Am I wrong for feeling negatively about the agreement made regarding Christmas gift exchange? (details inside)
Okay, so… on Christmas Eve, my mom’s side of the family gets together for a meal, gifts, and visiting. Since Nan… quite literally the matriarch of the family… passed away a few years ago, it’s been my grandmother and her sister that “run” the get-together. They decide on the menu, split the food costs, and if any decisions need to be made about any of it, they do so together.
Just this week, my great-aunt (who has been hosting Christmas Eve since I was little), asked my grandmother how she felt about nixing the gift exchange between families, essentially doing away with half of a family tradition that’s been going on as long as even they have been alive. My grandmother hated the idea, but then they discussed it more. My aunt’s family essentially has about a dozen people to shop for, while my grandmother’s family has only 7, so financially, it’s very imbalanced. The guys never have wish lists, so either a gift is bought without a lot of meaning so the person has something to open, or a gift card/money is given… which everyone in the family hates because it has no thought behind it… either way, there’s a lot of agonizing over what to get. Same for a lot of the kids… there are never any ideas to go around.
They decided that the gift-giving across families would no longer happen. (Both families have always done their “inter-family” gifts on Christmas morning, and that won’t change)
I feel really sour about the whole thing. Granted, it’s a financial relief for sure. The family grows, it gets expensive. Way more so than it ever has been, obviously, because children grow up, they have multiple kids, those kids grow up and have spouses, etc. etc. Also, the tradition always involved watching the person opening, and now nobody really does that because it goes on so long.
But it’s tradition. It’s the way we’ve always done it. It’s the same as it’s been for 60+ years. A couple of years ago, my aunt wanted to do a hot pasta meal instead of our tradition of cold food (a throwback to the Catholic upbringing that involved midnight mass and eating dinner afterward… cold cuts and salads because it was so late)... and everyone hated it. It’s not as though the food was bad… it was certainly cheaper and less effort… but it wasn’t the same. The very next year, we were back to the old menu.
I doubt next year will be back to the old tradition… since it’s a lot more than just the meal.
Now, for me, I make crocheted gifts, and each family gets one. Well, now at least one of the kids is in his own home with a girlfriend… would I have to start adding a seventh project to my list? Or still do the “core” families? So for me, it’s a big relief too. Plus, my carpal tunnel in both wrists is immensely painful rushing to get the Christmas projects done.
And yet, it still seems all very “Bah Humbug” to me. Am I wrong for feeling this way?