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When Does "It's the thought That Counts" end as an excuse for cheap, lousy insulting Gifts?

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Let's discuss the meaning and etiquette of gift giving. What it means, what it says about the giver and the receiver, etc.

Christmas is coming and I have to say, that even in counseling my DH still believes that "it is the thought that counts" in Twit giving lousy presents. Now I am not meaning giving someone an ugly Christmas sweater, or tie. I mean things that are used, dirty, Good Will, Garage Sale, Bernie's Bargain Basement junk. Things that one probably couldn't resell at a garage sale.

And I am also talking about adults that make over 6 figures a year.

For me, call me crazy on this as my husband does, I love to go out and find something that the receiver of my gift would like, something nice and perhaps think about me when they wear or use it. Doesn't have to be the Hope Diamond, or a gold bar, a Mercedes, etc., but something that they would like and is their style etc. But I do not believe gifts should be used, damaged, smell, or are just plain old junk like my Twit gives.

We all know what Twit's idea of a gift for me is, and frankly I don't want to even be around at Christmas and be treated like that. I want to scream at her: Keep your smell stuff yourself! Even more insulting is when it gets wrapped so beautifully, in expensive wrapping paper and ribbons, etc.

DH still says I am being petty. I say if it is the thought that counts and the gift is carp, then that is what they think of you. In counseling he has even said that she buys me carp because she doesn't know what I would like and....get this....don't appreciate what she does give me.

DH says that when I give someone something nice I am expecting something nice in return. That is not so, but when I get carp, well that is totally different. Neither I, nor the counselor was able to make him see differently.

And, I just don't want to be around or get any carp from Twit as it is so upsetting to me. Frankly, if my own daughter gave me a nicely wrapped box with old chewed up pop pearls in it I would be insulted as well.

Let's discuss the meaning and etiquette of gift giving.

One more thing. This was counseling during the summer. But with the frost in the air and all the Twit nonsense I am just thinking I don't want to deal with this again.

We are going to my daughter's for Thanksgiving. My daughter won't get up, wouldn't dream of getting up, before the meal is over to go after bargain big screen TV's for her children etc, and just leave.

Easylikesundaymornin's picture

Re gift her gift to you ~ back to her. But wrap it beautifully !!!

When she opens it ... Bam !!!

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Step - call you evil for the $20.00 gift for your SM? No way. By Twit standards you spent a bloody fortune Smile

And, sadly, when Twit gives me carp, DH usually says the same thing to me your Dad says to you. What it is is frustrating!

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

I would so love to have sent the message back with a smile, but if I did an "it's the thought that counts" gift to Twit DH would have been quite upset with me and let me know it.

that is why I disengaged on Twit gift's and leave it up to him. Last year, the first year I left it to him, and even reminded him several times that he was the one responsible for buying Twit's gift, he didn't do it....said he thought I was going to.

This year I don't intent to buy her anything either. In fact, I am not even going to remind him. Twit is HIS problem. If he doesn't do anything for her it is not my problem. Though when he forgets I will probably get the "why didn't you remind me" lecture.

hereiam's picture

I think your DH will never stop making excuses for Twit. I don't even think he believes his own garble, he just doesn't want to admit, out loud, that his daughter is so unstable. Maybe he thinks it reflects badly on him?

What she gives does not fall under the usual meaning of, "It's the thought that counts." Not even close.

If you do go to Twits and she gives you some ridiculous gift, just leave it there when you leave. Maybe put it in a closet or where she won't find it right away and try to give it back to you.

I'm sure if your daughter treated DH like Twit treats you, he would not think it so excusable.

Easylikesundaymornin's picture

I think you have something with it reflects on him.

I know I seesaw with that issue of my kids doing the right thing n being their own person n I can't control what they say or do.

But if my kid was disrespectful or rude ~ I would find a way to tell my kid how they make others feel. I'd do it privately but none the less it would be addressed ~

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Hereiam - I think you might be on to something there. Even with the RV etc. he has difficulty dealing with what she does, etc. He seems to be real stuck there.

Honestly, I don't know how I would feel if it were my offspring that was as crazy as a loon. There I go, trying to walk in his shoes when Twit isn't my problem.

