to feel uncomfortable with Christmas. .

(38 Posts)
Dietfail Tue 12-Nov-13 18:12:22

A set of inlaws have three dc. Quite close in age, all above 5. (being purposefully vague)
Every Christmas we all go away for the festive period. It's expected that we go. Sometimes it is enjoyable. .others not so.

My dc is of age (5)where this Christmas they will be fully aware of it all and understand the whole thing. Really looking forward to it.

The problem is that despite everyone knowing its all funded via credit rather than hard earned and saved cash, they dc are spoilt. Literally hundreds of presents. So many presents infact that the dc volunteer to spread them out over the day as they eventually get tired wading their way through their individual ginormous piles of gifts.

This is not something I'm aiming for with my dc. Gifts are carefully considered and I'd say this year our dc has around ten. Two large items and a few bits and bobs. I think this is acceptable. Except this year ds is going to clock inlaws dc piles upon piles of gifts and it's something I can see causing jealousy and Issue in future if not this year.

how do i deal with this. Aside from the fact its always made me cringe a bit (but its their kids..their life etc) I'm not sure how to avoid ds asking or demanding more and having to explain that gifts is not what Christmas is about.. aibu to be feeling this anxious about it?

Can you not back out of going? I hate being forced to go somewhere!

Mylovelyboy Tue 12-Nov-13 18:21:35

I can really see where you are coming from on this. But as you say....trying to explain what christmas is all about to a child just does not cut it. Do yo really want to go to this shindig of a circus. Can you get out of it. If not, (might sound ridiculous as why the hell should you try and keep up with these people) ......give dc more cheaper gifts then they can have more [concused]. If not, whilst your dc is playing and engrossed in their new toys would they really notice. Dont beat yourself up about it. Can see your point though. bloody people.....arrr

TheIggorcist Tue 12-Nov-13 18:25:39

You shouldn't have to spend Christmas day with them if you don't want to. But you do sound awfully judgemental. I think you don't like the parents much.

Lottiedoubtie Tue 12-Nov-13 18:27:05

Yanbu to feel anxious.

I wouldn't go.

PurplePidjin Tue 12-Nov-13 18:28:14

We used to go to my cousins' on Christmas evening and they had more presents than me - because they had to wait till everyone was there to open everything, while i had stocking presents first thing then family presents at the family dinner.

Could you do a stocking to be opened by your dc with you in bed then just explain that the cousins have more because they're opening the stocking at the same time?

I hope that makes sense hmm

Dietfail Tue 12-Nov-13 18:28:38

The thing is we could go nuts on buying. ..but id rather save ££ and we put a certain amount in ds bank account each xmas instead.

Its just so much. . its so unnecessary imo. I just don't want ds to think its normal and they are somehow missing out you know? its all so black and white at that age. .they've got more than me. end of.

I wish. No escaping without serious guilt tripping. Its an obligation. The other set of inlaws look on in simalar disbelief.

Dietfail Tue 12-Nov-13 18:30:51

TheIggorCist perhaps I am a bit judgmental on this particular subject. . but I certainly do like them, They're actually very lovely and normally reasonable people otherwise and we spend alot of time together socially.

WooWooOwl Tue 12-Nov-13 18:36:34

Would you rather be guilt tripped, or have your five year old child feel like he isn't special enough to deserve as much for Christmas?

If you do the whole Father Christmas thing and your ds believes, won't he think that he hasn't been good enough compared to his cousins?

PurplePidjin Tue 12-Nov-13 18:41:13

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas_Day

Invent a new family tradition, give your dc a few cheap things on the 6th then blame that as above

It's so hard. We had a similar issue with family. They came to us for Xmas one year and th amount of presents was obscene. And the children really didn't appreciate any of it. It was actually my sister. She does admit they go overboard. Made me decide to avoid Xmas morning with them.

Can you speak to them? Are they likely to be receptive to you saying something? Not that I'd know what to say!

