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To be in a strop?

(34 Posts)
inlovewithhubby Mon 28-Dec-15 20:34:17

Name is ironic as strop is with hubby.

By way of background, we have very different approaches to Christmas. It has always been a very special time in my family where we spend lots of time together and take great care choosing gifts for each other that we know will be appreciated. We don't always spend a lot, but gifts are very much tailored to the recipient. Hubby's family is the opposite, they don't care either what they receive or give. They spend little or no time choosing (they are Christmas Eve shoppers at best) and don't really like to spend any time with each other at any time of year. To each his own.

The difficulty comes because, despite knowing how much this time of year means to me, hubby continues to make zero effort. He doesn't have any involvement in choosing what the children receive - he doesn't even know what they would like to be honest - and he takes no pleasure in watching their obvious joy when they open something that they absolutely love. I always buy the presents for his siblings' kids because he wouldn't get round to it and it is not their fault they have a curmudgeonly uncle at this time of year (my sisters in law do the same for ours). Plus if I'm honest, I like the children and I want them to have something thoughtful. I have also taken to buying for his parents, taking my kids along, because I think it's good for the kids to choose gifts for Granny and Gramps and otherwise they would get tat gift-tagged from all of us and I would be embarrassed. So part selfish (don't want tat given in my name) and partly to ensure people get something thoughtful, or indeed something at all.

And so to the nub of the issue. We did presents to each other today as we have been away with family for Christmas and didn't take them with us. Every year since we have been together, hubby has bought me pyjamas and warm socks for Christmas, with a few bits of non-tailored, emergency-Christmas-Eve-purchased-tat to bulk it out. Don't get me wrong, I like a nice pair of PJs and warm socks when the weather necessitates, but am I being unreasonable in thinking that this is fucking irritating year on year on year? The first few years I bore it reasonably maturely, put a smile on and breezed through it (and bought myself a dress in the sales). In the last few years I have made it clear that I would appreciate some more thought putting into a gift if he is going to buy one, and even suggested he thinks about what I or other people might actually want before Christmas Eve arrives. Last year I had a full on strop on Christmas Day evening (after the kids were in bed, Oscar-worthy performance til then) because he made me spend Christmas day with just him and the kids (he doesn't do family as I said, so I obliged, agreeing to put my family off til Boxing Day) and yet still got given, you guessed it, socks and pyjamas. This doubly pissed me off because I had kept myself away from my family at his request, bought all the bloody presents and spent all day in the kitchen cooking Christmas dinner with what I felt was no thoughtfulness in return.

I always get him some gifts I know he would like or which show some personal thought. Some might cost a bit but others are cheap yet tailored to him. This year I also spent an afternoon with my children making him a gift, from them, which they loved giving him. They are little and don't have their own money but loved spending time and energy making something special for him. He genuinely enjoyed receiving that one.

This isn't about gifts really. We are very lucky, work hard and are financially well off. I am lucky enough to be able to buy things during the year if I want them, though neither of us is flash or materialistic so we don't actually spend huge amounts on material stuff. It's the fact that, after ten years, shit loads of hints, some less than enthusiastic receptions (to the warm socks), a few tears and one massive strop (2 if you count this year), I find myself in the situation of receiving the same gifts yet again. I have never once had a thoughtful present from him. Plus I just don't think you buy warm socks for someone you want to have sex with.

I am genuinely upset by this and feel he is being thoughtless and selfish. I am proper stropping and haven't gone out tonight to friends (his) as I'm just so pissed off and couldn't jog myself out of it (he went alone). Over many years, the issue has grown from a minor and predictable annual disappointment to something which feels bigger to me and seems more reflective of how I feel he views me and our relationship. If he made up for it with gestures of love and appreciation at other times of the year and in other ways, I wouldn't give a shit, but he doesn't, so I do.


RandomMess Mon 28-Dec-15 20:38:35

YANBU IMHO - what are his reasons/pathetic justifications for continuing to put in zero effort to investing his efforts into choosing a gift for you?

inlovewithhubby Mon 28-Dec-15 20:44:04

None really. Usually ends up in him apologising and then it's forgotten until the next year and the next pair of fucking socks. I guess that's why I've stropped out - kind of want to make a point?

steff13 Mon 28-Dec-15 20:47:26

Is he the same at birthdays?

PennyHasNoSurname Mon 28-Dec-15 20:50:23

I would be blatant with the point making. Buy eight pairs of the same pjs and socks.

