PDA

View Full Version : Why does gift-giving have to be so complicated?



JustJess
12-15-2008, 10:30 PM
Ok I know the answer to this one, it's because I have 5 kids. Can't be simple. So here's the process.

Step 1: Set $ limit
Step 2: Spend it while buying the same # of gifts per child (because we take turns opening gifts, one at a time)
Step 3: cram all gifts in bedroom (in closet, under bed, and under crib until there is an opportunity to sneak them out to wrap them)
Step 4: Decide which gifts are from us and which are from Santa (despite the fact that two children no longer believe)
Step 5: Wrap Santa gifts and "us" gifts in different wrapping paper being very careful to keep the Santa paper hidden at all times
Step 6: Take the "us" gifts that are overflowing in our bedroom and put them under the tree BUT cannot write names on the tags or children will guess the presents are ruin their surprise, so we must come up with a symbol for each child. Soo the oldest has circles on her tags, the next has squares etc....
Step 7: Wait up on Christmas Eve until at least 2:00am to be sure children are asleep before quietly sneaking Santa's gifts out of room and trying to fit them all under the tree.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this insanity. What traditions have you managed to complicate?

alleycat
12-15-2008, 10:36 PM
I'm glad my life is not so complicated! ;-)

It's not in the same category, but my family used to have this large get-together where we were suppose to open gifts in turn while everyone else watched. You had to act really surprised and delighted even if what you got was a battery-powered tie rack (and yes, I actually got one once).

"Oh, thank you, Aunt Margaret. A green and orange pull-over two sizes too small. That's just what I wanted!"

;-)

Shadow_Ferret
12-15-2008, 11:05 PM
For some reason my wife decided early on that Santa's gifts would not be wrapped, which simplified things. Granted then the kids know immediately that they got an X-Box (Santa's elves make those?) or a Wii.

Personally, I find Step 7 to be the most annoying. We have relatives over on Christmas Eve and I like to drink (how else do you deal with relatives?). Mulled wine, light on the cloves, heavy on the cinnimon. So then while inebriated, have to stay up late after the kids are in bed, get all the gifts out of the hiding space, arrange them nicely around the tree -- heaven forbid there's something that I have to actually PUT TOGETHER -- then when that's all done, still have to get up at the crack of dawn because the kids are up waiting... Gah!

nevada
12-15-2008, 11:25 PM
There's four kids in our family, my sister has two and my brother has two. I don't remember what it was like when we were little, but we tried the opening presents one at a time with them and it was soon abandoned. Here's the tradition. On xmas eve we all get together at my mom's house. We are loud (we're dutch) we eat too many hors d'oevres, and then, everyone gets their presents and they just rip into them, each in their own corner. It gets extremely loud, like seriously loud, for about 30 minutes. It's total chaos. And then it all calms down, everyone compares presents, the adults get to open all the packaging, the kids play with the presents, and we all eat deserts.

Then everyone goes home, and my brother and sister do the rest of the presents christmas morning. I imagine that too is an unruly, loud chaos. But it's so much fun.

Don
12-15-2008, 11:35 PM
Step 2: Write check for $ limit minus the cost of a week's cruise for two.
Step 3: Drop kids and check at granny's house 5 days before Christmas.
Step 4: Pick kids up the day after Christmas.

Does that simplify things a bit? :D

NeuroFizz
12-15-2008, 11:45 PM
Please tell me I'm not alone in this insanity. What traditions have you managed to complicate?
I guess one person's insanity is another person's joy. All you've listed is just plain fun. And on Christmas Eve, after the wee ones are in bed, I put out a glass of Mint Bailey's for Santa, in the hopes he gets a little lucky with Mrs. Claus later that night.

JustJess
12-15-2008, 11:57 PM
On xmas eve we all get together at my mom's house. We are loud (we're dutch) we eat too many hors d'oevres, and then, everyone gets their presents and they just rip into them, each in their own corner. It gets extremely loud, like seriously loud, for about 30 minutes. It's total chaos. And then it all calms down, everyone compares presents, the adults get to open all the packaging, the kids play with the presents, and we all eat deserts.


We do the same thing on Christmas Eve. We don't go to my mom's until 7:00ish (with all the children dressed in new pajamas) and don't come home until 11:00ish. It's my favorite part of the holiday season.


