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Holiday pressure and guilt

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Suzette, Dec 13, 2021.

  1. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That time of the year again. I hate Christmas. I really do.

    Please understand, I am not looking to fix anything here. I just want to talk about Christmas and guilt.

    In my family I grew up with a weird pressure to give people "the perfect gift" or somehow experience some humanity trancendant experience like in "It's a Wonderful Life" and other fairy tales. Christmas is insanely full of pressure to show you care by being extra, uber, thoughtful and bring "meaning" (whatever that is) to giving to the ones you love.

    I am not sure I have explained that well but it is the best I can do. My mom will always say "Oh you don't have to spend money. Just give me some little thoughtful thing. Some neat little treasure you have found". So I try to do just that but she will remain un moved. Because somehow that thing is not special enough. If she doesn't absolutely love the thing she will decide you weren't trying or were not "thoughtful" enough. Blech!

    And since we retired, we have no money anyway. So we said "no gifts" years ago and never expect or want any. But every year I feel this agonizing guilt for not giving gifts!

    And the thing is, I don't know what I would give anyone anyway! No, no, I am not trying to get help to figure that out. I don't want to give gifts just because it is expected that I do so.

    My whole family will run around the stores and compare "want" lists all in an effort to "make the day special". But I hate it.

    Somehow the whole thing is completely lacking in any real meaning at all for me.

    Usually we are in Mexico so I have managed to avoid this stuff. But this year it is beginning to look like we won't get home by Chistmas. So the guilt and pointlessness is building up.
     
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  2. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes V.I.P Member

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    My family was the same. It always turned into a strange competitive sport of whose gift was the best. And l hated that.

    And my step-father who was anal piece of fruitcake would go on and on about the 20,000 reasons of why the corkscrew he bought my mom was German engineered and was the best on the market. He was an civil engineer with all the weirdness to prove that to. Holidays, so glad l can escape them since l am on the naughty list with my family and l see the beauty of it now.
     
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  3. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Retailers' advertising is seductive and successful in driving the "perfect (expensive!) gift for everyone" mantra in the US. As far as family goes, give them what you want to and can afford to. If they are displeased, that is their problem - not yours! The pressure and greed of Christmas is why we have spent the holidays in Mexico for many years. The Mexicans have a much better attitude toward the "reason for the season" than Americans. I'm jealous that you can spend the time in Mexico! This will be our second year stuck in the US due to Covid.

    I often bake or cook something for gifts such as cookies, pies, cakes, flavored popcorn, homemade bread, spiced nuts, jellies and jams. This year, I'll make pizza muffins for some people, grown nieces and nephews, neighbors, the mail lady, etc. It's just a recipe I made up with bobka bread dough filled with diced cheese, pepperoni or other sausage, oregano or other pizza-type flavors, topped with grated Parmesan and "everything Bagel" seasoning - baked in a muffin pan, like savory cupcakes. I put the muffins wrapped in wax paper in cheap paper lunch bags that the grandkids decorate with magic markers or watercolors, whatever design they are inspired to make. They cut up old Christmas cards and glue the pieces on the bags. The bags they decorate are the best gift of all to me!
     
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  4. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Oh, I wasn't clear then.

    Yes, as you describe it, your version is what my mother pretends we are doing. BUT one had better not dissapoint her with your lack of creativeness and thoughtfulness. In other words, no matter what I do, I can't change the reciever. She does not recieve she pretends she will.

    "Well, that was neat I guess"
    "It is too bad you couldn't get to the crafts fairs this summer. They always have really special things that don't cost a lot"
    "It's fine. I know you were really busy"

    Nope. Can't change the reciever.

    And it has gotten to the point where I just don't care. I don't want to do anything. For anybody. Except for my son.

    For him, I want to give him the moon. But he won't get that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
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  5. Wulven

    Wulven Active Member

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    That's not what Christmas is about anyway. We try to give gifts people like whether they have one for us or not. It's just the right thing to do. If they don't we did the right thing anyway. It just feels good to do.
     
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  6. Wulven

    Wulven Active Member

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    Because your worried he will turn into a wolf?:p
     
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  7. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    One of the great things about social isolation is you can ignore it mostly. I rarely turn the tv on and often forget about it until some shop assistant will say, 'so you ready for xmas', 'what are you doing for xmas' etc. It's utterly pagan anyway, no need for me to take part in saturnalia.

    It's no wonder the murder rate soars at xmas.
     
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  8. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My husband actually drops the "Chistmas" and goes staight for "Midwinter Festival".
     
