Why do they want to steal my Christmas Zen???

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mattsmom277, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member


    So many of you know that my mother is bipolar (and I suspect some major personality disorder mixed in there). She has been on a medication for over 15 years, it is NOT a long term medication, and it is not a mood stabilizer or anything. She and I barely, if ever, speak. My choice.
    My older brother lives in the same complex of townhouses as our mother. Codependent isn't strong enough a word for their level of dysfunction.

    Anyhow, I've had the same Christmas plans for many years. They know this. Part of that is that I don't exchange gifts, period. We buy for easy child and difficult child. We buy for S/O's daughter. Sometimes S/O and I exchange, sometimes we don't. We buy for S/O's mother who is a sweetheart. Usually easy child or difficult child bug me to buy for my mother. I send the gift via my brother. Aside from that, we celebrate here with the 4 of us. A quiet family centered holiday done how we enjoy it, with phone calls on Christmas Day to extended family to send greetings, etc.

    My brother is pushing me to madness!! First he was bugging me to do what I did years ago, host the entire extended family for a large turkey dinner. Nope. Then it was me hosting a potluck (which would end up being me doing it all anyhow) at a banquet type room in a cousins apartment building. Now it is him bugging me daily to go to his house on Christmas day. easy child is with bio dad and step mom on the 25th. S/O, difficult child and I will go the movie for 3 back to back films that day. The theater is near to my brother (and mothers) house. He's relentless in trying to get us to go there before the movies for a few hours, or afterwards. Nope. My mother will be there and none of us can cope with her.

    easy child initially asked that we send (via my brother) fancy platters to my mother. Cold cuts, cheese trays, pickle trays, veggie trays, baking trays etc. She then changed her mind, and we picked a very lovely leather bound bible for my mother. (My mother is very religious) We had it inscribed and wrapped it and sent it via my brother.

    Well .... that was soooooooo the wrong thing to do. My mother opened it upon recieving it. Oh well, at least she'll enjoy it. I don't mind if she doesn't mind not having a gift on the 25th to open. My brother called. How much was the bible? Umm, why??? It looks very expensive. Umm, well it wasn't cheap but it is gorgeous and it will last her lifetime. Yeah, but how much was it?? Umm, I'm not comfortable sharing that information, it isn't important anyhow. easy child picked it out and it was truly coming from easy child's heart, buying a stunning bible for her grandmother, the grandmother she can't be around but who is in her heart. I'd have paid anything it cost since easy child's heart was so involved in picking it.

    My brother now believes that since we could afford a pricey gift for my mother, that we have no "excuse" to not buy for him and for his kids (all 5 of them, plus his former step son who he still has visitation with). Umm, no, we can't afford it. S/O and I have scrapped ideas of exchanging ourselves. We don't have the budget. And it isn't just about money. It's about not wanting to trap ourselves any longer in the feeling that Christmas is a time to show love via "stuff". it is offensive to me. I don't see my brother often. I barely if ever see my nieces and nephews. At Christmas, I would enjoy time spent together in a healthy way, feeling bonded etc. That would be a true gift. I miss his rugrats.

    Then I got "the list" anyhow. A list for every one of his 5 kids, and his former step son. Umm, huh????????? Yup. A LIST. Not a single item each would enjoy, but a list for each. And this AFTER i stated that I really do not plan to ever wrap my holidays in gift giving again but I would love a visit (without our mother) at his home or mine, when his kids are with him. That I'd make a special lunch, special dessert and we can play games with the kids, maybe take them all sliding or skating or something. Apparently that isn't okay with him. It's about sparkly shiny wrapping paper covered parcels :(.

    He then told me his wish list. A pricey mp3 player with video capability, binoculars with built in digital camera, a acoustic guitar. I am not even buying my beloved spouse a gift!!

    So, my time isn't enough. A nice lunch, games, a fun outdoor activity with all the kids, that isn't enough. It was made clear that I wont' be seeing his kids for a fun filled day if I am going to disappoint them by not recieving a christmas gift from their only aunt.

    So I told him I was really sorry he didn't think the kids would enjoy a fun day spent together. That I happen to think that they'd thoroughly enjoy it, but its his choice and if that wasn't what he wanted, then I simply send good wishes to them all and hope that they enjoy their time together during their holidays.

    He also went so far as to tell our mother that we were coming there on the 25th, never did I say or imply or let him think it for even a second. So now she's apparently upset that we've "cold shouldered" her.

    Have I mentioned enough that I'm really looking forward to S/O finishing his aviation program so that the military posts us far far away?

    I resent people stealing my Christmas Zen
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I so totally hear you. That would infuriate me .
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Festivus. The holiday for the rest of us...

    I think I would probably send a Christmas card saying "I hope you all will have a wonderful Christmas. We will be keeping you in our hearts." Or you could tell him that you spent so much on the bible that you blew your budget, and perhaps you could make time to stop by without gifts. That would get him good and riled up. He' probably tell you to forget it!

