Originally Posted by journeymom
Yooper, I identify with your experience, as our first child was my inlaw's first grandchild. Christmas got nuts.
It all got better when we quit trying to please everyone else, when I started to insist on protecting my own little family on Christmas. That holiday is supposed to be fun and pleasant, not stressful.
This is what I mean about some of the problems being self inflicted. I just don't understand why people continue to be a part of something that is stressful, and subsequently, unenjoyable. Going to a gathering out of obligation
, and thus accepting the gifts, seems to perpetuate materialism and consumerism in and of itself. And furthermore, the idea that the way to deal with this is to actually dictate what other people buy and give, rather than opting out of the whole process together, is even more baffling.
If society has become sick in our materialistic consumerist ways, and we're imploring ways to heal that and teach our kids differently, why do people continue to do things (or go to functions/activities) where this very thing is perpetuated by giving gifts? Wouldn't that be the first thing to go, rather than picking off individual "things".
It seems more logical, to me anyway, to opt out of the process rather than dictate how people operate within that process. It's like everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too, and that's what comes off as pretentious and rude. That everyone wants to get together with people who are obviously different in their beliefs and then tell those people how to behave. I think it's made worse by the fact that you're essentially judging people's generosity and, perhaps inadvertently, calling it inadequate. Regardless of anyone's personal beliefs on toys and clutter and the environment, it never feels good to find out that what they bought for someone is not good enough or not appropriate or not appreciated. The fact that we're having a discussion on how to broach that subject without hurting people's feelings is proof of that.
So, if making someone feel inadequate for their choice of gift is the ONLY way to deal with the situation (short of putting up with it and being miserable and stressed out every year), I would have step back and carefully examine why I want to be a part of that in the first place.
From an environmental and political standpoint, I think a stronger message to one's kids about materialism and consumerism would be to first not participate in commercial holidays, rather than going around dictating what other people give to you as a gift.
If you're still reading and thinking to yourself "easier said than done".. ask yourself why you continue to take place in holiday/family get togethers if you are worried about the outcome (which is coming home with too many of the wrong gifts) and yet continue
to do so, especially when you're trying to send a message to your kids that less is more. Is it a sense of obligation? Not wanting to hurt people's feelings by not attending? Why the need to spare feelings in one respect, but not in the other (in terms of addressing the issue of their choice in gifts)?