Author Topic: Complaining About Christmas Gift?  (Read 12281 times)

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Kaora

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Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« on: May 02, 2012, 02:19:17 PM »
I know this is a long way away from Christmas now, but when this initially happened at Christmas, I figured it wouldn't last more than a month.

Mum brought this up again last night.

You see, we ended up getting our mum a total of 75 dollars worth of Kindle gift cards, and another 20 for the iTunes store.  We logic dad was having a tough Christmas, he had some things at work which were upsetting him and making him exhausted,  and we got our mum a similar gift (Kindle gift cards to 100 dollars) last year, and she loved it.

So, it starts this year, with dad quickly bringing the gift in and she makes a snide comment when he's disappeared to the back about how she's worried if it's that small, already setting herself up for hating it.

So, when Christmas comes and she opens it up, she instead gives us a huge sigh.  Then, when dad's disappeared to other business, she starts complaining about it to my sister and I.

Issue is, is that we were the ones who chose it, thinking she would love it, but she instead continued to blame dad entirely.  After a week of this, I told her point blank, "Well, we're the ones who picked it out, so why do you blame him?"

She still continued to blame him.

Aside from making me feel like a wreck from guilt of not getting her something she obviously doesn't like (she spent that same week complaining about how little she could get Amazon with it, when she is a bibliophile, and the intentions were for her Kindle, the iTunes card as an easy way to purchase a couple apps she wanted as a Christmas preset anyways) and about how she scrimped and saved for all of us and this is the thanks she gets.

Mum spent the entire Christmas trying to pick a fight over a stupid gift, and trying to pick a fight with him and make it seem like it was his fault.

And, last night, she brings it up, again, that Christmas was all our fault, and she was just going to purchase her own Mother's Day gifts because we were obviously incapable.

Is there anything I seriously did wrong?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 02:21:24 PM by Kaora »

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2012, 02:34:03 PM »
It sounds like you have outpaced your mother in matters of etiquette. 

There comes a point when gifts are *really* tricky - among other things, there is the practical matter of whether the recipient has physical space for *things*. 

There is a divide on gift cards; I have enough friends who express a preference for gift cards that I am on the "it's okay" side of the divide.

Does your mother use a "Wish List" on Amazon?  If so, you can tell her you would be happy to buy from that. 

There are also "experiences" - cooking lessons, an art tour, a hot air balloon excursion, etc. 

But the core of the problem seems to be that your mother is determined to be unhappy about *whatever* you get her, and that's not something you can resolve yourself.
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MindsEye

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2012, 02:34:48 PM »
Honestly, I can't see anywhere where you did anything wrong.

And, last night, she brings it up, again, that Christmas was all our fault, and she was just going to purchase her own Mother's Day gifts because we were obviously incapable.

This is where I would have said something like "Fine, Mom.  Since I am not capable of getting you the correct gift that will make you happy, then you just go ahead and get yourself whatever you want."  And then I would have hung up.  Anyone who gripes that much and for that long about a gift, does not get any more gifts.  Full stop.

You are obviously much more patient than I am. 

On a more serious note, if this is a significant personality change for your mother (if she has never reacted to anything like this before), then I would start to be concerned about dementia and Alzheimer's, and encourage her to get a checkup.

Kaora

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2012, 02:46:59 PM »
Sadly, she's always held things over my head.  I mean, this gift wouldn't be the first thing I've had held over it, trust me.  She once held over a nightgown she thought I ruined when I was younger, when we had two identical ones (I was big at age 15) and she was convinced I ruined the one that disappeared on hers by spilling and staining off on it, and wasn't it such a lovely nightgown that I ruined.

Yeah, nevermind I found her nightgown in a bag of clothes she packed away and I was going through and washing, and when I brought it up, not exactly polite (I told her "Here you go, I found your nightgown!" in a passive agressive tone, as teenagers are wont to do) I was told to be quiet and just let it go. :-\

She can be a seriously nice lady, but other times, she would just not.  Let.  Go.  of a complaint.

I was just fishing to see if there was any rudeness in getting her a gift she was hinting at, or if I screwed up somewhere.  The iTunes card was just for the apps, again she specifically asked for them, and the Kindle card was meant to be a bonus.

Grit down and deal with the family?

MacadamiaNut

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2012, 02:48:44 PM »
<snip>
But the core of the problem seems to be that your mother is determined to be unhappy about *whatever* you get her, and that's not something you can resolve yourself.

Actually, it can be easily resolved by the OP.  No more gifts for mom.  >:D

OP, I said that tongue in cheek but I kind of agree with MindsEye here.  I would just stop getting her gifts citing, "Well mom, I didn't want to burden you with all that resentment you had over my chosen gift last year so I thought I'd save you the trouble.  The gift of peace is my gift to you this year.  Merry Christmas."

Then just say something like, "So who's up for some egg nog?" and divert the attention to something else.  If she wants to marinate in your previous declaration then fine, she can do whatever she likes. 

OR she can choose to have a jolly Christmas and pass the egg nog.  Her choice.

I don't know if that would work in your family dynamic but I'd sure as heck be considering it!
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pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 03:28:50 PM »
That is just a miserable situation.

