Author Topic: The Gifts Must Come Here!  (Read 6053 times)

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GSNW

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The Gifts Must Come Here!
« on: December 17, 2013, 01:34:01 PM »
 :o is pretty much how I feel right now.

DH and I will be spending Christmas in my hometown with my family - mom, dad, grandpa, grandpa, great-aunt.  My mom's sister (Judy), her husband, and their two kids live about 90 minutes away.

Judy has expressed that they will have their own family Christmas morning and then be driving down to see the rest of us/spend the evening and next few days with the family.  No one minds this and I think it's nice that they have their family traditions/etc.

Judy called me last night and we were discussing gifts for family.  I mentioned that I found something perfect for her youngest DH and said I couldn't wait to see her unwrap it!  Judy expressed surprise as I was not part of their "family Christmas" - which I am not - and I clarified that I meant to gift the gifts for their family when they arrived to join the rest of us.

Judy said something close to, "I had assumed you would be shipping my family's gifts here, you know we're having a Christmas morning on our own."

I said no, I planned to give them their gifts that night.  Judy sort of huffed and puffed and said that was acceptable, but sounded very reluctant. 

Any ideas for what I can say if she brings this up again or acts like a brat on Christmas?  I really just hope this was a momentary lapse of nonsense as Judy is not normally like this.

PastryGoddess

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2013, 01:39:24 PM »
I would ignore it.  Judy made an assumption.  It's her own fault, not yours

Hmmmmm

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 01:48:28 PM »
Your the gifter so I'd handle it the way you prefer.

Is it possible she's concerned about her kids opening gifts when no one else is?

esposita

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 01:53:08 PM »
Since you say she isn't normally like this, I'd chalk it up to a quirk. She might be on a "It must be perfect." kick and that involves opening up all the presents from those they love on the morning of, all at one time. Maybe she's a perfectionist?

If she brings it up again I'd focus, like you already did, on the sentimentality aspect -- that you just can't wait to see their eyes light up or see their reaction because you spent serious time thinking about the kids and trying to find what they'd love, and how excited you are to get to actually be there when they see your gift. Let her understand /your/ idea of perfect, and then hopefully she'll take joy in trying to make that happen for you.

TootsNYC

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 02:35:05 PM »
I'd probably say, "but the point of my giving them a present isn't just to get them more stuff in their lives; it's to deepen the relationship between them and me. That's really best accomplished if I give them their gift when we're together."

And then, "It'll be fine, Judy, you'll see." And maybe "the kids will probably enjoy having segmented 'Christmases,' one with just your family. It'll be better not to have them distracted by all the gifts from other people during that time. And then they get to do it all over again with us!"

Lynn2000

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 02:58:51 PM »
I also wonder if she's thinking about the kids opening gifts in front of everyone, when no one else has gifts (assuming this condition is true). Maybe she was thinking the extended family gathering was going to be a totally gift-free event, and she was fine with that. Now someone says they're bringing gifts for her kids, and suddenly she's wondering if she's obligated to get stuff for everyone else, or at least the OP. Some people get really anxious about the reciprocity aspect of the holiday season and are often relieved to have parties that are gift-free so they don't have to worry about leaving someone out or seeming ungrateful.

If she brings it up again, I would try to figure out if this was the problem, and reassure her that all the grown-ups will be happy to watch the kids open gifts, and certainly don't expect any gifts of their own from Judy. It sounds like everyone but Judy's two kids will be adults, and adults/kids is a reasonable and common dividing line between no presents/presents.
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peaches

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 03:08:46 PM »
I think it's more fun for kids when the presents are spread out a bit. My brother and I loved that. 

I'd choose opening gifts in front of the givers in this case. 