Easylikesundaymornin's picture

Yes but at some point in time you gotta acknowledge that your kid is batshit crazy.

Maybe he is afraid to say those words to you bc he doesn't want you to use them against him at a later date. Like if you get into a fight w twit n you say even your father thinks your batshit crazy.

twoviewpoints's picture

Why not just skip the gift giving? Announce that this year will be the year of no gift exchange. That you're decided to take the cash you normally spend on gifts and give it to charity 'from the x (last name) family'. Or make arrangements to volunteer from x time to x time at the local shelter serving Christmas dinner to people who will appreciate your time and efforts.

If it's 'the thought that counts' then enjoy putting your thought into selecting several names off the local 'needy' tree and enjoy picking out special gifts for the child you've selected. A true gift from the heart of a stranger to a stranger. A little girl or boy who won't have gifts on Christmas morning unless others take the time and 'thought' to go out of their way to help provide it.

Free yourself from the Twit and her games of trashy insulting gifts exchanges. Free yourself from what crap your DH thinks of your feelings about sharing Christmas with Twit. If you enjoy the holiday season and the giving of the presents to others, then start doing it for people who truly appreciate and are less fortunate than your family is. I wouldn't spend my holiday and time and efforts on a twit that seems to delight in spoiling the season for you. Do something from your heart for someone who will really matter to and be special for such as donate to help send a child to summer camp. Your husband who says he's all about 'the thought' counting, then let him experience what real thought counting is all about.

sandye21's picture

In my opinion, this is the best answer. The way you present the idea to DH is really important. Tell him you have thought it over and he is right. You are all jazzed because you both can make someone less fortunate happy for Christmas and it can be in the name of Twit and family. How can he not be all for that?

And I also agree with other posters who suggest you leave the rotten and cheap gift Twit gives you in her closet for her to discover later. OR you could go tot he Goodwill yourself and purchase a used ashtray for her and tell her you know how she loves them. It would not be re-gifting, right?

Rags's picture

If the gift from the Skid is such an obvious and conscious insult then bare her ass publically when you open it. "Wow, do you detest me so much that you would give me old, nasty, fake pearls complete with chew marks in them? Next time don't waste this beautiful wrappong paper if you are going to be such an insulting idiot." Then pass them around for all present o look at.

Of course smile and be civil as you bare her ass.

That should address the issue nicely.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Rags, I did this with the ashtray and Twit started to cry. Claims she didn't know it was an ashtray - trust me - she knew. I remember that year DH being very, very upset with me because I did that and she felt so bad. I recall asking him if he had any indication just how bad I felt but back then he just didn't get it.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Oh, I wasn't meaning this so much as with me. Though DH does thing Twit is doing the right thing and as such told counselor. I am just getting ready to grid my loins against another season of what should be happiness and family with dealing this this nonsense.

When I disengaged, I stopped giving Twit gifts, period. And it was partly the carp she gave to me that helped my disengaging process along. Last Christmas she got NADDA because DH didn't get her anything. And I told him I was not buying for her that she was his responsibility, so go When DH turned to me and asked me where Twit's gift was, I just looked at him and told him that he was going to get it not me. Darn if I was going to be blamed for his lack of following through. She was just about in tears when she found there was nothing for her. I almost felt sorry for her until I looked at the Good Will bicentennial metal plate with the eagle on it (still had the GW sticker on it) that I got from her and actually her hubby as well, as she does all the buying. Naturally it was all wrapped up as beautiful as if she were giving me jewels from Harry Winston.

It is just that it shouldn't be this way. It should be a happy occasion, not a time for her to carp on me. She doesn't do too bad on DH either. One year she gave him a greasy, yes greasy, crummy, well used outdoor grill tool set and told him that when he got good using those, she would order him - and he could buy from her - the $100 grill tool set her pots and pan company sells! Yep, she actually said that!

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

No, what I am resenting is DH trying to tell me I am being small because I feel the way I do about her gifts. This is not a matter of her not having the money, times being tight, it is, IMHO, pure and simple showing of distain and disrespect BUT at the same time she EXPECTS something real nice from me/us. Last year, for the first time, she was really surprised.

