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Old 09-25-2006, 03:25 PM   #1  
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Default Does anyone else dread Christmas every year?

When my children were small I absolutely loved Christmas. Shopping for their favorite toys, decorating and cooking lots of goodies. 8 yrs. ago, I married my DH and he has 4 daughters ages 22, 20, 17 and 14. The older ones want money or gift cards only and every single gift I have ever picked out for them they asked for the receipt and took it back. I have had my feelings hurt numerous times over this. My kids still want me to pick them out surprise gifts and love (or at least pretend to) their presents. Last yr. his 17 yr. old wanted a cell phone or "just don't get me anything" and it was the same with the 20yr. old that wanted a digital camera. I gave each of the older girls a gift card and a box of chocolates and told them to buy whatever they wanted. To me, this just doesn't feel like Christmas. I bought the oldest a beautiful, expensive necklace with her babies birth stones and I have never once saw her wear it. To make matters worse, I have cooked large traditional holiday meals and they show up and say "let's hurry this up, we only have a few minutes to get home". It is so hard, I know my DH wants to spend time with his girls on the holidays too. I have even considered just sending them a gift card the week before Christmas so they don't feel obligated to show up and I can have the Christmas that I remember with my own kids. Sorry to rant, the 13 weeks til Christmas thread got me thinking of this. To me Christmas is about the birth of Christ and gift giving is an expression of love and it seems that these girls have never learned this.

I have tried for 8 yrs to no avail to have my DH take responsibility for the gift giving to his girls. He refuses and says "you are much better at it". DUH, apparently NOT.

Last yr. not one of these girls went and saw their grandmother (my MIL) at Christmas and she had bought for each of them (even with her husband passing away 11 days before Christmas). She was terribly hurt and sobbed over this. I felt so bad for her. She sent their gifts home with us and they opened them 2 months later and left them in boxes at our house and never even took them home or thanked her.

Last edited by lilybelle; 09-25-2006 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 09-25-2006, 03:57 PM   #2  
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I love Christmas. It has to be my favourtie time of the year - but I hate gift giving. I love buying people presents but I get carried away and always spend too much.

I also HATE giving and recieving money/gift cards. I want a little suprise - for years now I haven't been suprised (well last year by my boyfriend) - I always work so hard to find the perfect gift and it stresses me out. I spent too much time and money trying to find the perfect thing. And not only is there xmas, but my mom, dad's, and boyfriends birthday right around then. This will also be my first christmas with my Gramma (dad's mom). Every year we would sit at her house with the whole family, sign christmas songs, read the christmas story, have her famous rice pudding... god I am crying, but anyway, we didnt do that last year either because she was too sick, but this year she wont be here...

I like christmas, but all this gift buying takes the fun out of it.

Anyway, your DH's daughters sounds like brats - this year buy them nothing. Of course I love the gifts, but just as much I love spending time with my family and Christmas dinner. I wait all year for that dinner - that last thing I want to do is rush it. Sorry about his daughters - I say spend more time worrying about your own children.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:00 PM   #3  
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Wow...sounds like some very unappreciative girls. At this point, if I were in your shoes, I probably wouldn't buy them anything at all. If they can't appreciate the effort you put forth to show that you care about them at such a special time of year, then maybe they don't deserve to have you working so hard to try to please them. Honestly, some people are just never satisfied, and it sounds like this may be the case. They need to learn that holidays are about family, caring, and celebrating together, not about digital cameras and cell phones

As I've gotten older, I know it has become more and more difficult for my parents to choose gifts for my sister and me (I'm 24, and my sister is 29). Of course, I say "my parents," but I know my mother is the one who does all the shopping If I don't hint about what I'd like (sometimes I even send my mother an email with links to things I like since we have such drastically different tastes in things--but it's usually just a cool pillow or silver jewelery or something, not electronics or anything very expensive), then I know she will pick things out herself. She is like you--she feels gifts are more meaningful than gift cards, and I agree...it shows that she really made an effort to find something specifically for me. I may not always fall in love with what she gives me, but I very, VERY rarely have ever asked for a receipt so I could return it (I remember doing it once when she bought me the Disney movie Tarzan, but I actually wanted Aladdin ).

I don't know...maybe I'm being too hard on these girls whom I don't even really know, but it seems to me they need to learn to appreciate the fact that people care enough to buy them gifts at all and not focus on WHAT the gift is
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:12 PM   #4  
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I think the only thing I have ever returned/exchanged is clothes. Someone in the family (wont name names) likes to re-gift (crap!). When I was little I got some purple PJ's ment for a 50 year old... I was about 10. And a rusty piece of metal (I think it was a necklace) that had my initals on it - I know, its the thought that counts - but I think you have to draw a line. I mean if the necklace was in the family or something - but she picked it up at a yard sale....

This year I want to try and spent less money. Last year I spent so much and then my boyfriend spent close to $1000 on me - you have to draw the line! it's crazy and stupid.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:14 PM   #5  
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Lily, I know this is hard for you. One of my GF's has stepdaughters who are the same way. I feel badly for you, and also for them. I'm assuming that they don't give your or their dad presents at all. They obviously don't know the joy of giving/receiving gifts! I blame their mother! It's not your place to make things right between them and their dad, and I'd be tempted to do what you suggest, send them the gift cards and enjoy your Christmas they way you want!

