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comment by WanderingEng
WanderingEng  ·  772 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 12, 2018

My mom has this idea that she's supposed to give her kids money at Christmas. Her dad did it. I suppose that's where she got the idea from. Her dad wasn't wealthy but was careful with his money. He shared his surplus with his kids, all of whom have kids (and corresponding bills) of their own.

My parents also are not wealthy but are not at all secure. I don't have kids. I don't know how to tell her while the $150 she gives me is no small sum, at the same time it has little impact on my life. I save money to buy a car or make a house down payment, and anything else is just budgeting. I've spent $150 on baggage fees alone on a single trip.

She should be keeping that money herself because it's a lot of money in her budget and, if she wants to do something for me, donate $20 to an animal shelter I adopted cats from. Or if she wants to give it away, give it to my sister who has kids and a lower household income than me.

I don't know how to explain this without sounding really ungrateful and arrogant.

kleinbl00  ·  772 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Find a way for that $150 to be impactful. Use it for something you wouldn't ordinarily spend money on. That's the whole point: it's not a part of your budget, it's unaccounted-for money, it's a gift.

Foveaux  ·  771 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I just received a letter from Payroll saying they've approved a bonus of $1,100 to be paid to me before Christmas - my boss applied for it in secret after I completed our massvie office shift (along with a 24 beer advent calendar from her!).

I was thinking I'd just chuck it towards paying my car off but your words have me thinking I should do something more with it.

Thanks for that.

goobster  ·  771 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Receiving gifts is hard. It is a learned skill, and does not come naturally to most people.

You need to get out of your head, and into hers: This is her expressing something to you that is hard. Not easy.

Honor where the gift is coming from, not the gift itself. Receive it fully and generously and with your heart. Appreciate the giver.

Anything less is dishonoring the gift, and disempowering the giver... devaluing their gift, at the very moment they are most vulnerable and exposed.


Then put the money aside. Months later, you can spend it on her. Take her out to dinner. Get her that thing she wants/needs that she wouldn't buy for herself. Never tell her where the money came from.

You both win.

cgod  ·  771 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment.

You've expressed it better than I ever have.

WanderingEng  ·  771 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is probably the right answer. It's still weird in my head because it's effectively absorbing the cash into my budget and then deciding to take it back out of a budget months later.

I do think there's some responsibility on the part of the gift giver to understand how their gift impacts the recipient. It's why pets are almost always a bad gift. I also get tripped up putting myself in her head because I don't grasp why she thinks cash is a great gift. It was when I was 15 or 20, but at 38 when she's 71, it isn't. It feels kind of infantilizing.

goobster  ·  770 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I hear ya... but you are still 15 in her head. Especially now that she's 71, and her perceptions of the world are narrowing down, new memories are harder to store/recall, and she spends a lot of time in her old memories.

The gift isn't about you; it's about her. Accepting it generously is going to make her happy. And that's just a nice thing to do for another human being, regardless of your relationship with them.

OftenBen  ·  772 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I hope you find a solution you can live with.

I may be in a similar position one day.

Clariti  ·  772 days ago  ·  link  ·  

you could always donate the money yourself to an organization of your choice or emphasize that you don't want anything for Christmas, including money, and you'd be more happy just spending time with her. I am sure that even if she doesn't have much she's giving to you from the bottom of her heart because she loves you and wants you to have the money more than her. This may be how she feels giving in the holiday season and you can just put a smile on your face and act extra grateful, perhaps you could even do something for her with the money. Home improvement, pay a bill for her, etc...