Justme54's picture

You go Stepaside! Does this pro have a husband and step kids? I am not sure....lonely woman.

LONGTIME SM's picture

I had this problem with my adult steps Steps would give me an occaisional $10.00 gift for christmas only and this was only a few times when they were in their 30s as prior to that i wasnt acknowledged I always politely and profusely thanked them. My birthday and mothers day were totally ignored but given that husbands similar events were also ignored it wasn't a big deal to me. The funny part is that these adult babies would whine and complain that I did not spend enough on them. They ranted that I should have spent the same amount I did on my own children on them while they handed me a $10.00 gift When they finally went too far with their craziness and accusations I disengaged and left all giving to them up to thier father. Daddy can only seem to make the effort to send gift cards which they Both complain about but frankly I no longer give a d***. I think you need to continue to place twit on ignore and enjoy your holidays surrounded only by those you actually want to be with. Seems to be the only peaceful way most stepmothers can survive the holidays. It doesn't mean you "won". I simply don't understand why adult steps seem to think there is war going on it simply means you are no longer inviting people who don't care for you into your home for the holidays. Holidays should be fun and peaceful not a time for you to have to endure some one trying to mark their territory or send you ugly messages. I have enough problem with my own pets marking territory around my home I certainly don't need anyone's untrained adult steps in my home trying to do the same!

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Great and well put. Let's face it, the holidays are tough. Fun, but as they wind up it is sometimes like an endurance contest to see if one can survive them.

Twit is getting nothing from me. Her babies are well in their 20's and, IMHO this year, too big to be getting gifts from me (they have never given anything to either DH or I, we just get from Twit)

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Suez - I haven't given the Twit anything in, well this will be the 2nd Christmas coming up. I want nothing from her and she deserves nothing from me.

DH, however, has the idea that I am looking for a gift that is at least, if not more, the value that whatever it was I use to give her. Not so, but I do expect something that isn't out of the garbage, etc., filthy, etc. Heck, a box of candy would thrill me but ratty filthy napkins hurt my feelings, as they are meant to.

Last year I put the Twit gift on DH and he didn't get her anything. Thought I was going to do it even though I told him I wasn't. I got tired of Twit's trash. It is going to be interesting to see how he deals with things this year. He was forewarned and reminded so IMHO Twit should be tearing him a new one, not me. Same goes for this year. If he doesn't do anything....tough for Twit. And this year, because of what he has said to me about the matter, I am not even going to remind him. She is HIS daughter.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

I KNOW HOW I WANT TO SAY THIS - FINALLY! My DH likes to tell me I am MATERIALISTIC because I am hurt by the carp Twit gives me for Christmas. That is the word. That I EXPECT something back from her worth as least as much or more!

That is not so by any means. Therefore he says that because I am materialistic I don't appreciate her thoughtfulness. And what confuses me is that I just don't understand where he is coming from on this.

Even our counselor last summer tried to explain this to him, but he just doesn't see it.

Finally, after all that got out what I have been trying to say.

So, friends, am I being materialist in how I feel? I think you will all agree not.

moeilijk's picture

You're not materialistic. Maybe DH is thinking it's the filth wrapped up nicely that's the problem. But the problem is that someone is going out there, finding filth, wrapping it up nicely ... for what? What motivation could that person have?

Could they be bonkers? Has Twit no idea that one does not pick up dog poo on the street, bring it home, wrap it up in a Tiffany's bag, and call it a gift?

Could that person be cruel? Does Twit plot all year for the best location to source stinky used ashtrays and fancy wrapping paper, all with the intent of hurting you?

But if DH thinks you *care* what she gets you, that's where (it seems to me) he's wrong. You don't need a gift, you can go out and buy anything you want. It's that by giving something so inappropriate, it interferes with the intention of enjoying the time together, the seasonal spirit, etc.

If she gave you nothing, it would be less interference than what she does now.

I think you are wise to stop getting into the gift-giving drama. You don't take pleasure in giving her a gift, or in getting one from her... so why do it?

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Hi moe - I wondered about that too. Could Twit be that evil and mean? YES, it is a pattern. She is only happy when she can hurt someone else. She gets her kicks that way.

