Am I being selfish?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-08-2003
Am I being selfish?
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 2:19pm
I need some input to whether I am being selfish, before I open a can of worms with my Mum. Here's the deal. I no longer want to exchange gifts for any reason with any family member exept my immdiate family unit, which right now is only my husband.

Our family is mature, and there are no grandkids yet, and I feel like buying gift tit for tat with my mum and dad is silly. I tried last year to get them to cut back, I tried to empasize that spending time with each other is infinitly more valueable to me than buy each other "stuff".

It's not like I can buy what I feel like for them, they tell me what they want, and ask me what we want. I feel like is if something I want, and I tell you, it the same as me just buying it for myself.

There is not any thoughtfulness involved, it's pure materialism. I'd rather MAKE something with LOVE for them. I have suggested making stuff and they rejected it last year. I just think Christmas, Birthdays are for Children, not for adult to give each other STUFF they could just buy for themselves. It's not like my parents have ever bought me stuff I couldn't afford myself, something really special or unique that would mark a special life event.

I want this gift giving material sillyness to end, save it for when we have children. I'm 30, hubby is 33. Isn't is time we do what we want, and not have holidays dictated by MY Mummy and Daddy. BTW his family is THRILLED not to waste time shopping for STUFF! and we already have grand plans TIME together for appies and drinks christmas eve!

My single sister is happy, she's always strapped for cash and feels pressure to spend the same amount on me and dh, this year we are going dutch on a nice long dinner out Together! Time Together!

Am I nuts? How do I handle my mother, who ALWAYS wants her way and pouts when she doesn't get it. We haven't spoken for 3 weeks because I said that dh and I wouldn't be attending my cousins gift opening. We went to the bbq the week before the wedding, spend major $$ on travel and hotel to attend, gave a gift, shouldn't that be enough?

Grrr, Beckie


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 4:30pm
You are NOT being selfish, and I am in the same situation you are! Last year, my husband and I talked about not giving gifts to our parents (and vice versa). The prior year, I told my siblings we should do away with the "Kris Kringle" we used to do between us, all my siblings readily agreed (we used to buy gifts for each other until I suggested we do a Kris Kringle so we only had to buy 1 gift).

My husband's mother was all for not exchanging X-mas gifts, but his father went overboard (again), and my mother said "I can't not give you a gift, but give all of your siblings one." My siblings generally pool their money to get my mother a huge gift at Xmas (I usually don't know about this until the last minute, when I have already bought something), so this time around, I'll tell them I'll pitch in $50 and they can do what they want.

I have 11, yes, 11 nieces and nephews, and even if I only spend $20 per that's still over $200 (I generally spend $50 or more on each kid), but I'm going to pare that down as well. My husband and I have no kids, and no plans for any, and would rather spend time with my family rather then watching everyone open their presents (the kids just rip them open, throw them aside, and look for more). We are even looking into visiting our families during the non-holiday season, so we don't have to travel in traffic and get all stressed out.

I say, ENOUGH. :)

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2003
Tue, 09-09-2003 - 7:02pm
I have been trying to do this for years and years. I am in total agreement with you. We all go out and buy one another things and its absolutely pointless. I have said for years "Christmas is a time when we spend money we can't afford to buy people presents they don't want." Its my sons who make the big fuss. My husband would be quite happy - he never buys anything for anyone anyway!

I even suggested to my granddaughter, who is 10, that we forget about Christmas presents and instead go out to a really classy restaurant for dinner on Christmas Eve. She was all for it, but my older son (31) whined about it!! So we had presents yet again. My younger son said he absolutely refused to buy my husband the Guinness Book of Records. They usually buy him one every year becuase he doesn't want anything and never uses anything. He always get chocolates, licorice allsorts and the f---ing Guinness Book of Records.

If you have all your family agreeing with you then I would just go ahead and do it. Your Mom is just trying to control you by getting "upset". I know all kinds of people who get their own way by manipulating like that!

Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 8:48am

We have changed Christmas around our house as well. Not all the family took it well. But if they go against our wishes, we just say thank you and try to be gracious.

But you do not have to get your parents what they tell you. Don't ask what they want. You find something that makes your heart happy to give to them. When they ask what you want, tell them the truth. "I really don't need anything that I can't buy for myself. Why don't you think of something that you would be special to you." If you end up with a thoughtless gift once again, just say thank you. If she doesn't like your gift just smile politely and say that since it was made for her you can not return it but she is welcome to pass it on to someone else.

It sounds like your Christmas will be so much better. Spending time together is so rewarding for a family when the "pressure" of gifts is gone.

My kids use Christmas to raise funds. We ask all the relatives to not buy us presents but to donate the money instead. So if they would have spent $10.00 on a gift. They would give that to us instead. We collect all the money and donated it to the Heifer Project. It was amazing. We brought no gifts for our children. Christmas morning was spent making breakfast and playing games. Oh and counting cash. :-) Teh kids all agreed to go without gifts again this year. My mother insisted on going half. Half presents, half money. The kids were disappointed, they would have made their goal if she could have refraned from spending the money. But they were gracious and liked their presents.