    He gets to plan his holiday, and you get to plan yours. I hope he doesn't ruin it for his children with his selfishness.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Christmas Eve, a few friends (OK, two), and my parents are coming over. husband has to work and Jett will be at BM's, so it will be those 4, me and Onyxx. We'll get together about 5, then munch & exchange our gifts (all home made - that was the rule - one per person), and go to church at 8 PM.

    Then on the way home, Onyxx and I will wander looking at lights, go to bed late, get up late and laze around. Jett doesn't come home till noon on the 26th.

    On the 26th, after he comes home, the 4 of us will go down to my parents', everyone will open their two gifts, and we'll come home. More sleep. Church on Sunday and then I'm off for a glorious week!!!
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    FWIW I agree with Witz. Nice card. Nada mas.
  6. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    That would make me mad too! I'd send a nice card and be done with it.

    And I'm sorry but I couldn't help snickering a little bit - he sounds EXACTLY like Randy Quaid's character in the movie, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"! If you haven't seen it, you need to. You may see this all in a whole new light and at least be able to laugh about it!
  7. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I am actually laughing. S/O is finished his exams, so he's home not until Jan. 6 (YAY!)

    I was venting to him, when it hit me. I should buy my brother a heavy duty flashlight! So he could find his way, since it's really dark when you have your head stuck so far up your BEEP! ;)
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I keep thinking about things and how they would be if my kids were all grown and I didnt have the grands. Like if I was in the position of Witz. Grown kids and no little ones to do for anymore. I dont think holidays would mean much anymore. I would probably still do 4th of July fireworks because I love them. I love the concerts and I love watching the firework shows. I would miss the trick or treating horribly. I kept up the easter eggs and easter baskets with my boys until the grandkids came along so that would probably still be going on. But unless the adult kids did something for Thanksgiving or Xmas, it really wouldnt be much. I would probably just want to stay home and watch football and send the obligatory gift. Probably a gift card to be honest.

    Im really glad I have the little ones because it kept me from going too deep back into that hermit mode.
  9. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    Don't let them steal your zen. Your holiday plans sound wonderful. Your family knows your plans and shouldn't be manipulating you into changing them. Send a card if you want. Since it sounds like the nieces and nephews don't live with brother, send them a card and make plans for the wonderful day out. They will love being with their Aunt in spite of their Dad.

    Other than that, screen your calls, delete his messages without even listening to them and enjoy your wonderful zen-like holiday. (And I'll keep my fingers crossed that next year you are stationed far, far away from them all).
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!


    Toss the lists and carry on as usual. If they call again, don't answer the phone. That's what answering machines are for. If they're gonna act like solicitors, then you have to implement your own "Do Not Call" list!
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Maintain your zen, definitely. Your plans sound fine...don't let him get to you.

    While we don't have little ones around (until February-yay for Maddie!), I love presents. Everybody's presents. I like buying gifts, giving gifts, watching people unwrap their gifts...Hubby says it's just curiosity on my part, a polite way to say I'm nosy(?). I also check out people's food in restaurants...things just look so good when you don't have to cook them!
  12. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I love presents too. I'm human ;) . I love the kids smiles. When money was better, I loved picking that special something for family, for my nieces and nephews. Even without going overboard, I did enjoy at least getting one gift for everyone I care about. It just became so stressful for many years financially that it overshadowed the holiday. So we made a new tradition of keeping gifts within the house.
    Its funny. S/O was going to buy me a Kindle (I'm a book worm). I was going to get him a cool electronic thing he wanted for years now. Then we knew we couldn't swing one of those, let alone both. So we've decided to not swap. But oddly, I'm as tickled as can be that he was going to get me the Kindle. I know he knew that I'd have leaped off the sofa and squeal with joy if I'd opened that. And somehow, I have that warm glow of being thought of anyhow. (We do plan in Feb-March to exchange those things, when Christmas is long past)

    My brother called tonight. Not to speak about plans or gifts, but since he called ... ;)
    I mentioned I'd been out earlier this evening and finished last minute things for my kids and felt so relieved to be done purchasing. I mentioned that I had bought a gingerbread house kit for myself and S/O to build, one for easy child and one for difficult child. I picked up an extra one and have portioned bags of candies for decorating (so they dont' get eaten up!) and extended a invitation for him to come visit with the kids, they can have a great time visiting and decorating the house, and they can take it home to enjoy looking at before eating it. He actually seemed tickled by that. Perhaps I'll get a visit? I can't blame the kids if they don't all come over, its up to him really.

    Other than that, I reclaimed my Zen dang nabbit. (For now anyhow, who knows what bullying will loom in coming days lol) S/O and I just spent 5 hours decking out our gingerbread house. I couldn't believe he did it with me! Christmas carols were playing, he made me about 4-5 cups of hot tea. He built the coolest ladder to the chimney out of pieces of candy cane. It looks so cool! We had the roof collapse half way through our hard work and we laughed so long and hard at the looks of shock on our faces, my sides hurt.

    I'm so grateful for my S/O. Even a broke Christmas with S/O is terrific. Thank goodness laughter is free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I better go give that man a hug ... he makes every day great and the worst of worst days more than just bearable)