The holidays tend to be a stressful time for everyone as they have a lot of shopping, cooking, traveling, and socializing to do while also trying to get some semblance of rest and be merry.
But all of these stresses intensify ten-fold when they come from a big family, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor throwawaygifting1 found herself buying well over 100 presents every year to cover all of her friends, adult family members, and children family members.
As well as she always felt she did, she struggled to please her snobby sister-in-law.
But when her sister-in-law sent out a list of expensive gift options and stated that she only wanted gifts from that list, the Original Poster (OP) tried to resist being very petty in response.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to adhere to my Sister-in-Law’s (SIL’s) Christmas gift list?”
The OP’s family always struggled to make her sister-in-law happy around the holidays.
“For Christmas, my (30 Female) husband (30 Male) and I are hosting my parents, my brother Chris (34 Male), his wife Amy (33 Female), their two sons (6 and 4), my sister Lucia (27 Female), and her boyfriend Alex (30 Male).”
“The background to all this is that Amy complains about every gift she is given by any of us. Every Christmas, she makes faces and snide remarks about the things she’s gifted.”
“For example, last year we (me and my husband) gifted Amy and Chris a joint present of an expensive coffee maker, which is the same one we have at home that Chris loved when they visited.”
“Amy’s only remark, not even a thank you, was, ‘Oh, well, this isn’t really for me, is it,’ and then to make a great show of being annoyed that she didn’t get a separate gift.” But Amy does drink coffee and has since used the coffee machine. A lot.”
“Also, she and Chris do not go out of their way and gift anyone gifts of high value. Chris does the Christmas shopping and our family isn’t big on adult gifting. We buy big things for the kids, but we tend to get each other things like Christmas gift baskets (for couples), jumpers, I bought my mum a teapot one year, and things like that.”
For this upcoming holiday season, Amy made it very clear what she wanted for Christmas.
“A few days ago, Amy included the whole family in a group email with a Christmas list for her and the kids, saying that she would only accept gifts from this list.”
“On her list were expensive perfumes, links to expensive clothing items, and designer handbags.”
“I was livid.”
“My parents were offended as well but didn’t want to say anything to Amy, but I wasn’t going to hold back in the face of what I felt was grossly entitled behavior.”
“I replied to Amy’s email, saying I wouldn’t be purchasing anything on that list and that if she wanted to shop for a Louis Vuitton wallet, I was happy to put her in touch with my saleswoman.”
“I also said that if she didn’t like what she received for Christmas, she was welcome to just leave it at my house.”
The family was divided over the OP’s response.
“Chris blew up at me, saying Amy was just trying to make everything easier for everyone by giving suggestions.”
“I disagreed and told him I thought Amy was just trying to find a sneaky way to get a few things she normally can’t afford for free, which in my opinion is not in the spirit of Christmas and I think she’s being extremely childish.”
“My parents think I shouldn’t have said anything, but Lucia says I absolutely should have because she wasn’t going to be spending hundreds on Amy’s Christmas list, either.”
“Was I the AH for not going along with it?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed with the OP that the sister-in-law (SIL) could practice some gratitude.
“She’s attempting to co-opt large amounts of other people’s money for her own vain ends. It’s way past tacky, and firmly into ‘get f**ked’ territory.”
“I would be openly mocking this person for behaving this way. NTA. Not even close.” – -aloe-
“NTA, but the whole dynamic needs to change.”
“Adults giving adults expensive presents is just stupid and a huge expense and waste of money. If you want something, buy it for yourself. Buy gifts for the children who can’t buy their own.” – AMerrickanGirl
“NTA. Your SIL is way over the edge. A gift is what the giver decides to give. She clearly lacks the grace to keep her mouth shut when appropriate.”
“Some options: A. Follow her instructions by giving her no gift, B. Pick a non-profit you think appropriate and make a gift in her name and give a card/letter.” – MojoInTheAttack
“Gift-giving is totally out of control, in my opinion. If your brother and Amy want to spend lots of money on giving gifts, that’s their choice. They can’t dictate how much money other people have to spend. It’s your wallet. You make the choice of how to spend your money.”
“I’m not even sure if it’s worth a conversation about this. Encourage your brother to buy his wife everything on her list but you’re not planning on participating in that.”
“Pick a couple of things out for the kids and don’t worry about the adults’ drama. Maybe Amy is greedy, maybe she is just a person who loves expensive things. Who knows. Who cares. Let your brother deal with that problem.”