Dietfail Tue 12-Nov-13 19:03:05

Nor would I Cider. . at the end of the day some parents like to go overboard. .We actually haven't previously given our dc all presents in one go and we don't on their birthday either. .we filter them over a few days because otherwise they just got opened..momentarily gawped and then thrown to one side when they'd found the current favourite you know?

Yes..we are definitely doing father Christmas ....im going to have to come up with a plan to avoid being present during gift time. For me Christmas is about setting time aside to indulge family members with time. .since we rush around and work so much in the year you know. And of course lots of food! haha. We aren't religious but all the children within the family are taughthow Christmas came to be and to respect dg and her faith we attend a service.

Slipshodsibyl Tue 12-Nov-13 19:13:23

We always had this within our family. While the children are as you has yours I honestly don't think they really notice as long as the present they have are ones they are excited with. When they are older, they can understand simple explanations. Eg some presents come from parents, not Santa. I really wouldn't try to match the number of presents if your values are different.

Slipshodsibyl Tue 12-Nov-13 19:14:32

'While the children are as young as yours' not you has yours

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 12-Nov-13 19:23:53

But there is another set of inlaws you said?

So can you perhaps send a round robin email to every adult attending to say that perhaps to make it fair on all the kids shall we take 10 presents each for opening together, so that all the kids are treated fairly and neither had more than the other?

I certainly wouldn't mind that, and if they want to take more presents they can open them in private on Christmas eve or Boxing day.

spookySwitched Tue 12-Nov-13 19:27:01

I have a similar issue in reverse. This year I have bought my dd an expensive present (my money, my choice, I can afford it) that I know my niece would also love but my sil thinks is too expensive.
I can guarantee my sil will spend the whole of Christmas dinner making passive aggressive comments about how I've ruined my nieces Christmas.

Can you join them on Boxing Day instead thus avoiding the present opening but still having the traditional holiday

ImperialBlether Tue 12-Nov-13 19:35:52

That's a really difficult situation, spooky. I can understand both of your points of view.

greenfolder Tue 12-Nov-13 19:37:11

Firmly establish that santa brings stocking presents and everything else is bought by parents.

MerylStrop Tue 12-Nov-13 19:37:38

Its very tricky.
I don't think you can avoid appearing sanctimonious
And I don't think you can expect other people to do Christmas your way either.

I would start on the whole Xmas is not about gifts message right about now and explain he will get something carefully chosen and given with love. Lots of my DC's friends get a lot more than we choose to/can afford to give, and that is how we have handled it.

Dietfail Tue 12-Nov-13 19:41:37

spooky I can totally understand, though it's really just about sheer volume rather than the cost with us. . Its alot about quantity for them.. kids have no idea of £ value either.

I think an email might be a good idea actually!

will go talk to dh.

Dietfail Tue 12-Nov-13 19:44:26

yes to santa brings stockings. I need to make a decision re all this, this year. I suspect dc will start asking questions!

wordfactory Tue 12-Nov-13 19:48:50

I think I would be fine with it if things were a little out of kilter, but if as you say your DS will receive ten gifts and the other DC will receive a hundred...then I think that is just too much disparity.

I don't think you can demand the other parents reduce their gift giving. So I think I would quietly back out. Make an excuse. Don't offend anyone.

Otherwise I forsee issues on Xmas day.

Retroformica Tue 12-Nov-13 19:50:56

I think your son just has to learn that some people have more and others less. It's a life lesson.

Can you show him some images of children with huge Xmas piles and then a poverty stricken Xmas day for other children. In the big scheme if things he will be receiving a lot more then others in other countries. Use images to start a discussion before the event

MerylStrop Tue 12-Nov-13 19:55:24

TBH, it might be too late to get them to change things this year. They will probably have bought basketloads already.

If I was them it would piss me off no end if my (nonexistent) sister in law asked me to give my kids less because she was giving hers less so were I you I would be careful about that email.

spookySwitched Tue 12-Nov-13 19:59:37

dietfall could you get away with getting a few things from the pound shop (or similar) so your dc's have got a few more presents, even colouring books, pants and socks and stuff?

