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post #41 of 61

another idea

Buy them an ornament from somewhere where you know artisans were treated well, like Ten Thousand Villages. Then if queried about Hallmark, say that you thought the TTV ornaments were lovely.

It's nice on Christmas to feel good about your purchases. Do this all in a kind way to show not that you are insulting them or their presents but how much you enjoyed buying/making this other particular ornament.
post #42 of 61
This thread has been on my mind for the last few days.

I feel your struggle, OP. Our families have traditions that go against some of our core values. Both sides do the "ornament thing". It has never occurred to me to try and boycott it. Compared to the much bigger issues we have had to combat, I do not sweat the ornament thing. If this continues until dd moves out, we are still talking nothing more than a shoe box of ornaments. As dd has gotten older and the HUGE battery-operated plastic toys, Santa, and Dora and all of the other consumeristic crap is the new grandparent battle ground, the ornaments really seem harmless. At least the idea is in sort-of the right place. I know you do not have any "warm fuzzies" from picking out your ornament each year, but it is a very small price to pay to give grandma the "warm fuzzies". I say pick your battles. There will be far bigger ones in the near future. It will be a lot easier to fight those when you have relented a bit on a family tradition.

And I would not "drop" them. I know they are yours and you are technically free to do whatever you want with them, but I am guessing your mom would rather just take them back if that is to be their fate.
post #43 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&IsMama View Post
Am I the only one who doesn't get it and thinks the OP may be going a tad extreme here? :


:
I was thinking the same thing:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvirnon View Post
Good god, are you serious? Deliberately smashing up a gift of family heirlooms that were given in love? Yeah, that's much more honorable than buying one ornament a year from Hallmark. Why not just tie the ornaments to a brick and throw it through Grandma and Grandpa's picture window? You know, to teach them a valuable lesson about their consumerism.
Destoying the ornaments just because you don't want the tradition is harsh in the least.

Why not just give the ornaments back and suggest that they continue the tradition with the grandchildren at thier house (especially if you have siblings you may have children later) so that the whole family in included.
post #44 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adastra View Post
I understand the anti-corporate stance - it's a value I share. But a much more important value, IMO, is to respect people and accept where they are and not reject their gifts of love because of an anti-corporate (or any political) stance. I may gag at the stuff my mom and in laws buy for the kids (and me), but that reaction is dwarfed at the gratitude I have that they are in our lives and involved with the kids.

...

One value I don't want my kids picking up is that our political beliefs are more important than loved ones' feelings. That one might come back to bite us, you know?
That says pretty much everything I was going to try to express.
post #45 of 61
The more you decide that your life has to be only "your" traditions, the more you destroy your relationship with others. It sounds like you don't feel you have anything in common with your family, but by rejecting their attempts to share in a tradition you both can share, you are just pushing them away. You're effectively saying you don't want to continue the relationship anymore because there is nothing left in common that gives you reason to continue it. They find joy in purchasing items to show love while you don't. The relationship can continue if you both would be willing to compromise. It sounds like you don't want to compromise. You're shutting out your family when you shut out the things they find important. I can understand shutting out someone because they endanger your child physically, but it's a gift. I would just say thank you, knowing that someone loves you and your child enough to make notice of you and gift you something. If you reject their gifts and their traditions, and discount the things they enjoy, you may just find they don't call as much, slowly stop visiting, and eventually Grandma and Grandpa are just some strangers you see once a year, if at all (because typically you don't spend time with people you don't have anything in common with).

They're ornaments. Pretty, decorative, things that you put on the Christmas tree, to remember the year, and to remember the person who cared enough about you to give you it in the first place. They prefer the Hallmark ones. If that's what they find most beautiful, then I don't see it any different than someone saying that they prefer to get wooden toys over plastic toys. Each has a reason for wanting what they want.

I would find a way to compromise, in which you don't discount their choices. We all put stuff on our wishlists. Apparently Hallmark ornaments are what your family wants. When you get someone a gift, it's typical to get them something they want and will enjoy. So I don't think it's evil to buy them a Hallmark ornament when that is what they were asking for for Christmas. And while you didn't really want a Hallmark ornament for a gift, it's still nice that someone considers you important enough to spend their money on. I'm sure they get a thrill out of picking out the perfect ornament to give you and your child. Why deprive them of that joy?
post #46 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by offwing View Post
Purchase a small artificial table tree. But all 27 Hallmark ornaments on it and call it the Childhood Memory Tree. When Mom and Dad come over, move it out into the open. When they leave, tuck it in the corner.

