[PostingForGirlfriendFilter] What to do about my girlfriend's mother's excessive gift-giving?
So my girlfriend has the same problem every year at around this time (both around Christmas and her birthday, which is also in Dec.) with the gifts her mother sends. If it were simply a case of receiving gifts she didn't like, the obvious answer would be to just accept the gifts graciously and lie to the mother, but there is quite a bit more to the situation. In looking for similar threads, I found this thread
which should give you some idea of the types of gifts she buys. Her mother is really quite unreasonable about the whole gift giving experience in the following ways:
-We have a small apartment, and since we are both in our 20s, we tend to move around a lot. My girlfriend has told her repeatedly that we don't have room for large gifts or things that take up a lot of space, but she insists on sending whatever she has picked out regardless of size. She also tends to send a lot of gifts at once, when we really do not have room in our apartment. My girlfriend has often requested entertainment such as CDs, DVDs, etc. that she can enjoy without filling up our apartment, but the mother will not listen to gift requests. We have actually ended up taking many of her gifts to Goodwill by the bagful just to free up space in our apartment. This affects me too, as I don't like a cluttered apartment.
-The mother is completely against "practical" gifts. In this interpretation, practical means anything my girlfriend might actually enjoy as well as mundane items that we need. We are both recently out of school, don't have much money, and would actually really appreciate it if she sent us a gift we could use. Actually my girlfriend would be quite happy if she didn't send any gifts, but gave her peace of mind by paying off some of her bills or helping her with student loans, or even a gift certificate to a chain store, but the mother won't hear of such practical gifts. Her idea of an ideal gift is a decoration for the apartment (which we don't need) or more furniture (definitely don't need).
-The gifts come with stipulations. Knowing that my girlfriend actually doesn't like many of the gifts she gets, she continues to buy the same types of gifts but will then tell my girlfriend not to give away or return any of the gifts. She expects my girlfriend to keep every single thing she gets her for all of time. Our apartment is literally filled with boxes holding previous years' gifts, and they just sit there. If it were just a matter of a few gifts, we could take them out when she came to visit, but it is small gifts by the dozens.
-The returnability of the gifts is virtually null anyway. It would be great if my girlfriend could return the gifts she doesn't like and use the money to buy something that would make her happy, but while the mother spends quite a bit of money on the gifts, they cannot really be sold on ebay or returned to a store.
-There is the issue of taste. The mother uses gift-giving to impose her tastes on my girlfriend, who feels some obligation to keep the gifts even if she doesn't like them. She doesn't understand my girlfriend's tastes at all, and sees my girlfriend's dislike of her gifts as a character flaw. She blatantly picks out gifts that she
would like without thinking about my girlfriend's wants at all. Like I said before, in our apartment of limited space, we would like to set the decor with items of our choosing. She also does not know my girlfriend's size as far as clothing goes and routinely gets clothing that is too big for her.
-She attaches sentimental value to everything
. Not just to the occasional gift that clearly took some thought and effort to pick out or that she made herself, but to little knick-knacks, paperclips, the boxes that the gifts come in, shoes, clothing, small pillows, everything has so much meaning and sentiment attatched to it, which notches up the guilt factor quite a bit.
-My girlfriend and I are concerned about the environment, and we are upset with the wastefulness of the gift-giving. There is the excessive packaging she uses (much of which is non-recyclable) as well as the cost in fuel to ship large items across the country. Once again, smaller gifts would solve this problem, but the mother is persistent.
I know this is coming across as us sounding terribly ungrateful and bratty, but this happens every single year, and all the guilt associated with the expectations of the mother really wears on my girlfriend, and make her hate receiving gifts when it is something that should make her happy. She has tried everything, from politely suggesting gifts (doesn't work), to asking the mother to donate the money to charity rather than spending it on her (to which she says that she will donate money to charity and
buy gifts for her), to asking her to forego gifts alltogether (she won't). This upsets me, since I see the mother spending lots of money on gifts for her daughter without caring that my girlfriend doesn't like the gifts at all, when she could spend a lot
less and make my girlfriend a lot
happier. I suppose it'll be clear to most of you that this isn't the only issue that exists between my girlfriend and her mom, but it is one that comes up every year without fail. How do we end the madness?