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Christmas issue--- how to handle?

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2007: Christmas issue--- how to handle?
By Yjja123 on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 03:41 pm:

Last year I sent a huge box of gifts to a relative & their family. Not only did they not send as much as a Christmas card, they also never thanked us for the gifts. Prior years we have exchanged gifts with them.
I would prefer not to send them gifts this year. Do I write and tell them that we will no longer be exchanging gifts? Do I just send a card and leave it at that?
How would you handle this?

By Reds9298 on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 04:12 pm:

What a crappy way for them to behave! I, personally, regardless of proper "etiquette" might be, would simply refrain from sending any gifts this year and ignore the whole idea of gift giving with them.

By Amecmom on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 04:32 pm:

I would just send a card early in the season, wishing them a Merry Christmas. This way they will be able to guess that you will not be sending a gift. I they do send a gift, just thank them and consider it last year's present.
BTW How do you know they got the gift? Lots of things can get lost at Christmas time.

By Trina~moderator on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 04:43 pm:

Ditto Ame.

By Yjja123 on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 04:53 pm:

I know because it was delivered UPS. Also--when we had a family reunion in June, I saw a few of the things I sent in their home.

By Kaye on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 05:15 pm:

Well I am a believer in not buying gifts you don't want to buy. So don't bother. However if the reason you aren't buying them gifts is because their lack of reciprocation, then, well I don't know, I would think about it. Who knows what happened in their world, maybe the thank you card got lost in the mail.

Are these people you ever talk to? If so could you in a phone call just say, things are tight this year, we are cutting back on Christmas.

What I would likely do though is send them an early Christmas card, include something very small for their family, so they get the idea that you aren't following up with a box later. Like bookmarks for each person, or those little cards with names, a packet of flower seeds and a cute story, etc. Or if it isn't about money, then drop them some gift certificates and call it good! You could do a 20 buck one to the movies for the family, or 5 dollar one to blockbuster, starbucks, panera, etc.

By Yjja123 on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 05:46 pm:

I am just tired of being the one sending gifts, birthday cards, etc. They have NEVER sent my kids a birthday card.
The whole on again/off again Christmas gift exchange is annoying.
It is not about money. It is the fact that it seems entirely one-sided (me making the effort).
I am hoping that by their skipping last year I can use that as a reason to simply stop.
I just do not know how to do it. I feel weird not sending anything without an explanation.

By Colette on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 07:38 pm:

I would just send a card or send a card telling them you are donating the money you would have spent on gifts to a charity.

By Karen~admin on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 09:04 pm:

Ditto Ame as well!

By Bea on Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 11:32 pm:

I'd send a card if that's your usual practice. I wouldn't mention gifts. I think they made their wishes, to no longer exchange gifts, known the year before. If they send something this year, you could mention in your thank you note, that you decided to abide by what they expressed last year, and say that you think it's a great idea to stop exchanging gifts.

By Tink on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 12:13 am:

I think Bea's suggestion is a polite and clear-cut way to handle it. The responsibility isn't put on you but there are no toes stepped on, either. I would be surprised if they sent gifts this year, given how they acted last year.

By Ginny~moderator on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 01:04 am:

I'd do either what Ame or Kay suggests. I kind of like Bea's suggestion, but I wonder if that's the kind of thing that might come back to bite you in the family circle in the future. You can never make a mistake by (a) taking the high road and (b) never putting in writing something you don't want to have come back at you when taken out of context or misinterpreted.

It's a shame you didn't call them in January and say that UPS told you they made the delivery but you haven't heard anything and wonder if maybe UPS just left it on their doorstep and it disappeared before someone got home. But, that's hindsight, which is always 20-20.

By Debbie on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 07:39 am:

We had this same situation. A couple of dh's siblings, who didn't live by us, would never even acknowledge that we sent gifts. I would actually have to call them, or dh's mom to see if they received them. They stopped sending gifts to us soon after we moved away. So, after a few years, I just got tired of it. It wasn't about the fact that they didn't send us anything, it was the fact that they didn't even tell us they had received the gifts we sent, let along thank us. So, it just wasnt fun anymore to buy for them. So, dh told me to just stop doing it. So, the next year I just sent a card. They never said anything about not getting anymore gifts, and they sure didn't send us anything either.