The only thing I can suggest is to out complain her.  "I don't know why I even try to get you a gift!  Nothing is ever good enough!  I might as well never get anything because I know you will just hate it.  You hate everything I ever do."

Don't let her get a word in edgewise.  The moment she tries, keep bellowing her litany of complaint.  I don't know if it would work, but you might blow off some frustration.
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Bibliophile

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2012, 03:32:18 PM »
While the complaints about the gift are rude, is it possible that she wants your dad to want to be involved in the picking out of the gift that's coming from him?  He's her husband - I'd be a bit offended if someone else picked out and bought a gift that he just put his name on it - like I wasn't worth the effort.

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whatsanenigma

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2012, 04:04:09 PM »
While the complaints about the gift are rude, is it possible that she wants your dad to want to be involved in the picking out of the gift that's coming from him?  He's her husband - I'd be a bit offended if someone else picked out and bought a gift that he just put his name on it - like I wasn't worth the effort.

While I agree with this as an overall principle, it seems to me that in this case, the husband probably has tried many times to get a gift that will please his wife, and "failed" every time.  Maybe this time he thought it couldn't hurt to let someone else try. In that case, it would count as putting the effort into it by acknowledging that he just does not seem to be able to please her by choosing on his own.

Of course, it also seems to me that she is probably much too picky, and certainly ungracious.  But I could imagine that a thoughtful husband would keep trying (even though he probably really can't win here) even if it's by turning the gift-choosing over to someone else.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2012, 07:28:39 AM »
Your mother has a Grievance. Sounds like she will always have a Grievance. She's Unappreciated, and you aren't Respectful of all  the Sacrifices she has made. (emphasis mine)

You aren't going to change her. A bright, perky - "I'm sorry you didn't like it, Mom. We really thought you would, since you're such an avid reader. Did you hear that the neighbor's cat had kittens?". For Mother's Day, pick out a nice card and maybe some cut flowers. When (not if) she complains, another bright, perky - "Well, I'm terrible at finding things you like, and I didn't want to get you something you wouldn't use. Want a kitten?"

Do NOT react. Do not show her that her evil plan is working ... don't reward the whining.

Winterlight

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2012, 03:58:21 PM »
Your mother has a Grievance. Sounds like she will always have a Grievance. She's Unappreciated, and you aren't Respectful of all  the Sacrifices she has made. (emphasis mine)

You aren't going to change her. A bright, perky - "I'm sorry you didn't like it, Mom. We really thought you would, since you're such an avid reader. Did you hear that the neighbor's cat had kittens?". For Mother's Day, pick out a nice card and maybe some cut flowers. When (not if) she complains, another bright, perky - "Well, I'm terrible at finding things you like, and I didn't want to get you something you wouldn't use. Want a kitten?"

Do NOT react. Do not show her that her evil plan is working ... don't reward the whining.

What she said. Do not feed the drama mama.
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mrs_deb

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 05:02:23 PM »
Is there anything I seriously did wrong?

Yes, there is.  You allowed an un-pleaseable person's whining to upset you.  That's wrong!!

I like the Amazon Wish List also.  My sister has one, and I know when I buy something from it I can't go wrong.

LB

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 05:23:51 PM »
While the complaints about the gift are rude, is it possible that she wants your dad to want to be involved in the picking out of the gift that's coming from him?  He's her husband - I'd be a bit offended if someone else picked out and bought a gift that he just put his name on it - like I wasn't worth the effort.

I was wondering this too, but also thought - was there something she hinted around to her husband that she wanted and he didn't pick up on it? When she mentioned that the gift was so small and she was sure she would hate it before she even opened it, it kind of made me think she knew it was not what she expected.

Would be her fault for hinting and not asking, and the complaining is rude, but just thought that might be her reason.

Kaypeep

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 05:36:30 PM »
You mom sounds a bit difficult, for reasons you'll probably never understand.  My mom is quite similar and I gave up trying to please her years ago. In the future, don't let your dad pawn of his gift duties to you. And also, stop worrying about your mom's reactions.  Next time she complains say "I've heard this already and I don't care to hear it again." and leave the room.  Only when she sees consequences to her complaining might you get her to stop.

artk2002

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2012, 12:17:24 PM »
You can't change your mom. There's no set of magic words that will make her be reasonable. All you can do is change your attitude towards her and her problems. In part, you need to stop caring quite so much what she thinks of you, or your father or gifts or nightgowns. You're not responsible for making her happy -- only she is. If she chooses to be unhappy about trivial things, that's her problem, not yours. Don't make it yours and don't let her make it yours.

In both incidents, the nightgown and the Christmas gift, you did nothing wrong at all. So her carping about them has no more meaning than the chittering of the squirrel outside my window this morning. It's an annoying noise and nothing more. The squirrel is mad at my cat, but my cat couldn't care any less -- be the cat to your mother's squirrel.
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bopper

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Re: Complaining About Christmas Gift?
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2012, 06:03:26 PM »
Perhaps her "Love Language" is receiving Gifts and she isn't really feeling very loved if all she is getting some gift certificates.