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Joint Xmas Presents?

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Abbondad posted 12/7/2013 12:45 PM

Hi, Everyone,

My first Xmas without the STBX and trying to navigate this with the kids so they will be as happy as possible.

DD (six) seems fine. She had a great time putting up the tree and wanted to send a pic of her and her brother (nine) to their mom. DS however became extremely upset and would not pose when he heard the pic would be sent to mom. He stormed into his room and sobbed. I comforted him as best I could and he went to sleep. It's going to be a bit of a rough Xmas for him I am sure.

(The arrangement is Xmas eve with me, Xmas day with their mother.)

DS, DD, and I had a good talk yesterday about Xmas, how the traditions have changed, they are loved, etc. It seems to have smoothed out, as DS just called me excitedly from his mother's to tell me about what presents he wants.

My specific question is this: do STBX and I strictly give them separate presents, or might we give a big one (more expensive) to each of them from BOTH of us? Or would this be too confusing? Should everything be separate? What are your thoughts and experiences?

If it matters: DS knows Santa is mommy and daddy, but DD believes in Santa.

purplejacket4 posted 12/7/2013 12:56 PM

I think whatever you feel comfortable with is fine. My divorced parents went in together and bought me a car for my college graduation. Neither could afford that separately.

[This message edited by purplejacket4 at 12:57 PM, December 7th (Saturday)]

Must Survive posted 12/7/2013 12:58 PM


I would not have joint gifts. Several reasons:
1) You have to be in contact with ww
2) Gives kids false hope of reconcillation
3) Who gets to see the kids open the joint gift? Ww would probably ask to come over to see the gifts open.
4) You and the kids need to start your own Christmas traditions, ww needs to not be any part of them.

WaryOptimist posted 12/7/2013 13:46 PM

Must Survive makes very good points.

I'd second them all.

Nature_Girl posted 12/7/2013 13:52 PM

Oh Honey, your STBXW is a psychotic bitch. What are you thinking? Joint presents? You need to keep your life as separate from her as possible. Joint presents only continues to invite her craziness & control BACK into your life. Aren't you trying to get away from her?

You're already in the deep end of the pool. Time to stop acting like you're still standing on the edge dipping your toe in to check the temp. Your kids will be fine with separate Christmas presents & celebrations. YOU will be saner with a clear separation, too.

Maintain your boundaries.

ruby44 posted 12/7/2013 13:52 PM

I am in the same dilemma. My thought is for the past 12 years, I have been the one to shop wrap scheme etc for our DDs and he took joint credit. So this year he gets NONE. He must do it all himself if at all.

DeadMumWalking posted 12/7/2013 14:08 PM


If your STBXWW were not FUCKING CRAZY and completely DELUSIONAL, then yeah, maybe a bigger joint present would be ok.

But: your STBXWW is FUCKING CRAZY and completely DELUSIONAL.

So no. No. NO. FUCKING. WAY. should you do anything to further entangle you with her.

She is the PSYCHO BITCH that is trying to fuck you over BIG TIME - forget temp orders hearing and go straight to trial where she gets to argue for all of the insane things she is asking for (while LYING the entire time)?????

No. Just no.

Did SHE suggest this, or is it something you have been thinking about?

If it's her, then HELL NO. If it's you, then (gently) - stick with NC. Don't engage with her and DON'T give your kids (especially DS) the false hope that would definitely come with a joint 'mommy and daddy' present from you both.


No12turn2 posted 12/7/2013 14:25 PM

My WW and I are doing joint presents, but she still lives here. This will change if she moves before Christmas. I don't care of I have to shop the day before

tushnurse posted 12/7/2013 14:53 PM

AD you must absolutely shake this idea from your head.

It is a HORRIBLE idea to give joint gifts, yes financially it would be nice if you could do this, but your CSTBXW is so NPD that it's just going to muddy the waters, and create a no win situation for you. Maybe in 10years for some giant present you can do a joint gift, but NO WAY IN HELL should you even consider this.

If you are going to be strapped this year, fine make sure they know Christmas is going to be smaller with you, but that's not what Christmas is really about. The year after Dday we were BROKE, H was out of work, we had a few unexpected expenses, but we were up front with the kids, it's gonna be small this year, and it's gonna be practical, but we also reminded them what the holiday was about, and they got a lot out of it, offered to spend their own money to get their sibling gifts, and to do the Adopt a family that we always did.

If you know they will want something bigger, and better next year, and that you will want to do it, start putting a few bucks aweek aside in an envelope for it. Skip a meal out, a soda at the gas station, a few minor things like that can make a big difference at the end of a year.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE for the love of God, and your sanity, DO NOT do joint gifts with that nutbag of person that was your wife.

GabyBaby posted 12/7/2013 15:19 PM

The only joint things XWH and I do for our kids is pay for their college/school expenses.
All other gifts are separate.

Abbondad posted 12/7/2013 16:49 PM

Thank you, Everyone. You're right, you're right: anything that would tie me to her is a form of contact and is not good for me and worse, it could be confusing for the kids.