Jill, when my sister and I got to be too old for my mom to know what to get us, she had everyone in the family made a list of things they'd like - in all price ranges! My nephew had things from under $10 toys to a class corvette on his.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:20 PM   #6  
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Lilybelle,

You are not alone with the ungrateful children. My youngest daughter (she is 24) in recent years has taken all the joy out of Christmas. We would get her nice things (within our budget) and no matter what, it was never enough. She would pout and mope around after opening her presents. Discouraging.

I dread the holidays ~ because I end up being alone. I can not get enough time off from work to go be with any of my family (parents and siblings live in Ohio ~ and ~ two of my kids and little grandson live in Houston). My husband goes to Houston, and I am glad he is able to and would not begrudge him the opportunity to go.

One year I was really depressed about it and was so glad when it was over. The next year, I guess I have sort of gotten used to it and I was thankful that at least these people are alive and that I can get to go see them at other times of the year. I was still glad when the holidays were over, but didn't feel as depressed as I had the year before.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:20 PM   #7  
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Hi Lily,
You have such a kind heart and work so hard to make it a great day for everyone, and I can hear that you are hurt that they are so unappreciative. Try not to let them ruin it for you. Have fun doing the things that are meaningful to you, but don't bend over backwards for them. Spend your time and energy on your daughter, DH and the others who appreciate your efforts. Perhaps you could donate money in their names to a good cause that is close to their hearts..DH is a cop? Maybe donate to a fund that helps educate children of cops killed in the line of duty. They can hardly be ungrateful for that...well they can be, but if they complain is shows them for what they truly are.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:24 PM   #8  
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It really is a shame that they don't appreciate your efforts.They are old enough to know better so it's not likely they are going to change.One thing is certain time and again they have ruined your Christmas and deeply hurt their grandmother as well.I would like to kick their asses but that's just me.Pledge to yourself to start enjoying Christmas again send them a card and don't invite them for dinner.Maybe{though not likely} they will get a clue.You deserve better.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:33 PM   #9  
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Dear Lily,

I'm so sorry you feel this way about Christmas. I love it and the joy it brings to us!!

I have a sister-in-law who used to be like your step-daughters. She's 18 now. One year, DH and I took her to a soup kitchen as her Christmas meal and she worked all day. Then, when it was time to give gifts, we gave her a card that read, "A donation of $---- has been made in your name to the Boys and Girls Club." She's never complained about a gift again.

I think it's time for you and DH to use some tough love. Take the money you usually use for gifts, donate it to a cause both of you feel is worthy, and MAKE SURE you get one of those cards for his girls. If they ask why, tell them it's because you know the people receiving the gifts instead will be grateful for whatever gift they get and whatever effort went into it. If you have to, take them to a place where the children/people will never even see a digital camera unless someone's doing a documentary of the proverty-stricken. If that doesn't open their eyes, they really don't deserve your gifts or efforts.

Hey, if they're still the same way next time around, you and DH just use their gift money to rent a cabin in the woods and have an old-fashioned white Christmas!!!!

Hope one day the feeling of Christmas comes back to you, Kim

Last edited by Kim_Star060404; 09-25-2006 at 04:34 PM. Reason: forgot stuff
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:49 PM   #10  
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Thanks so much everyone. It isn't that I don't love having the Christmas holiday, it is the gift giving that bothers me. I end up spending a huge amount of money (with 6 children and 2 grand children) and feel so unappreciated. It's tempting to me to rewrap the gifts they never took home last yr. and not buy them a darn thing. I have never tried to buy them clothes because I know this doesn't work. My DH did buy the 17 yr. old a coat and her mom discretely called me and asked for the receipt because the girl didn't like it and she didn't want my DH to get his feelings hurt (she knew he picked it out). Personally, I think they all act like spoiled brats and would be very ashamed if my own children behaved like this.
Courtnie, your post brought tears to my eyes. I miss my mom so much since her passing. She always made Christmas a special family time for us even when money was very tight. She made the best rice pudding in the world and none of us daughters are able to duplicate it, we have tried.
I do love the idea of donating the money that I would normally spend on them to a charity, this is a great thing to do. I am sure others could get some enjoyment from it.
I need to give credit where credit is due, the 14 yr. old still loves getting gifts and not just money or gift card. Last yr. I bought her all the stuff to remodel her bedroom. Sheets, comforter, feather mattress, blanket, curtains, trashcan, posters, throw pillows and such and she loved it. I like buying for her. She's the same age as my DD and they always have similar tastes in what they want. They love arts and crafts type things, scrap books and such.

Last edited by lilybelle; 09-25-2006 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:36 PM   #11  
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I like Christmas only because it is a chance to spend time with family. I don't care for gifts much. In my perfect world, I wouldn't give or receive any gifts. Ok that is kind of a lie, I like buying gifts for some people but usually I buy them throughout the year. I also like receiving small gifts throughout the year.

