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Author Topic: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3, POST CHRISTMAS UPDATE PG 4  (Read 25096 times)

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Deetee

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Re: How do I handle this?
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2014, 12:57:04 PM »
Just some thoughts on reciprocity in gift giving.

There should absolutely, utterly, completely be reciprocity in gift giving. BUT this does NOT mean that you only gift people at Christmas who will give you a gift that Christmas. This means that you may gift people at Christmas who help you out throughout the year in small ways. It may also mean that you give small token gifts and large elaborate gifts in return. (grandchildren and grandparents are a natural example). It also means that you may give gifts to young people just starting out and not expect anything in return that year or for a few years, but once those people are older and a bit better off, they can return the favour. There are so many examples of gifting that is reciprocal but not "tit for tat"

One example: My friends mom has taken me out for very nice dinners a few times. Most of these dinners were when I was a starving student. Each time, she refused to let me pay and was very clear that my only obligation was to take out some starving students when I was well off enough to do so. Reciprocal: yes, "tit for tat":no.

So enjoy your gifts and the expression affection that they are. In a few years, you can think about repaying.

tash112194

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2014, 08:12:58 AM »
I hope I'm doing this update right, so yesterday my dad is texting me, asking if my fiance and I want to come to "Christmas Breakfast" at 7:30 in the morning (?!). I say I don't think we can come, he responds "Why not? That's when we're going to do our Christmas". I relay this to fiance, who says "Christmas morning is for people to spend with their own families...why would we go there so early" which is exactly what I was thinking. Then he tells me that my step monsters adult children are apaprently sleeping over with their girlfriends and "U could too" - not sure if this "u" is just me or my fiance and I but still, why would I want to sleep over my parents house christmas eve when I moved out 2 years ago..
Then he calls me and asks if I got gifts for people, to which I replied "No I told you we couldn't afford that this year" and he started in with "I know everyone got you something, you could bake something -----GEE I WONDER WHERE HE GOT THAT FROM. And I replied that baking doesn't fit into my schedule or my budget and re-emphasized that we need to save everything we can for the wedding and it's not like we don't want to give to people but we just can't afford it - I know, jading, but what else can I say??
So then he continues to fight me on it and say "It doesn't cost that much, you know what I mean, do you get what I'm saying, you know?" blah blah
So now I don't really want to go to my parents for Christmas at all because apparently this subject can't be let go and it's really not something I want to deal with on Christmas.

Any ideas on how I should handle this/bow out gracefully/what else I can do/say to either fix this or make them understand that it's not happening?

daen

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2014, 08:28:52 AM »
I hope I'm doing this update right, so yesterday my dad is texting me, asking if my fiance and I want to come to "Christmas Breakfast" at 7:30 in the morning (?!). I say I don't think we can come, he responds "Why not? That's when we're going to do our Christmas". I relay this to fiance, who says "Christmas morning is for people to spend with their own families...why would we go there so early" which is exactly what I was thinking. Then he tells me that my step monsters adult children are apaprently sleeping over with their girlfriends and "U could too" - not sure if this "u" is just me or my fiance and I but still, why would I want to sleep over my parents house christmas eve when I moved out 2 years ago..
Then he calls me and asks if I got gifts for people, to which I replied "No I told you we couldn't afford that this year" and he started in with "I know everyone got you something, you could bake something -----GEE I WONDER WHERE HE GOT THAT FROM. And I replied that baking doesn't fit into my schedule or my budget and re-emphasized that we need to save everything we can for the wedding and it's not like we don't want to give to people but we just can't afford it - I know, jading, but what else can I say??
So then he continues to fight me on it and say "It doesn't cost that much, you know what I mean, do you get what I'm saying, you know?" blah blah
So now I don't really want to go to my parents for Christmas at all because apparently this subject can't be let go and it's really not something I want to deal with on Christmas.

Any ideas on how I should handle this/bow out gracefully/what else I can do/say to either fix this or make them understand that it's not happening?

Sorry to say, I don't think they'll understand it's not happening until it doesn't happen - when you don't show up for the sleepover or when gift-giving time is over and you haven't given anyone a gift.

