Should I lend $$$ for X-mas?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Should I lend $$$ for X-mas?
Wed, 11-19-2003 - 1:33pm
My sister married an alcoholic about 9 years ago. They have a daughter who is 4 1/2. His alcoholism was pretty bad when they married, but has escalated over the years to the point where he can hardly work - maybe 15-20 hours a week because he's tired (Of note, she works 60). Not only that, but, he spends over double what he brings home a week on alcohol.

Over time, due to the gradual cutback in working hours, and the gradual increase in alcohol, their bills got further and further behind. All of their bills are currently behind at least 2-3 months, except their mortgage.

Here's the thing - in order to get their daughter anything for Christmas from Santa, they have to defer a bill or two for another month, in which case, something may either get repossessed or turned off. ****Of note, the husband demands he get cable +premium stations and pay-per-view. In addition to his alcohol, he spends a ton of $$ on lottery tickets a week. He smokes about 3 packs of cigarettes a day.***

ANYWAY - I had offered to help my sister out for Christmas, that way nothing would get repossessed and/or shut off. However, I'm wondering if this was a wise decision on my part. After all, I don't have cable, much less premium stations and pay-per-view because I can't afford it. I also can't afford to buy lottery tickets either.

Why should the husband be able to have these things while I sacrifice to buy his daughter Christmas presents?

I'm curious - what would all of you do?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Wed, 11-19-2003 - 1:57pm
I'd buy her some gifts and mark them from "Santa", then give them to her mom to hide until Christmas Eve. It sucks that her a**hole excuse for a husband is doing this to the family, and your sister is enabling him, and I completely understand your hesitation in doing anything to help. But there is a child involved, and Christmas is coming...

I wouldn't help the sis pay their bills, nor would I give them $$$. Instead, I'd find out what the little girl wants for Christmas, and what Mom would really love to get her daughter for Christmas, then go get those things for her.

Doing it this way should help you feel better about helping, since you are directly helping the child and not her parents. I don't think any child should have to suffer because of their parents' stupidity.



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Wed, 11-19-2003 - 3:26pm
I wouldn't get involved. I would buy the daughter a X-mas present, and sign it from "Santa Claus." I think if you give them money, they will continue asking for it, until your bills are far behind.

The husband has a problem, he is extremely selfish, and if you give the family some money, I belive he will take this as a sign that your income is available to him, and he will start spending more on alcohol and working less. It has been my experience that if you give someone an inch they will take a mile. In other words, if you do not define your boundaries, they will start expecting more and more money out of you, and this will continue until you implode/explode. Of course, I am only looking at the pessimistic side of things.

Avatar for cl_2and1more
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 11-19-2003 - 3:43pm

I agree with the others.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Wed, 11-19-2003 - 4:05pm
If you do anything that is above the norm (more gifts than you normally give), then you will be enabling your sister to stay in this situation.

What is better for your neice in the long run? You helping this one Xmas or not helping and hopefully making her life better?

If you don't help then maybe your sister will begin to realize there is a problem. Offer to help her if she leaves him or kicks him out. But not one penny more than what you normally do if she stays.

This is called "tough love". Some people may call it mean, but if you keep "helping" her stay in this situation, then you are part of the problem.

Tell your sister you love her, and you would do anything to HELP her, but that this is not help.

When you are dealing with an addict of any kind, there is a high percentage that will never do anything to help themselves as long as they are enabled. These people need a kick in the rear, so to speak, to fix their lives. Your sister is "addicted" to this man. Help her in the long run, not the short one.

Ejkdmom Come visit my store:
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2003
Wed, 11-19-2003 - 4:11pm
I understand why you wouldn't want to help. It would be like enabling the husband to keep doing what he's doing.

Yet on the other hand, I can see wanting to help so that the baby (mine is five but still my baby, ya know?)has something from Santa. I would go with your Sis and pick out the gift(s) and keep them at your house until right before Christmas. That way you know your niece has a present(s) from Santa, but butthead can't them return for the $$ to buy his booze. The child shouldn't suffer because her father is a drunk.

And in the long run, when she is old enough to understand, she will appreciate the fact that you made sure "Santa" came to her house.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Wed, 11-19-2003 - 6:17pm
"The child shouldn't suffer because her father is a drunk."

And how much MORE will the child suffer if you help? Trust me, the child is already suffering, presents will not stop that.

What is one X-mas with problems against a lifetime in this alcoholic situation.

Ejkdmom Come visit my store:
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Thu, 11-20-2003 - 9:17am
I might sound really totally heartless but I wouldnt loan them any money at all. I think theyre adults and they need to handle their money stuff. The guy needs to chill on the TV and lottery and cigs etc if his kid is important to him (which I know he probably wont) And of course the guy needs help and/or she should leave him (just my 02). Maybe not being able to give their kid Xmas presents will teach them a lesson. Maybe not too, but oh well. Its not ur job to support them in any way b-cuz u have ur own life to worry about. I would buy the little girl a Xmas present from you, and thats it. I dont want to sound heartless but a 4 yr old isnt going to be scarred 4 life if she just gets 1 or 2 things, its much better then nothing. Tell them u have enough money problems, sorry. Its nice of u to think about helping them out but I think if u do then they're going to expect it every yr and start thinking its like ur job to loan them Xmas $$$ Hugs, Rhiannon