I can't afford my family's Christmas expectations, how to handle this appropriately?
November 19, 2009 12:04 PM Subscribe
My husband lost his job, we're not sure how we're going to pay the rent in January, and my family is being assholes about Christmas gifts.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (64 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is a little complicated so I'm going to try and break it down.
1. my mother and stepfather (no kids)
2. my dad and stepmom
3. stepsister A + husband + 1 small kid
4. stepsister B + husband + 1 small kid + 1 teenager
Mom and stepdad don't want us to buy them anything. They have been extremely generous. Dad and stepmom see Christmas unfolding as usual; we buy gifts for them (2 adults) the kids (3) and we each pick one name amongst siblings (so, 2 adults per family)
On his side, there are 6 adults and 5 small children. There's no expectation to get the adults anything on his side, and we're all universally broke anyway.
So, in total we're expected to buy for 8 kids and 4 adults. This is money we Do Not Have - it will go on credit cards. I have no qualms about buying stuff for kids, they're not resposnsible for our poor decision making. I would hope the adults would be more understanding, but when I suggested that we not draw names for the adults this year, I got the dirtiest look. Both of my stepsisters and their husbands are working; my stepsisters have well paying jobs. They know my husband lost his job, they know my job doesn't pay well. Appearances may be deceiving because we bought nice cars when we were both working. We made some bad decisions, I won't lie and we are working hard to rectify this. But it infuriates me that I am expected to spend $150 on adults that don't need anything, when we're already going to spend ~$200 on the kids.
Religious appeals won't work, Christmas is pretty much a secular thing. My stepmom is all OMG tradition and her daughters have inherited this attitude.
Also, we have exhausted my mother's and father-in-laws generosity, so we may have to ask my dad & stepmom for a loan if my husband doesn't find a job in December. My husband is really and truly embarrassed about taking their help, he doesn't want my dad to think less of him (my dad is old school) and he'd rather put the gifts on credit cards than make this an issue. Me, I'm just plain pissed off that they'd rather get a f--kin sweater vest than help us buy groceries. If you haven't guessed, we're not close to begin with, but there's not been any open animosity either.