Wrap them for Valentines
Wrap them for Fathers day
Wrap them for Birthday
Wrap them for Christmas


LordBrightside Mon 28-Dec-15 20:50:28

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

inlovewithhubby Mon 28-Dec-15 20:50:37

He loves his own! Still shit at presents for other people's though but mine's only a month after Christmas so at least I'm spared the socks (can't actually recall a single birthday present which probably says it all)

inlovewithhubby Mon 28-Dec-15 20:51:28

Penny - spat my gin out at that one! (Need it, thank you)

3sleepingchildren Mon 28-Dec-15 20:54:02


I am in a similar situation, with the exception that if we have guest for Christmas (or any other celebration) H manages to pull out all the stops in terms of both thought and expense. I have had some amazing gifts, properly thought through and absolutely spot on. I have also had (as I did this year) a load of tat clearly bought in a last minute rush through town. Eg, everyone knows that chocolate coins go in stockings. Fine. H has only my stocking to do (while I do his and 5x dc, plus anyone else who might be visiting) - obviously this year he couldn't be bothered as my stocking was half full of chocolate coins - literally 6 or 7 bags full of the things. I'd almost rather he didn't bother at all, tbh.

It is also insulting (in my situation) that he can be bothered when putting on a show for other people - obviously how he appears to others is more important to him than how I feel about getting shit presents when it's just us. Nice.

soyvanillalatte Mon 28-Dec-15 20:56:14

My husband is a hopeless gift giver as well but I think I have come to terms with it. I just lower my expectations and end up getting myself things as I need/want them. I even tell mine the things I would like. For example nice candles or melts.
I got an air wick air freshener candle from the pound shop, God love him.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Mon 28-Dec-15 20:56:17

He's had years of living in a family that don't prioritise as yours do. Is it a deal breaker?

RatherBeRiding Mon 28-Dec-15 20:56:48

You're not being at all unreasonable, I would be majorly pissed off at getting the same thing every single time. In your shoes I would be completely blunt and say I DO NOT WANT any more pjs and socks. EVER. A few weeks before Christmas/birthday I would give him a list, plus where to get items, and tell him to choose something from the list and only the list and if he insists on getting pjs and socks again to make sure he puts the receipts in with them because they will be going straight back!

If he can manage to get himself to a shop that sells pjs then he can manage to pick up something different from a neighbouring aisle. Its lazy and thoughtless. Time to make a stand!

mineofuselessinformation Mon 28-Dec-15 20:57:10

Write on your family calendar (however many weeks ahead of Christmas you think you need):
Sort childcare
Go present shopping with dh
(Both on same day obvs)
Give him a list of presents you would like and put on the bottom
No pjs or socks

HelloItsMeAgain Mon 28-Dec-15 20:58:27

I don't think you are U to be upset by the unbalanced -thought-put-into-gift-quotient. It would hack me off too. However...have you actually told him? Straight, sit down calmly and told him. I know you say you have had a couple of strops - but - major or otherwise the actual cause of these may not have registered with him. You may or may not have made your grievance clear - but he may have heard only one thing, or the final thing you stropped "and another thing, you never fucking put the bins out" (I said this once in a strop with DH - he has put the bins out brilliantly since then - but it wasn't actually what my strop was about iyswim).

So, my point?
1) He views presents and Christmas differently. That is fine. It is his upbringing, his history, his emotions. He is allowed to view if differently.
2) Tell him (when you are both calm) how it upsets you. Tell him you do not necessarily need him to be able to empathise, or even to get it - but just that PJ and socks upsets you.
3) Tell him - or probably better - work out with him what you can do to help you not get upset again. He may no have the gift giving ability you have. He may not "get" what makes a great present. Not because he doesn't love you - but because it is not part of his upbringing and he has never learnt it. So help him. Next year give him a few suggestions (a few links to wrap bracelets you like, or that you really like Bobby Brown makeup and in particular love their make up brushes). He doesn't know how to do this - (not because he is a man - just because he has never had to) - so you will have to help him. This may not be the magic, romantic solution you want - but if you want it to change you have to agree between the both of you.

I spent years watching my dad disappoint my mother like this. She never told him why she was upset at Christmas (with an iron ffs). Or how to do it properly. When DSis and I were teenagers we stepped in and trained Dad. Now he is great at it - albeit he takes her to an antique fair or jewellers a few weeks before to pick something out. It is not exactly what mum would like (surprise cruise ticket or the perfect necklace chosen alone) but it means she doesn't get upset.

Likewise, I said from day one to DH - I don't care if you get me a birthday present, or even wrap it - but I do want a card please. And he always makes sure I get one. I do remind him a couple of days before - but I'd rather do that (and so would he) than be pissed of and PA/upset on the day.

