How do you tell someone you dont want to do the "gifty" xmas? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-07-2006, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ILs are just odd birds (that is putting it nicely!)
They say they are wonderful mormons. They dont follow most of the rules of the church and are just icky people in general.
For xmas they alway have these insane lists of really expensive things they want. They expect us to write lists too. Which i finally did after years of getting bibles and mormon books for gifts :
I dont give them books on why mormonism is bad and how to be a good pagan :

Anyhow, besides these lists xmas is just weird with them. I dont mind celebrating other holidays for the sake of tradition and family. My dad is catholic and i do xmas with him. BUT the emphasis of xmas with my dad is FAMILY. There is a tiny gift exchange that you can opt in or out of but it is one of those name exchange under $15 type of things.

My ex stepmoms family still has us over for xmas eve and there are no gifts (except for the grandkids - and really they are nice handmade things that they put a lot of thought and effort into.) and it is REALLY about family gathering to chat and share homemade food.

Last xmas we came over to the ils and they literally ripped through the presents and then they all stood up and said "okay now we are off to play video games at SILs house" So we got dd bundled up and drove 45 minutes for 20 minutes of uncomfortable materialism.

I have been pushing for a gift free xmas with them for years but dh didnt want to budge. Now he agrees with me that it is out of control and dd is old enough to start picking up negative things. We dont want her to think of the holidays as time to write up a demand list and get things.

Now with all that insane background how would you tell them? We want them to understand that we are willing to see them for the holidays but we dont want to partake in any sort of gift exchange and would rather them come over for dinner or do a family game night or something.

How would you approach this?
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:20 PM
 
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I think that you and DH should have them over and when you are all together, have DH say that you would like to celebrate Christmas together, but you want to make it gift-free. Emphasize that to the two of you, that Christmas is about being with family and spending time together, not about gifts. Oh, and since it's your IL's, it usually sounds better coming from your DH, this way they can't try to talk to him behind your back, yk?

Good luck,
jenn
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks I already told him he would have to talk to them as i sometimes lack tact and will tell it like it is.
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:49 PM
 
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We told our family (both of our families) a couple years ago that we had decided to celebrate the magical nature of the season and the wonders of nature and the good fortune of a beautiful family and leave the commercialism and materialism behind. We just basically said that right about the time that xmas displays started going up in stores around halloween and the focus at xmas started to become "how can I afford to give the biggest most expensive present to every adult I know", we got turned off and decided make a change.
Everyone got it and if we do any gift givings, it must come from the heart and/or be hand crafted with love for the recipient. It has made for a much more peaceful and heartfelt season.

Maybe you could slip something a little more religious in there that would get her attention and take her focus off the presents (and herself) and onto what really matters to her, kwim?
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Old 08-07-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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Tell them to go ahead and make their lists, and send the lists to me so I can give to my family. They feel obligated to spend money on ridiculously expensive brand new things.

I'll open the gifts... say "oooh and ahhh" with enthusiasm, then promptly mail them to your in-laws.

I'm totally kidding, but as I was typing that out, I thought, "You know... this just might work!"
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:39 AM
 
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If the proclamation .. oops, I mean suggestion, by your DH to his family doesn't work, I can send you LOTS of Quaker publications to give to them that are all about problems with materialism and the importance of the Gifts of the Spirit.

And, then I recommend you starting a unilateral tradition of bringing a new game for a group to each Christmas gathering. Start with Twister(TM). Somewhere I've seen a book of Cooperative Games as well. Those are fun. Stuff like a circle of people passing around an orange without using one's hands, try and keep it going as long as possible. It is fun. Leads to much silliness with or without alcohol involved.
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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These ideas are all great - thank you.