Maybe Judy plans to film the kids opening gifts on Christmas morning, and she's trying to orchestrate for that reason.  But there can be photos and/or filming at the evening party, too.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 05:13:28 PM by peaches »

Deetee

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2013, 03:19:20 PM »
As you say she is not generally like this, this could also have been an awkward way of reminding you that she is not around on Christmas morning. She got stuck in some "Presents are opened Christmas morning! We are not with family Christmas morning!" and she is trying to carve out her new tradition and may worry that you forgot. (More likely if she is getting pushback from other people about where she is Christmas morning)

cattlekid

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2013, 03:28:29 PM »
Maybe Judy doesn't want to have to worry about keeping the gifts accounted for and transported back home?  I know that with a large group (at least one as large as my extended family, which can run up to 25-30 if everyone attends), it gets hard to keep everyone's gifts accounted for and stored for the afternoon of the get-together, especially if any of the gifts are large or have lots of little pieces.

Lynn2000

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 04:11:46 PM »
As you say she is not generally like this, this could also have been an awkward way of reminding you that she is not around on Christmas morning. She got stuck in some "Presents are opened Christmas morning! We are not with family Christmas morning!" and she is trying to carve out her new tradition and may worry that you forgot. (More likely if she is getting pushback from other people about where she is Christmas morning)

That's a good point. If her "household only Christmas morning" plan is a new one, she might be worried others disapprove of it (or they may have actually expressed their disapproval) and thus be hypersensitive to anything that could be a criticism of it, or even indicate that the OP forgot the new plan. I imagine Judy thinking that the OP expects them to show up at the larger household Christmas Eve and spend the night, or even worse, that the OP is expecting to show up at Judy's house. Then she might have gotten a bit panicky and contradicted the OP's idea awkwardly. She might be kicking herself right now, thinking about what she said.
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2013, 04:51:49 PM »
I think she's fussing about nothing. If you weren't going to see her at Christmas, then you'd ship the gifts. Since you are, you can give them in person and save the expens.

CaffeineKatie

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2013, 10:56:05 PM »
And if she expects you to ship the gifts to her instead of carrying them with you, you might remind her that it costs an arm and a leg to ship things (voice of experience here!) and there's no guarantee things will arrive on time.

Arila

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2013, 11:26:02 PM »
Not all people react well "on their feet". It sounds to me like you caught her off guard, especially when her assumptions didn't mesh. I'd chalk it all up to a momentary miscommunication and let it go.

After reading some responses, I also agree with the idea that it might be a "oof!" reaction to the idea of trying to meet reciprocity requirements. I know my mother has been trying to decouple aunt+uncle+cousin+husband from mom+dad+me+sister gift giving for a long time, and it never quite works and the obligation of reciprocity gives her heart burn for months.

LadyR

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2013, 11:55:22 PM »
My DH's fsmily always drops off kids for the individual kids ahead of time to be opened on christmas morning (each sibling spends Christmas morning with their own family before getting together as a group). We live out of town, but the gifts for our kids are at the ILs for us to open when we arrive. I've always thought it was a little odd, but it cuts down on oeople having to transport things home (except us but that's inevitable--though I have no idea what we'll do if we get any large gifts this year as wee have two carseats in a small car and very little space).


ddawn23

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Re: The Gifts Must Come Here!
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2013, 05:14:17 PM »
And if she expects you to ship the gifts to her instead of carrying them with you, you might remind her that it costs an arm and a leg to ship things (voice of experience here!) and there's no guarantee things will arrive on time.
And they're more likely to break in transit, and you don't get to see the recipient open it, which IMHO is half the fun.

My mom has two sisters and a brother.  Growing up we'd always have household Christmas and then everybody would meet up at my grandparents' house for family Christmas.  Well, that's how it worked for my mom's family and her sisters' families.  My uncle's family would have their household Christmas at and during family Christmas.  So my brothers, all but two of my cousins, and I would open one present from our grandparents while two of my cousins would open their grandma/pa present plus all the presents from their parents plus all the presents from "Santa."  It annoyed the heck out of me, not because they got so many gifts, but because it was so time consuming and, frankly, showy.