Psycho is what she is.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

She would probably gift me the poo Twit reasoning, I have a dog therefore I would probably appreciate! AND, and this is the important part, it didn't cost her a darn dime to do so.

LONGTIME SM's picture

If your husband seems to feel greasy BBQ tools is a gift from Twits black heart that he appreciated because of the "thought" it conveyed I dont think there is ANY getting through to him on this. You ARE NOT being materialistic for not appreciating dirty used items given to you as gifts.

Even if one could attempt to argue that Twit does place a value on these items she gives as gifts (think an episode of hoarders here), given that she competes with you for nice items at auctions seems to show that she does truly know which used items are nice and which are not. The only way your husband could be even remotely correct in his view is if Twit always leaves an auction with a bunch of junk that in her eyes represents a Score! From what you have said she does seem to know what is nice and what is not.
I think you also stated that she does seem to manage getting her adult children and husband decent gifts hence why she left early to get that tv.

Regardless of her warped thought processes it is not materialistic to expect something remotely nice or usable as a gift and it is only human nature to feel the way you do.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Its funny. DH CLAIMS he doesn't care, that it doesn't bother him. Yet, when our other children, including my daughter gift him he is really delighted and you can just see the pleasure in his face.

Frankly, I think his claim that he doesn't care is totally BS. I am starting to think that if he really faced the fact of what carp she gives him he would probably feel worse than I do. He just can't admit it probably because he would fall apart.

I know once I was going through some jewelry, sorting things out what I wanted to get rid of, give to my DD etc. While I was doing this DH came in and was watching me. Out of the clear blue he said I should by no means give any to Twit because she doesn't appreciate it. Boy, that shocked me. When I asked him why he didn't expound on it, just left the room.

That is what is confusing. He will say something like that and then expect me to graciously gush over what is really garbage that Twit gives.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

UPDATE TO DH not caring when he gets carp from Twit, or ignored on Father's Day etc. He stopped by a couple of days ago to see how she is doing and she started up on him that SDM needs to apologize to her yadda, yadda, yadda. DH told her I had done nothing to her, nothing wrong and no apology from me would be forthcoming. He also told her that he was tired of the way she treated him at Christmas, Father's Day, thanksgiving, etc.! THAT, my friends, is a first.

Once, while in counseling I told the counselor that Twit was mean, enjoyed being mean, etc. DH told both me and the counselor that Twit isn't mean, doesn't have a mean bone in her body.

Well, apparently the reality of Twit shifted some after his visit down there. He told me that Twit can be very mean. Wowza!

Shaman29's picture

Explain to your brainless H that you completely agree with him. It is the thought that counts and the thought Twit is conveying is her passive aggressive way of telling you to go to directly to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.

And please, for the love of Dog.....stop buying this little shit gifts. Put the responsibility where it belongs, in her brainless fathers' lap. He can buy her gifts from now on.

grace8205's picture

This year at Christmas I am going to re-gift my 20 year old SS gift that he gave to me last year for Christmas back to him. He is getting a $10 McDonald's gift card.
Last Christmas I was pissed off, hurt and offended by his gift. He lives our house (rent free when he was making $30K a year), eats my cooking, I clean up after him, do nice things for him, spent the same amount of money on him that I did on my own son for Christmas and he gives me a McDonald's gift card for $10?
Well if he thinks it is a great gift for someone who takes care of him, he should be pleased to get it back this year.

I grew up with having a step mother and step father and I never treated either one of them that way. I always tried to find something personable and nice when it came to gifts.

Disillusioned's picture

I've put up with treatment like this from DH's sister and eldest daughter for years. I now how you feel shes driving me and it stinks that people chose to use what should be a kind and considerate act as an immature way of 'sending a message' to someone they don't like

IMO, never act like that in return!!

I figure if you're going to do something, anything, give a gift whatever, give it your all. If you dislike the person so much you can't do that, than don't do it!

It's one thing as Step-Aside says in it's the next best thing to nothing for someone you can't stand. Fine. There are many non-expensive or fancy gifts that can be given but still aren't offensive and childish and meant only to cause ill feelings. Seriously, grow up already.

