(Closed) Christmas Gifts from Family – A Problem

posted 9 years ago in Family
Post # 32
Member
3942 posts
Honey bee

@coconutmellie: Are you actually going to see them at the holiday? Or will they just send you a box of gifts?

Post # 35
Member
971 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I think your Darling Husband needs to step up to the plate and do it NOW!  If you don’t want the gifts, and if he doesn’t want them either, he needs to tell his parents this instant!  That is the ONLY way you’re going to be able to get the point across. 

Have you considered sending flowers or a bottle of wine with a note that says “I hope you enjoy your Christmas dinner”?  I mean, if you were going to their house for Thanksgiving dinner, you’d bring a bottle of wine or flowers, right?  So, it’s not really a Christmas gift. 

 

Post # 36
Member
1876 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I understand you don’t celebrate the holiday so you don’t want gifts… but they are going to do it anyways. So be gracious and accept them.

But they celebrate the holiday. So I feel you should get them gifts. Even if it’s something small. It’s important to them, and by giving a small gift you are recognizing that. It’s like with birthdays. It’s the birthday-girl/boys birthday so you give them gifts. Your family celebrates the holidays so it’d be nice if you gave them a gift.

Just my reasoning. I don’t think you’d be compromising your religious beliefs by doing this. I think if anything it’s just respectful to your family.

Post # 37
Member
3942 posts
Honey bee

If you are traveling and will be spending Christmas with them, then I think a small gift is fine. A gift at the holidays does not mean you are a certain religion-it’s just a nice gesture.

Post # 38
Member
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I think if you want to stop the practice of receiving gifts you’re going to have to take the difficult step of being much more direct with them about the practice of your own faith by inviting them to participate in its rituals and practices.  They may say no or be offended, but I would guess that they don’t take your commitment especially seriously at the moment because they have no real concept of what being a member of your religion actually entails.

A frank discussion between Darling Husband and his parents is also in order.  Something along the lines of, “We love that you include us in your tradition and couldn’t be more grateful for the gifts.  We aren’t Christian, and don’t celebrate Christmas in our home together, but it means a lot to us that you invite us to be part of your observance.  We’d love to have you join us for Diwali/Midsummer/19 Day Feast, etc.” 

Your husband can’t pussyfoot around the fact that you are not, in fact, Christian just because it might cause family drama.  If they choose to give presents knowing full well that you aren’t and don’t intend to become practicing Christians, that’s one thing, but it sounds like they feel (and your Darling Husband is encouraging this), as though you’re not really pagan/Muslim/Bahai/Hindu, etc. and are acting accordingly.

Post # 39
Member
4137 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

i’m not sure how sending a box of gifts indicates that you’re willing to accept christ. why not just give them some gifts in the spirit of giving?

Post # 40
Member
1267 posts
Bumble bee

I’m understanding the situation better now, I think with the more posts I see.  I go to my bfs church with his family as is their tradition for Xmas eve every year.  And every year, they go up to get their communion, and I just stand, let the whole row stare at me as they go past, sit down, and then stand up to let them all back in.  Awwkwarrd, lol!  As a matter of fact, his sisters husband now joins me in this awkward little pew shuffle now, since he is Jewish by faith.  When ever we have to get up he whispers to me ‘all the heathans have to stay put’ ๐Ÿ˜›

Now, if his mom were trying to force her faith on me or attack my own faith then I see the problem.  If you think the Xmas gifts are more of a passive/agressive way to force you to celebrate rather than them trying to include you in a tradition that they love (and one that I assume he has partaken in since he was a child with them?) then you need to have a frank talk, I think.  That would be all of you sitting down and as nice as possible, letting them know that since your faith differs, you would really rather them not exchange gifts for xmas anymore or at the least, make a donation to a charity in your name or something.  I don’t really even think you should be going there for the holiday.  Not going should speak volumes, I think.

Please don’t get mad or offended, but could it be that your hubby finds this tradition one that he is sentimentaly attached to or one that he equates to bonding with his family?  Could it be that it isn’t important to him to stop this gift giving because he actually wants it?  You may want to be 100% sure you are both on the same page with what you want. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 43
Member
1267 posts
Bumble bee

@coconutmellie:

Yes, that does make perfect sense to me.  It’s a natural human reaction, I think.  I’m glad you’re both on the same page – that makes everything else easier for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 44
Member
129 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

coconutmellie-

i’m sorry that you have this predicament!  there’s no clear cut course of action.  in my family, christmas is not about religion.  it’s about celebrating our family, having a nice meal, and buying presents for each other because we love each other and want to.  it’s that way for many people that i know.

however, it sounds as if christmas is based solely on your FI’s family’s religion.  Personally, I think there are a number of different ways you could set a boundary surrouding the difference in your faith.  It is possible for you to approach Christmas as a celebration of his family, as a time to give them tokens of appreciation/love, and to spend time together, but NOT celebrate the religious aspect.  Maybe this means you give small gifts, and you don’t attend church/participate in prayer, and withdraw from the other religious aspects of his family’s celebration.  It’s probably possible for you to be there and not celebrate the religion. 

ideally, i think doing so would set the example for how they should respect your religion.  they can support you and your faith without partaking. 

it’s going to take a lot of patience on your part, and a lot of respect for your new boundaries on their part.

that’s just my .02.

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