Unwilling Christmas Gift Recipients

by Laney
(Belton, MO)

When my husband and I first got married, he had a niece and ever since we said I do... both sides of our family have been adding nieces and nephews at a rate our income has not been able to keep up with until now. As such, we made it clear that we wished to spend time with everyone at the holiday season but did not wish to participate in any gift exchanges. We did propose a name drawing if everyone wanted to continue the practice, however the family said the adults did not need gifts but they felt the children still needed gifts. We advised that we would be abstaining and we would prefer that gifts not be given to our children as well. Our wishes have not been honored and they are determined to make us feel obligated to reciprocate year after year. In addition, they make us open our gifts in front of everyone which makes us feel terrible. We feel the nature of the holiday is a religious observance and is not one which should stem around materialism or drive you into debt. We also feel that family should not put you in that position but help you toward achievement of your financial goals. We are unsure what steps we can take to make our point clear.

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Gift Giving
by: Ms P Etiquette


Interesting and prevalent problem! Many families so not agree with the no gifts request from other family members. Gift giving is very personal so perhaps your other family members do not feel the same way you do. How they handle this is up to them. You need not change your position simply because you receive gifts. Gift giving should not be predicated upon gift receiving. If your family enjoys buying gifts for you and/or your children accept graciously, without guilt or embarrassment. To do otherwise would be rude. As a footnote, this courteous response will be a good example for your children to follow.

Good luck
Ms Practical Etiquette

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