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  9. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    And here I am, "inconveniently" happening to be on the night side of my rotating sleep schedule when the Christmas party happens in a few days. OOPS, darn, silly me, guess I will be asleep at the time, what a tragic mistake.

    haha

    No seriously though, it's a total waste of time. I always hear "but it's the only time X family members are ever around" which of course means I barely know them at all, provided I can even remember their names (in many cases, I cant). It's just a bunch of awkward "Hello" and "I'm fine" statements for the first few minutes and then I go stare at a clock until the first opportunity to leave.
     
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  10. Binary_Bark

    Binary_Bark Active Member

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    It's a thing to have to go through every year with family.
    Luckily or unluckily in our family, christmas was never really a big deal, gift giving wise. But there was the irritation and forcefulness of the religion onto everyone.

    With my ASD and some other things that have been done to me or happened because of family members, I've cut that huge piece of rot off, things sort of turned out well. Cutting family off is not easy for everyone, and it could also be a double-edged sword.
    We put up 'defences' to deal with certain things and usually doing so could only make things worse, catch-22 situation.

    In my house, just to be different to these people, we celebrate Yule
     
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  11. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    I can't afford to get anyone presents this year. :eek:
     
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  12. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Christmas never meant that much to me. Sometimes I'd get something good from my father but usually it was just another round of clothing. I never got them anything because I never had any money.
     
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  13. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thank you everyone!

    I have been thinking a lot about these things today. Some of you probably got updates on those threads and I don't have the energy to write it all out again.

    I will just say I am feeling bettter.

    @Fino, I haven't had money for gifts since we retired. But I came up with a couple of cheap gifts that I think are pretty thoughtful and fit my budget.

    My mother has been complaining that she can not find good fruit syrup. That is something I can do!

    And for my son I came up with a sort of cool and funny gift. You see he likes to travel by plane but he can get the cheapest fairs by not taking any luggage. Just his day pack. And he really is a bidet type of guy but cheap hotels in the U.S. do not have bidets. So the next best thing are wet wipes but they take up too much room in a day pack. So I got him compressed wipes! They are wipes compressed into little pellets a little bigger than a lifesaver candy. Just get them wet with water and voila! They expand into an 8x8 inch sheet. Cleaver mommy. :p
     
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  14. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I get the guilt with family birthdays. I have a reputation for giving really thoughtful presents. And I feel enormous pressure from that, because I feel like if I don’t buy an amazing present, people will read something into that. So I just keep setting the bar higher and feeling anxious and wondering whether my present is good enough. I hate it.
     
  15. Suzette

    Suzette Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I, Suzette, officially absolve you, Bolletje, of ANY responsibility for being the worlds best birthday gift giver! You are now free to give mediocre gifts or no gift at all as befits your own needs. You are now free. By the power vested in me, by the state of my a.s.d.
    Enjoy your life.
     
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  16. SimonSays

    SimonSays Time is an illusion I seem to have a lot of V.I.P Member

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    What a strange thing.

    Giving a gift is supposed to be a heartfelt thing and it usually makes the giver feel good about giving and the receiver feel good about receiving. Somebody has given something the receiver might like, or might be amused by, or might need. And yet for some it turns into something they hate doing because of the expectation and weight of the rules they have imposed upon themselves as to what can be given and how it should be received. So this thoughtful, light, unconditional act, becomes something that is heavy and full of anxiety. It makes no sense to me. There needs to be some kind of reset button pressed.

    The giver who has a reputation of giving thoughtful presents must stop giving for a bit.

    “This year I will not be giving anyone a present so there will be no pressure on me to give or any expectation on you to receive. I will remove the uncomfortable feeling of deciding that what has been given might not be good enough. Next year I will start again. I will have lowered the bar so that a gift from me is to be symbolic of the feeling I have to recognise you or the occasion.”

    Personally, I only want to give unexpectedly. Not because it is time or expected, or society tells me that I should.

    ‘I saw this and thought of you. Happy Tuesday!’

    If it's a birthday, unless it is a kid, forget it. Bake a cake or cook a meal. Do not buy anything. Not even a card. If you must send a card make one yourself. Keep it simple. Wrap presents in old magazines and use string. Recycle as much as possible. The planet is full of tat people purchase that ends up in landfills real quick. Let's not waste our earth’s resources if we can help it.
     
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  17. Binary_Bark

    Binary_Bark Active Member

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  18. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I will be eternally grateful.
     
  19. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    Suzanne I like how the thread is also about letting ourselves un-pressure and un-guilt. :)
     
  20. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    I gave my wife a bicycle rack that mounts on a trailer hitch. Next, I have to install the hitch.

    Gave my daughter a deck of Chinese playing cards.

    That's about it. My Christmas and Chanukah are not about gifts.
     
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