DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am done with shopping for my older nieces and nephews for Christmas. They are all adults now, and have never made one effort to recognize any holidays for anyone except themselves.
They rip open their gifts, but never acknowledge the giver or offer any thanks, not even when I hand the gift to them outright. I watch my nieces open their gifts then sit and compare them to each other’s, all while ignoring me completely. Not once do I hear “thank you.”
Their parents are no different. Usually they show up with a bag of all the same items, then they just hand them out unwrapped and untagged. Not really a lot of effort and thought. They seem to like getting nicely wrapped, individualized gifts from us, they just don’t bother to thank us.
Am I wrong for being done? Anytime we give them a gift, they grab it and disappear, not to be seen for the rest of the day. I’m hurt then, and I am hurt now. It seems Christmas with these relatives is more about greed than actually seeing family. They all have jobs, but still act like they are in elementary school when it comes to gifts: totally entitled.
I know with giving gifts, it is the thought that counts, but my thoughts are that it’s time to stop. What are yours?
GENTLE READER: That it is time to stop. Evidently, this is a burden on everyone. Not just you, but the parents, who are at a loss about how to select presents to please individuals, and the nieces and nephews for whom showing gratitude is too much trouble.
Presents are not owed, like some sort of tax for being in a family. The idea is supposed to be mutual thoughtfulness, which is not working in this case. So to be thoughtful to people who can’t handle present exchanges, Miss Manners suggests that you tell them that it will be enough pleasure for you to see them, without everyone having that extra bother.