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What would you do? (plus a bit of vibes please)..long

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I have a major problem right now...
My father's side of the family are driving me nuts!
Christmas in our family (besides his side) have always been that Christmas TO US (just to be clear I know this is not what everyone believes!) has been about the birth of Christ...

Anyway that really isn't the point.

Now my father's side is all into the most EXPENSIVE present one can get, and it always feels like a competition of who can out-do the others. I have always gone along with it, but for the past 2 years living with Brandon, he has shown me just how stupid this is..

My Mom's side has always shown me this but I never listened .

This year I am prepared to spend AT THE MOST $20. I do not have extra money to spend on people who think the worst of me (but never say it directly, except once, some of you may remember my thread about cutting my father's ties to me, well, I didn't, I can't)

Why can't I let go? I don't know... even my therapist can't figure it out..

He's my daddy, I love him..... Why doesn't he love me?

Now, I know that they will be royally P*SSED OFF if I buy cheap gifts... I know it is the thought that counts, but they don't.

Tonight I was asked what I got for presents by my step-mother, and I didn't say anything... At that point, she "let me know" that others have spent major cash on me and I should do the same!

I can't, I don't want to, and I feel like telling them all to shove whatever they got me where the sun doesn't shine, but I would feel horrid doing that...
I don't want to care, why do I?

What would you do in this situation?
post #2 of 22
If they think this holiday is all about "how much you spend" I say tell them to _____________________.
You get the idea.
I know you can't exactly say things like that to family but if they have so much money to throw away so aimlessly they should be made to understand that not everyone can afford that lifestyle and it IS the thought that counts.
That is not just an old cliche'.
Good thing you don't have to deal with them but 1-2 a year I hope.
post #3 of 22
Ashley my friend what an awful time for you

I know we have discussed this on IM but I wanted to add my thoughts (or a summary of my thoughts) on here

It frustrates me so much that people forget the meaning of christmas.... I arent religious myself but to me its about family - its the one time of the year that we will always be together - guarenteed.
Its not about how much one spends - why oh why do some people forget this? why do some people what to make this some power status or similar? I will never understand this.

I would stick to your budget of what you can afford and tell them this - talk to them calmly and state your point - dont go in all angry and emotional - you know what is right in your heart - therefore follow your heart - do what you believe is right - what you know is right - I have so much confidence in you my friend

I am not saying that this is an easy thing to do - I could only imagine how hard it is going to be for you - but you know I and all of TCS will be there with you holding your hand
post #4 of 22
You could always get them a Bible.
Or a book on manners....

Sue
post #5 of 22
Awwwww Ashley! theres too many people who are materialistic!.

I would tell them all that your sticking to a budget and if it huffs them then so be it!.

I know someone who will only get the best of things and because of this she has no friends and she never gets an invite to my home, not that theres anything wrong with my house, but you just know she will look down at it.

Feel sorry for people like this Ashley because i do!
post #6 of 22
dont feel bad because you dont need to spend a lot of money to enjoy xmas, feel sorry for them because they do. stick to your budget but explain to them before hand and give them the option of refnding your gifts and getting you something cheaper. might make them realise how petty they are being
post #7 of 22
Ashley,

I'm so sorry and I've only read briefly on what you've posted in a past post. I doesn't matter how much is spent on a gift. Honestly, I appreciate the ones that are homemade more than anything. Although, these days making something by hand usually ends up costing more than buying something.

I am sorry about your father. I can't imagine why he acts this way? Does your Mom have a clue? I know a face-to-face confrontation can be painful, but did you ever ask him? Can you write him a letter explaining how you feel? One of the hardest lessons in life I feel, is that you can't change the way other people feel or act. If you've already talked to a therapist about this, I'm sure he/she has already given you some ideas. If he won't communicate or try to mend his relationship with you, pat yourself on the back knowing that you tried and then surround yourself with people that love and appreciate you. I know it's easier said than done. Please PM me if you need someone to listen .
post #8 of 22
No one OWES presents at Christmas. I do not give or accept Christmas gifts, because I hate what it has become. It disgusts me when people buy gifts for everyone they have ever met, them EXPECT something in return. I hate that we have to attend a Christmas party that my s/o's boss is having, but he is such a nice guy that we can't say no. (the kind of guy that takes his kids to visit an elderly lady in a nursng home on holidays before they do anything for themselves) If I can afford it, I get a little something for my daughter, but she is pretty much the same way. We are just glad when it is over. Christmas at my house is a nice, quiet day with a nice meal.
We make a bigger deal out of birthdays.
post #9 of 22
These people are acting absurdly, but of course you already know that. Maybe you should just try to calmly explain to your stepmother that you are on a budget and really can't afford to spend a lot on gifts this year, but that you will surely try to pick something nice for everyone WITHIN YOUR BUDGET. Then perhaps suggest that if they feel gift-giving is rather more like bartering--an exchange of goods of equal value--they should return what they've bought you and purchase something less expensive, so as not to lose money on the trade. I doubt she will see how ridiculous they are being, but at least you will get to say your piece. I swear, some people just really miss the point of GIVING.

