General Etiquette > Family and Children

Gifts for cousin's children and holiday "traditions"

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I know that his will be a lot of background, but I will make it as short as possible.

I have three children, the two younger ones have special needs.  Cousin also has three children.  We live in MA, cousin in VA and most of the rest of the family in CT.  For many years we (both cousin and I ) took our whole families home for the holidays.  We would see each other a couple of times per year, however, as children we were very close, almost siblings. 

Several years ago, my family stopped exchanging gifts with extended family for Christmas.  After a couple of years of we settled on playing charades for "prizes"  This was primarily for the adults as children still got gifts. Prizes were originally contributed by everyone, but now it is pretty much just my mother and I who buy/wrap/bring.  Cousin was not present for the first two years as he has to also travel to visit his IL's but on the third year he made it on christmas day.  His children wanted to participate in the "game"/win prizes too.  They were allowed to play on the day.  My father got upset later, and told my mother  who told me.  My solution was instead of my gift, I would get some prizes for them spending about the same amount as one larger gift for a few things for each of them.  I did, the gifts were wrapped and left at my mother's house.  Last christmas they came the weekend before christmas, Aunt (cousin's mother) asked my mother to bring the" game" to play.  My parents initially flipped out at the suggestion.  I reminded her of the box of gifts for the girls and suggested that they just play for the kids, after three phone calls they were finally convinced and made up the clues for the kids and added a couple of thing for the youngest who is a boy.  Cousin's children had a great time.  The gifts were brought in a big santa sack and they were really excited.  I recieved a very excited phone call from the kids thanking me for the gifts.  (we couldn't make it due to other commitments) My mother thought it was a great idea and that we should do it again, forgetting that it took three phone calls on my part to convince her it was a good idea.  We played with the extended family (minus cousin's family ) on Christmas.  I included some prizes aimed for my children which were wrapped just for them.  They were able to participate for a while (which is a really accomplishment for them) but the reaction of including them by other family members was really negative.  I took this particularly hard as my boys are excluded from so many things its extra hard when its my family doing it too.  Dh and I have no desire to participate in the game and never have.  Some family members are so competitive about it that it isn't fun.  We also feel that it isn't done in a generous spirit, rather the attitude is "I managed to buy my Christmas gifts at yard sales for $20"  There is also prize "stealing" allowed so if you get something that you don't want or someone else gets something that you want, you can "steal it away"  Also my two hanidcapped children are now the only ones excluded from this "tradition"  I have not been able to tell my mother about my feelings about the "game" end of background

Cousin and family have announced that they are not coming for Christmas , but are coming at the end of October for his high school reunion and want to see us that weekend. Aunt has suggested that we need something for the kids to do.   My mother wants to arrange a halloween version on the game for the kids when they come.  She is expecting me to supply the prizes.  I have things we could us as prizes in my gift stash, so it is not a monetary issue, but I am hesitant to do it.  I am growing to dread the holidays with my family because of this game. 

Here are my questions.

1 Do I supply the gifts for the halloween version of the game?
2 how do I tell my mother that I hate the game and don't want to participate in it in anyway?

Thanks so much for reading I know it got long.

This seems like a perfect time for "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

You don't have to tell your parents all the background or how much you hate the game. Just tell them that you won't be participating in the future, and you won't be providing any supplies for it. Leave it at that. If they keep harping on you about it, be a broken record.

If you do feel the need to explain yourself to them, tell them that you're working on starting new traditions with your immediate family. Leave it at that. Don't JADE, just politely decline to participate.


--- Quote from: iggy257 on September 03, 2013, 10:56:01 AM ---1 Do I supply the gifts for the halloween version of the game?

--- End quote ---

In a word - No.

If your Mom wants to arrange the game, she needs to supply the prizes.  Full stop.

--- Quote from: iggy257 on September 03, 2013, 10:56:01 AM ---2 how do I tell my mother that I hate the game and don't want to participate in it in anyway?

--- End quote ---

How do your kids feel about the game?  Do they like to play it?

"Gee Mom, you know that I have never really been thrilled with that game, so I won't be playing, but I will ask my kids if they are interested.  And just so you know, I am going to be really busy then, so if you want to set up a Halloween game, you will have to do it all on your own.  I won't be available to help at all."

Let me see if I understand this correctly.
The game was originally played as an alternative to the adult gift exchange and now has turned into a kids-only game in which your cousin's children are the only participants and your children are not allowed to participate because of their special needs... And you are expected to supply the gifts including shopping, paying and wrapping?

Just say no.
"Sorry Mom, I'm not going to be able to supply the gifts anymore. Have fun with cousin's kids!"
Full stop.

"Mom, since the family doesn't want 2 of my kids to participate, no one in our family will be participating. We'll be taking a walk while you guys play the game. Here's some suggestions for gifts you and Aunt can buy and wrap."


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