name one specific item.


And, see, I personally would not be offended if asked the same question. It's just a difference in personality, I think. However, though I'm sure your son would be perfectly polite about receiving a gift that wouldn't necessarily be everything he wanted, many people would be upset about not being able to guess what he would really like. That's half the fun of buying a gift for someone - knowing what they like and using that to get the perfect gift. As someone for whom giving gifts is a love language, it would deeply hurt me if I bought something for a loved one and then they didn't really like it or it was something useless to them.

But how is the gift recipient supposed to help you with that? If you weren't able to come up with the idea on your own, it's not really the same power. That doesn't have the same "love language" logic for me. If it's that important to you, how are you nourished when you are *told* what to give someone? That's a disconnect to me.

As for when someone doesn't like our gift--I think that's a risk all gift givers run. And there's only so much that it's fair to expect the recipient to do, or the universe to do, to fulfill *that* wish.

I do think that some gift recipients are really hard to buy presents for. I'm really easy--I run around saying, "ooh, adjustable drill bit stops--I need those!" or "One day I'm going to buy pattern paper for drawing your own patterns, I could really use this" or "I love your pizza cutter--where'd you get it? Maybe I'll get one."

My husband doesn't. So I buy him beer with funny names--I know he'll drink it.



(and boy, are we WAY far away from the original topic of this thread, aren't we?)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: anonymousmac on October 23, 2013, 04:44:35 PM
This philosophy also implies that the desire to give a gift, the purchasing of a gift, and the presentation of a gift are meaningless without the extra effort of reflection to pick the right gift - whether or not that's within somebody's ability.

I don't think that's what anyone is saying.  But I would say that the desire to give a gift, the purchasing of a gift, and the presentation of a gift are rendered less meaningful when the giver just says "Ok, what do you want me to give you?" and just does that.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:46:19 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

If the giver has to rely on a list of stereotypes for ideas, then by your own standards, doesn't that mean the giver doesn't know the recipient well enough to know what the recipient wants?

This. I'm trying and failing to understand your logic, TootsNYC.

The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

As MariaE so clearly delineated: Unwillingness, not inability.

If you gave my son his fifth copy of MarioKart, or MarioKart for a game system he didn't own (has happened) he'd be touched. He'd just take it to GameStop and trade it in. (heck, a relative of his just game him a green T-shirt bcs his fave color is green--he was happy!) But his feelings are hurt if the subtext of your question is, "I don't want to spend time thinking about what you might like."

So I think someone could ask him for ideas in a *way* that didn't have that subtext, and thereby avoid hurting his feelings.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: SlitherHiss on October 23, 2013, 04:49:02 PM
So, he would be offended if someone was checking to see if he wanted something specific

That's not what he said; I didn't think it was how I described it. He was offended because someone said, "What should I get you for Christmas?" Or "what do you want" in a way that indicated they wanted him to name one specific item.


And, see, I personally would not be offended if asked the same question. It's just a difference in personality, I think. However, though I'm sure your son would be perfectly polite about receiving a gift that wouldn't necessarily be everything he wanted, many people would be upset about not being able to guess what he would really like. That's half the fun of buying a gift for someone - knowing what they like and using that to get the perfect gift. As someone for whom giving gifts is a love language, it would deeply hurt me if I bought something for a loved one and then they didn't really like it or it was something useless to them.

But how is the gift recipient supposed to help you with that? If you weren't able to come up with the idea on your own, it's not really the same power. That doesn't have the same "love language" logic for me. If it's that important to you, how are you nourished when you are *told* what to give someone? That's a disconnect to me.

As for when someone doesn't like our gift--I think that's a risk all gift givers run. And there's only so much that it's fair to expect the recipient to do, or the universe to do, to fulfill *that* wish.

I do think that some gift recipients are really hard to buy presents for. I'm really easy--I run around saying, "ooh, adjustable drill bit stops--I need those!" or "One day I'm going to buy pattern paper for drawing your own patterns, I could really use this" or "I love your pizza cutter--where'd you get it? Maybe I'll get one."

My husband doesn't. So I buy him beer with funny names--I know he'll drink it.



(and boy, are we WAY far away from the original topic of this thread, aren't we?)

My husband is the same way as yours, Toots, but instead of buying him something that I know he won't object to and will end up consuming, I ask him. "Sweetie, is there anything in particular you'd like for your birthday?" and he says "I dunno, something musical?" (Or green, or kitchen-related, or books)  or "...I was thinking about getting back into underwater basketweaving" and then I have a rough direction to go in. I mean, I could buy him geeky socks or t-shirts or desk gadgets (which he loves) every single gift-giving holiday, but I'd rather know where his wants are trending for that specific holiday.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2013, 04:50:11 PM
I'd say, the stereotype for a teenage boy includes: popular action movies; video games; adventurous books intended for teens; T-shirts with skulls or ironic sayings or soda logos on them; iTunes gift cards; cases of Mountain Dew or Red Bull.

If the giver has to rely on a list of stereotypes for ideas, then by your own standards, doesn't that mean the giver doesn't know the recipient well enough to know what the recipient wants?

This. I'm trying and failing to understand your logic, TootsNYC.

The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

As MariaE so clearly delineated: Unwillingness, not inability.

If you gave my son his fifth copy of MarioKart, or MarioKart for a game system he didn't own (has happened) he'd be touched. He'd just take it to GameStop and trade it in. (heck, a relative of his just game him a green T-shirt bcs his fave color is green--he was happy!) But his feelings are hurt if the subtext of your question is, "I don't want to spend time thinking about what you might like."