And I can understand why you feel upset about this--it doesn't feel good when people think badly of you, even if you know they are wrong.

Also, you might want to add that what is important to you about the holiday is not gifts but goodwill, which cannot be bought at any price.
post #10 of 22
Oh, Ashley.What a difficult situation this is for you. I agree with what has been said. Just because these petty people have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas and want to turn it into a material competition of sorts, certainly does not mean that you should go outside your budget in a continued effort to please someone who obviously will never be impressed with anything at all! These people don't appreciate you for the wonderful person you are, and it is completely their loss! I agree that they are the ones who we should all feel sorry for, as they will never know the happiness we experience as we enjoy this season simply for the love and fellowship we share with family and friends!
I believe, Ashley, you should continue celebrating Christmas for what it truly is to you and your family as it is mine, the birth of Christ, and not allow these people to disrupt your joy!
post #11 of 22
you know ash!
You can write a big poster with the meaning of christmas and how you feel about this family, Better be honest than sorry!
then with those $20 you can get lots of flour and stuff and make a great cake or cookies to share.
My boyfriend was brought up badly by his mum and relatives so he only understands xmas is about having a nice meal and having a nice celebration.
to be honest since i have met him he hasnt given me a proper present, He feels bad because on those occasions he never has the money but i am grateful to have him whether or not he buys me gifts.
He also hates the idea of giving presents and he doesnt like to receive things. But i have supported him so much, especially now that his family isnt supporting him at all and it breaks my heart.
So now he is coming here for xmas and i bought him things he needs like socks and underwear. Last xmas my parents ddint get me anything because they forgot? i was originally getting a new tv but the order took too long so i got angry and cancelled my order. this year i dont know what i will get form my parents but i dont expect much. I am hoping my dad will buy me a new digital camera because i need it.
My boyfriend is making up for the presents and buying me a new computer when we move into our own place. Because computers have gone down in price.
*sends you lots of good vibes*
Just be honest to your dad side of the family and tell them to keep the present in the nice way if they are angry that you couldnt spend so much on them.
I know it would be hard but its better than being hurt isnt it?
post #12 of 22
Quote:
What would you do in this situation?
I'd find a charity that I really liked, and donate the $20 in their name to it. Or...I'd add up all I'd spend on everyone, and make one large donation to the charity, in all their names.

Then I'd write them a card, and tell them, in the card, that I've made this donation.

If they still got mad, I'd look at it as a demonstration of what they consider important, and just smile. 'Cause if that's what counts - the price of a gift - then they don't understand what the Holidays are about. I'd not bother getting into it with them, but I'd know, in my heart, that "here is a group who've totally missed the point. And it's not my job to teach them the point."

As for you not understanding why you can't cut the ties, that's all right; it's hard to do that under the worst of circumstances. He is your father. You do love him. And he loves you the best he can. Find a bit of forgiveness in yourself for him, allow him to not be perfect, and you're well on the way to a healthier relationship with him.

Hang in there, darlin; it'll come out in the wash. It always does.

Best-
Michele
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by noni
I'd find a charity that I really liked, and donate the $20 in their name to it. Or...I'd add up all I'd spend on everyone, and make one large donation to the charity, in all their names.

Then I'd write them a card, and tell them, in the card, that I've made this donation.

If they still got mad, I'd look at it as a demonstration of what they consider important, and just smile. 'Cause if that's what counts - the price of a gift - then they don't understand what the Holidays are about. I'd not bother getting into it with them, but I'd know, in my heart, that "here is a group who've totally missed the point. And it's not my job to teach them the point."

As for you not understanding why you can't cut the ties, that's all right; it's hard to do that under the worst of circumstances. He is your father. You do love him. And he loves you the best he can. Find a bit of forgiveness in yourself for him, allow him to not be perfect, and you're well on the way to a healthier relationship with him.

