Every family has its own approach to Christmas presents and Santa. But one mom’s insistence on giving Santa credit for all the gifts has her own father “in tears.”How I See Life/Flickr
Mumsnet user SingleKrisKringle (the aunt) sought advice about the family drama that has erupted between her sister (the mom) and her father (the grandfather) over Christmas gifts.
Grandfather “dotes on” his 3-year-old grandson and is looking forward to spoiling him for the holiday. However, the mom has asked that all family presents be delivered before Christmas Eve because they plan to tell their son that the presents were all brought by Santa. The worried aunt wrote:
She wants him to believe, says we can say relatives told Santa to buy the presents they bought and still hand over a little gift from us. She thinks this will stop people going overboard, and I think that will most definitely be a result as most people want to ‘see their face’ when they open gifts.
However, the mom’s decision has the grandfather deeply upset:
He’s concerned my nephew […] will wonder why his family aren’t buying for him and will see other people exchange gifts. […] Also gratitude I suppose, if he thinks someone else is giving the gifts he won’t be thanking anyone.
The aunt admitted that the request could come from the fact that the family went overboard with gifts in the past. She added that the grandfather wouldn’t be happy with seeing his grandson open only one present from him:
I can definitely confirm dad got him more than one gift last year. Truthfully it was more than one sack. I wasn’t as bad but I know I got too much. We could see he was overwhelmed and my sister was not pleased so we would have cut right down anyway. A conversation was had in the new year which was expected and totally fair.
But she hoped to find a compromise that would leave both mom and grandfather satisfied:
My head is telling me keep quiet it’s her decision, I don’t want things to be strained for Christmas. I love my sister dearly but she can be very stubborn. On the other hand my dad being so sad did break my heart a little bit.
Many of those who responded were quick to point out that the mom was out of bounds in trying to direct the way that other people gave presents. One wrote:
Your sister can’t dictate the conditions or circumstances under which people choose to give gifts. Demanding that presents are handed over to her in advance is pretty ridiculous really. My extended family just said Santa left a few extra presents for me and my brother at their house. No big deal.
Another commenter added:
It’s a gift. He should give it how he pleases. Your sister can not control how other people give gifts. I certainly wouldn’t dream of it.
And several suggested that she try to talk to the mom about how upset their father was:
Can’t you have a word with your sister. Just tell her you can’t not say anything as you’ve never seen your dad so upset. It really is sad, the best bit about Christmas is the kids. For your dad not to see his gs open his gift is just taking away all the joy for everyone else.
However, there were several commenters who saw the sister’s side of the debate:
I think your dad is being a bit silly in the sense that a three-year-old is probably only going to be asked what Father Christmas brought him anyway and is unlikely to really think about whether he did or did not get individual presents from certain people or not. The payoff is whether he likes them, not whether he credits certain people with them.
The fact that grandfather was determined to give sackfuls of presents had some thinking that he was being insensitive to his daughter:
It is quite selfish of your dad to continue going overboard when the only person who gets any fun and satisfaction from it is him. You could try pointing out to him that two well chosen presents will mean far more to his grandson and will be more likely to be remembered and more importantly, actually played with!
Those who supported the mom pointed to the problems that too many presents can cause for parents:
I understand the dismay when family goes overboard. In the past, my parents have outshone Santa. Plus, we are left with a house full of kid crap presents, which is just insane!
One commenter added:
I don’t necessarily agree with how your sister is managing the situation but maybe her reaction is in response to people ignoring her about gift giving in previous years. I’ve been there, buried under mountains of plastic crap that you spend the rest of the year tripping over because people need to get their 60 second fix of, “watching their little faces light up.”
In the end, the worried aunt acknowledged that it was a common family trait to go overboard with presents — both for the kids and adults. With the mom agreeing that everyone could present one gift to her son (with others coming from Santa), the aunt decided to support her sister’s request:
Think this could be the start of a change for all of us. I think I will speak to my dad first and reiterate all the reasons here why us buying too much may be out of love but actually it could be upsetting for [my sister]. I’m not sure he’ll get it given the fact he thinks, more presents more fun but I have enough from this thread to give him food for thought.
And there was some comfort to be found in the fact that it was a problem that came from a good place. As the aunt wrote:
“I don’t think either side is coming off great, but we do all love each other, so [I] just want to get a sense of how to tackle this.”