Author Topic: Giving lots of Christmas presents to family, and only receiving one in return?  (Read 9831 times)

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Lisbeth

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I think that when she realized that all she was ever going to get from these people were cheap gifts with little thought behind them no matter how much she put into her gifts for them, she should have stopped and just given them the same kinds of cheap gifts (one for the whole group) that she got from them.

At least that way she wouldn't be giving out so much more than she got back.
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Dindrane

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I do have one point of disagreement.  BF and I give one gift jointly to people.  His mom got one joint gift from us for Christmas as did his dad as did each of my parents.  If you give us each a seperate gift that is very sweet of you but that does not make me feel obligated to buy you two gifts from our household gifts budget and slap a tag on with different names to make you happy - especially when most likely I will have chosen both gifts anyway. 

There's nothing wrong with joint gifts.  I still buy things jointly with either my BF or my siblings when it comes to Christmas and birthdays.  Sometimes what each individual can afford to spend is not going to get as nice a present as what two individuals can afford to spend.

The problem with the story in the OP is that one, it's two different households.  Two, they're obviously not going in on it together out of a desire to get a really great present, they're doing it because they're just plain lazy (or whatever).  Three, it's not even an inexpensive yet wonderfully thoughtful present.  It sounds like half the time, it's just junk.

I'm with the person who wrote the original story all the way, except for the fact that she should have said "enough" much, much sooner.  It sounds as though she ultimately was trying to give them gifts not just because she enjoyed it or could afford it, but to guilt them into giving her a better one.  That's rather passive-aggressive, and obviously wasn't going to work on a group of people who just don't seem to care overmuch.  A much better reaction would have been to accept that they were never going to give her anything thoughtful, and she should save her gift giving budget (time, money, and effort) for people who would value it and her.


alecmari

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I do have one point of disagreement.  BF and I give one gift jointly to people.  His mom got one joint gift from us for Christmas as did his dad as did each of my parents.  If you give us each a seperate gift that is very sweet of you but that does not make me feel obligated to buy you two gifts from our household gifts budget and slap a tag on with different names to make you happy - especially when most likely I will have chosen both gifts anyway. 

There's nothing wrong with joint gifts.  I still buy things jointly with either my BF or my siblings when it comes to Christmas and birthdays.  Sometimes what each individual can afford to spend is not going to get as nice a present as what two individuals can afford to spend.

The problem with the story in the OP is that one, it's two different households.  Two, they're obviously not going in on it together out of a desire to get a really great present, they're doing it because they're just plain lazy (or whatever).  Three, it's not even an inexpensive yet wonderfully thoughtful present.  It sounds like half the time, it's just junk.

I'm with the person who wrote the original story all the way, except for the fact that she should have said "enough" much, much sooner.  It sounds as though she ultimately was trying to give them gifts not just because she enjoyed it or could afford it, but to guilt them into giving her a better one.  That's rather passive-aggressive, and obviously wasn't going to work on a group of people who just don't seem to care overmuch.  A much better reaction would have been to accept that they were never going to give her anything thoughtful, and she should save her gift giving budget (time, money, and effort) for people who would value it and her.

I totally agree with all that you said!  But I noted that in the OP she emphasized "I would get one and they would get two...three...four...five..." which is why I wanted to address that point.  It seemed to me like that was an issue for her as well.

I do think she should have stopped giving gifts to them given the lack of appreciation for her they are showing.  Or gifted them in kind - a keychain, a free t-shirt she didn't like, dollar store candles, etc.

Dindrane

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I should have clarified - that last paragraph was a sort of in general statement, not specifically in response to you.  How silly of me!

And you're right.  She did rather emphasize the number of gifts, even over the perceived monetary value or thoughtfulness.  But I guess for some people, having the same number of gifts as there are givees is more important?

Either way, she rather asked for the final disappointment.


Asharah

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I think she should buy a gift for the kid, preferably something small and inexpensive, and forget about the adults.  ::)
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LEMon

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There is a part of me that hopes she reads Ehell.  Because I have read over and over from folks saying how freeing it is to realize they can stop doing whatever.

I suspect that she is trapped in a bad routine and has not realized she is the one who needs to make the change.  To be able to hear that it is ok and encouraged would do her so much good.  (And makes me wonder what feedback she is getting from family and friends.)

AmethystAnne

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Previous to being on eHell, if I were the person giving individual gifts to each person, and then getting one thoughtless gift in return from both households, I would have given serious thought to:

buying a 6-pack box of microwave popcorn from the grocery store, wrapping it up, and labelling it FROM:<my name>
TO:<twin1>,<herDH>, etc

Just Lori

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I think single folks with no kids or maybe one kid get the short end of the gift stick on holidays.  It's not so bad when one family has two kids and one had three kids. But, if two families exchange gifts, and one family has five kids while the other has one, the spending runs the risk of becoming horribly lopsided.

I don't have any answer, except that we need to move past the idea of gift equity and spend what we can afford, not what we think the recipient expects us to spend. 

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There is a part of me that hopes she reads Ehell.  Because I have read over and over from folks saying how freeing it is to realize they can stop doing whatever.

I suspect that she is trapped in a bad routine and has not realized she is the one who needs to make the change.  To be able to hear that it is ok and encouraged would do her so much good.  (And makes me wonder what feedback she is getting from family and friends.)