Sorry is so long.

soyvanillalatte Mon 28-Dec-15 20:59:00

By the way, I now grab things as I see them, when shopping with him, and tell him to buy it for me for Xmas.

soyvanillalatte Mon 28-Dec-15 21:03:41

By the way , OP, yanbu. I think you need to take control of your gifts , with prescriptive lists etc, or you will be disappointed forevermore. It is a little less magical but at least you won't be upset each year.

inlovewithhubby Mon 28-Dec-15 21:11:47

Soyvanilla - I'm sending you a massive hug for the air wick thing - possibly worse than (annual) socks? But funny. There's the thing, other people's shit gifts can appear funny, but your own really hit home.

I did actually send him a link to a kitchen aid in early December (and then hated myself for it because I'm definitely a martyr of sorts and would rather have nothing than point out the bloody obvious) and when we had a quiet chat about it in advance of me saying I wasn't going out he actually said 'I don't know what a kitchen aid is, is it something to help in the kitchen?' I kid you not. I nearly blended his head into the children's pasta sauce at that point.

Helloit'sme- that's brilliant advice thank you and I promise I will do it when I've finished with my mahoosive strop and grown up a bit. You are all completely right, better to point out the obvious and be slightly disappointed than divorce over under garments. I just really resent spoon feeding someone who is in all other ways not a completely fucking stupid moron. Hmmm, not sure I'm finished with that strop yet...

soyvanillalatte Mon 28-Dec-15 21:14:13

I love your idea helloitsme

greenfolder Mon 28-Dec-15 21:19:30

Oh don't. I could have written your post, except don't buy gifts for his family anymore. This year, two days before Xmas he bought me a book I already had and a cd. And he was pleased as punch with himself.
However, this year as I went along I bought myself some nice stuff. He said today that I should go out at the weekend and treat myself to something. He got a death stare in return.
I am now reconciled to it. He has always been rubbish at presents. His parents never spent money on presents. I now have daughters who buy me great gifts. And he is a good husband in every other respect.

Topseyt Mon 28-Dec-15 21:19:32

You are allowed to be pissed off about this, though just make sure you have told him clearly and calmly what you are pissed off about. Don't expect him to simply know.

He grew up in a family who, by your account, barely did Christmas or gifts to each other. Therefore he is not conditioned sufficiently to this.

I would favour the previous suggestions of either giving him a list of things you would enjoy receiving or, if you can stand to do this, taking him Christmas/birthday shopping with you in the run up to the event.

I guess that the first time he ever bought you PJs and socks you were chuffed, so he now thinks that this is what you like and for some reason seems unable to diversify.

Tell him that if he buys you PJs or socks again without you having specified that you want them then he will be made to wear the things and you will upload a picture for all of us to admire him in them. grin

MontyYouTerribleCunt Mon 28-Dec-15 21:19:38

I love penny's idea! Please do it OP!

roaringfire Mon 28-Dec-15 21:24:57

YANBU neither are you alone. Tell him how you feel. Nearer christmas, create a pinterest board of things you like, or even email him links of actual items for sale.

I did this this year and got what I wanted. Some men need to be shoved into the Christmas gift buying.

inlovewithhubby Mon 28-Dec-15 21:25:07

Topsey, I was tempted to make him return the ones he bought this year but perhaps a public humiliation of the sort you suggest might be preferable? I am very tiny so it would be extra humiliating - perfect.

This venting of spleen and knowledge that I am not alone has thoroughly cheered me, thanks loads mumsnetters

MudCity Mon 28-Dec-15 21:25:16

I agree with soy...prescriptive lists are the way to go. It's not very romantic or inspired but if you put several things on the list, he can then choose which ones to get it will still be a surprise of sorts, and you will receive something you really want.

I think we would all like outer DHs to come up with the perfect gift themselves but, if it doesn't happen, then we need to guide them rather than face years of disappointment. There is always the hope that by starting to understand what you actually like, he may also grow in confidence at choosing something by himself in the future.

I don't know many men who are good at choosing the perfect gift for women. Very frustrating but I guess many men just don't look around shops for pleasure in the way women often do.

Picturesofmatchstickmen Mon 28-Dec-15 21:31:16

DH and I stopped doing presents years so ago and I'm so much happier. His useless, effortless, ill fitting offerings pissed me right off especially due to the thought and care that went into his. Now I buy for DC and I choose a fancy, Michelin star restaurant and lovely hotel for January, something we both love, and a far better use of our hard earned cash than the tat he used to panic buy me (fucking Christina aguilera perfume one year ffs)

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