Goldmandra Tue 12-Nov-13 19:59:45

We have the opposite problem.

Our DCs have always have plenty of presents to open, i.e. a stocking in the bedroom before church then a pile in the living room when they get back. An idea of content would be books, chocolate, a bit of jewellery, something silly, perhaps a family board game each and anything they have asked for specifically. Some may think it's too much but they don't get things routinely at other times and it's what they've grown up with.

My DSis may is staying with us this year and her DCs get a some very expensive clothes, maybe a book each and one more present on to of that. The piles are going to be so uneven! DSis doesn't like toys in her house so she wouldn't consider upping the content for her DCs and I don't really want mine to be disappointed by getting the same as hers.

Not sure whet to do as they will probably be sharing rooms.

spookySwitched Tue 12-Nov-13 20:05:26

It's even more difficult if the children are similar in age - you can easily explain to a teenager their new hoodie cost more than twenty plastic toys.

I know it's not right but I'd probably buy a few more things rather than think my child was going to be disappointed on Christmas morning, then possibly try and make sure a joint Christmas morning never happened again.

Dietfail Tue 12-Nov-13 20:13:56

The thing is we could afford to match iyswim. But my dc will have a healthy savings acc. For their future (we've not always been so fortunate and im eager to plan ahead) Each year we decide how much we can afford to dc for xmas. Then we split it 40/60 in favour of their savings acc.

plus, As I say. . I dont think matching the presents will reinforce my 'this isn't what Christmas is about' lesson either.

Speaking to dh we've decided to opt out and start seeing them on boxing day instead from now on, citing wanting a quiet xmas day together.

wordfactory Tue 12-Nov-13 20:15:35

That'ts what I'd do OP.

Problem solved.

ElfontheShelfIsWATCHINGYOUTOO Tue 12-Nov-13 20:29:48

Op I think you have made the right decision to opt out.

We had a vaguely similar situation but with next doors DC one year. Their parents went to toys r us and spent over a grand shock shock shock on their two, all I assume on credit.

My little DD had stuff scraped together from car boots over the year, freecyle and so on. She had a fair few gifts but not on next doors scale.

They wanted us to go over but the dc were similar ages and I didn't want DD to see all the really fancy stuff they had got.

Dietfail Tue 12-Nov-13 20:34:38

Elfon i'd love to tell you a story but it'd out me!

CustardOmlet Tue 12-Nov-13 21:43:03

My parents did things like wrap batteries and chocolate coins in loads of paper to make it look/ feel lots. We also only had one present each from Santa, the rest from family/friends.

foreverondiet Wed 13-Nov-13 00:55:39

Difficult. I think need to discuss by email with adults without appearing judgemental.

fuzzpig Thu 14-Nov-13 10:09:03

Late to this thread but I think you've made the right choice. Xmas comes but once a year, you should be able to spend it in a way that makes you and your family happiest.

Have you told them yet?

hardboiledpossum Thu 14-Nov-13 10:23:44

how many presents are we talking?! I've got ds 10 presents this year and I thought that was a lot!

mrsjay Thu 14-Nov-13 10:38:12

can you go see them on christmas day and do christmas morning at your own house I am assuming you santa delivers at the place you are at so all the children open gifts together you cant stop them buying their kids tonnes of gifts but you can make a fuss of your own saying oh that is nice, TBH i wouldnt go anyway I like christmas morning in my own house

curiousgeorgie Thu 14-Nov-13 19:22:19

We do buy an awful lot for our DD1 but it still pales in comparison to what my dn's get on Christmas morning from my brother and his gf...

Last year DD1 was only 2 so didn't care so much that they were still opening loads while she was done, but my niece (9) did mind and in fact, got a bit upset about it.

This year rather than opening like mad we're going to try to encourage the opening and playing with each present for a bit so that they're not left sitting with nothing.

It is annoying though I agree, especially as DB leaves most of it at my parents house where it sits for months on end.

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