So I think someone could ask him for ideas in a *way* that didn't have that subtext, and thereby avoid hurting his feelings.

But why do you assume that is the subtext? That people don't what to spend time thinking about it? Wouldn't it be more charitable to assume that the giver cares about you, and therefore really wants to be sure to give you something that you need or makes you happy?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Olympia on October 23, 2013, 04:53:22 PM
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:53:43 PM
Let's not make this specific about your son, who I'm sure was gracious and pleasant, even if disappointed to be asked. But in general, if I heard someone was offended that I'd asked him what he wants, I'd be terrified that I might offend him with something that didn't meet with some other unspoken criteria. Because he was asked with the intent of getting him something to please him. That's the "love language" bound up in that question, and getting feedback that it was offensive would be very hurtful.
Yep--
There's also the problem that while PersonA may be "FINE" with the fact that they got 3 green-lego themed video games, all from people who know and love them, PersonB, who gave the 3rd iteration of that game may not be 'fine' with going through the effort to suss out desires, hunt something down, find something, give it to someone (who is appropriately gratified by the gift)--and knows that, for all practical purposes, that effort was essentially buying PersonA the chance to stand in line for 2 hours to return the video game for a Bestbuy gift card.

(because some "love languages" are tied up in the 'result'--so it's great that someone is polite and wonderful about getting a duplicate/the wrong gift/etc...but I'll be honest, when I try REALLY hard to get the right gift [which is sometimes a lot of work and a lot of valuable time] and it falls flat, it doesn't matter that the recipient is awesome about it, I'm not especially happy about how it turned out)

But isn't that a risk we all run when we give a gift?

And I might argue that the *purpose* of the gift is -mostly- about sending emotional messages. "I care about you." "I'm indulging you." "I know you." So maybe he stands in line to exchange that gift, but the -message- still came through loud and clear. My son has exchanged such video games--and has then thought of the original giver when he played the replacement game.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:54:40 PM
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver recipient doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.



(Edited to fix my error in word choice--sorry!!)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:55:47 PM

If you gave my son his fifth copy of MarioKart, or MarioKart for a game system he didn't own (has happened) he'd be touched. He'd just take it to GameStop and trade it in. (heck, a relative of his just game him a green T-shirt bcs his fave color is green--he was happy!) But his feelings are hurt if the subtext of your question is, "I don't want to spend time thinking about what you might like."

So I think someone could ask him for ideas in a *way* that didn't have that subtext, and thereby avoid hurting his feelings.

But why do you assume that is the subtext? That people don't what to spend time thinking about it? Wouldn't it be more charitable to assume that the giver cares about you, and therefore really wants to be sure to give you something that you need or makes you happy?

Well, I'd say, if a person is alert to the idea that this could be the unintentional subtext, then that person might want to be sure to get that info in a way that can't be misconstrued.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: SlitherHiss on October 23, 2013, 04:58:22 PM
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.

No, I'm pretty sure I realize when my buying decisions are made on "Uncle George loves hangliding and sculptures of puppies" vs. "Uncle George is an agile 70yo...he probably loves golf."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 04:59:28 PM
Before this thread gets locked, I just want to say that I understand and agree with what TootsNYC is saying.

I think that gifts are meant to communicate thought, attention, and kindness.  It doesn't matter as much whether you find the "perfect" thing for someone, just that you give something out of the warmth of your heart to show that you care about them and want them to be happy.

When you turn gift-giving into a shopping list, "tell me what to get for you, and I'll wrap it up", it kind of sours the feeling of spontaneous generosity, of "Hey, look, I got you something because I care about you!"  It makes it clear that you feel an obligation to give a gift, and want to check it off.  You're trying to do something nice for someone, but you're putting on them the obligation to think of something and making them tell you what to do, instead of thinking of it yourself.

To me, it makes the gesture feel hollow if someone wants me to tell them to buy me something, instead of just giving me something they think I'll like.  "I'm supposed to get you a present.  Ok, what do you want me to get you?  Ok, here you go."

Thanks, anonymousmac.

But I do want to say that I don't believe that everyone who does the "tell me what you'd like, and I'll get it for you" is automatically someone who doesn't care, can't be bothered, etc.

I believe that people are more varied and complex than that.

I'm just trying to explain this one particular point of view.
That the choosing of the gift is the *giver's* responsibility, and that it can be seen as hurtful if the giver appears to not want to shoulder that responsibility. If it seems that choosing a gift is "too much work" or something.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 05:01:28 PM
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.

No, I'm pretty sure I realize when my buying decisions are made on "Uncle George loves hangliding and sculptures of puppies" vs. "Uncle George is an agile 70yo...he probably loves golf."


AAACK!!

No, I mistyped--what a doofus.

The *recipient* doesn't realize that the giver used a stereotype. And it's the recipient's perception of the giver's level of emotional investment that is the issue in my son's reaction.

Of course, sometimes if it's such an obvious mismatch, you can know. But again, in my son's worldview, that would be better than it would be to send him the message that you don't even want to do *that* much work.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Olympia on October 23, 2013, 05:09:10 PM
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver recipient doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.



(Edited to fix my error in word choice--sorry!!)

Using a list of stereotypes to pick a gift is hardly putting time and energy into something.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2013, 05:12:39 PM
The point (my son's point, really, which I understand) is that it's not whether you succeed with the gift.

It's whether you point-blank acknowledge that you aren't willing to put any time or energy into thinking about what the person might like.

But if the giver relies on a stereotype, then the giver hasn't put time or energy into thinking of what to give.