As far as the discussions with your father go, you may need to go to a Toots Special, and every response to him will be the same thing, word for word. You'll have to decide exactly how to word it - maybe "We've decided not to give gifts this year." or "Our Christmas plans are already set." and then stick to it. Right now, every time you give him a new response, he hears it as an indication that you're considering what he has to say and you may change your mind if he badgers you enough. Same thing, every time, doesn't give him any conversational footholds.

You might also want to decide in advance what your limit is, and after (say) the fifth time he tries to talk you into something you don't want to do, you will exit the conversation. "Sorry, Dad, have to go." - and hang up. Or "Sorry, Dad, I just realized I need to talk to Aunt Jane about something." - and walk away.

Zizi-K

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2014, 08:39:16 AM »
If you didn't already, you should clearly decline the invitation for breakfast. You can say or text, "Thanks so much for the breakfast invitation! Unfortunately we're not able to make it. Hope you have a great time, and merry xmas!" If he presses for a reason why, you can just keep saying "we're just not available" or you can say "we've decided to start our own family traditions, and we're planning to stay home."

tash112194

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2014, 09:39:34 AM »
If you didn't already, you should clearly decline the invitation for breakfast. You can say or text, "Thanks so much for the breakfast invitation! Unfortunately we're not able to make it. Hope you have a great time, and merry xmas!" If he presses for a reason why, you can just keep saying "we're just not available" or you can say "we've decided to start our own family traditions, and we're planning to stay home."

I wish I had had these responses yesterday, all I ended up saying was "Oh we're going to a christmas eve party that usually ends pretty late so we don't want to make plans that early in the morning" which was a pretty thinly veiled "I don't want to." lol.

HannahGrace

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2014, 10:05:15 AM »
If you didn't already, you should clearly decline the invitation for breakfast. You can say or text, "Thanks so much for the breakfast invitation! Unfortunately we're not able to make it. Hope you have a great time, and merry xmas!" If he presses for a reason why, you can just keep saying "we're just not available" or you can say "we've decided to start our own family traditions, and we're planning to stay home."

I wish I had had these responses yesterday, all I ended up saying was "Oh we're going to a christmas eve party that usually ends pretty late so we don't want to make plans that early in the morning" which was a pretty thinly veiled "I don't want to." lol.

Yeah, you need to be more direct if you want him to understand that you're not coming.  I'd just tell him you talked it over with your fiance and you are going to have a quiet Christmas at home this year, and wish them a merry Christmas.  Done and done.

Stormtreader

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2014, 10:48:17 AM »
"Unfortunately due to the extra expenses we've had this year, we simply cant afford to do any presents at all."

He had his fun dropping you in it with suddenly withdrawing his insurance without giving you a chance to prepare, let him feel the results of it. It sounds like the reason they are being so fussy about it is that appearances are SUPER important to them with the whole "put on a happy face" business, they don't want people to ask why their child is struggling so much with finances, aren't they helping with the wedding costs, etc etc. You're spoiling their image of a wonderful happy family.

Honestly, I would look at any benefits you get from them at all and start planning and living like they are already gone so that its not possible for them to pull the rug out from under you when they feel like it.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2014, 01:03:41 PM »
You can't make them understand anything because they have no desire to truly understand your point of view.  They want what they want.  What you want doesn't matter.

This situation is perfect for, "I'm sorry but that won't be possible." 

Zizi-K

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2014, 01:29:33 PM »
If you didn't already, you should clearly decline the invitation for breakfast. You can say or text, "Thanks so much for the breakfast invitation! Unfortunately we're not able to make it. Hope you have a great time, and merry xmas!" If he presses for a reason why, you can just keep saying "we're just not available" or you can say "we've decided to start our own family traditions, and we're planning to stay home."

I wish I had had these responses yesterday, all I ended up saying was "Oh we're going to a christmas eve party that usually ends pretty late so we don't want to make plans that early in the morning" which was a pretty thinly veiled "I don't want to." lol.

I think you should stop veiling your "I don't want to." By not being clear, you're leaving the door open to be badgered and guilt-tripped. Just own your decision. They may be mad, but that's their problem. They can't make you do anything anymore.

