Christmas family gifts price outrageous helppppppppppp
Hey, I hope you can answer this for me and bring it on-- TRUTH wise! I want honest advice outside of my family and friends.
ok-- here goes.
My mother and sister have this ridiculous Christmas buying problem. Every year they want to spend $$$ on gifts. I have asked for years to cut it back to less.
It started out being around $500 a person. YESSS—that is correct!!! NOW – (I am 43, my sister 38, and my mother 63) throughout the last few years I have asked for it to be reduced. I managed to get it down to $200 a person this past year. This amount includes my father, my mother, my sister, and my brother in law, so the minimum I am going to be spending is $800, close to $1,000 on gifts. I am sick of it. When I bring it up to my mom and sister, they get mad and upset with me and they call me “the Grinch”, say “ I hate Christmas” etc. or they go the other route of using “I don’t want buy them anything” or go for the guilt and make me feel bad like I don’t like them or love them and I am just ruining Christmas for them.
I try to be practical and explain it isn’t about the gifts, or price, it is about spending time together. To me one little gift that has thought to it is more meaningful than $200 of whatever just to round it out to $200.
I have also tried to explain that we are adults, we don’t need to do that anymore. I give examples that other families don’t do that, and say SAVE THAT MONEY. We are all grown –have jobs, and buy what we want. Then my mother says “well your sister likes opening all the gifts and she gets excited and looks forward to it”. It goes so far as to My sister and her husband LOAD ALL THEIR GIFTS IN THE BACK OF THE TRUCK and bring them over Christmas morning for us all to watch them open. Now, I live 2 hours away and have driven down to watch them unload a gun cabinet so they can bring in the house and then open , when I could care less.
Christmas has turned into a hassle for me. It makes it stressful , wondering do I have enough money? Did I make that even out to $200 and I don’t even want to do it, it takes all the fun and joy out of it. For me Christmas has turned into a time I want to go into hiding or hope I get the flu and don’t have to go home.
Please tell me what to do without hurting feelings or am I right to feel like this? Are they wrong to request this and not negotiate? Or because it is my mother and sister am I obligated to continue this?
Don’t know what to do!!!!
is this more about hurting feelings then anything else ? you are 43 and as everybody around a grown up : your mother however seems to want to spend Christmas as if everybody were still children - contradicting this with being grown ups having money to spend
it seems that to "prove something" you all need to spend a certain amount : otherwise you will not be "loyal" to a certain "commitment" : what is this commitment and what is there to prove ?
anyway - it seems to come back down to "not hurting anyone's feelings"
but the point is : how can you be yourself with the values and ideas you carry if you have to forgo them in favor of something you don't agree with ?
I think it's time to take a stand - not get into a fight - not starting an argument - not discussing endlessly opposing points of view - but just plainly taking a stand and saying : this is what I'll do and that I won't - not to get into opposition - not for monetary reasons - for no other reason then allowing yourself to stand up for yourself
if you state things in this way - calmly but resolute - then you show people you're a grown up and that you respect yourself - if now they can't respect that - that's their problem
as for hurting feelings - it's an easy game to get people to feel bad, ashamed or guilty - especially in intimate, private or family surrounding and whole lives can get build around these games of throwing accusations, pointing fingers and blaming where alternately one or the other gets to be the bad one and then pushes it onto the next one
you can stop these emotional manipulations by saying : stop - I don't do that no more - no need to explain - your actions speak for themselves - you state what you will stand for and what not and how you intend to go about things
I believe one can not prevent others from "feeling hurt" by being oneself : if they feel hurt - it's somehow that they will not accept you the way you are but want you to be the way they want - this brings us back to the emotional unhealthy games you can step out of
if now this will spoil your relations with your family - then so be it - if however they do love you enough - they will come around - either for a new attempt at emotional manipulation which you can say no to - or to find out and discuss how you all can work this out satisfactorily for each one so as to have a happy family
someone at one point has to step off the merry-go-round
This about control. What are they like the rest of the year/on different occasions?
What I would do is, in the run-up to next Xmas, phone your mother, explain your budget this year is only £X so...are you still welcome to attend or would she rather you spent Christmases with someone(s) else from now on. Put the rotten ball back in her court where it belongs.