(Closed) Christmas Gifts from Family – A Problem

posted 7 years ago in Family
Post # 3
Member
1986 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m pretty sure Christmas stopped being about religion a looooong time ago, so don’t put the “blame” on Christianity etc.

If you want to give a gift, then give one. If you don’t, then don’t. If you don’t WANT any gifts, tell whoever that you don’t want any gifts, and if they insist tell them to donate instead.

Post # 5
Member
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

If someone wants to give a gift, they’ll do it anyways. Asking them not to won’t help–they obviously feel they MUST, ya know? They’d feel rude, themselves, by not sending you a gift, no matter how you two feel about receiving them.

I’d probably give them a gift card and not say Merry Christmas or anything, but perhaps just “Thanks for all you do” or something ultra generic. If it still really bothers you, do nothing, thank them, and hopefully your husband can quietly tell them it’s so awkward to receive so many gifts when you don’t celebrate Christmas.

The fact that the gifts are religious, when they know you aren’t Christian is really rude, though!

Post # 7
Member
1927 posts
Buzzing bee

@Belle2Be:  Hmmm… I never got the memo that Christmas stopped being about religion.  I’m pretty sure the holiday is meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  If non-Christian’s choose to give presents this time of year and put up a tree, sorry but you’re just latching on to something because you like the idea of giving presents.  I’m pretty sure most Jewish households aren’t doing that though.

 

@coconutmellie: I think at this point you have made your feelings known.  There is no reason for you to feel guilty about not reciprocating the gift giving since it is not part of your tradition.  If his family knows this and still continues to give you gifts I think the only thing you can do is accept them graciously.  I know it’s frustrating because it feels like they are ignoring your belief system.  Just try to give them the benefit of the doubt, and know that they still love both of your and probably just want to share their joy of the season with you.

Post # 8
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

My husband and I are both athiests. He was raised in a (culturally) Jewish family, I in a overwhemingly Christian place (Texas) with secular family. I don’t celebrate Christ at Christmas. I celebrate and give thanks for family. That’s what it’s always been about for me. Fun decorations, great food, and quality time with people that I love. We also celebrate a night of Hanukah for my husband, usually a great dinner with his family, and presents. You don’t have to be religious to give and receive gifts!

Post # 9
Member
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m pretty sure Christmas stopped being about religion a looooong time ago.”- For you maybe, but not for everyone. For people like me, yes, it is still very much the religious holiday it was intended to be.

To the OP: Maybe you and your husband can accept whatever gifts his family sends this year (they may have already purchased them), and then either call them or send a thank you card, enclosing a very nice handwritten letter- thanking them for their thoughtfulness and generosity, and politely, respectfully asking them not to send gifts anymore. Tell them that you are really touched by their generosity, but you feel uncomfortable that you cannot reciprocate. If you feel you cannot do it, then maybe have your husband talk to them about it.

ETA: If they are solely sending you gifts of a religious nature, that’s pretty inappropriate and your husband needs to politely tell them to stop. Also, I am Catholic and my husband is Jewish. His parents give me a (non-religious) Chanukah gift every year, but it doesn’t make me uncomfortable. 

 

Post # 10
Member
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Oh man I totally understand!

I don’t have a lot of advice because I can only mildly relate to what you’re dealing with in regards to ultra religious family =

A compromise, to me, sounds the most logical. But logic doesn’t always work on people who are very, very set in their ways =(

You could always accept the gift and not open it until spring, LOL.

Post # 11
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@Moose1209: Jewish households give presents at Hanukah because Christians give presents at Christmas, and they didn’t want their kids to be left out all the time. So yes, they do partake. And, it is a rare Christian that I see denouncing the commercialization of Christmas.

Post # 12
Member
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

@coconutmellie: OH! And I have to say I can totally relate to the inappropriate religious gifts. My stepmother is crazy-Christian, and all her friends gave me bibles for my masters degree graduation. Thanks but no thanks guys – you’d think the fact that my thesis was on the evolution of ancient bacterial populations would have been clue enough. Keep your “trying to get you saved” attempts to yourself, thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

Post # 13
Member
3943 posts
Honey bee

Honestly, if I was in this position I would probably just get them a small gift. It doesn’t have to be anything religious, just something small so that you can exchange gifts with them and not feel awkward.

Post # 14
Member
423 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Personally, I think that you should accept the gifts at Christmas, open them, say thanks, etc, and then send them gifts in the spring.  That way, you are all participating in each others’ traditions (in a passive way)?

By the way, I understand what you are saying, Belle2be.  Many non-Christians celebrate the winter holidays with a tree and Santa/gifts and a big meal etc.  Christmas is both a religious and secular holiday in many areas.  (OP, not saying you “should” participate or anything, just throwing that out there)

Post # 15
Member
110 posts
Blushing bee

I think you’re in the same position as lots of brides who don’t want a shower.  Just accept the gifts with a polite thank you.  You’re not asking them for gifts and you’ve made it clear you won’t be buying them so if they still want to give you something, that’s their choice.

Post # 16
Member
1763 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@crayfish: Have you never seen a Keep Christ in Christmas sign?

They are every where around my area.

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