The Politics of Christmas Presents

/ posted in: Family

The husband and I sat down on Christmas Eve to go over what talks we have to have with Z before going to my parents’ house the day after Christmas.  This is necessary because she doesn’t always understand what constitutes polite behavior.

For example, there was the year that anytime she got something that she hadn’t written on her Christmas list she would say, “I wasn’t expecting THAT” in a tone that implied that she had just been given a dead rat.  This was reviewed as unacceptable behavior the next year and there was not a repeat.

Last year she was all about inequality.  She counted the presents and got pissy because other people had more.  Autism is fun.

She has followed this throughout the year by immediately counting photos on display at my parents’ house every time she walked in and telling off my mother because there are less of her than of my niece and nephew.  The realization that they live 5 miles away from my photo snapping mother and she sees Z a few times a year at most is not going to enter Z’s mind.

Z sees inequality in anything as a reflection of her relative value as a person.  She is 11.  My niece and nephew are 4 and under.  Little kids get more stuff for Christmas.  Fact of life.  She can’t understand it.  She also doesn’t understand relative value enough to understand that if she gets a few more expensive presents and they get more but less valuable presents that it evens out. I am also a firm believer in making children understand that life is not fair from a young age so get over it.

The husband wants to try to explain this as “You are lucky you are getting anything.  You aren’t related to these people at all.  They are treating you as a real grandchild out of the kindness of their hearts.”  He doesn’t understand that that doesn’t factor into it at all.  That just adds to her paranoia that she isn’t valued as much. He’s not going to tell her this but he wants to.

We are going to try to explain to her when she gets here tonight that she is getting older so her presents get more expensive and therefore she gets fewer boxes but better stuff.  Hopefully it works.  I hate whining, overly entitled children screaming about how everything is unfair whilst surrounded by piles of Christmas presents.