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Well, I thought I was done Christmas shopping
Old 12-08-2014, 06:18 PM   #1
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Well, I thought I was done Christmas shopping

I was looking forward to a nice, quiet Christmas season and considered myself done shopping and just spending the time at home.

But then I got asked by a brother and his wife to be at their place for just after Christmas (not Christmas day because of their conflicting schedules.. work, divorce). Oh..and "the kids" (as in nieces, a lot grown up now) will be their too.

I don't want to be Grinchy, but in away I feel like ....

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Old 12-08-2014, 07:22 PM   #2
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I know exactly how you feel . We have a grandson who's birthday is Dec. 29th but this year the have planned the party for Dec 20th in the middle of the madness.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:30 PM   #3
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Are you feeling obligated to bring gifts? Or is it just having to be with a bunch of relatives?

I've never been part of a religion that celebrates Christmas so I don't really get the idea of buying gifts for everyone you have contact with over a few weeks period. The retail industry makes it sound like you have to give a gift to your mailman, your hair dresser, your school bus driver, your pool boy, etc and all the relatives you may encounter during the season. Is it really like that?

If you aren't expected to bring gifts for everyone, then a "just after Christmas" gathering with extended family sounds like a nice time!

Maybe a dessert or something for the host would be nice.
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:53 PM   #4
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Are you feeling obligated to bring gifts? Or is it just having to be with a bunch of relatives?

I've never been part of a religion that celebrates Christmas so I don't really get the idea of buying gifts for everyone you have contact with over a few weeks period. The retail industry makes it sound like you have to give a gift to your mailman, your hair dresser, your school bus driver, your pool boy, etc and all the relatives you may encounter during the season. Is it really like that?

If you aren't expected to bring gifts for everyone, then a "just after Christmas" gathering with extended family sounds like a nice time!

Maybe a dessert or something for the host would be nice.
I'll spare all the details, but as for some...

It would be both as to spend time with them and just there is gift giving. Just one of me, and about 7 relatives there. I don't know if they'd just get me one gift total and I get them each a gift? And of course, I'd be the one doing the driving about 250 miles one way. For my brother and his family, "Oh, what part of staying with a house full of people and animals does it make you feel hesitant?" I guess it's not considered the holidays until that festivity happens
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:48 PM   #5
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I would make a charitable donation on behalf of the family and bring a card that they can display. I would also bring a good bottle of wine.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:57 PM   #6
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We usually exchange mainly gift cards with the extended family. Kind of lame but it is a family tradition and doesn't require a lot of shopping.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:04 PM   #7
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The retail industry makes it sound like you have to give a gift to your mailman, your hair dresser, your school bus driver, your pool boy, etc and all the relatives you may encounter during the season. Is it really like that?
I used to do that, except our kids had car pools instead of a bus and we don't have a swimming pool so no pool boy. I found out at his retirement party that our mailman got so many gift cards every Christmas he gave them all to his adult kids.

We've been simplifying Christmas these last few years and cutting down the gift list.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:33 PM   #8
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I'll spare all the details, but as for some...

It would be both as to spend time with them and just there is gift giving. Just one of me, and about 7 relatives there. I don't know if they'd just get me one gift total and I get them each a gift? And of course, I'd be the one doing the driving about 250 miles one way. For my brother and his family, "Oh, what part of staying with a house full of people and animals does it make you feel hesitant?" I guess it's not considered the holidays until that festivity happens
Do you have any pets of your own? If so, could you beg off the visit by explaining that you must be home to take care of the pets - it is too late to make boarding arrangements - there is "no more room at the inn" now. I know for a fact that my vet's boarding facility is fully booked for the Christmas holidays long before now, and every petsitter I know is booked solid too. This might be a way to get out of it without hurting anyone's feelings. Just a thought.
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Old 12-09-2014, 05:24 AM   #9
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Easysurfer, did you forget you had promised to pet sit that day?
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Old 12-09-2014, 06:31 AM   #10
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This is why I'm glad my siblings and I decided over 20 years ago to stop giving each other and our spouses gifts. It made less and less sense to figure out what to get for 12 other working adults that they could work for themselves. As far as we are concerned, just visiting each other during this time is a gift in itself. We might bring some component of a meal but that is it.