They love you, they think of you and they tried to do something special for you every year for 27 years. You can keep your new adult principles and start a new tradition without completely erasing the old one.

You undoubtedly are teaching and showing the kids what you know to be right every day. A set of Hallmark ornaments seen once a year is not going to undermine the example and principles you teach your kids the rest of the year. The ornaments don't have Giant Killer Commercialism Cooties!
Good idea!
post #47 of 61
Thread Starter 
If I didn't care about their feelings, would I have bothered to post here for advice?

No, it doesn't bother me that they have different interests than me. I don't think that they are hypocritical or pathetic. I think that they are human. But they aren't used to me doing anything differently from the way they think is best, so they would get upset and jump to the conclusion that I think so. My whole life i have had a hard time disagreeing with them. They are very hard to disagree with. They are so certain that their way is best, and so critical of anything different. Even as a teenager, I did exactly what they wanted all the time.

My dad had a real problem with it when my husband and I gave up drinking for a while. He jumped to the assumption that we were judging him for drinking. He got very upset that we didn't want any alcohol in our home. So, when we invited them for dinner, he mixed his own drink in a jar and brought it.

There is really no easy way to do anything differently from them without causing a problem, unless you don't let them KNOW that you are doing something different.

When I use the ornaments as a teaching tool, I would say something along the lines of how sneaky marketing campaigns can be and how their mother fell for it for a long time before she realized it. Just a warning to look out for anything tricking you into buying something.

And I really can't see myself breaking anything. That doesn't do any good for anybody.

Quote:
The more you decide that your life has to be only "your" traditions, the more you destroy your relationship with others. It sounds like you don't feel you have anything in common with your family, but by rejecting their attempts to share in a tradition you both can share, you are just pushing them away. You're effectively saying you don't want to continue the relationship anymore because there is nothing left in common that gives you reason to continue it. They find joy in purchasing items to show love while you don't. The relationship can continue if you both would be willing to compromise. It sounds like you don't want to compromise. You're shutting out your family when you shut out the things they find important. I can understand shutting out someone because they endanger your child physically, but it's a gift. I would just say thank you, knowing that someone loves you and your child enough to make notice of you and gift you something. If you reject their gifts and their traditions, and discount the things they enjoy, you may just find they don't call as much, slowly stop visiting, and eventually Grandma and Grandpa are just some strangers you see once a year, if at all (because typically you don't spend time with people you don't have anything in common with).

They're ornaments. Pretty, decorative, things that you put on the Christmas tree, to remember the year, and to remember the person who cared enough about you to give you it in the first place. They prefer the Hallmark ones. If that's what they find most beautiful, then I don't see it any different than someone saying that they prefer to get wooden toys over plastic toys. Each has a reason for wanting what they want.

I would find a way to compromise, in which you don't discount their choices. We all put stuff on our wishlists. Apparently Hallmark ornaments are what your family wants. When you get someone a gift, it's typical to get them something they want and will enjoy. So I don't think it's evil to buy them a Hallmark ornament when that is what they were asking for for Christmas. And while you didn't really want a Hallmark ornament for a gift, it's still nice that someone considers you important enough to spend their money on. I'm sure they get a thrill out of picking out the perfect ornament to give you and your child. Why deprive them of that joy?
Wow, a lot of assumptions there. There are a lot of family traditions that we think are great. In fact, this is the only one I can think of that I am not thrilled to participate in anymore. Who said I am not willing to compromise? I have compromised on everything my whole life. I have been a pushover. If I can't ever do one thing differently from what my parents would do, what kind of pathetic person am I? And no, it isn't really a gift. It isn't about someone selecting an item and giving it to another. It is more about each person selecting for themselves. Also, we see them all the time.

Quote:
And I would not "drop" them. I know they are yours and you are technically free to do whatever you want with them, but I am guessing your mom would rather just take them back if that is to be their fate.
I don't know if they would want them back. I don't think they envision them as having any value to anyone but me.

Quote:
DH's family had traditions, and my family had traditions...and with our own famly we are doing some, but not many of them. Instead, since we are a new family, we have chosen to have our own traditions. I don't think either family feels offended by that. If we hapen to spend the holidays with one family or the other, we would participate with THEM doing THEIR traditions, but when we celebrate, we do our own.
I could be very content with that. My ILs aren't offended if we do something different from them. But my parents are. Their thinking is "what is wrong with the way we do things?" My sister visited me after I wrote the OP. She told me my father made some comment to my mother about being fed up with me doing things DH's culture's way. I asked my sister what we do that way? She said as far as she could see, only the baby's name.