So, I vote for just sending a card, and if they do send you something, just send them a thank you note in return.

By Pamt on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 09:46 am:

I think you have to evaluate your motivation for sending gifts. As I get older and more concerned with consumerism I have really evaluated why and to whom I give gifts. I no longer give in to social pressure to give a gift or giving one out of obligation. I give gifts to people I enjoy giving gifts to, just because and without expecting a gift or a thank you note in return.

So think about why you gave gifts to this family--guilt, obligation, etc. If it is not because of the mere joy of giving a gift regardless of their response then I wouldn't do it anymore. If you still want to give a gift, then do so, but realize that you probably won't get a gift in return or a thank you note and don't hold that against them. Either way, I don't think you need to notify them that you won't be sending a gift this year. Just send a card wishing them a Merry Christmas and send a thank you note if they do decide to send a gift.

By Amecmom on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 10:15 am:

Just to clarify - since from some of the later posts, I think I was misunderstood - I didn't say gifts should be mentioned at all. Just a lovely Merry Christmas card - no mention of gifts.
Send it early - no later than mid-December. This way they can infer that you are not sending gifts.

By Yjja123 on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 10:18 am:

Thank you everyone. I will send a Christmas card.

By Tsa on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 12:18 pm:

Ditto Pamt. You should be giving for the sole sake of giving. No expectations, no obligations, no hard feelings, no keeping score. I understand that is hard but that is the whole point.

By Yjja123 on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 01:07 pm:

I consider myself a giving person. I give to many charities and programs.
I do not expect gifts in return. BUT---When I spend many hours of my time, not to mention a lot of money, I DO expect an acknowledgement that the gifts were received. A card would go a long way. Can you honestly say that you would not feel hurt? If so, you are a better person then me.
The joy has been taken out of giving to them because I do not feel like they appreciate/want gifts from us.
I will take the advice on here and send a card only. If they send anything I will send a thank you card but I will not send gifts.
It will be nice to remove them from our gift giving list. That frees up more $ I can use for adopting a needy family.

By Debbie on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 07:51 pm:

Yvonne, I understand! I don't give with expectations. But, it defnitely takes the fun out of giving when the person doesn't even acknowledge the gift, especially when you are sending it in the mail. This is the exact same reason whey I stopped sending gifts to a few of my in-laws.

By Bobbie~moderatr on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 08:37 pm:

Yvonne, I agree. Add them to the card only list.

Season Greetings from the Blah blah family :)

A postage stamp and be done with this worry. Confrontation serves no purpose in many cases and this truly would be one of those cases.
Keep on moving on...

By Mrsheidi on Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 11:05 pm:

I've learned that gifts are best spent on immediate family, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren. There are just too many cousins, aunts, uncles, and it truly adds up. Connor has 2 cousins that I enjoy buying gifts for, on their birthdays. Things can add up and really detract from the primary reason we even celebrate Christmas. Unless you truly enjoy making things for people or it doesn't cause you any additional stress or money, then go for it.

By Reds9298 on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 09:43 am:

Ditto Pamt, and Yvonne I totally understand where you're coming from, too! I enjoy shopping for someone and get excited about it, but then when THEY don't seem to appreciate it (a simple 'thank you' or a simple card is fine!)I feel let down. Like the joy of my giving has been squashed. Yvonne, it's sad that the people who received your gifts can be so impolite to not say 'thank you', and even more so to not just be upront and say ' we prefer to not exchange gifts' for whatever reason.

IKWYM Heidi...Our family has gotten larger every year and we decided about 6-7 years ago to start doing an exchange determined by a drawing. Everyone was spending sooooo much $ on EVERYONE that it became a chore, not to mention a $ fest. Now we do a drawing, set a spending limit, and each 'family' within my family has to buy for 2-3 people instead of 15+! No one knows who is buying for them until opening day, so that's kind of cool, too.

By Yjja123 on Monday, October 15, 2007 - 05:39 pm:

I have decided to write on the card that instead of sending them gifts I will be donating to a charity. I will also write "please do not send us gifts, though we would love some pictures of your children".
I am including photos of our family.
This way they know what we are doing and there should be no more on again/off again gift sending.

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