“NTA.” – Alarming_Reply_6286
“NTA. I would be sending out a message to say let’s not do presents for the adults this year, or organize a secret Santa where everyone buys one person a gift with a financial limit.”
“Honestly, Christmas is way over-the-top these days, and getting presents that won’t be used is a waste of money and resources. Tell everyone you’d rather people bring their favorite expensive edible gift to share if necessary.”
“If you want designer items, you need to buy them yourself!” – Ok-Supermarket4926
But others thought the OP didn’t like her sister-in-law or respect her preferences.
“You are both NTA and YTA.”
“YTA for the coffee maker gift. You got it for and because of Chris. You just put her name on the gift. You don’t like her and don’t enjoy giving her gifts. Be honest with yourself.”
“Also if that is the best story you can come up with about her rudeness, it sounds like your gift-giving is an issue. You all might give her thoughtless gifts in comparison to the gifts you give others. And if that is true, you are being thoughtless and rude.”
“NTA in not wanting and calling her out in the ridiculous gift list.” – KittyC217
“ESH. Wishlists are the best. My family uses them, and it’s great knowing I’ll be getting someone something that is wanted or needed. That Amy sent one makes me think the coffee maker wasn’t the first ‘Chris only’ gift she’s received as a ´them’ gift from OP.”
“OP responded to the list very poorly when she could have talked to her brother one-on-one or just gotten a gift card. It feels like there is a lot of animosity there. Amy’s comments are the only thing keeping this from going YTA.” – ToeNext5011
“I’m sorry, but it’s YTA for me. I could think of many ways that you could have handled that. My question to you is, is it worth it? Is it okay to hurt /humiliate someone on Christmas simply because she shares a wishlist?”
“If she says she won’t accept a gift unless it is the one written, and you guys don’t feel like chipping in to give what’s on the wishlist, you could have simply not said anything and continued with wrapping something for her and the kids (you’re willing to give).”
“You’re preaching about the spirit of Christmas, but have totally forgotten it, how ironic. Is wishing for an expensive gift worse than humiliating a family member over it?” – Whyparsley
“You bought your brother Chris an EXPENSIVE coffee maker that HE loved when he visited you and then justified its expensive by claiming it was a joint gift for him and Amy.”
“You complain that Amy never likes your gifts but then get mad when she sends a list of things she explicitly wants.”
“You complain that Amy’s list is too expensive, and as the adults, you don’t really buy expensive gifts for each other. But you also bought an expensive coffee maker for them last year. I presume her expensive perfume costs about the same as an expensive coffee maker, so why not get it for her as a ‘combined gift’ for her and Chris because he certainly benefits from her smelling nice, right?”
“Instead of replying suggesting all adults set a budget for gift giving going forward, and if all adults should send their wishlists also, you were passive-aggressive with the ‘saleswoman’ comment and told her she could leave the present at your house, which was definitely a power move to make her feel unwelcome at the Christmas you are hosting.”
“So yes, YTA.” – Inebrium
“Unpopular opinion, maybe, but I hate the gift-giving part of Christmas. I am Buddhist and do not have a very materialistic nature, and only do Christmas for family. My mom loves the holiday and turned out house into a Christmas Wonderland, which I also hated cause it was so over the top. But that was her, and so be it.”
“I used to tell people I don’t do gifts and just to spend what they would have on me by donating to food banks, and that did not go over well. Especially my mom insisted on buying me s**t that I don’t like and will have to keep for a certain amount of time before she forgets about it, and I can donate it.”
“I like what I like and don’t want a bunch of clutter, so maybe that makes me a snob. I’d rather if everyone in my life insisted on buying me stuff, to pool resources and buy something useful like a snowboard or an experience I wouldn’t normally do like tickets to the opera. Maybe OP’s family can do that?”
“I also include on the list things like socks, books, specialty ingredients like saffron or vanilla beans, plants I would like, etc. with varying prices so they aren’t all big ticket items if people don’t want to work together.”
“My mom has never gotten something from the list, and I really resented her for it. I have to act like I’m excited about the thing I didn’t want and now have to deal with. Hate it. Spoils the day for everyone because I’m a bad actor. This makes me feel like YTA.”
“When it comes to giving, I refuse to buy bric-a-brack that will collect dust or end up in a landfill. It bothers me to my core. So I tend to give experiences or consumable items.” – Kumquat
The subreddit was left shaking its collective head over the nature of gift-giving in the OP’s family.
They were quite certain that the best way forward was to simply discontinue gift-giving between the adults, but also, the OP and her sister-in-law both needed to work on their respect for one another, in the sense of what they liked and what they could realistically afford around the holidays.