A story shared on social media relating to a “problem” Christmas gift and a family’s reaction to it has elicited nearly 4,000 reactions on Reddit and counting, with plenty of people offering solutions to the poster’s personal challenge after the holiday blowup.
“Every year, my family does Christmas at my mom’s,” wrote a woman on the subreddit known as AITA (“Am I the a–hole?”).
“She insists that we open all presents together (even gifts between spouses, etc.),” the poster added. She did not add her location.
“It’s normally an OK tradition, but sometimes it can spark jealousy or comparisons between families,” wrote “Ok-Analyst-7297” this weekend.
So, she added, “this year, my husband saved up and bought me my dream designer handbag for Christmas. I know some people aren’t into that, but it’s something that I truly love. We’re not well-off, but we’re not doing poorly either.”
Still, she said, “I knew that the handbag would cause a lot of discussion among my siblings and parents. I just didn’t want their opinions and criticisms to ruin a special gift my husband worked hard to get for me.”
So this year, she went on, “my husband got me an extra gift that wasn’t the ‘real’ gift (it was a moderately priced skin care set). Christmas came and went without drama.”
But then a social media posting complete with a photograph changed the dynamic.
“I recently posted a picture of my husband and our kids at dinner,” the woman continued, “and my handbag could be seen hanging off the back of my chair. One of my friends commented underneath about how gorgeous my Christmas gift was as well.”
Wrote the woman, “Long story short, word got back to my family and they totally blew up.”
Some of them, she said, “were annoyed that I opened a private gift separately from the family. Others were criticizing the price of the gift.”
Now, she said, her siblings “are calling me disingenuous for harboring a secret gift — and they said that I did it because I think I’m better than them.”
The woman clarified, “I didn’t open it with them because I didn’t want their opinions, but now I’m starting to feel like an AH for keeping it a secret.”
She said that “either way,” she knew “they’d all criticize me though, since it was so much more expensive than all other gifts, so I don’t know whether or not I’m wrong.”
Fox News Digital reached out to a psychologist for professional insight into the family issue.
Commenters flooded the social media post, with one response in particular earning over 6,000 “upvotes.”
“It’s time you be 100% bluntly honest with them,” wrote this commenter.
“Screencap all their snarky comments and send a group chat with them,” the person suggested.
The commenter went on to craft a letter that the original poster could consider sending to her family.
She sent this narrative as a suggestion: “If you all want to know so badly why I ‘harbored a secret gift,’ as you call it, these types of comments are exactly why. This bag is not something I thought I would ever have, as we are not well off enough to make purchases similar in cost to this bag, but my [dear husband] worked his a– off and saved up to get it for me and instead of being happy for us, you talk s—.”
Added the commenter in her proposed letter, “You call it a waste of money or claim that I think I’m better than you. The behavior all of you have around Christmas gifts sucks the joy out of even getting something like this and had I opened it at Mom’s house in front of all of you, I wouldn’t even have been able to be happy about it because I knew you all would react exactly as you did.”
The suggestion went on, “Honestly, I’m not sure if my family and I will be continuing to take part in this tradition because we are tired of the jealousy, the comparisons and competition. It’s tiring, it makes it hard to be happy with the gifts we get — even if we would be ecstatic to get them, as I was with this bag when he gave it to me.”
Continued the commenter, “Or something similar. Basically, just point-blank put your feelings out there, call out the jealousy, the criticism, the comparisons and competition. If you can, give specific examples of such things so that they can’t go, ‘Oh, that’s in your head.’ If they cop to it and say that they’re fine with it, tell them that’s fine but that you are not.”
The person concluded with, “After their reaction to the bag, I would tell them that you and your family are considering stepping back from the tradition due to how tiring it’s become.”
Wrote another responder to the original post, “Some presents I bring to the in-laws for my partner to open there, some I leave at home for just us. The mom is out of line demanding that 100% of all gifts be opened in her presence.”
Another person said, “You’re a grown adult with your own family. You don’t have to follow someone else’s made-up rules about opening all gifts in front of your entire extended family.”