The giver recipient doesn't realize that, however. And the giver has put more time and energy into than if they'd simply been told what product to buy.



(Edited to fix my error in word choice--sorry!!)

Using a list of stereotypes to pick a gift is hardly putting time and energy into something.

Right. "Uncle Bob always buys me earrings since I'm a girl and have pierced ears, but Uncle Jim always takes the time to call me and see how I'm doing, then asks if there is anything special I want for Christmas." I'd be hard pressed to be offended by Uncle Jim.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 05:18:17 PM
And, of course, it might not be as satisfying for the gift giver to do that--I know I enjoy gift-choosing more when I can rely on something I know about the recipient instead of getting some stereotypical gift.


But even the "he's a 15yo boy, they like video games / she's a woman right out of college in her first apartment, so she needs kitchen tools" sort of category is going to require you to spend quite a bit more thought and effort than if you say, "tell me what to buy you" and go get that.

Of course it's less intimate.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Curious Cat on October 23, 2013, 05:21:37 PM
I admit, I don't get it.  How is it better to get someone a game they cant play for a system they don't have rather than asking some questions about what they would actually like/be useful to them.  To me that would be the thoughtful gesture, not something that would make me have to waste my time returning something.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Two Ravens on October 23, 2013, 05:23:16 PM
Or it could be more intimate, since you have spoken to the person, and they have told you how much it would mean to them to have a copy of such and such, or how they really need a teapot in their new apartment. Intimacy does not mean the same thing for everyone.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Olympia on October 23, 2013, 05:25:54 PM
But even the "he's a 15yo boy, they like video games / she's a woman right out of college in her first apartment, so she needs kitchen tools" sort of category is going to require you to spend quite a bit more thought and effort than if you say, "tell me what to buy you" and go get that.

I still don't see how that requires any actual thought or effort. Also, you might want to start letting your stereotypes go, because they're not as accurate or useful as your posts indicate.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: SlitherHiss on October 23, 2013, 05:26:37 PM
Or it could be more intimate, since you have spoken to the person, and they have told you how much it would mean to them to have a copy of such and such, or how they really need a teapot in their new apartment. Intimacy does not mean the same thing for everyone.

This.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: paperlantern on October 23, 2013, 05:42:46 PM
I just wanted to point out that some people are just really hard to shop for and it can be a blessing if they point you in a direction. I also think that sometimes part of the reason some people are hard to buy for is because I know them so well.

For example my dad is really hard to buy for, he doesn't have a lot of hobbies, he doesn't like knickknacks  and already has a closet full of clothes and a garage full of tools. It can sometimes be very hard to come up with something because I know these things.

If he wasn't someone close to me I could just go the generic route of gifts like a gift certificate or something edible but I want to get him something he will really like and/or need.   So it is very helpful when he gives me some general ideas. I ask him for ideas because I do care and want to get him something he will like.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: anonymousmac on October 23, 2013, 06:16:20 PM
But I do want to say that I don't believe that everyone who does the "tell me what you'd like, and I'll get it for you" is automatically someone who doesn't care, can't be bothered, etc.

Oh definitely, I agree with you.  I just think that people who go too far to the "just tell me what to get you" extreme are missing the point of gift giving, in my mind.  It can come across as hollow, whether the giver intends it that way or not.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TheWeirdOne on October 23, 2013, 06:25:36 PM
To offer an alternative perspective on gift giving, let me tell you about my family.

For my immediate family, asking 'what do you want for Christmas/birthday/whatever' (and yes, we do ask it like that and expect to be given a few actual items) is the norm. To us, the meaning behind it isn't I don't want to bother looking for something, but rather You have very specific tastes and I want to get you something that you will actually use/like. So we do specific items.

To me, personally, getting the exact item that I wanted (but never got around to getting, couldn't justify spending money on, etc) means that the gift giver cares enough to not only try and find something that I will like but also to search for that specific item (for example, making a specific trip to get brand X paint that I love but is only sold in the city vs brand Y paint that I don't use but can be purchased anywhere). We are multiple present buyers, so often we will give a much cheaper 'surprise' item so the giftee gets to unwrap something that can be a surprise. We will also come up with present ideas, and run them past the giftee before buying.

I do realise not everyone likes doing it this way, and adjust my expectations and buying practices accordingly, but considering the current turn of conversation, I thought it might be interesting to offer a different perspective.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 23, 2013, 06:49:42 PM
I love all the different perspectives!

It might be fun to focus on those instead of focusing on my son's particular view of present giving inside his own family.

I like your family's approach! It seems particularly useful when the situation is what paperlantern describes (which I think is a very common problem for gift givers):
Quote
If he wasn't someone close to me I could just go the generic route of gifts like a gift certificate or something edible but I want to get him something he will really like and/or need.   So it is very helpful when he gives me some general ideas. I ask him for ideas because I do care and want to get him something he will like.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: baglady on October 23, 2013, 07:26:16 PM
This is why gifting is such a minefield. If you don't ask what someone would like, you run the risk of getting them something inappropriate based on a vague knowledge of their interests. I love to read, and I love the ocean, but a book about the ocean would not interest me. I'd rather read true crime stories and go play in the ocean! Not that I wouldn't accept that ocean book graciously.

If you ask, you run the risk of being castigated as someone who "doesn't caaare! Because if she really knew me/cared about me, she would know what I want!" But sorry, Charlie, Aunt Baglady only sees you twice a year and is still working on that mental telepathy thing. (I am generalizing here, not insinuating that any PP's or their loved ones would actually react this way).