So then while inebriated, have to stay up late after the kids are in bed, get all the gifts out of the hiding space, arrange them nicely around the tree -- heaven forbid there's something that I have to actually PUT TOGETHER -- then when that's all done, still have to get up at the crack of dawn because the kids are up waiting... Gah!

For the first 5yrs we didn't even wrap the gifts until they went to bed. Christmas is oh-so-fun when you've only slept 2-3 hours.


we were suppose to open gifts in turn while everyone else watched. You had to act really surprised and delighted even if what you got was a battery-powered tie rack (and yes, I actually got one once).


Ah yes, this brings back memories of the year my father in law bought me nothing but lingerie...


All you've listed is just plain fun.

You masochist, you. Seriously, I don't mind the manual labor of it as much as the trying to balance out the $ and the # of gifts. Two kids? No problem but when you've got 5 ranging from 13 to 1 it's migraine-inducing.

scarletpeaches
12-15-2008, 11:59 PM
My December (she said, thinking of the Linkin Park song) is completely uncomplicated because I just don't do Christmas at all! :D

alleycat
12-16-2008, 12:00 AM
One added comment, my family did what Ferret's family did: presents from Santa weren't wrapped. They were just left for us to find.

Feiss
12-16-2008, 12:19 AM
I hear you. Here is what X-mas is like between me and BF this year.

Him: What are you getting me? I'm taking you to San Francisco, so it'd better be something good, here are some suggestions:

1. Blue Ray Player
2. Laptop
3. Criterion DVDs
etc
etc
4. Also it's my birthday so I expect something big for that. Something like the massive Criterion epic collection that costs $500 it's on sale.

Me: "uh...I kind of wanted to get you something to suprise you, you don't have to take me to San Fran if you dont' want to, btw your turning Christmas into basically a barter is really pissing me off."

Him: "well what if I don't like it. And of course I don't want to go to San Francisco, I hate travelling, I'm just doing it for you."

Me: "well that makes me feel like shit, thanks."

Him: "why would you be mad?"

Me: "forget it. By the way I have one pay check that needs to last the next four weeks b'c I'm paying the mortgage on my own this month b'c you ran out of money...so...I probably can't spend five hundred bucks on you."

Him: "Why didn't you budget better? You know a trip to San Francisco costs a lot."

Me: angry at BF. Also, devoid of all vestiges of holiday cheer, because I don't even care anymore what his face looks like when he opens his present. Also, want to buy a lot of coal and maybe a cactus for BF.

nevada
12-16-2008, 12:30 AM
I hear you. Here is what X-mas is like between me and BF this year.

Him: What are you getting me? I'm taking you to San Francisco, so it'd better be something good, here are some suggestions:

1. Blue Ray Player
2. Laptop
3. Criterion DVDs
etc
etc
4. Also it's my birthday so I expect something big for that. Something like the massive Criterion epic collection that costs $500 it's on sale.

Me: "uh...I kind of wanted to get you something to suprise you, you don't have to take me to San Fran if you dont' want to, btw your turning Christmas into basically a barter is really pissing me off."

Him: "well what if I don't like it. And of course I don't want to go to San Francisco, I hate travelling, I'm just doing it for you."

Me: "well that makes me feel like shit, thanks."

Him: "why would you be mad?"

Me: "forget it. By the way I have one pay check that needs to last the next four weeks b'c I'm paying the mortgage on my own this month b'c you ran out of money...so...I probably can't spend five hundred bucks on you."

Him: "Why didn't you budget better? You know a trip to San Francisco costs a lot."

Me: angry at BF. Also, devoid of all vestiges of holiday cheer, because I don't even care anymore what his face looks like when he opens his present. Also, want to buy a lot of coal and maybe a cactus for BF.

Hmmmmm I don't know. I think you should buy yourself something for Christmas. Like.... a new boyfriend. One with a clue.

Feiss
12-16-2008, 01:22 AM
Hmmmmm I don't know. I think you should buy yourself something for Christmas. Like.... a new boyfriend. One with a clue.

It's complicated, but yes, you're probably right.

alleycat
12-16-2008, 01:29 AM
It's complicated, but yes, you're probably right.
I confess I giggled when I got to the line about the trip to San Francisco costing a lot and you should have budgeted better.

scarletpeaches
12-16-2008, 01:29 AM
Disrespect is never complicated.

scarletpeaches, relationship guru.

