Christmas gifts return to sender. Would you give back children’s Christmas gifts as parents if the kids did not have a relationship with the giver? Here is a true story – in fact – you can’t make this stuff up.
Visiting in laws can be testing to even the most easy-going personalities. Today I went to my in-laws Christmas party with my family. My husband swears to never go again after tonight. One too many incidents to cause stress and heartache. It is a long back story into why it all has to do mainly with a series of events relating to the father passing away and disputes on moral issues related.
Basically, my husband and his sister and no longer speaking and it has made me question whether there are any possible amends to relationship no matter how much one party tries. I was neutral in this dispute. In fact his sister has always called me too nice and wanted to have a relationship with me and my kids even though her brother – my husband – objected. Being his wife, I had to stick by him and not betray him by keeping my relationship with her, so I explained in an email why my husband was hurt by her and that I hope that things could be resolved by them soon. It was a very neutral email with no fingers pointed. Prior to that, the things that his sister has done without provocation – from taking back baby clothes, a bassinet and car seat, she had given us the week before my daughter was born, to saying that we have to give a share of the father’s goods if sold after his passing because they chose to taking nothing from the estate – I should have realized that some people in this world that like to take things and aren’t givers.
I have always prided myself on getting along with all personality types. I’m an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs scale and we like people and like to see the good in them. For that reason, we often try and justify bad behavior. I kept trying to repair the damaged relationship for the sake of our kids who are the same age and would like to play together at family gatherings. After the blowout between her and my husband, I wrote 5 emails her to trying to smooth things over between them and saying I missed the way things were and I hoped things would be different soon. I never received a reply back. We got her Xmas gits for her first child and no reply and my husband thought it went in their garbage. Family gatherings like tonight just intensify the awkwardness.
Well – after almost two years later of not speaking, there was one email from her husband last year that stated she wanted a postcard she gave us two years prior back. I didn’t think it was valuable and probably threw it out in our last house move, but to avoid being accused of theft – as she accused her other sister, I bought the rare card from an Australian company, laminated it, and sent it to her through my kind mother in law. There was no reply after that and another year passed.
Fast forward to tonight. This year I was feeling very good about Christmas and despite the constant rejection from her, felt strong enough to try again to give her now 2 children gifts. After all, it’s Christmas and who couldn’t use another Santa gift? It’s all about the kids and just because we didn’t have a relationship with the parents didn’t mean the kids should suffer.
So – with a screaming baby I was trying to settle in tow, I told her husband I had gifts for his kids. He said he had none for ours and I said that was fine, and they have too much already. I went to go get it and he told me to put it in the garage. I did as requested and said we were leaving because our crying baby was tired. Just before we left, he came up to me a few minutes later after telling my husband’s sister we bought their kids gifts. He said that she wanted us to take them back since we do not have a relationship with them or the kids.
I apologized for my poor judgement call, and sadly took them back. I was so surprised by it. I thought relationships only get better and that when you put out positive energy and give, that people will appreciate, but I think I really needed to take off the rose-colored glasses and realize that negativity will always live in some people and it’s better to choose to be around people who make you feel good about yourself. What an eye-opener.
Perhaps there are some parents that need to have a strong relationship with the other parents in order to give to their kids, but to me, it’s all about having a gift to open if you’re a kid at Christmas time, no matter who it is from. In fact, many times kids just remember the gifts when they are young but can’t recall who gave it to them. This is especially true if all their cousins are receiving gifts too as not to feel left out. Kids do not have a relationship with Santa and he gives them gifts. When you give to charities and donate Christmas gifts, they also come from people you do not know. I’m wondering – do you think that a child needs to have a relationship with someone in order to receive a Christmas gift from them? What are your thoughts?