I suppose one solution would be to ask a relative what the person might like instead of approaching him/her directly. "She's really into Barbies, so she would love Barbie clothes." "We're getting him a Kindle, so he'd love an Amazon gift card so he can buy a book or two for it."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: dawbs on October 23, 2013, 08:33:41 PM
*snip*

I suppose one solution would be to ask a relative what the person might like instead of approaching him/her directly. "She's really into Barbies, so she would love Barbie clothes." "We're getting him a Kindle, so he'd love an Amazon gift card so he can buy a book or two for it."

And that can backfire horribly if the relative gets off in the wrong direction.
They pick something think will be awesome--like say "hmm, Dawbs is techy and likes books, lets get her a kindle!".  Then they pass that information on to everyone--so from one relative I get an extra amazon card, from another a charge kit for the kindle from another, from another a kindle cover, from another, kindle subscriptions to several magazines.  Which, if I want a kindle, is an awesome gift--or, more appropriately 5 awesome gifts
And if I already have an ipad I use as a readerand have no desire to own a kindle and am ethicly opposed to amazon's business practices (not the case, just going out there :), then the relative has just hijacked all of the gifts into the wrong direction.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TheWeirdOne on October 23, 2013, 09:17:18 PM
I think as a giftee we should always try and look at the positive, and also the type of relationship you have with the gifter.

Case in point: My boyfriend's mother went on an overseas holiday and brought back a load of presents for various people. Mine was so awful and 'not me' that she couldn't have picked a less appropriate present if she had tried (My tastes are more in the antiquey, slightly gothic Victorian style. This item was hot pink animal print. I don't like pink and she knows it).
Rather than be disappointed that she had just picked something for me at random (possibly with her eyes closed ;D), I chose to appreciate that she had, on her wonderful action packed holiday, taken the time to think of me at all.

Then again, I have had my mother buy me a cookbook for a gift giving occasion after I specifically asked her not to buy it. She insisted that she had to get me something, but the message I got from that gift was 'I don't care or listen to what you say'. So I can understand the feeling that some people may experience from getting an inappropriate gift.

ETA: I did of course thank both of them.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: baglady on October 23, 2013, 09:20:07 PM
*snip*

I suppose one solution would be to ask a relative what the person might like instead of approaching him/her directly. "She's really into Barbies, so she would love Barbie clothes." "We're getting him a Kindle, so he'd love an Amazon gift card so he can buy a book or two for it."

And that can backfire horribly if the relative gets off in the wrong direction.
They pick something think will be awesome--like say "hmm, Dawbs is techy and likes books, lets get her a kindle!".  Then they pass that information on to everyone--so from one relative I get an extra amazon card, from another a charge kit for the kindle from another, from another a kindle cover, from another, kindle subscriptions to several magazines.  Which, if I want a kindle, is an awesome gift--or, more appropriately 5 awesome gifts
And if I already have an ipad I use as a readerand have no desire to own a kindle and am ethicly opposed to amazon's business practices (not the case, just going out there :), then the relative has just hijacked all of the gifts into the wrong direction.

But my hypothetical point was that the recipient already *has* or is getting a Kindle from his/her nearest and dearest, who have told relatives that Kindle stuff would be a good add-on gift. I'm thinking in terms of the relatives consulted giving specifics ("She would like Amazon gift cards/Kindle accessories/Barbie clothes"), not "she likes reading/she likes electronics." And that if the Kindle is a gift-to-be, the relative giving it already knows that the recipient wants one and will welcome add-ons.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: dawbs on October 23, 2013, 09:25:36 PM
*snip*

I suppose one solution would be to ask a relative what the person might like instead of approaching him/her directly. "She's really into Barbies, so she would love Barbie clothes." "We're getting him a Kindle, so he'd love an Amazon gift card so he can buy a book or two for it."

And that can backfire horribly if the relative gets off in the wrong direction.
They pick something think will be awesome--like say "hmm, Dawbs is techy and likes books, lets get her a kindle!".  Then they pass that information on to everyone--so from one relative I get an extra amazon card, from another a charge kit for the kindle from another, from another a kindle cover, from another, kindle subscriptions to several magazines.  Which, if I want a kindle, is an awesome gift--or, more appropriately 5 awesome gifts
And if I already have an ipad I use as a readerand have no desire to own a kindle and am ethicly opposed to amazon's business practices (not the case, just going out there :), then the relative has just hijacked all of the gifts into the wrong direction.

But my hypothetical point was that the recipient already *has* or is getting a Kindle from his/her nearest and dearest, who have told relatives that Kindle stuff would be a good add-on gift. I'm thinking in terms of the relatives consulted giving specifics ("She would like Amazon gift cards/Kindle accessories/Barbie clothes"), not "she likes reading/she likes electronics." And that if the Kindle is a gift-to-be, the relative giving it already knows that the recipient wants one and will welcome add-ons.

I'm confused--isn't it just as likely in the hypothetical that the recipient is being given a kindle--and that they DON"T want one?
Yours works under the assumption that her nearest and dearest gift giving relatives guess or know well what she wants.
Mine works under the assumption that it's quite possible for otherwise awesome people to THINK they know what someone wants, and that they think they know they'll welcoe add-ons...but really, they could be wrong
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: AnnaJ on October 23, 2013, 11:28:08 PM
I am generally pretty good as a gift giver, but I will also ask what people want if I'm not sure.  To be honest, I have no desire to waste money on a sweater someone will never wear, or a book they don't want, or a pair of earrings that aren't their style, or an electronic gadget similar to other things they own.  I've  gotten gifts like this and it's makes me a bit crazy in the past - now I just shrug and donate it to a charity thrift store...but that doesn't mean I want to spend money on things that other people will either toss or put in the back of the closet.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 23, 2013, 11:46:39 PM
To offer an alternative perspective on gift giving, let me tell you about my family.