Quote:
There are plenty of corporations more insidious than Hallmark. It's not worth hurting your parents over.
It is not the specific corporation. It is the idea of some kind of loyalty to a corporation whereby you must go out and buy their product on a schedule.

Quote:
You have to remember, they grew up in a very different time, when advertising and large corporations had less of an impact and people were less aware.
Yes, and I grew up in a different time from my son, and I hope he will be more aware than I am. I hope to raise him in a way that he is not gullible and preyed upon by corporations, or anything else. I hope he can grow up with his eyes sharply attuned to it, and point out to me the chains on myself that I can't see.

P.S. I think my parents are great. I think they were virtually ideal parents. Both are interesting and intelligent and exposed me to so many different things. They had a lot to teach. I credit them for me turning out the way I did. I can count on one hand the things about them that I don't want to find in myself, but think of thousands of things about them I wish I have in me.
post #48 of 61
For what it is worth, it sounds like this is not about ornaments or values, but rather about negotiating an adult relationship with your parents, especially now that you are married and a parent.

With parents who seem to take any difference of opinion as a personal affront (they sound very controlling, IMHO, based on your description), establishing clear boundaries between your families is even more important to have accomplished early. Frankly, I would be surprised if Christmas ornaments are the only difference between their approach and yours in raising children. If so, get ready for MANY more bigger differences down the line.

One technique is to not negotiate. Don't justify, don't be reasonable. Just be loving and kind and set your boundaries.

"Thanks for your opinions. DH and I have decided this is how we are going to celebrate Christmas. Next topic! ; )" - and say it with a smile.

Repeat ad nauseum.

Oh, and one comeback to the belief that anyting different is a veiled accusation about them - "Mom, dad, it isn't all about you."

Good luck
post #49 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Lilya View Post
No, it doesn't bother me that they have different interests than me. I don't think that they are hypocritical or pathetic. I think that they are human. But they aren't used to me doing anything differently from the way they think is best, so they would get upset and jump to the conclusion that I think so. My whole life i have had a hard time disagreeing with them. They are very hard to disagree with. They are so certain that their way is best, and so critical of anything different. Even as a teenager, I did exactly what they wanted all the time.
Wow. This is bigger than ornaments IMO.
post #50 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by marybethorama View Post
Wow. This is bigger than ornaments IMO.
agreed.

Ornaments is a good 'starter' conflict though, because fundamentally, it doesn't really matter if you buy the odd ornament at hallmark or from third world artisans or make them yourselves - all that matters is that you felt able to stand up to them and the world didn't collapse.

There will be much bigger fights down the road, especially if your dh has a different culture/different approach to child rearing than your parents are comfortable with.
post #51 of 61
Lady Lilya, I'm not up to analysing tonight, but I thought I'd share something that may or may not help you at least with the surface difficulty- the ornaments.

Dh and I are also very counter-consumerist and as a result of both that philosophical perpective and other values we share, we don't buy or cut down a tree to decorate for our Christmas celebration. We do decorate with handmade items and those are hung up on the ceiling, walls, railings, etc..., but no tree. I do love the smell of pine, so we may go for a fallen branch collecting hike in the woods before Christmas and I will sculpt something out of them so we can enjoy the smell and aesthetic while still being responsible (in our own consciences). I don't know if that's a consideration for you, but if you are as radical as we are, you might reconsider your tree purchase .

If you removed the tree from your tradition, the ornaments could be placed in a lovely bowl on the coffee table or mantle or wherever and your dc could touch and hold them, talk with your parents about them (eventually- I cannot remember your dc's age...) and they would still have the opportunity to act according to their own tradition while you are free to act according to yours without conflict. Obviously the ornaments are still in view, but I personally think that a bowl of ornaments is far less invasive than a whole tree full of them- and you could have a wooden bowl so they are only visible from above, if that would help you cope. Your parents may be upset that you don't want a tree, but that conflict would seem to me to be easier to resolve/live with than the conflict wherein you inform them that they've been 'duped.'

This is not a critisism- I just wanted to share what I think in a kind way and I hope it comes across that way: I think it might be equally upsetting to you to find out when your dc is grown that he/she can't believe that you fell for buying a tree when your values are in opposition to that sort of wasteful purchase.

I hope you can figure out a beneficial manner of continuing what seems like a decent relationship while still feeling free in your own home to behave according to your values, even though they may not be shared your parents- or at least expressed the same way.

Btw, I have been estranged from my abusive parents for over three years now and I really feel the lack especially during holy celebrations (even though their presence in their condition is not what I want), so if you have a loving relationship with your parents, please find a way to love each other; it would be devastating to lose what you have over something so relatively small, which is probably why you've posted- to gain insight into how to handle the situation with the least conflict and best possible outcome, right?

