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Estrangement

Am I overcompensating?

(10 Posts)
VioletSky Sun 05-Dec-21 15:42:39

I tend to spoil my children a bit for Christmas and save hard to do this. This is because I know most of the presents under the tree will be from us.

I am currently stressing as a lot of my children are older or now adults meaning they want smaller, yet more expensive gifts. So I end up racking my brains thinking of little things I can buy them to open.

I am estranged from one side of the family, only one by my choice. The rest have disowned me and therefor my children for that choice (which is valid) .

The rest of the family just aren't around for their own reasons, don't have a lot of money or just don't really do Christmas.

I feel sad for my children. I know Christmas can be hard for a lot of us on these threads.

I should add that they have never been sent any gifts by estranged family members and I probably would have given them after checking for any messages aimed at me or that would have upset the children like those in cards we have received.

Is it OK to want to make sure they feel special at Christmas or am I overcompensating?

DillytheGardener Sun 05-Dec-21 15:52:35

I don’t think gift giving should make up for relationships. I understand the kindly motivation, you don’t want them to miss out, and you feel that they may lack from familial relationships, but presents, a momentary experience won’t make up for that. As they are now adults, that changes things. Most adults don’t receive a lot of gifts, they won’t be missing out.
I’d focus on experiences, spending time with them, asking them about their days, maybe bonding trips like going to the cinema or dinner, all things that build a feeling of family closeness.
I don’t know and don’t need to know your family situation, but if the falling out isn’t because of physical or emotional abuse, I’d let your children know that they can pursue that relationship if they are curious, just that you would like to be kept separate from it.
I’m sure you are a great mum and your kids know that, don’t over think it and overspend.
(You can tell I’ve done a lot of therapy over the past couple of years 😂)

wildswan16 Sun 05-Dec-21 15:53:54

I think you are giving yourself a whole load of stress for no reason. Your children will know they are special to you by how you relate to them all year round. I'm sure they would not want you to spend more than you can afford.

Of course you want to give them a gift - but in most families, as children get older (become adults) gifts get less, or none at all. Make Christmas about doing things together, having a good family time. Enjoy cooking the meal together etc etc.

Sago Sun 05-Dec-21 16:02:01

It all depends on how much you spend.
My son and DIL will get a restaurant voucher between them for £100 and a stocking each, the stockings are themed my son has a sushi making stocking around £30 and DIL a beauty stocking for the same.
We will spend the same per head on our single son and my daughter and SIL.
We will make the time we spend together special.

My DIL’s parents buy very expensive gifts, DIL got a £2000 handbag last year.

My daughter and SIL could probably spend what they wanted on gifts however the 18 month old will get his sisters farm set that has been cleaned up and wrapped!

It varies so much from family to family, DIL and her family may think we are mean and that’s fine, I’m sure she prefers buying us a couple of beautiful candles and a bottle of Gin than treating her parents to a weekend away a London show etc!!!

VioletSky Sun 05-Dec-21 16:56:52

I don't think my idea of spoiling them is a lot of money, I think it's more about wanting them all to have things to open.

Yes my mum is abusive sadly and my children don't like her so probably won't be any contact between them. It's not my place to get in the way of that but I will answer their questions honestly without too much detail as I don't want them to carry my burdens.. More teaching opportunity level explanations.

We do love a board game night in this house. I will maybe focus on some fun things we can do together instead, thank you!

Smileless2012 Sun 05-Dec-21 20:06:05

"I'm sure she prefers buying us a couple of beautiful candles and a bottle of Gin that treating her parents to a weekend away and London shoe etc". That did me make me smile Sago.

freedomfromthepast Sun 05-Dec-21 22:42:09

I understand where you are coming from VS. We want nothing more then for our kids to have a large, loving extended family. But that is not our lot in life sadly. I think it is normal for us to try and overcompensate because of it.

We need to remind themselves that there is no need. Our children know they are loved. THAT is the most important thing.

Hetty58 Sun 05-Dec-21 23:26:51

VioletSky, maybe you are doing too much on the present front. Christmas here is all about spending time with family - having lovely meals, watching films, snuggling in front of the fire and going on walks together.

Presents are given to children, so they have plenty to unwrap teenagers like money and chocolate, but adults just have a token 'secret Santa' gift. There are plenty of relatives, but we gave up buying for extended family decades ago. I'm sure many other large families have too.

Daisymae Mon 06-Dec-21 07:41:44

Yes, I understand why you are doing what you do. Family games are always good, nice big boxes and a lot of fun to boot. Books fit the bill too, plus a selection box, all good ways to bulk up the gifts under the tree. Having said that, there's a time when older children will understand that a new phone or computer game will take the place of a pile of presents. My GS had a game for his birthday that was just a download. Nothing to show at all. It's much better not to overspend and avoid all the stress that goes with it. Only spend what you can afford.

VioletSky Mon 06-Dec-21 07:50:53

I hadn't even thought of selection boxes. Really good idea

I think it's on my mind that there may not be many family Christmases left with the older 2 and happy and grateful that's the way it is for now and they still want to be home for Christmas