For my immediate family, asking 'what do you want for Christmas/birthday/whatever' (and yes, we do ask it like that and expect to be given a few actual items) is the norm. To us, the meaning behind it isn't I don't want to bother looking for something, but rather You have very specific tastes and I want to get you something that you will actually use/like. So we do specific items.

TWO, we do it the same way in my family. Well, sort of - my BIL made an online wishlist site for us, so that's what we use. Some people have very specific items, other people have stuff like "A good book". Nobody minds if others go offlist, but the lists serve as a starting point. So it can be used as "a shopping list" (although I hate calling it that, because it takes away the graciousness of gift-giving which is still there) for those of us who need that, or it can be used as inspiration for those who prefer to go offlist.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on October 24, 2013, 04:12:26 AM
I actually completely understand Toots' point.

I hate when I specify a gift for somebody and they buy me exactly that. It just feels like they are buying me a gift out of obligation. "Hey, it's a gift-giving occasion! So I have to give a gift. Here is your gift. Problem solved."

Honestly, I'd rather that they got me nothing. I have money. If there's a specific item I want, I'll buy it (and if it's too expensive for me, I'd never request it from somebody else). Gifts are about something else; something more than the item.

I actually don't mind the surprise being spoilt. So if someone were to ring me and say, "Hey, I was going to get you a Jimmy Stewart dvd for your birthday. Which ones do you already have?" I'd be touched that they remembered that I love Jimmy Stewart, and I wouldn't care about knowing about the gift ahead of time. I'll even say to somebody (if asked), "I really like Jimmy Stewart, so any of his films (apart from X, Y and Z) would be great".

If I have to say "I want a copy of 'Rear Window'", and that's what I get, where's the joy in that? 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 24, 2013, 04:21:00 AM
I'll even say to somebody (if asked), "I really like Jimmy Stewart, so any of his films (apart from X, Y and Z) would be great".

If I have to say "I want a copy of 'Rear Window'", and that's what I get, where's the joy in that?

I actually agree with this. My original argument was because I thought Toots' son (which is where this all started :) ) minded the former. I completely understand him minding the latter. I would too - despite my gift-giving difficulties.

I wouldn't mind saying "I'd like this or this dvd or this or this book or this or this yarn or..." - giving a list of options rather than one set request.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 24, 2013, 07:51:04 AM
... My original argument was because I thought Toots' son (which is where this all started :) ) minded the former. I completely understand him minding the latter. I would too - despite my gift-giving difficulties.

Well, I will say that when it is his **closest** circle, I think my own particular son on would object even to being directly asked for ideas. He'll drop hints though, so it's not like ideas aren't available if you're paying attention. (and now I can't remembe which Yu-Gi-Oh card set he said he wanted.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Winterlight on October 24, 2013, 08:00:23 AM
My parents live on the other side of the country. I can be as observent as I want, but short of asking I have no way of knowing what they already have.

And if someone got annoyed with me for needing to ask, that would be the last time I bought them something.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on October 24, 2013, 08:09:58 AM
My parents live on the other side of the country. I can be as observent as I want, but short of asking I have no way of knowing what they already have.

And if someone got annoyed with me for needing to ask, that would be the last time I bought them something.

Even then, there are better ways to go about it than straight up asking them. My sister and I have been minimally a 3 hour drive apart for the past ten years. I see her maybe 4 times a year, if that.

If I want to buy her (for example) a charm for her bracelet, I call my mum, who sees Sis at least once a week, and ask her if she knows whether or not Sis has that charm (or a similar one) already.

If the person has to put an order in, then I really think you might as well get them a gift card. It acomplishes exactly the same thing, and after all, isn't that what gift cards were invented for? For people who you find it difficult (for whatever reason) to buy for?


Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 24, 2013, 08:19:24 AM
I once proposed that my far-flung family of origin, and the kids (nie-phews) should all draw names at Christmas, and then we'd have an entire year to come up with a present. The idea was that then I'd have a serious motivation to really listen to my brother/nephew/niece, and watch their Facebook feed, etc., to come up with a gift idea. And an entire year to do it.

It would motivate me to pay close attention, and hopefully then be something that made the two of us feel closer.

Some people make that easier, because they drop hints. (My nephew remembered me waxing poetic about finding a Pearson's Salted Nut Roll, because they're not available here; his present to me was a big pack of them!)

And as with that example, it's also easier when you don't get too wrapped up in whether something is "gift-worthy"--my ILs are bad present buyers because they have somewhat restricting ideas of whether something is appropriate to give as a gift--12 candy bars would not make the cut.

My mother's advice for when you have no idea is to find something *you* like, and share it with that person. So maybe music you loved; a food item you enjoy eating; an uncommon gadget that you think is incredibly clever and useful.

Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: citadelle on October 24, 2013, 11:43:14 AM
I am starting to get a lot of anxiety about holiday gift giving! I have no idea which of the stated preferences apply to my family members and, given the range of possible offenses, I am bound to screw it up by either asking, not asking, or some combination of the two. It is a minefield, I tell you!
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 24, 2013, 11:57:03 AM
You're not alone, citadelle, judging from the comments on this thread. And that just makes me sad. (I've been in that mood myself, and it was really joy-robbing.)

Sometimes, in my pessimistic mood, I think that this sort of reaction means we should just stop giving presents. That the purpose is lost, there is too much stuff in people's lives, and we should just drop the rope. Instead, sit down with people (or call them) and have a nice chat, and call it good.