Keep thinking about it and wait until you've come upon a solution that you feel really confident about before you act- then you'll at least minimise the damage, if any occurs at all (none would be best, though, of course). If you are confident, your parents may be more willing to accept it as you being you and not just you trying to not be them.

post #52 of 61
I have to apologize for misunderstanding something you said. When you wrote "it will come out that I think they are pathetic," I see now you were saying that they would interpret your words that way, not that you actually think your parents are pathetic.

Lots of people do that thing where they make your actions/decisions into a reflection on them -- I know I've done it sometimes. I hope this one goes more smoothly than the alcohol one! Maybe you can just keep smiling and repeating, "I liked it when we were kids but I'm not really into it now." Over and over and over.
post #53 of 61
Don't say anything, just don't buy ornaments and don't put the ones on the tree you dont want.

If they ask, just say something like, you want to start a new tradition for your daughter, maybe you can do homemade ornaments or something, or you can just say you don't love Hallmark the same way they do and decided to do something else.

No judgement of them, just state that you are choosing something else. Not that your way is better, you are doing what works for you.
post #54 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by marybethorama View Post
Wow. This is bigger than ornaments IMO.
:

Oh my goodness. I've only just finished reading this post and it's responses and I was hoping that I wasn't the only person who thought that "Hallmark ornaments" were meaning a symbol of a much, much, much larger underlying issue that's being played out here...

After all, everything being sold by anyone ever is part of a marketing scheme in one context or another. Be it the awesome hemp dog collar I bought from the drifter who told me about how he was trying to make it across country and needed money or the tofu I purchase at the food store or my own fantastic collection of Hallmark ornaments that I buy for myself and the ones I purchase for my friends and my family. :
post #55 of 61
since it would be your dc's first xmas right? then what about one of the ones that you can put a pic in it, there is also ones that you can write names on it and even members of the family ,you dont have to say anything i dont think. just try to make it special because of being you dc's first xmas. if they want you to have them i think from any store the baby's first ones are so cute. my dd has 1 to 5 and my ds has 1st so far. she is allowed to chose one from anywhere that she wants they are displayed all year round not put on the tree.
post #56 of 61
The ornaments they gave you are already bought. You are not contributing further to the consumerism, unless you keep buying more.

I guess I don't understand why you are starting this battle now, as opposed to all the time you've spent not upholding the tradition in the last few years. Are they coming to visit you at Christmas? Is there any reason in particular you feel a need to potentially start a family fight right before the holidays? (this is not snarky, but a genuine question. I often feel those urges, my DH is very good about reminding me to look for the deeper reason why I am choosing that particuar moment to get confrontational. Sometimes I go ahead with it, and he always backs me up, sometimes I realize that it's not about the thing that I'm fixing to fight over. Just saying.)

I have virtually rejected almost all holiday traditions from my family of origin. Yet I've never had a sit down conversation with my parents (as much as my up-yours sentiments really would enjoy it), because to be perfectly pragmatic and blunt, it really wouldn't accomplish anything and when I *honestly* examined my motives, it really truly was an up-yours my-way-is-better-you-got-it-wrong sentiment. Which really isn't worth ruining other people's holidays over. I get pissed off when my mother attempts to do the same thing with me. So I just do as I please. IF my mother asks me why I don't do X Y or Z like any decent person, I just say "this is what we decided for our family, but I remember how much fun I used to have doing F as a kid." She is an ornament packrat (though she sends me all of her crappy dumpy stored oraments in general, not the ones that I had as a kid--and because they've no sentimental value to me I generally either goodwill them or toss them in the garbage if they're not goodwillable, which most of them aren't--one year it was a bunch of moldy, water-damaged and stinky paper cutouts that I'd never seen from god knows when). She has asked me about certain ornaments on occasion. Then I point out the weird part of the tree where the kids have hung them (the ones that are nice but I don't personally feel much attachment too I put in the kids' non-fragile box so the kids have piles of ornaments to hang up all by themselves--we're not too big on a perfect looking Christmas tree here) or just say that they must not have made it on this year.

I wouldn't prepare to have a proactive man-the-torpedoes discussion with them. Not without having a clearly defined SOLVABLE objective. But that's me. I have no problem with not living up to other people's expectations, and don't really feel any compulsion to explain myself to my parents anymore. If you NEED to deal with it, then deal with it as kindly and as briefly as possible. But otherwise, why bother? It's just going to cause you stress and other people unhappiness, and who wants that at this time of year?