Hang in there, darlin; it'll come out in the wash. It always does.

Best-
Michele
Oh, I Like that idea!! Excellent!
post #14 of 22
I can't believe your step-mother had the nerve to TELL YOU to spend a lot! That is SO rude! Honestly, if someone told me they expected me to spend a lot on presents, they wouldn't be getting one from me! I'm like you, on a tight budget, so I don't spend a lot on presents either - I make sure I put thought into it and get something I think the person will really like, but it's NOT something expensive - I completely feel that it's the thought that counts, but I guess some people just don't get this. If I were you, I'd just spend what you can (or not get them anything since they're being so rude ), and too bad for them if they don't like it. I know how uncomfortable a position that must be, though, so sorry they're putting you in it.
post #15 of 22
Hang in there Ash.... Just do what is right to You and forget everybody else. If they want exspensive presents for Christmas.... They should buy them themselves and not wait on anybody else to buy them.
post #16 of 22
Here's my idea on all this, and I feel it's truly priceless, even though the actual gift itself is inexpensive: buy each of them a disposable camera, and tell them all to snap away!! Point out to them that a picture may be taken this year of someone that might not be here next year. So these pictures will mean so much to them later. Maybe enclose the money to have the pictures developed, as well. Or tell them all to use the whole camera up before they leave, and you pay to have them developed. I don't know if this will work, or help you, but I figured that it's a pretty decent idea. 'Cause I know for myself, that of all the things in my house, the pictures I have of people that have died, are truly priceless, and no amount of money could ever, ever replace them!
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Everyone
Thank you for all your wonderful responces, last night after I wrote this, and talked to a few of you through IM and PMs, I can honestly say I feel much better.
This morning I called my Dad and let it all out... I am proud to say I didn't scream or yell, I just told him.
While he tried to explain that "Christmas is a time of giving (and on and on)" I finally got through to him that it is but doesn't have to be an entire paycheck on one person that I just don't even like (he knows and halfway accepts that I don't want anything to do with my step-family)...
We have come to a major agreement, one of the few in my entire life, that this year I do not have to be a part of their get together (the step-family won't miss me, we both know that very clearly). He is going to come to my house Christmas Eve and we will have our own mini-Christmas. WOW.
So everything is looking MUCH better and I feel like such a weight has been lifted..

Michele, when you said to try to forgive him... that really touched me, I am kind of ashamed to say that I had never once thought of that... but this morning I tried just that... and look what happened. Thank you from the bottom of my heart~

So thank you again for all your responces, I really hope that this is the beginning of something better between me and him.
Without all of you I would have never gotten the courage to talk to him about it~
Ashley
post #18 of 22
Ashley, I'm so glad you were able to tell your dad how you felt and that things seem to be working out better than you thought. Good for you!
post #19 of 22

I'm so glad you were able to work this out with your dad! Kudos for you for taking the first step to resolve a painful situation.

Just an idea - one of the best presents you can ever give is love, to let someone know you're thinking of them. Perhaps you could write your dad a letter, detailing what you love about him, and what he means to you, and listing some happy memories you have of him? You could give it to him when you spend Christmas Eve together. I did that for my Mom one year when I was flat broke, and she says that's the best present she's ever gotten.
post #20 of 22
Ashley so pleased you got that off your chest and that you feel a lot better

Remember!, a problem shared?!.
post #21 of 22
This is wonderful, Ashley! I also wanted to share this email that I received today, thought it may be appropriate as our families remember what Christmas is really all about.

Mary's Dream

I had a dream, Joseph, I don't understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday celebration for our Son. I think that is what it was all about.


The people had been preparing for it about six weeks. They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They'd gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts. It was peculiar, though, because the presents weren't for our Son. They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house! They'd decorated the tree also. The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on top of the tree. It looked
like an angel might look. Oh, it was beautiful! Everyone was laughing and happy.

They were all excited about...the gifts. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not our Son. I don't think they even knew Him. They never even mentioned His name. Doesn't it seem odd for people to go to all that

trouble to celebrate someone's birthday if they don't know Him. I had the strangest feeling that if our Son had gone to this celebration He would have been intruding. Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone so full of cheer, but it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus not to be wanted at His own birthday celebration.


I'm glad it was only a dream. How terrible, Joseph, if it had been real.

Keep Christ in Christmas...
post #22 of 22
Ashely, glad you have sorted it out with your dad.
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