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Aubrie posted 12/18/2013 15:33 PM

For those of you who follow me, just hang on a minute. Let me explain.

Before the family blow-up, we'd all sat around and drew names. We spend up to $50 for whatever individual we draw. Gift cards are not allowed.

I drew one of the parental units. Lucky me.

Since the blow-up, I have been trying to be "nice" and "civil" and all that jazz but apparently I'm still a witch that doesn't love them. Whatever. Anyway.

So here we are. I've been struggling with what to do. Because any way I do it, I feel I'm shot in the foot. If I buy just for the person I drew, someone is going to get bent out of shape because I know the whole family is in turmoil and I didn't do at least a little something for the other people. If I buy something $50 per person, then I'm a suck up and trying to buy their affection. If I buy something small in the $10-15 range for each person, I'm just cheap. THEN I think, well dang it. They won't talk to me. They won't look at me. Why do I have to do anything at all!? Maybe I should send them a text that says we're opting out of the whole thing. But a week before Christmas? That would go over like a lead balloon.

Yes, I'm probably over thinking this. Like I said. I know I'm shot in the foot, whatever route I take.

Then, QS just informed me he'll be danged before we spend $50 on the person I drew. To be honest, I'm really struggling with that one too. It's a person who spends money like it's going out of style. Whether they have it or not. They drain the checking account dry, and overdraw it hundreds of dollars. They have tons of clothes, tons of tools, everything they could ever need and want. They have it.

So then I'm thinking, "Ok. I'm crafty. I'll make that person something they can hang in their special room." Cause ya know, I don't love them or whatever. But if I take 2 hours out of my life to MAKE something, it means it took thought, effort, and time. Which ultimately translates to love.

*sigh* I'm just in turmoil over this. Any suggestions? Can someone simplify this?

Oh as far as everything else holiday related, we're doing fabulously. Having fun making memories, doing holiday themed crafts, shopping, and just having a ball. QS, the kids, and I went looking at Christmas lights last night. Hit the jackpot with a drive thru thingy. Eight acres of awesomeness. And there was mistletoe at the end.

tryingmybest2011 posted 12/18/2013 15:55 PM

I like your idea of making something. I was going to suggest that before I got to that part of your post. After that's done and delivered, I'd consider your duty served.

Curious - what's your crafty specialty?

As a notorious over-thinker myself, I do believe you are over-thinking this. Have a great holiday, Aubrie.

Aubrie posted 12/18/2013 16:03 PM

Curious - what's your crafty specialty?
I dabble in a little bit in a handful of areas. Repurposing, painting, framing, wall art, sewing. If it involves power tools, paint, stains, burlap, or random pieces of metal or glass, I'm game. Pinterest fuels my addiction.

I hope you have a great holiday as well!

SandAway posted 12/18/2013 16:14 PM

I like your type of crafts!

Last year Tred and I made bird feeders from a cedar tree. We drilled holes near branches so the birds could sit & eat from them. We even added dowels if there was only a couple branches.

Then you make a jar of the peanut butter suet with instructions to make more and give that with the feeder.

Looks like this:

MovingUpward posted 12/18/2013 16:14 PM

There are some great ideas down in F&G

Aubrie posted 12/18/2013 16:24 PM

Very neat idea Sand. That looks really cool.

There are some great ideas down in F&G
Saw that. I'm soooo tempted. What I reeeally wanna do is give him unicorn meat and soap that looks like a turd but QS said that's just a little too mean. Darn it.

Fallen posted 12/18/2013 16:35 PM

If you have any photos of this person that you can stand, then you could do some kind of collage frame or something. Or if they fancy themselves to be a great parent and you don't hate every memory you have as a kid, try to link the gift to that? One year I did one of those photo cubes (a nice one, not the cheap plastic ones) for my MIL that had pics of all of her kids when they were little from old Christmas pics. She loved it.

