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Dear care and feeding,
My riddle revolves around giving Christmas presents. I have three siblings. In the past, I have traditionally bought or made a small gift ($10-15) for each of my nieces and nephews, with personal and thoughtful details related to the child and their interests or talents. It adds up, but I think it’s a nice touch as we haven’t been able to have the same amount of quality time with all the kids since the pandemic started. It’s important to me that they feel loved by their aunts and uncles, and gifts are just a small way of showing that.
One sibling and I enjoy giving gifts, but my other two siblings (who are frugal but certainly not impoverished) do not appreciate gifts for their children and have stated that they no longer want to give gifts (or have started giving visibly dirty, used gifts in bad condition). They often make remarks that suggest that we are materialistic because we want to continue any kind of tradition of giving. I had my first child and am disappointed and a little hurt that my child will never receive gifts from my siblings after putting thought, money and emotional effort into thoughtful gifts for all their children for over a decade.
I enjoy giving for the sake of giving and I feel ungrateful for even thinking about it, but it hurts that you have given lovely gifts to all the other children in the family over the years, and my child is the only thing it does never receive gifts from them. I fully understand that gifts are not entitlements, and I feel like a huge spoiled brat for even feeling those thoughts. How do I overcome this grudge? Do I continue to give gifts to the children of siblings who appreciate gifts and leave out the nieces and nephews of ungrateful parents?
– To give or not to give
to give love
This is difficult. On the one hand, I’m inclined to tell you that you should stop gifting the children of your siblings who refuse to participate in the tradition because it seems they have real opposition to the ritual and don’t want to participate. Conversely, your nieces and nephews have become accustomed to receiving your thoughtful gifts and it seems somewhat unfair to deny them this based on their parents’ choices. If your siblings really felt the “materialism” of gift-giving that strongly, they probably should never have allowed their children to receive gifts from you.
You are not ungrateful if you are sad that your child will not experience the joy of receiving gifts from most of his aunts and uncles; You’ve worked hard to show your love for your munchies over the holiday season and it can certainly be disappointing that your siblings don’t want to attend. I encourage you to keep giving with a pure heart and do your part to make the holidays special for the children in your family. Given how your siblings have handled gifts, your gifts can make a big difference to their children, who may not experience the same type of Christmas that you give your own children. It would be hurtful for them if they stopped getting your trusty, thoughtful gifts only to learn you’re still giving them to their cousins. Keep doing what you are doing for the kids and make their spirits bright.
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