OK, I know I said Christmas was about meeting up with family, but I do like a gift. Both the giving and the receiving.
Can you see where this is going?
Yes, I’m going to have a whinge. Well, maybe not a whinge exactly, more an observation, a critical observation. Perhaps even a slightly bitchy one.
Now glass houses and everything, so let me preface my observation with comments regarding my own inconsistencies.
I’ve stopped sending Christmas cards. As a practice it just sort of faded away.
And I no long send Christmas gifts to my own mother, sister and my sister’s son and daughter. We all live in different states, so it saves postage and angst about undelivered gifts. Yes, Australia Post has damaged and “lost” parts of parcels before, so it is not an unfounded worry.
My sister and I have a deal. I give cash to my two and say it is from their Aunty and she gives the same amount to her two and says it is from me. We are rarely together for Christmas. The one recent time we were, we bought gifts, as opening them together is just what we do. And it may colour the story to know, my sister’s offspring are in their 20s and have their own places and mine are over 18 but live at home. My two do appreciate the $50 from Aunty C and know that she thinks of them.
On the wider gift-giving throughout the year, my mother and I are really bad at remembering birthdays. We buy gifts and cards and send them at random times, unconnected to the actual date. Often, no always late, for many reasons, generally to do with our own laziness in getting to the post office. And I have missed birthdays for my nieces and nephews – mainly on my husband’s side.
So I recognise and acknowledge when there’s thought put into something, even if the thought is not followed through with action. And I put my hand up at being a bad Aunty.
When it comes to my husband’s family, we always buy Christmas gifts for the offspring because we always have Christmas Day together. There’s five of them, all under 18. My husband has recently started putting thought into his brother’s gift. He puts much thought into the gift for his mother. I am responsible for the gifts for the two sisters-in-law.
This year, my two got nothing from my husband’s brother’s family. Nothing!
When the unwrapping session was over, the sister-in-law said to me her husband forgot. (We have in previous years agreed that it should not be the wife’s responsibility to buy gifts, especially for the in-laws.) And then she said how about we agree to stop buying gifts when the kids turn 18.
Mmmm? Well that would only be mine. Not yours for another 4 to 7 years.
And anyway, WHAT’S THE POINT OF ME BLOODY WELL AGREEING? YOU HAVEN’T BOUGHT ANY GIFTS ANYWAY.
No, I’d didn’t shout that. Or even say it. I just said no. I will continue to buy her kids gifts. I’m not going to punish them because their parents are tightarses. And no, I didn’t add that last bit out loud either.
In the past there have been some pretty ordinary and obviously cheap gifts from them but at least my kids got gifts. And they felt acknowledged by their relatives. This year my youngest noticed the non-gift giving. Asked me why? See, they didn’t even have the decency to say anything to their nephews. And if they forgot, why not just shove some cash in a card?
It reeks of selfishness. They are not hard up. Two income family, regular holidays etc etc.
Something small to show you care is surely not too much to ask? Especially when we are doing the whole Christmas Day together? What do you think?
Part of a gift from one of my sons: tea cup and saucer. Love the colour! He also bought some fancy loose leaf tea to go with it. Isn’t he sweet? And behind it, the remains of our yearly Chocolate plate. But don’t you fret, there’s more chocolate to replenish the platter for weeks to come!