The photo can be meaningless to you but if the parent is narcissistic they'd probably like a gift that focuses on them. LOL

Unagie posted 12/18/2013 16:50 PM

Go simple because you're honestly darned if you do or darned if you don't. Dont devotr tons of time and mental energy that detract from your otherwise good holiday.

plainsong posted 12/18/2013 18:52 PM

I would not want to make something for the person, because that is a gift of you, and would feel like getting sucked back in to express a love you are not feeling right now. That said, if you can tolerate it I like Fallen's suggestions.

If it were me I would purchase an inexpensive knick-knack (I like knick-knacks!) that expresses your feelings about the season (not the person). Maybe a Christmas tree, angel, candle, plaque with inspiring words...etc. That way you can honor the spirit of giving and what the season means to you. It becomes an expression of your holiday spirit, no matter how they respond to it.

I don't have any suggestions about what to give to the other people. A lot depends on your family traditions and how you feel about the people now. Maybe the same kind of gift you give to the parental unit - something that would give you pleasure to chose and give. And again, not dependent on how they would respond.

Also, you still have the option of not participating. Even though you said you would, I consider it ok to break a promise to an abusive person, especially if it is necessary for your emotional health and that of your family.

Good luck with this. Really, anything you do will be just fine.

solus sto posted 12/18/2013 19:35 PM

Will the rest of the family be gifting only the person they drew? If so, I would NOT do "a little something" in pretend atonement for being true to yourself. It's a self-betrayal, and it will furthermore send a message to your family that should not be sent.

If the custom is to draw a name, then get a $50 gift for the person you drew, then do that.

I come from a family with similarly toxic parents (and trust me, I totally get the fear that is driving this.)

Changing old patterns is difficult.

But you know what? After the initial buzz (and that is a very real thing, the behind-the-back nonsense---and it HURTS...but let me tell you: it will happen no matter WHAT you do), it dies down.

Don't let what remains be the knowledge that you set down boundaries then trampled them yourself.

Self-betrayal sucks.

Give yourself the gift of Christmas the way YOU want it, Aubrie. Stick to your guns. It will pay off.

Follow the gift-exchange "rules." Don't change them to soothe yourself or others.

[This message edited by solus sto at 7:36 PM, December 18th (Wednesday)]

Aubrie posted 12/20/2013 17:38 PM

Ok, ok. I acted like an adult, and went to purchase a present today. Even texted my mother *gasp* because I needed to know something about what I was purchasing. The conversation was civil enough. Till she asked about a missing clothing item of hers. She suspects my sister. I answered, "Yeah, I have no idea. Gotta go!" thus slamming the door on any negative/resentful "your sister" comments. I'm such a meanie head.

My sister and I have been talking about what to do for the FOO gift exchange. My BIL is so pissed, he told my sister that FOO don't even deserve a stupid box of chocolates and "There ain't no way you're buying anything for either of them!" She did end up making a very simple necklace/bracelet for Mother. (which she will never wear) BIL is not happy but so far, is allowing it.

So one daughter is sticking with "the rules" and buying a $50 gift. The other isn't. Not only that, but she is putting her gifts in a box and handing it to my brother to pass to Mother. This should be real interesting.

QS finally decided what we're doing on Christmas day. We're staying home. Just the four of us. Today I did my grocery shopping for the next 7 days and bought my first Christmas ham. And cried. This will be the first time I've ever baked one before. Mom used to always do the ham. Now I'm in charge of ours.

Here's to new traditions I guess.

I'm happy yet sad. Excited yet very stressed. Feels so weird.

sunnyrain posted 12/20/2013 19:05 PM

seriously?? ... it's a $50 Christmas gift.

*shrug* Carry on.

Aubrie posted 12/20/2013 19:31 PM

"Seriously" what sunnyrain?

authenticnow posted 12/20/2013 20:46 PM

I'm in awe watching you navigate these new waters and sticking to your boundaries with each new situation. You are doing great!


SoVerySadNow posted 12/21/2013 23:05 PM

Put $50 in an envelope- bam!- done.

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