No joint gifts. The subject has not been broached by the STBX , by the way, which surprises me. It's something she would suggest, as it was she who has even gone so far as to suggest a "family Xmas." THIS I vetoed right away.

I just know she will make it a point to outspend me and "out-present" me, showering them with "stuff." (Remember, she makes over 100k; I make half that). She is "that" sort of parent. It doesn't bother me much, though. I've spoken many times to my kids about the meaning of happiness--that it has nothing to do with tangible items. On Xmas eve they will know I love them so much. That will be my "big gift."

(But they will still get some cool stuff from Santa! ;-)

Nature_Girl posted 12/7/2013 17:25 PM

My ex outspends me. I have to let go in my own mind "competing" with him. I don't even have a job. Last Christmas, after the kids had opened their gifts from me (and had opened his the night before on Christmas Eve), he had the kids count how many gifts they got from me (because our church took pity on us and gave me some gift cards so I could get presents for them), then he went out & bought one more "just because" gift to ensure that he gave them one more than me (this works for b-day presents, too). Then he had the kids repeat for WEEKS on the phone that Mom got them X amount of presents and Dad got them Y amount of presents.

You cannot compete with this level of disordered personality. You cannot "win". You have to detach & just go on along in your own way and pray the kids see through it some day. I know you say it doesn't bother you, but it must bother you. How could it not? You're still in the thick of trying to get away from that psycho. This is going to bother you for a long time, brother.

ladies_first posted 12/7/2013 20:05 PM


[This message edited by ladies_first at 8:06 PM, December 7th (Saturday)]

Dare2Trust posted 12/7/2013 22:18 PM


Abbondad posted 12/11/2013 06:07 AM

The subject has not been broached by the STBX , by the way, which surprises me. It's something she would suggest,

Quoting myself above. Sure enough, yesterday STBX did indeed express a desire to give the kids one joint gift each--"from mommy and daddy."

She is SO predictable. I texted NO. And explained politely that I believe this would be confusing for them and would not be conducive to their adjustment to their new family situation and lives.

Silence from her after I expressed this. I'm sure she is furious.

In my opinion this is a form of cake-eating. It has less to do with the children than with her still trying to keep at least a finger at this point in the cake. Sorry. The bakery is closed, the proprietor has left, the building is condemned. Demolition is planned.

hummingbird8 posted 12/11/2013 06:41 AM

You had the same thought and came here to ask about it??

tushnurse posted 12/11/2013 07:49 AM

AD You are rocking this new found independence dude!!!!

I love that you firmly and without question said NO.

Remember to remind your kids it's not about how many presents you get, or how much people spend. Remind them what the holiday is truly about, the ability to give to other, and provide them happiness, and show appreciation and your love for them, the $$ amount is NOT important.

We have had some lean years, but because this is our Christmas philosphy I have had the kids wrap up their own things and give them as gifts to us, and even offering up old toys to wrap and give to Toy for Tots. (Personally I think my Daughter just likes to see those Marines in uniform. lol)

Any way I digress. YOU DID AWESOME!!! Let her stew in her own anger. BWAHAHAHHAAHHAHA

heforgotme posted 12/11/2013 08:29 AM

I just know she will make it a point to outspend me and "out-present" me, showering them with "stuff."

Don't forget that you know them much better than she does. Because you actually spend time with them, you will be aware of the $3 do dah from Walmart that they think is SO COOL.

She will have no idea.

I bet they will be just as happy with your economical Christmas as her extravagent one. And someday when they look back they will see how much you cared and how she just threw money at them.

Brandon808 posted 12/11/2013 08:45 AM

I get it. You anticipated this move by your stbxww and wanted to see what others on SI thought. I would have done the same. I found the advice others gave you to be sound, and quite frankly very funny, so there is no need to add to it.

My xww worried about being outspent on presents to her DD (I was step-daddy to DD). If she couldn''t get as many presents then she wanted to get her the best present, the one DD wanted the most. I told that it didn''t matter because no matter who got her the present DD simply wanted to have it and she inevitably wanted to share it and show it off to xww. I suspect your kids will be excited about presents they get. Who knows? Maybe your stbxww will become the "parent who gives the coolest (i.e. most expensive) presents". I can tell you from years of observation and experience that it will not make her beloved in their eyes.

Validate their joy in their presents. Share the experience with them.
I guarantee you it will drive her nuts if they say "I can''t wait to show this to Daddy!" Remember, success is the best revenge.

[This message edited by Brandon808 at 8:46 AM, December 11th, 2013 (Wednesday)]

EvenKeel posted 12/11/2013 09:18 AM

As a child of divorce, I can honestly say I have no recollection of thinking my father "out-spent" my mom.

Which he did - he would of made at least 2-3xs what she did.


As a D'ed mom, I do outspend my Ex. It is not an intentional-spiteful-challenge though. He is just an azz. First Christmas he managed nothing for them and since managed a minimal gift card.

Neither of my children comment or seem to notice the inequality of the price of the presents. So I would not worry if she makes twice your salary - concentrate on meaningful versus monetary and you will succeed.

PS - Yeah on NOT doing the joint gift(s).....this will save you so many headaches for years to come!

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