The $20.00 that Step-Aside spent on her SM is a great example. It can be a perfectly fine gift if it's something small and thoughtful and not an obvious jab at someone

But when the gift is like what your SD gives you - something used or banged up and obviously meant to "send you a message" that's just tacky and immature! Yes I've dealt with people like this and I'm so glad I don't think like them!

In the beginning of my relationship with DH I would go out of my way to put thought, effort and money into beautiful presents for DH's family including his sister and daughters. I wasn't expecting anything in return - that's just how I am - and good thing because I received nothing in return LOL

My DH was furious at them and figured my kind behaviour might make them feel like asses. Nope. But then again, that wasn't why I was doing that. I'm just generous and thoughtful and refused to allow their behaviour to dictate mine....funnily enough, an attitude my own step-father taught me growing up. Still, it hurt and was embarrassing to be treated this way. Up until this point in my life, absolutely no one had ever treated me that way so I guess I was pretty naive about it all back then!

My DH's sister would literally buy Christmas presents for every single person at their family get together with the exception of me and how humiliating to be the only person in the room that received nothing from her

I continued to take the high road and be the class act instead. DH was still furious at his sister and later daughter's behaviour as well but figured they might eventually be won over by my "kill them with kindness" attitude. Nope

Eventually I could see that they did not feel ashamed by their actions, nothing I did would ever win them over. They felt entitled to treat me this way and definitely took pleasure in hurting me

I realized the only thing I could control was my own reaction and behaviour. If they wanted to act like asses they could, that was on them. I would not act that way in return.

I don't go out of my way to spend a fortune on people I can't stand, that would just be phony, and as I can't stand either one of them any longer, I haven chosen not to do this for them any longer. But I have never given them a tacky or cheap gift or none at all in return. DH and I have come to a great agreement, he buys everything for his family but the gifts are presented from us, and visa versa for my family

Now, when DH sister or daughter get me nothing or these days something cheap and crappy it does not bother me at all.

When they open the presents from Dh and I and chose to simply thank DH, again I could give a rats ass as it didn't cost me a cent anyway. If they chose on occasion to thank me too, fine, I say "enjoy" or "your welcome" and that is the end of it

I continue to act like a class act and they like assholes.

I feel good at the end of the gift-giving session and refuse to allow their attitudes to bug me.

How they feel - like asses or happy because they acted that way to me - is none of my concern. My mental energy is focused on the things and people that make me happy, not wasted on responding to their nonsense

Wish it were different's picture

I'm with you give nothing! It is a little awkward for me to give nothing, but I'm standing firm this year. NOTHING! I've tried so hard over the years. For what? I feel used, but I've allowed it.

Wish it were different's picture

I'm new to this site. I found it out of desperation. I thought I was the only one with rotten step kids. Last Christmas my 21 year old SD gave me a bottle of dog shampoo. She handed it to me and said, "this is for chassi(the dog), but you can open it" and tossed it to me. She gave her father a calendar. Both of which she probably ripped off from her part time job at a dog kennel. Nice huh? I've always given thoughtful gifts even when I knew she didn't deserve it. 2011 I gave her a Camilla bracelet. Later in the year she told me she sold it on ebay. This year the skids get nothing. 24 year old SS doesn't have a clue either. He just comes for the present then leaves.
My present to them this year is that I will only charge them $40.00 per month to keep them on my employers medical benefits. My DH says I need to forgive the SD. I can't. I've been lied to, lied about, STOLEN from. Yes. Money, clothes, cosmetics, candles. God knows what else that I didnt notice. she doesn't like me because I catch he in lies all of the time. Her response? "you don't know everything". My reply: "you're right, I don't, but I do know you're lying. So to respond to She's driving me Crazy: You like me see behaviors and patterns that you'd rather not be around. It's not a grudge. It's called protecting ones self. SD Never comes over anymore. I took her key back. Told DH she is not to be in the house unsupervised. Last time she came over was last christmas day. Stayed long enough to eat and give me that crappy bottle of dog shampoo. This year there will be no dinner. I'm going to spend the day with MY parents.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Definitely, by all means take them off your health insurance. Let them apply for Obamacare. I am guessing they are under 26, but keeping them on your insurance is not required.

I do not believe in rewarding anyone who treats me like garbage.