RunawayScribe
12-16-2008, 02:09 AM
Your boyfriend sounds like a gem. :/

When I was a kid, my parents kept up the Santa charade until I was about five. I was too cynical and suspicious a child, and they got sick of my questions. What they DID keep up was locking all the gifts in the family cartop carrier with multiple combination locks to keep my brother from breaking in and telling everyone what they were getting. To this day it amuses me.

Feiss
12-16-2008, 02:22 AM
Yeah. Our arguments lead me through a whole gamut of emotions. Laughing, Crying, throwing up.

Anyway, I'm done derailing.

JoNightshade
12-16-2008, 02:23 AM
I've already failed at Christmas present hiding this year. I got hubby an electric guitar, which was supposed to be a surprise. (He'd put it down as kind of a joke on his 'list.') I was planning on keeping it in the trunk until Christmas.

Well, I bought the guitar... and the box didn't fit. I had to wedge it in the back seat, which I couldn't do forever. There's nowhere in our teeny tiny apartment I could possibly hide it so I just brought it in, wrapped it, and hoped for the best.

He confessed the other day that he's pretty sure he knows what's in the box. Sigh.

TerzaRima
12-16-2008, 03:21 AM
Ah yes, this brings back memories of the year my father in law bought me nothing but lingerie...


Sweet fancy Moses. What did your husband do? What did your mother in law do?

And how long did it take you to get the restraining order?

Yeshanu
12-16-2008, 04:51 AM
For some reason my wife decided early on that Santa's gifts would not be wrapped, which simplified things. Granted then the kids know immediately that they got an X-Box (Santa's elves make those?) or a Wii.



My parents used to do that too. It gave them a couple of minutes of extra sleeping time, as we'd go for the unwrapped toys first.

Jess, all too soon it will be over, and your kids will be grown, and you'll be wondering where the magic went. Enjoy it while you can, even if it is a bit of a pain to orchestrate.

Clair Dickson
12-16-2008, 05:07 AM
Geez-- I never considered counting presents or comparing prices as a kid. Of course, I did get a Barbie house lovingly made from cardboard boxes-- and loved it.

My hubby's all disappointed this year because I know some of my gifts. Things were so hectic that when we were out, he bought some things for me. It's not just about the surprise-- shoot when my oldest brother and I were in our teens, we'd go Christmas shopping together: he'd pick what he wanted and I picked what I wanted. We never appreciated the gift less just because we knew what it was.

I'm looking forward to playing S.Claus some day. Though, I think Hubby will have to eat any cookies left out... gluten-free cookies would be a dead give-away that mom is Santa. ;-)

MaryMumsy
12-16-2008, 05:28 AM
Geez-- I never considered counting presents or comparing prices as a kid.

I never did either. But I had a former sister-in-law who kept the mental cash register rolling while gifts were being opened. My MIL got around it by giving us exactly the same things, in different colors. And MIL would give us (me and hubby) extra cash privately. She didn't think we should get less just because we didn't have kids. She believes each family should get the same amount. That SIL is long out of the picture, and the new one doesn't have the same issues.

MM

roncouch
12-16-2008, 05:42 AM
Guess I'm getting old and grouchy. Our kids are grown - our granddaughter is twenty-two. Without little children, the excitement of Christmas is just not there. For the past ten years, my wife and I leave our southern home, and drive nearly six hundred miles north to see our grown kids and granddaughter. We freeze our butts off, spend way too much money on gifts, gift cards, and gas. Humbug.

JustJess
12-16-2008, 06:35 AM
Geez-- I never considered counting presents or comparing prices as a kid. Of course, I did get a Barbie house lovingly made from cardboard boxes-- and loved it.



They're not keeping track, not like that anyway. It's my issue. We take turns each opening one gift. I worry that if after round two the older children are done the younger ones will start getting suspicious about Santa. I could just see my four year old asking, "Was Emily a bad girl? Is that why she only got two presents?" he'd have no concept that her two gifts were the monetary equivalent of his seven.


Sweet fancy Moses. What did your husband do? What did your mother in law do?

And how long did it take you to get the restraining order?

He's an odd bird. A deeply religious man, who hasn't worked in over 20yrs, is not wealthy and has no discernable income. My mother-in-law divorced him many years ago. Other past presents have included jewelry and $500 in cash. He does these things to get a rise out of my husband. He thinks he's making my husband look bad in comparison. It's complicated...and a little creepy.

TerzaRima
12-16-2008, 06:45 AM
It's complicated...and a little creepy.


Mmm.