I really enjoyed getting gifts when I was younger but as I grew older, I didn't really care for gifts for Christmas or for my birthday. I've tried to talk my mom out of getting me anything but she usually gets me something. I've also tried to talk to my BF about it and well that just doesn't work. Also, we don't really want gifts for our wedding but that is kind of hard to talk people out of. We didn't do a gift registry because we figure either we'll get memorable gifts or we'll direct people to donate to a charity in our name.
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:04 PM   #12  
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I'm sorry to say that I was once a nightmare early 20's girl. I used to hate, hate, HATE Christmas...it depressed me to the ends of the Earth. My problem wasn't that I didn't like gifts, but that I really, really, REALLY wanted to be married and be having kids. And, to make matters worse, we used to get together with my grandparents (which I loved visiting with THEM) and all my aunts and cousins...which ALL of my cousins were married and having kids...all except me. Every single one. So, I see pictures of our family at Christmas and everyone's smiling and having a grand time except there's me in the corner, literally, near tears. It was soooo depressing, I hated it.

BUT, now that I'm 40 and got a really, really late start to family life, I'm having Christmas with my two young kids (5 and 12), whereas, my brother and sister have less and less kids to celebrate with as they're all off to college. Yes, they come home, but they're young adults now and want things like cell phones and iPods. So, now I love Christmas because life is finally where I want it to be. I'm not this depressed old spinster anymore

Anyhow, Lillybelle, I'd give each of your step kids a $10 gift card and have an open house-type dinner, where people can come and go as they please-type thing. That is IF you still want to invite the cretins for Christmas Dinner. They don't sound worthy, to me. If I were you, I'd have a nice meal with you, hubby and any DESERVING kids out at a nice restaurant. We used to do that on Christmas Eve. It was a bugger to find a restaurant that was open on that night, but my dad would find one. We'd go to church, out to dinner, come home and open one present and it was such a treat to go out to dinner. It was about the only time all year my dad would splurge and take us out. We loved it.

Anyhow...my two cents. By the way, I'm still mad at my self for being a selfish brat when I was young. I'd give just about anything to spend a holiday moment with my grandparents again and to think I wasted quality time with them feeling sorry for myself is really aggrevating. Oh, well....live and learn...

HOpe this year is better for you!! Give gift card to the ungrateful ones!! They should feel lucky to get that!!

Kris
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Old 09-25-2006, 07:51 PM   #13  
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Oh...and I LOVE the idea of taking the ungratefuls to the soup kitchen and saying "An amount has been donated in your name" for a gift. THAT is CLASSIC!! I love it.

Oh, and I hate getting/giving gift cards. Even when I was young, I loved picking out just the right gift for whomever I was shopping for.

My favorite gift I've given was for my dad for Father's Day. We have tons of ships going up and down our river and I was working for the pilots that get on and off the ships in my town to guide them through either the lake or the river at the time. Anyhow, the pilots are transported to/from the ship on a 'pilot boat' and what happens is the pilot boat ties to the ship and the captain (pilot) has to climb up and down this rope-type ladder to board the ship...while it's moving!! Nerve wracking, to say the least. Well, my dad has always been fascinated by this concept and on Father's Day, I had one of the pilot boat drivers call me and let me know when a ship was coming, then I called my mom and she drove my dad to the pilot house (he thought he was coming to my house for his gift) and when she pulled in the pilot house, I was in the parking lot and told him that he was going to take the pilot boat out to the ship and watch the pilot swap. My dad was so excited...I've never seen pure excitement on his face like that in the entire time I've known him. It was great. And it didn't cost at thing, but he still has a picture I took of him on the pilot boat in a frame on his porch. Anyhow..that's the kind of gift I like...the one's that take time to think about and such. Gift cards suck.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:22 PM   #14  
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Growing up we didn't get much for christmas and my mom was not much into doing fun traditional things, we were always broke. So I am always trying to make the holidays better for my boys than they were for me. But I hate trying to shop for the adults in the family, (MIL, FIL, mom, dad, grandparents ect.....) They buy what they want so they don't need anything and I just don't like shopping. This is why I don't like the holidays. But this year I am not buying them a single thing. I know sound rude and mean, but come on they don't use anythingt that I buy them, never see it again and they think gift cards are too impersonal so I am sending them a nice invite to a big christmas dinner cooked all by myself, they don't have to bring any food and we might do a white elephant gift game with the adults and call it good at that. I am telling all the adults in my family to not buy my husband and I anything, I couldn't even tell you what I want, just buy the boys things if they want to. I am going to stick to my guns on this one and enjoy my family this year instead of getting stressed out and depressed about buying everyone a gift with money I don't have.

For the ungrateful step daughters you shop for, just stop. They don't appreciate what they do get so they shouldn't miss what you don't give them!! If they say anything just tell them they return it anyway so you donated the money to someone who would appreciate it!
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:30 PM   #15  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilybelle View Post
It's tempting to me to rewrap the gifts they never took home last yr. and not buy them a darn thing.
LOL I think that's exactly what you should do.

I've never been much on shopping for gifts, and so many people are too hard to buy for these days, so I often just do gift cards myself. They never get returned, and everyone seems to like them.
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