For one thing, how can you "screw it up"? If you give a gift chosen with affection and some level of thought that makes -you- feel closer to the person you're buying for, you can't possibly go wrong. Even if the person doesn't use it, it won't be wrong. We set up impossible standards. The only real purpose of a gift is to say "I love you."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 24, 2013, 12:11:25 PM
For one thing, how can you "screw it up"? If you give a gift chosen with affection and some level of thought that makes -you- feel closer to the person you're buying for, you can't possibly go wrong. Even if the person doesn't use it, it won't be wrong. We set up impossible standards. The only real purpose of a gift is to say "I love you."

Well, apparently, you can screw it up by asking what the person wants.

Look, I'm sure many people *prefer* the giver to have put deep, considerate thought into a present. But some people aren't able to do that (it takes a certain sort of imagination, that not everyone has). Some people *really* hate the thought of giving a present that the person doesn't use, because they hate wasting money. And some people have simply too much complication in their lives around the holidays for figuring out, say, twenty presents that will be tailored to twenty separate people on their list. So, they ask, with the best of intentions, "What would you like?"

Again, this may not be ideal for the recipient. But being "hurt" or "offended" is an overreaction. Not that teenagers overreacting is an unexpected occurrence, but I hope that eventually your son's reaction to that question will become "mild annoyance". "What would you like?" means, simply, "I love you, and I want to get you something that pleases you," not "I don't care to make an effort to figure out your preferences."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: gramma dishes on October 24, 2013, 12:36:47 PM
...    "What would you like?" means, simply, "I love you, and I want to get you something that pleases you," not "I don't care to make an effort to figure out your preferences."

Exactly!
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: artk2002 on October 24, 2013, 12:51:58 PM
And it's not that he's judgmental and thinks that person is a horrible human being--his -feelings- are hurt.

That, frankly, is the danger of "should" in relationships. He feels that people who know him "should" be able to get gifts without suggestions and interprets their need as something about him and their relationship and not something about them. Others have pointed out plenty of reasons why someone who knows him and loves him still might want some input. Sadly, unless he learns differently, he's in for a lifetime of disappointment. People, even those who love us and know us well, don't always conform to the script we write for them. "Should" is extremely damaging to relationships.

I think that Twik covered it very well above.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: ClaireC79 on October 24, 2013, 02:03:06 PM
Also, I'd be totally tempted to get a 20yo a small Lego something every year. Just because I believe that everyone deserves to get a toy for Christmas.

I found a cheap Stargate SG1 lego set (well not legoTM but that ilk) it's for dh's stocking this Christmas for a similar reason
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: ClaireC79 on October 24, 2013, 02:17:46 PM
Can't he just answer with a more vague answer - so the relative is happy that they aren't duplicating but will still get something he has a good chance of liking but he still doesn't give an exact want
so a
'I'd like a sweatshirt, my size is X'
'I like books by Awesome author, I already have books 1-3 in the series'
'I'd like to add to my lego collection, it doesn't matter if I get duplicates'
'I'd like to try unusual sweets/candies'
'My parents are giving me a car/kindle/ipad so anything related to that'

My daughter has just given my parents a list of all the Jacqueline Wilson books she hasn't got, while she knows she is getting books she doesn't know which, my son did the same thing with skylanders
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 24, 2013, 03:42:18 PM
Can't he just answer with a more vague answer - so the relative is happy that they aren't duplicating but will still get something he has a good chance of liking but he still doesn't give an exact want
so a
'I'd like a sweatshirt, my size is X'
'I like books by Awesome author, I already have books 1-3 in the series'
'I'd like to add to my lego collection, it doesn't matter if I get duplicates'
'I'd like to try unusual sweets/candies'
'My parents are giving me a car/kindle/ipad so anything related to that'

My daughter has just given my parents a list of all the Jacqueline Wilson books she hasn't got, while she knows she is getting books she doesn't know which, my son did the same thing with skylanders

Agreed. "What do you want for Christmas?" doesn't necessarily mean "give me your order, and I'll place it for you." It can mean, "what makes a good present for you?"

"Historical non-fiction," is as good an answer to that question as "I'd like God, Germs and Guns, hard cover, here's the Amazon link...."
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 24, 2013, 04:29:29 PM
My parents live on the other side of the country. I can be as observent as I want, but short of asking I have no way of knowing what they already have.

And if someone got annoyed with me for needing to ask, that would be the last time I bought them something.

Even then, there are better ways to go about it than straight up asking them. 

It's kinda hurtful to be told that there "are better ways" when this is literally the only way that works for some of us. Sure, there are better ways for you, but please, please, please believe us that that isn't the case for everybody.

Twik put it perfectly.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Figgie on October 24, 2013, 05:04:08 PM
If someone truly doesn't have even the slightest idea what to get me for a gift, I would much rather that they gave me a gift card instead of asking me to tell them exactly which gift to purchase for me.

At least that way I have the fun of shopping for the item myself.  :)

I don't see gift cards as not well thought out gifts....I see them as free money that can't be spent on bills or saved.  Now I love well thought out gifts from someone who knows me well, but I certainly don't see gift cards as a lesser gift in the slightest.  :)

I am one of those people who likes to put a great deal of time and thought into the gifts I give others.  I know that not everyone enjoys that or even wants to spend that much time and energy on gift giving.  So, a gift card works just fine for me in those situations as I truly enjoy them.