I agree.
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hyzenthlay

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Previous to being on eHell, if I were the person giving individual gifts to each person, and then getting one thoughtless gift in return from both households, I would have given serious thought to:

buying a 6-pack box of microwave popcorn from the grocery store, wrapping it up, and labelling it FROM:<my name>
TO:<twin1>,<herDH>, etc

Why only previous to being on e-hell?

One cheap gift in return for one cheap gift is a perfectly reasonable response.  The cousins by there actions are sending a clear message that they do not want an eleborate gift exchange. Respecting that by reducing the gifting to something small and cheap is a valid response.

Now obviously a movie night basket would be nicer then just a box of popcorn . . .

I agree with the letter writer that cheap joint gifts from multiple households is very very strange. It's one think to send a joint gift to be shared to twins, if that's how they send gifts to you. It's a little more tricky to send a nice garden statue or something to be shared between two households.

AmethystAnne

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after being on eHell, I thought I might be accused of being PA.

hyzenthlay

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after being on eHell, I thought I might be accused of being PA.

PA would be sending all the expensive gifts, and then finding some way to sigh constantly, or complain to all the family except those 5 how unfair it all is and how much you wish they'd reciprocate how wonderful you are. Because that would be indirectly trying to get them to change their behavior.

Responding to their level of gifting with a similar level of gifting is not PA.

PeasNCues

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I'm sorry, but there is also a point where you have to start acting like an adult.  It's one thing when you are 12 years old, and make an effort, only to be gifted with something slapdash.  And at 12, it can make you resentful.

What I had a problem with was this going on for YEARS, and her resentment seems to have gotten worse over the years.  And they were cousins, not siblings.  At about age 17 or 18, in my family, cousins start to wind down the gift giving into more like candy or homemade cookies.  And at age 26, to spend that much money in the hope that she would get something nice, well, she was setting herself up for disappointment.  There was also nothing to suggest that she was particularly close to these cousins.

She should have let it go a long time ago.  Life is definitely too short to be resentful over what your cousins gave you for Christmas in comparison to what you spent on them.  If people aren't showing you the same consideration that you are showing them, you need to rethink your gift giving list.

Yes, exactly! She was 26, and this had been going on for years. She should have long ago stopped giving them all expensive, individual gifts.
This is how I feel. This was the twins and familys' standard procedure. She knew when she spent $350 on gifts for them that she was going to get one undesirable gift in return. So, she sort of set herself up for martyrdom here.
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   OP your perfectly right to tone down the gifts considerable , as in a box of candy for each household.


  I do want to point out the otherside though especially since this started when OP was a child she may have not been part some conversations.
How do you tell someone to stop giving expensive gifts to you?.....Sure I would say " let's not exchange gifts/ expensive gifts" or something like it but I wouldn't repeat myself year after year at some point if I'm just going to start giving you trinkets and not be pressured by the priced of the gift you give to set my budget.
 
 Multi-generational family dynamics can complicate things too but I'll try to lay out a possible timeline.... I bought my niece something nice and something for her parents and her parents  bought me and my child something , the following year I do the same but I and my child receive a gift for both  niece and her parents and, next year I buy niece and parents sometime and a token gift for niece from my child.  Does that make sense so far? A few years later niece is an adult an even though for years my child(also an adult and even married with his own child by now) has been given her token gifts she gives more and more extravagant gifts to my child and his family.  What does my married adult son do? he has been graciously accepting gifts he just hasn't followed niece's lead by upping the ante. He is not sure if he should tell her to stop giving gifts , after all your not suppose to tell someone how to give or not give gifts or appear ungrateful. The gifts are making him feel uncomfortable. He also doesn't think it's right that his cousin should be able to unilaterally obligate him to spend $200 on her for Christmas. Especially since for 6 years( since she has been an adult) he has given her no indication he wants to exchange gifts of that level and he has actually made it clear he only wants to give token gifts and each year she just seems to spend more and more.

pierrotlunaire0

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   OP your perfectly right to tone down the gifts considerable , as in a box of candy for each household.


  I do want to point out the otherside though especially since this started when OP was a child she may have not been part some conversations.
How do you tell someone to stop giving expensive gifts to you?.....Sure I would say " let's not exchange gifts/ expensive gifts" or something like it but I wouldn't repeat myself year after year at some point if I'm just going to start giving you trinkets and not be pressured by the priced of the gift you give to set my budget.
 
 Multi-generational family dynamics can complicate things too but I'll try to lay out a possible timeline.... I bought my niece something nice and something for her parents and her parents  bought me and my child something , the following year I do the same but I and my child receive a gift for both  niece and her parents and, next year I buy niece and parents sometime and a token gift for niece from my child.  Does that make sense so far? A few years later niece is an adult an even though for years my child(also an adult and even married with his own child by now) has been given her token gifts she gives more and more extravagant gifts to my child and his family.  What does my married adult son do? he has been graciously accepting gifts he just hasn't followed niece's lead by upping the ante. He is not sure if he should tell her to stop giving gifts , after all your not suppose to tell someone how to give or not give gifts or appear ungrateful. The gifts are making him feel uncomfortable. He also doesn't think it's right that his cousin should be able to unilaterally obligate him to spend $200 on her for Christmas. Especially since for 6 years( since she has been an adult) he has given her no indication he wants to exchange gifts of that level and he has actually made it clear he only wants to give token gifts and each year she just seems to spend more and more.

Next year, have him make a pre-emptive strike.  In November, or maybe even October, he proposes that everyone just give "token" gifts.  Make it sound as if this were a suggestion that everyone has been making.
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