Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Disappointed. But not surprised.

Christmas is approaching. Last year I made gifts for most of my family; my mother received a Laminaria, my sister got a sewn Birdie Sling, my niece got a baby cardigan, and my father received a Cobblestone Sweater (apparently not blogged...).

I had asked my brother and his girlfriend what they would like me to make for them. I sent an email with a couple of suggestions and attached links and pictures so they had a choice. I suggested different bags (handbags, sports bags, nappy bags and grocery bags), laundry sacks, pillow cases, potholders, placemats and something else I can't remember. I asked them to give me hints on what kind of colours and patterns they'd like. Three weeks later I got a response telling me that "I didn't have to make them anything as they didn't need it".

I was disappointed. But not surprised. (My sister and I ended up giving them a Soda Streamer. One that boyfriend and I had lying in the garage in its unopened original box...)

This year, I didn't even get to ask my brother what he, his girlfriend and daughter wanted for Christmas. Yesterday I was emailed a wish list. A very detailed such. For my niece, it told me the kind of clothing. The colour. The size. And the shop in which I'd find it. For my sister-in-law, it told me the brand of lotion and hair conditioner that she wanted. And the name of the skin therapist she wanted a gift certificate to go and see. (Who, by the way, is a friend of hers.) My brother told me what XBox-game and cooking knives he wanted.

I'm disappointed. But not surprised.

This Christmas-gift-giving-thing is becoming more and more ridiculous every year. We are, at least most of us, grown up people. Most of us have salaries. My brother makes more money than I do. Why should I get him expensive XBox-games? And why would I go to a store and pick up a top for his daughter when they've already seen it in the store and knows everything about it? Why didn't they get it when they were there? And buying face creams and hair conditioner for his girlfriend? Forget it. What's next; cereal and milk?

And what's the point of exchanging gift cards with one another?

I'm frustrated about it. And I can't decide if I should just keep quiet, pick something from their lists and hand it over or if I should suggest us not exchanging gifts anymore... And thereby stir things up.


Tricia said...

Oh wow! I would be disappointed too. Gift suggestions should be requested from the giver, but never sent unsolicited. I would probably not buy anything from the list! What fun is that? A list should be used for general suggestions not so specific as this shirt, in this color, from this store. Good luck!

Anya said...

I would suggest not exchanging gifts at all. Around Xmas time, people go mad and turn into greedy consumers - the kind that retailers cater to. Here in the States, they even get themselves into more consumer debt.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sweetie, that's awful! I can understand why you're so frustrated. Where's the fun of exchanging gifts when you've been told what to give? I agree with Tricia--ignore the list!

Oh, maybe you should go to the Knit Picks site, download the free pattern for the "Grumpy Lump of Coal," and knit one for everyone! That'll learn 'em!


Geek Knitter said...

Funny, I can remember being on the other side of this. My aunt pestered me relentlessly for months to get her a wish list. I told her I'd rather she not get me anything, that I just wanted to have a nice time with my family. I finally gave in and made a list of books and music, including the stores where I knew she could get the best deals.

She didn't' get me a single thing off of the list. I got a bunch of tacky things she thought I would 'like better.'

The next year when she asked for a list again, I told her to hunt up the previous one.

Christmas brings out some strange parts of people's personalities, doesn't it?

Monika said...

Hehe, I'm all for stirring things up. That's not the spirit of Christmas!

Anne Lindenfeld said...

Oh, I share your frustration with how out-of-hand gift giving has become. I'm trying to convince my family and friends to forgo a present for me and give a donation to my favorite charity instead. Image my thrill, when my best friend decided to do just that this year! Maybe it's a trend starting?

I'm approaching 50yo, and really don't need any more stuff. Other than the charitable giving, I'd love a "dinner at my place" chit or two. I'd much rather share a hotdog in a friend's kitchen than a fancy dinner out.

essjay said...

In my family we typically do lists and I don't mind that. My family knows I'm picky and they'd prefer to get me something they know that I would like. There are the occasional surprises that are always appreciated. We've always done lists however since that is our tradition it is okay - I'd be stunned too if it weren't our tradition and was handed a list. We have stopped exchanging gifts with some family members - it just doesn't seem worth it. I hope it all works out.

Katie said...

I get to see my siblings so rarely that it had become more and more tricky to know what they'd want as a gift. We got into a ridiculous habit of giving gift tokens for the sake of it. Two years ago, we agreed that we'd stop with Christmas gifts and just make sure that we all go out for dinner together around Christmas time. It's wonderful! I just wish I could convince my boyfriend to agree this with his sister too!