TootsNYC

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2014, 01:56:29 PM »
Quote
The part I have trouble with is not wanting to go to the holidays that are always hosted at their house, or go to see my grandparents (who live in an in-law apartment on their property) without making it obvious that I'm trying to avoid interacting with them.

Focus on what you -are- doing on the holidays, and not on what you -aren't-.

So, you know you will have to have plans elsewhere, and that's what you talk about. "We are going to be XYZ for the holidays." not, "We don't want to see my parents, so we're not coming to your house."

People will get used to it. You have to be consistent enough for long enough, but it will work.
    A cousin and his wife in our family always made it a point to travel on Christmas. "This is what we do for Christmas, it's what we like." They didn't argue, they just reiterated, "We always travel at Christmas," and they did, and eventually people stopped talking about it or pressuring them.
   Pick a path, and blithely follow it. "Oh, that's just what we do at the holidays."

You might also see if you can get to a place where you can mentally regard these troublesome people as, oh, distant cousins. Then you can show up for dessert, and speak to all the cool family, and greet the 'rents, and then move on to talk to other people.

Be Teflon.

Team HoundMom

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #40 on: December 22, 2014, 03:33:52 PM »
So now I don't really want to go to my parents for Christmas at all because apparently this subject can't be let go and it's really not something I want to deal with on Christmas.


So don't go.

You're an adult, you don't have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Take this Christmas as one where you and your fiance spend the holiday together doing something nice with each other.  Even if that means staying home binge-watching a TV show.  You do not have to put yourself into a stressful situation just because it's "tradition".

When you get flak for not showing up just say "I told you we couldn't afford Christmas this year.  We'll see you in the New Year."

EllenS

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #41 on: December 22, 2014, 06:25:16 PM »
In a situation with me, partner, and my parent/stepparent I would not turn a hair if they insisted on giving us a gift when they had been previously warned we could not afford to do Christmas this year.

However, If this has now turned into a group gathering of 6 or more people (at least 3 other couples?) where everyone else is exchanging gifts, I would be extremely uncomfortable sitting there accepting/opening gifts from all these people without bringing anything.

In your position, I would bow out and say, "Since this has turned into a big gift exchange, and we can't participate, we will skip it this year. Merry Christmas and give our regards to (adult kids and gf's)."


nuit93

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #42 on: December 22, 2014, 06:34:04 PM »
Yet another vote for complete silence.  Don't give yourself more stress at a time like this.

TootsNYC

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #43 on: December 22, 2014, 06:48:46 PM »
As a family member, I'd be mad. OK, good, fine, you can't afford to give gifts; I get that. I'm behind it.
   And I'll even skip giving you something if that's necessary for you to feel comfortable; I'm down with the idea that uneven generosity can be rude, actually.

But...because I'm going to be exchanging gifts to the other 6 or 7 people who are there, you are completely bowing out?
  You are defining the family Christmas gathering as "a gift exchange, and a gift exchange only"; as "a gift exchange, and that's the most important thing about it"?

That would piss me off, to be frank. I'd lose a lot of respect for you. Especially if you think you should somehow get to dictate the gifting situation between me and -other- people?

if you don't want to go, don't go. But don't tell anybody it's because your grandparents and cousins are giving gifts to one another.

EllenS

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Re: How do I handle this? UPDATE PG 3
« Reply #44 on: December 22, 2014, 07:47:40 PM »
As a family member, I'd be mad. OK, good, fine, you can't afford to give gifts; I get that. I'm behind it.
   And I'll even skip giving you something if that's necessary for you to feel comfortable; I'm down with the idea that uneven generosity can be rude, actually.

But...because I'm going to be exchanging gifts to the other 6 or 7 people who are there, you are completely bowing out?
  You are defining the family Christmas gathering as "a gift exchange, and a gift exchange only"; as "a gift exchange, and that's the most important thing about it"?

That would piss me off, to be frank. I'd lose a lot of respect for you. Especially if you think you should somehow get to dictate the gifting situation between me and -other- people?

if you don't want to go, don't go. But don't tell anybody it's because your grandparents and cousins are giving gifts to one another.

If I got a text like the one OP's father sent, I would read that as "you are not welcome if you come empty-handed." I think F and SM are going to be mad no matter what OP does, unless she just knuckles under and starts taking orders.