I also have no prob with dd being exposed to other religious cultures - i think it can be educational and fun. If they want to say a prayer and talk about the lord that is great too. I LOVE making gifts and they always look at me like i a weird when i make these beautiful handmade soaps/lotions/bath salts/blankets/lip balms and they look confused.
I think it might be fun to exchage a board game for the whle family if they insist on some sort of gift. They still have 2 kids at home (age 15 and 17)
who like to spend time with family and would enjoy a game night
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:07 AM
 
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Since you can't control other people (and believe me I've tried ) we just told everyone a few years back that we would only be giving homemade gifts. People have cut back on what they send to us, although still purchased at Target, but they know not to expect much from us, and we LOVE making and giving things. They can send their lists, but unless it includes "jam" and "soap" they might be disapointed!
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:10 AM
 
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Another though that I just had is that the Mormon families that we know have family home evening (FHE) every Monday, so you could approach the game swap suggested above from that angle. How can they resisit?
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerry
Another though that I just had is that the Mormon families that we know have family home evening (FHE) every Monday, so you could approach the game swap suggested above from that angle. How can they resisit?
Yet another "rule" they break Why spend time with family when you can all spend it in front of your respective computers/play stations playing games that involve shooting people :
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:29 AM
 
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We have quit exchanging with other adults, even my sister and her husband and dh's siblings and their spouses, but we still give gifts to nieces and nephews, and I don't think dh will ever want to approach his parents about not giving gifts. It really seems to bring them joy. It's hard to think ahead to when my own children are grown, but I don't think I'll ever want to quit giving them holiday gifts.
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:36 AM
 
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My suggestion ( and this is after trying all of the other "nice" options to no avail, not necessarily a starting point ) is to not do Christmas with them one or two years. If they ask why, tell them that you just aren't doing the whole gifts thing, and you know they like to so you'd rather just stay home and spend time with the family. Maybe they'll agree to do no gifts the next year.

Mama to : '05, '08, '10 and expecting our 3rd homebirth.jpgJanuary '13

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Old 08-08-2006, 11:37 AM
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I have given up trying to kill the Christmas beast and am content trying to tame it a bit.
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Old 08-08-2006, 11:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamilla626
Tell them to go ahead and make their lists, and send the lists to me so I can give to my family. They feel obligated to spend money on ridiculously expensive brand new things.

I'll open the gifts... say "oooh and ahhh" with enthusiasm, then promptly mail them to your in-laws.

I'm totally kidding, but as I was typing that out, I thought, "You know... this just might work!"
If all else fails, I say try this!!

Mama to two wonderful daughers: 02/03/03 and 10/19/05
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Old 08-08-2006, 12:00 PM
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We're trying to take them on a ski trip in January so smaller Christmas.

They're fine with that.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:42 PM
 
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I got fed up with lists or asking folk what they want for xmas.

Now I just give Super Certificates from giftcertificates.com in a denomination that I can afford and let them choose their own merchant.

They get what they want from the merchant they want. No muss, no fuss.

Waldorf mama to 5yo b/g twins
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Old 08-08-2006, 04:33 PM
 
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Wow, they don't sound like your typical Mormon family. I was going to suggest the FHE idea, too. I don't have any amazing ideas, but wanted to give you a little support. IL's can be very difficult. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
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Old 08-08-2006, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveLittleDucks
Wow, they don't sound like your typical Mormon family. I was going to suggest the FHE idea, too. I don't have any amazing ideas, but wanted to give you a little support. IL's can be very difficult. I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
No they arent : which gives mormons a bad name. At volleyball they make it well known that they are MORMONS (in a very holier than thou supperior attitude) and they are kown as the mormons. So they play vball on EVERY sunday, dont do FHE, etc. I really thought all mormos were aweful till i met some other ones who really rock!
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Old 08-08-2006, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the advice/commiseration etc

The convo should happen in the next few weeks. I am sure it will just be chalked up to another "weird ass hippy DIL idea" but i know i will feel better.
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Old 08-08-2006, 05:18 PM
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I've been pulling the "I'm poor and can't afford gifts for anyone but my own kids" line for awhile now.

My inlaws are Jehovah's Witnesses but for some odd reason decided to celebrate Christmas. Drives me INSANE because they expect everyone to buy them presents.
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