IMHO folks should be grateful just to have you travel and spend time with them during the holidays.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:22 AM   #11
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Etiquette books and advice columnists deal with this kind of thing all the time...maybe get some "advice" books out of the library or do a web search. The basics, I think, amount to something like this:

Christmas gifts are primarily for your kids (who have a "right" to expect them, if anybody does). Secondarily, for your Significant Other. Christmas gifts for others, especially other adults, are optional. You should never feel forced to give a gift you don't want to give.

There is no need to accept an invitation that you don't think you will enjoy. [Oh, OK, work things are an unpleasant exception]. There are ways to send sincere regrets.

If you do accept a house invitation, then it is appropriate to bring a gift for the host/hostess in token of the trouble they are going to on your behalf. If children are going to be there, it is nice to ask the parents if there is anything in particular the kids might enjoy. But again, it is not nice for anyone when a gift is given out of a sense of resentful obligation. Part of what makes a gift so much fun is that the giver can't wait to see/hear how the recipient enjoys what was carefully selected for them. Absent that emotion, neither the giver nor the recipient really enjoys it.

Just my $.02. I'm well aware that family dynamics aren't all that simple and logical.

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Old 12-10-2014, 09:25 AM   #12
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Do you have any pets of your own? If so, could you beg off the visit by explaining that you must be home to take care of the pets - it is too late to make boarding arrangements - there is "no more room at the inn" now. I know for a fact that my vet's boarding facility is fully booked for the Christmas holidays long before now, and every petsitter I know is booked solid too. This might be a way to get out of it without hurting anyone's feelings. Just a thought.
I am back in the "negotiation phase" of my Christmas plans as I made a counter proposal.

My brother's schedule is always up in the air and knows he's off sometime around the holidays but hasn't officially taken the time off yet. Plus, he has to balance with schedule with his ex-wife and she likes the power play thing with the kids. When he called his kids to ask about their plans, they said "We don't know yet."

I was talking (well, messaging on facebook) to his current wife and told her I just talked to my brother and he isn't sure when he'll have his kids over the holidays, if things don't work out, then how about the meet half way thing, like meet for a good dinner half way's drive for us. Or just do the skype thing as a lot people who are far away "get together" that way.

Her response was they will think about the meet half way thing, but she doesn't do skype. The last part is interesting as the previous day talking to my brother, he said she skypes all the time with her family who lives far away. Of course, I'm thinking, maybe she uses Facetime and my brother calls is Skype. Not sure.

My goal around the holiday is to take time out to enjoy the season, yet at the same time, not go overboard and change all my plans to others haven't got their plans done yet
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:37 AM   #13
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I've never been part of a religion that celebrates Christmas so I don't really get the idea of buying gifts for everyone you have contact with over a few weeks period. The retail industry makes it sound like you have to give a gift to your mailman, your hair dresser, your school bus driver, your pool boy, etc and all the relatives you may encounter during the season. Is it really like that?
In a word, No. That is not what Christmas is about. Charlie Brown had it right.

Just a note: there is nothing religious about having to give Christmas gifts. Your second sentence above is spot on. In some ways I envy the smaller religions who aren't big enough to have their celebrations thoroughly commercialized like Christmas.

That said, I am not going to let the Merchandising Grinch steal my Christmas, either before or after December 25.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:34 AM   #14
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A couple of years ago we decided not to exchange gifts and it was a little weird. Last year I wasn't home; ditto this year. So DH, DS and I decided to do what we've done the past couple of years-someone (Santa) stuffs stockings with some treats and scratch off lottery tickets. The surprise element is what makes the gift giving fun anyway.

DS will get money and the tool kit. One niece and nephew will get much needed money. Enjoy a good meal, call people and wish them a great holiday.

Our extended family used to always have a big gathering a few days after Christmas on the weekend. No gifts, just talk and food and drinks and then usually a very large goofy card game like Uno. That was fun.


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