Do what you want, be happy and confident, the rest will follow. You're probably not going to convert them, obviously they didn't convert you. So I'd just be personable and do my own thing, in the hopes that your kids will pick that up from you if they decide to institute the Annual Wal-Mart Ornament Shop Bonanza or something, when they're adults.
post #57 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
For what it is worth, it sounds like this is not about ornaments or values, but rather about negotiating an adult relationship with your parents, especially now that you are married and a parent.

With parents who seem to take any difference of opinion as a personal affront (they sound very controlling, IMHO, based on your description), establishing clear boundaries between your families is even more important to have accomplished early. Frankly, I would be surprised if Christmas ornaments are the only difference between their approach and yours in raising children. If so, get ready for MANY more bigger differences down the line.

One technique is to not negotiate. Don't justify, don't be reasonable. Just be loving and kind and set your boundaries.

"Thanks for your opinions. DH and I have decided this is how we are going to celebrate Christmas. Next topic! ; )" - and say it with a smile.

Repeat ad nauseum.

Oh, and one comeback to the belief that anyting different is a veiled accusation about them - "Mom, dad, it isn't all about you."

Good luck
:
post #58 of 61
Interesting thread.

I have to admit I don't see why you can't accept the ornaments that they gave you throughout the years and look at them as the gift they were intended to be and then sit down with your parents to start a new tradition. Explain how you want to be able to tell your child as the years go on how the ornaments were made or what special artisan they were bought from each year and how you want to emphasize the love they symbolize and their uniqueness. How you want to take the Hallmark tradition to another level. A level that really reflects the love and caring of the original tradition.

Tell them you were grateful to get the ornaments to start your tree and how you value the tradition in and of itself. If they don't want to make the ornaments be prepared with a craft fair or something that you all can go to to expand the tradition. Maybe as your child gets older your parents can take them to pick out the ornament themselves.

For now ask that that be the only gift you child gets until they're old enough to actually ask for what they want. (see, cutting down on consumerism)

Be a reasonable compromising adult that takes everyones feelings and values into account. If they can't be that way back then you have a problem. But try not to borrow trouble. You goal shouldn't be to make them feel the way they seem to make you feel but to find a middle ground that might make everyone happy. Don't anticipate their reaction but make sure you feel you've been reasonable. Their reaction is their problem not yours as long as you've worked to find that middle ground.
post #59 of 61
I can really relate to this thread. At first I thought, it's only a few days a year and these ornaments don't have to be the centerpiece of your holiday celebration. But on the other hand, my MIL constantly gives us ugly art she made herself. She gets so mad when she comes over and we're not displaying all the ugly art. It's my house, shouldn't I get to decorate it as I want? She's asked for all the pieces we're not currently displaying back so she can give them to someone who appreciates them. So I can appreciate that you don't want your parents foisting their idea of tradition and decorating on you.

However, I think I would treat it as a nostalgia thing with my kids...look what my parents thought was cute when I was growing up and look how they saved this part of my childhood to show their grandchildren. I wouldn't put them on my tree, but maybe put them on a separate tree as someone suggested or in a place not of prominence. My 3 year old is really interested in when Mommy was little, so maybe you could use to talk about the good and bad of your childhood. We've already talked about how mommy wasn't breastfed because grandma thought formula was healthier, so I don't see why wouldn't talk about how possessions from a name brand company were really important to grandma and she thought it showed her love, so we have this ornament collection. It might be useful later when your child wants X brand of something...you already have this example of how effective marketing can be.

I just wanted to say I can relate, but I'd try to be tolerant...at least you don't have to keep it out all year if you decide to display them somehow.
post #60 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SneakyPie View Post
I have to apologize for misunderstanding something you said. When you wrote "it will come out that I think they are pathetic," I see now you were saying that they would interpret your words that way, not that you actually think your parents are pathetic.

Lots of people do that thing where they make your actions/decisions into a reflection on them -- I know I've done it sometimes. I hope this one goes more smoothly than the alcohol one! Maybe you can just keep smiling and repeating, "I liked it when we were kids but I'm not really into it now." Over and over and over.
Me, too. I misunderstood what you were saying with that line. I understand what you mean. We have had a lot of problems with the ILs and boundaries. Dh is a very non-confrontational type of person and it has been really hard for him to stand up to his parents. We have found it best to pick our battles carefully, but then remain firm. He has come a long way in this regard, and I am really proud of him. You can do it, too!

Explaining really doesn't help. The broken record approach of "this is what we've decided" has worked the best for us. Good luck.
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