Festive AMA question 2

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Every year I answer festive questions submitted to my google form, and post the answers here.

Today’s question is: what do i get my family(that i hate and have a horrible relationship with) for christmas 2022

So here’s some assumptions I’m making here:

  • Presents are expected and it would cause more trouble to not give gifts
  • You don’t want to put too much time or effort because you don’t have a good relationship with them and maybe they don’t deserve your time and effort.
  • You don’t want to purposely get them somthing that shows your hatred, but you don’t want to make it seem like you think fondly of them

This I have experience with so here’s some tips I’ve used.

Generic things: gift cards, plants, food
Gift cards are always easy – and if there’s something local or specifc (so local coffee shop over starbucks) then it looks like you’ve put thought in, and you’re supporting a local business
Plants: Poinsettia plants are related to Christmas, and are pretty. Herbs if they’re into cooking
Food: I’ve bought people cheeseboards before, it’s relatively easy to pick up a semi-nice wooden board, a couple of cheeses, some chutney, some crackers and be done. Do they like wine? Coffee? Tea?

Generic for specific humans: Motifs/patterns, hobbies, etc
I love butterflies. Always have. So I’ve received a lot of presents with butterflies on them: mugs, notebooks, pillows. And I liked them more than a generic christmas toiletry set. So if there’s something like that they like – a pattern, and animal, something. Go for it.
Hobbies: just get them something basic for a hobby they have. Or one they used to have and don’t any more. Yarn, fabric, tools, etc

Hop on a bandwagon: Get other people to do the work
Ask someone else what they’re getting said family member. Is it something you can contribute money to? So they’re getting a coffee machine, you can help get them a better coffee machine? Or something that you can bolt your present on to. So in the above example, you get them some coffee, or a set of espresso cups to go with the coffee machine.

Charity: can you donate to a charity in their name?

The thing I always found difficult with buying presents for people I had a terrible relationdhip with is I like buying presents. I love spending time thinking about a person and buying them something they’d love. So doing that for people I dislike really felt incongruous to me. It also felt like they didn’t seserve my effort because they’d never put that effort into my presents, but if I put barely any effort in it would be noticed. So I tried to make it easy for me. Focusing on buying from small businesses meant at least I was supporting someone who would eactually be greateful for my order. I’d also stack my present buying with something else enjoyable, so either buying something for someone else at the same time, or if I’m buying online find something to do straight afterwards that makes me feel less awful. When wrapping I’d wrap to a good film or piece of music to help me feel good throughout it.

I|t’s really hard to sit with these kind of feelings because we have to act so differently to how we actually feel, and that’s going to feel bad. If it helps, think of this as something you have to do for a quiet life. You have to do this one thing every year but it gives you some sense of peace for the rest of the year. You’re doing thisw for you, at the end of the day, it’s not great that you’re in this position, you deserve better. But you’re here and you’re doing this for you, and I’m proud of you for that.

Hope this helps

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