I am excited about your Christmas. It is hard to make changes but it is worth it.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 1:36pm
No you are not being selfish!

I hate buying christmas presents for adults, for the most part. The most aggravating factor is, people who expect you to "put a whole lot of thought into the gift". Well, I'm sorry. I'm not the fairy godmother. I can't make everyone's *special* wishes come true. If I gave you a toaster and you don't like it, then TAKE IT TO GOODWILL. Donate it to someone who will appreciate it, since you can't.

I am often so busy during the holidays that I don't have time to pick out "just that special something". Sorry but I don't. I think adults should not be pouting about the gifts they receive!!!

And Christmas is, YES, just for kids.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 2:02pm
Wow, I have the same problem! All I can say is, buy them what YOU want to buy them and if they don't like it, too bad. If they won't cut back on what they give you, return the stuff. That's what i've been doing for, like, ever. Good Luck
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Wed, 09-10-2003 - 11:06pm
Birthdays are for kids, too.

I'm tired of adults who get pissy about their birthday. Like a six-year old.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 3:04pm
You are not being selfish. I say if everyone else is happy w/ this new holiday plan, then go w/ it. Your mom will realize she can't control you when she sees that you are not bowing to her command this time.

We have stopped exchanging holiday & birthday gifts w/ my 2 SIL & FIL. We just buy gifts for our niece & that's it. I was tired of getting gifts that I already had or didn't need. & we never knew what to get them.

I still like buying stuff for my parents. I like to get them things they enjoy that they don't buy for themselves. They are more practical w/ spending their $ & after all the years of them buying stuff for me, I like to get them things they'll enjoy now.

But as w/ my 2 sets of aunts & uncles & their little kids, this year I've decided to cut down on the amount spent. It gets expensive buying for so many people. What makes it easier for me is I buy clothes for the kids throughout the year while stuff goes on sale so I don't have to spend as much time or $ all at once.

Good luck w/ your new holiday plan & I hope the holidays are less stressful for you this year!

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 09-11-2003 - 9:51pm
Does your mother have a job, outside the home? Maybe she needs a gift BECAUSE then she can brag about it at work. It's like peer pressure, sort of. Like when people go out of town on their vacation, they return back to work and people say: tell us about your vacation, where did you go, what did you do, blah blah pray TELL!

If a mother doesn't get anything, she would buy herself a dozen roses and have it delivered to her place of work and lie saying: my husband bought them for my birthday, yap yap yap.

Here's another scenario: One girl, 23yrs. old at work it was her birthday. I heard her on the phone whining to her husband, but it's MY BIRTHDAY, you have to, it's MY BIRTHDAY! Then she kept calling the security guard downstairs if there were flowers for her. When after lunch, they finally arrived, she went down to pick them up, saying: they're from my husband. Earlier that day, she was complaining because we didn't decorate her cubicle.

My supervisor went out at lunch to buy decorations, and decorated it before she got back from her lunch! Spoiled brat!

It's too bad you are stressed out over those things. I don't know what to say, but I agree with you. DH and I only give gifts to the kids. Now that they're older, just the ones in grade school. Those who want to give during the Holidays, store bought or made, it's up to them. We don't give so we don't get. Fine w/us. But we spend time visiting and sharing homemade cookies, cakes, pies or whatever LOVE there is to share with everyone.

When I celebrated my 50th birthday (last celebration was 40th with 5 other relatives together at my house) at a restaurant, I made sure NO GIFTS, instead I GAVE THEM Godiva chocolates. . . . . but I got cards instead.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Fri, 09-12-2003 - 7:08pm
The 23-year old "girl" who thinks everyone is supposed to decorate her cubicle at work...that's just sad. It gets me too, when people at work think they are automatically entitled to the day off work, just because its their birthday. It doesn't work that way at every company. Some companies offer that benefit, but others don't. If you have to work on your birthday, well, my opinion is - grow up and get over it.

Also women sending themselves roses, pretending they were sent by someone else - this is sad too. I've worked in offices where on Valentine's Day it turned into a competition - who got the biggest and best bouquets. Women throwing tantrums if their bouquet was too small, or worse - had carnations in them (supposedly these are considered "cheap" flowers). Ladies grow up!

Avatar for leslie2353
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 09-13-2003 - 4:02am
DH don't try to compete with other men by showing everyone he's considerate to me on holidays, just because he didn't bought me this or that to show at work. I'm sure not very many of those women have husbands bring them breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed even when it's NOT HOLIDAYS. Or made them lunch to bring to work EVERYDAY, just so she can get ready FOR WORK. Those doesn't cost alot of money, but he does alot for me in many ways.