Like a previous poster, if there is something specific I want, I buy it for myself.  I also have a sister who does NOT enjoy gifts that she doesn't pick out herself.  I give her gift cards and she is then happy, because she can pick out what she wants for herself. 
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 24, 2013, 05:33:49 PM
If someone truly doesn't have even the slightest idea what to get me for a gift, I would much rather that they gave me a gift card instead of asking me to tell them exactly which gift to purchase for me.

At least that way I have the fun of shopping for the item myself.  :)

I don't see gift cards as not well thought out gifts....I see them as free money that can't be spent on bills or saved.  Now I love well thought out gifts from someone who knows me well, but I certainly don't see gift cards as a lesser gift in the slightest.  :)

I am one of those people who likes to put a great deal of time and thought into the gifts I give others.  I know that not everyone enjoys that or even wants to spend that much time and energy on gift giving.  So, a gift card works just fine for me in those situations as I truly enjoy them.

Like a previous poster, if there is something specific I want, I buy it for myself.  I also have a sister who does NOT enjoy gifts that she doesn't pick out herself.  I give her gift cards and she is then happy, because she can pick out what she wants for herself.

I love getting gift certificates too, so certainly don't mind giving them as gifts either. So knowing you like them would be plenty sufficient "gift suggestions" for me :)

I want too many specific things for me to go buy them all, so my wishlist is always a mile long ;) Included on that are gift certificates to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and iTunes all :)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on October 24, 2013, 06:09:18 PM
Gift cards saved us just now.

My niece, in very short order:

Got a dog
Became pregnant
Bought a house
Got married
Had the baby

We got her a puppybabyhousewedding present: gift cards to Petsmart, Babies R Us, Lowe's, and Target, each wrapped in, respectively, pawprint wrapping paper, baby wrapping paper, duct tape, and wedding wrapping paper.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: gramma dishes on October 24, 2013, 06:58:58 PM
Gift cards saved us just now.

My niece, in very short order:

Got a dog
Became pregnant
Bought a house
Got married
Had the baby

We got her a puppybabyhousewedding present: gift cards to Petsmart, Babies R Us, Lowe's, and Target, each wrapped in, respectively, pawprint wrapping paper, baby wrapping paper, duct tape, and wedding wrapping paper.

Well done, Ms_Cellany!    ;D
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Venus193 on October 24, 2013, 08:00:00 PM
I like that!
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Winterlight on October 25, 2013, 07:46:09 AM
My parents live on the other side of the country. I can be as observent as I want, but short of asking I have no way of knowing what they already have.

And if someone got annoyed with me for needing to ask, that would be the last time I bought them something.

Even then, there are better ways to go about it than straight up asking them. 

It's kinda hurtful to be told that there "are better ways" when this is literally the only way that works for some of us. Sure, there are better ways for you, but please, please, please believe us that that isn't the case for everybody.

Twik put it perfectly.

Agreed. If I don't ask, then I may end up getting mom duplicate books or something she can't use. "Mom, can you give me some gift suggestions for you and dad?" is the best solution I've got.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on October 25, 2013, 08:08:46 AM
I think the disconnect is that there (broadly) seems to be two opinions on presents. Neither is wrong, but when two people from separate camps try to buy for one another, it can lead to problems.

Camp A): Presents should be something the person likes/wants/needs. Therefore, it is important to buy the right thing.

Camp 1) (see what I did there  ;) ) : Presents are an acknowledgement of our relationship. Therefore, a present should be chosen thoughtfully.


So, if a camp1 person buys something (thoughtfully chosen) that the camp A person already has or doesn't need, then the camp A person is disappointed that they didn't get a gift they can enjoy.

If a camp A person asks a camp 1 person what they would like to receive, the camp 1 person is disappointed that the camp A person isn't going to be putting any thought into selecting the gift.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 25, 2013, 09:40:30 AM
But the Camp A person thinks they *are* putting thought into it. In their plan, the first step is to do research to select an appropriate gift, and what better source for the type of gift their target wants, than the target themselves?
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on October 25, 2013, 09:48:38 AM
But the Camp A person thinks they *are* putting thought into it. In their plan, the first step is to do research to select an appropriate gift, and what better source for the type of gift their target wants, than the target themselves?


To me, that's the difference between getting the right answer to a maths problem because you sat and figured it out, and getting the right answer because you asked the teacher what the answer was.

If you are camp A, it's the gift that matters, for camp 1 it's the process of selecting the gift that matters.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 25, 2013, 10:21:15 AM

Camp A): .

Camp 1) (see what I did there  ;) )

Ha, ha!

(just wanted you to feel appreciated)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on October 25, 2013, 10:27:02 AM

Camp A): .

Camp 1) (see what I did there  ;) )

Ha, ha!

(just wanted you to feel appreciated)

Thanks! Actually, as an aside, when I was involved in teaching labs at uni, we noticed that group F always seemd to fare worse than group A, even though groups were randomly assigned.

At one point, we toyed with the idea of naming all of the groups something that wouldn't imply a pecking order, but that felt too much like treating the undergrads like children ("What lab group are you in?" "The red group!").
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Twik on October 25, 2013, 10:36:37 AM
But the Camp A person thinks they *are* putting thought into it. In their plan, the first step is to do research to select an appropriate gift, and what better source for the type of gift their target wants, than the target themselves?


To me, that's the difference between getting the right answer to a maths problem because you sat and figured it out, and getting the right answer because you asked the teacher what the answer was.


It sounds to me like Camp 1 consists of the people who get moody and broody, and then when their SO asks what the matter is, complain, "You shouldn't have to ask!"
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on October 25, 2013, 10:44:34 AM
But the Camp A person thinks they *are* putting thought into it. In their plan, the first step is to do research to select an appropriate gift, and what better source for the type of gift their target wants, than the target themselves?


To me, that's the difference between getting the right answer to a maths problem because you sat and figured it out, and getting the right answer because you asked the teacher what the answer was.


It sounds to me like Camp 1 consists of the people who get moody and broody, and then when their SO asks what the matter is, complain, "You shouldn't have to ask!"

I don't think that's quite the same thing. I'm very much a camp 1 person, and I never play those games.

In a spousal dispute, the goal is to resolve the dispute in a way that leaves both parties feeling respected and listened to. This can't be achieved if the issue can't even be properly discussed!

When a gift is given, the goal is to make the recipient feel loved and cherished. The method of achieving that depends (IMO) on the whether the recipient is in camp 1 or camp A. So it's different.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 25, 2013, 10:46:08 AM

It sounds to me like Camp 1 consists of the people who get moody and broody, and then when their SO asks what the matter is, complain, "You shouldn't have to ask!"

Well, that's putting the worst possible spin on things.

It's also quite possible for people to be in Camp 1 and still be able to understand or appreciate a Camp A person.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 25, 2013, 10:53:35 AM
But the Camp A person thinks they *are* putting thought into it. In their plan, the first step is to do research to select an appropriate gift, and what better source for the type of gift their target wants, than the target themselves?


To me, that's the difference between getting the right answer to a maths problem because you sat and figured it out, and getting the right answer because you asked the teacher what the answer was.

If you are camp A, it's the gift that matters, for camp 1 it's the process of selecting the gift that matters.

I'd rather liken it to the difference between sitting and figuring it out vs. asking the teacher which method to use. We're not asking for the answer, we're asking for directions.

If I asked somebody what they wanted for Christmas and they only told me one thing, I'd keep asking. Because I don't want them to know what I'm getting them, but want some ideas to play around with.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Teenyweeny on October 25, 2013, 11:04:12 AM
But the Camp A person thinks they *are* putting thought into it. In their plan, the first step is to do research to select an appropriate gift, and what better source for the type of gift their target wants, than the target themselves?


To me, that's the difference between getting the right answer to a maths problem because you sat and figured it out, and getting the right answer because you asked the teacher what the answer was.

If you are camp A, it's the gift that matters, for camp 1 it's the process of selecting the gift that matters.

I'd rather liken it to the difference between sitting and figuring it out vs. asking the teacher which method to use. We're not asking for the answer, we're asking for directions.

If I asked somebody what they wanted for Christmas and they only told me one thing, I'd keep asking. Because I don't want them to know what I'm getting them, but want some ideas to play around with.

Which I guess illustrates that there's a right way and a wrong way to ask for help. When I was a teacher, I'd always help students who wanted to know the basic method of a problem.  (Which in this analogy is 'give me some general gift ideas'.)

I was less forgiving of those who wanted me to basically do it for them.  (Which in this analogy is 'give me specifics'.)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: Firecat on October 25, 2013, 11:04:53 AM
But the Camp A person thinks they *are* putting thought into it. In their plan, the first step is to do research to select an appropriate gift, and what better source for the type of gift their target wants, than the target themselves?


To me, that's the difference between getting the right answer to a maths problem because you sat and figured it out, and getting the right answer because you asked the teacher what the answer was.

If you are camp A, it's the gift that matters, for camp 1 it's the process of selecting the gift that matters.

I'd rather liken it to the difference between sitting and figuring it out vs. asking the teacher which method to use. We're not asking for the answer, we're asking for directions.

If I asked somebody what they wanted for Christmas and they only told me one thing, I'd keep asking. Because I don't want them to know what I'm getting them, but want some ideas to play around with.

This! My DH and I have evolved an approach to gift-giving occasions that sometimes seems odd to others, but really works for us. Basically, what we tend to do when we know there's a gift-giving occasion coming up, is go to some of our favorite shops together. And while browsing, if one of us sees something we'd like, we point it out and say "HINT."

That gives us both a list of items we know for sure the other person wants and will enjoy. We're also both free to buy something that wasn't "hinted" for. So I guess it's kind of a combination of the two approaches, in a way.

For Christmas, we tend to do one practical gift each, and then one or two fun items. DH knows I love to cook and bake, but he doesn't always know which items I'd find the most useful. Conversely, DH has some hobbies I'm not really into. So the hinting process is really helpful for that.

Like I said, it may be kind of odd, but we find it fun, and it works for us.
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: MariaE on October 25, 2013, 11:11:50 AM
Firecat, I LOVE that idea! Will have to suggest it to DH :) :) :)
Title: Re: Do you call people out on PA comments?
Post by: cwm on October 25, 2013, 11:14:39 AM
Growing up, mom always had catalogues come in the mail. There were some fun ones, some designed for more adult audiences (nothing "mature", just things like tools and cookware that children wouldn't necessarily care about), and some truly insane ones.

All year 'round sis and I went through the catalogues and marked what we wanted. We'd circle it, put our initials, and fold the corner of the page down. And often by the time Christmas or birthdays came around, we'd forgotten what we'd marked in the catalogues. But mom had a ready-made list for us. And whatever catalogues we didn't mark, one year, she saved up for a ready-made white elephant gift. (Nothing like a giant box of catalogues to make friends laugh.)

Actually, sis and I still go through the catalogues whenever we're over at mom's. But by now she's figured out what we need and what we want. One year I got new tires for Christmas. It was honestly my best Christmas ever, because otherwise I'd have to dip well into savings to afford them, and then only scrape by for several months building money back up. So you never know what's going to be the best gift.