The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-25-2010, 12:51 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Ever receive NOTHING for Christmas as a child? Parents - ever give NOTHING to your kids?

In my time here there have been a few threads about crap holiday experiences, douche parents, etc. Some of these threads feature stories about kids finding out their about bad financial circumstances by getting gifts that they didn't want, or parents kind of screwing the pooch when it comes to considering their feelings, etc.

However, in my life I've heard stories about children who wake up on Christmas morning and find NOTHING. Not a crappy gift - NO gift. And I'm not talking about a family who's living in their car - I mean a family who has some sort of house/apartment, possibly set up a tree, and yet there's not a single gift for the child.

Now, it's possible I'm remembering an ad campaign from my childhood about helping the needy, but I'm wondering - has this actually ever happened to anyone? As a child, the promise of Christmas is held out to you, and then your parents delivered...nothing?

Obviously, this assumes that your family celebrated Christmas, and it equally assumes that there was the suggestion made that there would be some sort of celebration in your household.

I must say, assuming this has happened, I think I would have a very hard time feeling charitable towards the parents in question - even if the only gift is a home-made sock puppet out of an old sock, at least it's something - ya know?

So enlighten me - does this actually happen, or was it an advertising thing to get people to give to charities? FWIW, if it's the latter, it worked (at least for me). The bulk of my Christmas donating goes to children's charities and when I was working I always spearheaded the adopt-a-family campaign at my office (needy families sign up and are 'adopted' by a corporate sponsor who purchases toys, stockings, socks & underwear, grocery gift cards, etc for their particular family.)

Last edited by alice_in_wonderland; 11-25-2010 at 12:52 PM..
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 11-25-2010, 02:53 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 8,782
After I was 14 or so, there were many Christmases without gifts. This is not because we were poor or because we didn't celebrate Christmas: we always had a big dinner at least. My parents were always very generous with us kids (I didn't pay a penny for college, always had a car in high school, never lacked anything I really wanted) but they didn't much like the rampant materialism they associated with Christmas: they were happy to give us anything, but they didn't like the idea of a day when you were supposed to give people things, or the lead up of weeks of thinking about what we were getting. So by the time all the kids were old enough to understand their reasoning, Christmas presents more or less dropped away. Birthday presents also disappeared as you hit puberty.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-25-2010, 03:06 PM
The Flying Dutchman The Flying Dutchman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
When I was a Dutch immigrant kid in Canada, we observed St. Nicks day on December 5. One year the expected visit never arrived, and we (I had a brother and sister) were told that we must have been bad enough for St Nick to deny us.

Several weeks later the presents showed up.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-25-2010, 03:25 PM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Southern Pennsylvania
Posts: 21,600
Nope. We were poor, but that is the one time of year we got toys.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-25-2010, 03:59 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Humm - none of these really fit the OP - that is, the picture of a disappointed tot in front of an empty stocking/bare tree, that I'm remembering.

Manda JO's story seems perfectly reasonable - once you're in your teens and don't believe in Santa and whatnot, not making a huge production about X-mas seems like no big deal, although it's important that it doesn't sound like you were led to believe that you would be receiving gifts on that day either.

The Flying Dutchman's story might be a bit closer, but it seems like more of an inelegant attempt to transition the kids to the traditions of the new country - perhaps an explanation that Saint Nick comes later in Canada (due to the biggness of the earth, maybe?) seems like it would have been a bit gentler, but in the end the children were happy.

Khadaji - that reality is sort of fueling my question - very very poor people love their children and don't want them disappointed just the same as not very very poor people - one of my friends growing up was from a very poor family and even though the gifts she got seemed lame to me (me being a totally spoiled rich kid who got everything on her list plus about 10 extra things to ease my mother's maternal guilt) she still got gifts and was pretty stoked about it too.

I guess this must be a weird memory from childhood. Or maybe it was something my mom told my brother and I to make us feel guilty for being spoiled. I'll leave it to the reader to figure out the logic behind THAT one...

Last edited by alice_in_wonderland; 11-25-2010 at 03:59 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-25-2010, 04:07 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
My favorite Christmas tradition is the Krampus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krampus

Hey, not only do bad kids get no presents - Father Christmas is replaced by a freaking demon! Who drags the bad kids out of the house in his sack, right down to the pits of hell!

Nowthat would add a certain frisson to the yuletide season. Particularly for the really young kiddies.

Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-25-2010, 04:11 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malthus View Post


Eat your vegetables indeed!!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-25-2010, 04:11 PM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
I can get behind the idea that Christmas can feel overhyped to people and they want to cut back in ways that make the holidays more meaningful to everyone involved. More power to you all for it. But this?!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Birthday presents also disappeared as you hit puberty.
Aw HELL no. It is my BIRTHDAY. Y'all BETTER gimme a damn present.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-25-2010, 06:27 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
I once got a Box of Nothing for Christmas. It was a cigar box with elaborate covering filled with turn-of-the-century clipart proclaiming that the box contained Nothing. My mother got it at some gift store.


I've still got the box. Oddly enough, I've always kept things in it.



Although I guess that, arguably, the box is a gift, and I really did get Something.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-25-2010, 09:08 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 8,782
Quote:
Originally Posted by Olentzero View Post
I can get behind the idea that Christmas can feel overhyped to people and they want to cut back in ways that make the holidays more meaningful to everyone involved. More power to you all for it. But this?!Aw HELL no. It is my BIRTHDAY. Y'all BETTER gimme a damn present.
My mom was one of 12 and had six of us: if we made a big deal about birthdays, it never would have stopped.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11-25-2010, 09:21 PM
MLS MLS is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 7,414
Not having money is no excuse. I don't remember it but have been told the story about the Christmas my parents were very low on cash. They bought balloons and my big sister and I (I must have been maybe 3 years old or less) were greeted Christmas morning by the whole living room filled up with blown-up balloons. Apparently we were the envy of the entire neighborhood for a few days.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11-25-2010, 09:39 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
And Finn The Human
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 19,390
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khadaji View Post
Nope. We were poor, but that is the one time of year we got toys.
Same here. I've heard horror stories about things my dad had to do for money (no, not that horrible, sickos!) but I can't remember a Christmas without gifts. We may not have had all the GI Joes or all the Cabbage Patch dolls, or even any accessories but we had at least one.

Now that we're in our 30s and begging her to stop giving gifts (seriously, we're now a family without want or need), mom just can't stop herself. I think it's the same part of the DNA that makes people provide food and shelter for their offspring that they must also furnish holiday gifts.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 11-26-2010, 02:09 AM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
My mom was one of 12 and had six of us: if we made a big deal about birthdays, it never would have stopped.
Excellent point. Not even a little cake and a card, though?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 11-26-2010, 08:08 AM
legalsnugs legalsnugs is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Greenwich, London, UK
Posts: 1,057
Quote:
Originally Posted by MLS View Post
Not having money is no excuse. I don't remember it but have been told the story about the Christmas my parents were very low on cash. They bought balloons and my big sister and I (I must have been maybe 3 years old or less) were greeted Christmas morning by the whole living room filled up with blown-up balloons. Apparently we were the envy of the entire neighborhood for a few days.
My parents did something similar when I was a kid. I could not have been more than 5. On Christmas Eve my parents gave my older sister (she was 6), my brother (3) and me a bag of balloons (there was a baby, too, but he wouldn't have cared about balloons). They were the huge six-foot long multi-shaped balloons and we had a blast with them. Of course, being kids the balloons lasted about 20 minutes, including blow-up time. I told my sister - that's okay, tomorrow's Christmas and we'll get toys! She told me, "No, that was it. That was Christmas. Mom and Dad couldn't buy us any toys and there won't be any in the morning." I couldn't believe it and was bitterly disappointed, of course.

By the next morning, with everyone acting like it was just another day, we just moved on. I was a kid. Kids adapt. When I asked about it years later (having not thought of it for decades!), my mom said she felt so bad about that Christmas that she swore it would never, ever happen again if they had to go into monumental debt to provide a nice Christmas. And they did.

And I have had nightmares about it being Christmas Eve or Christmas morning and having forgotten to buy anything for my own children! Cold sweat-inducing, indeed....
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11-26-2010, 08:44 AM
Nava Nava is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Olentzero View Post
I can get behind the idea that Christmas can feel overhyped to people and they want to cut back in ways that make the holidays more meaningful to everyone involved. More power to you all for it.
For those who haven't seen him mention it before, Olentzero here got his name from the charcoal maker who delivers presents to kids in the Basque Country - so excuse me, sir, are you planning on going on strike this year? Don't make me go to Sweden and get all etxekoandre(1) on your ass, mister!

In Spain, the threat is that "if you're bad, the Magi will only bring you coal!" One year (the second year that us kids were "Magi helpers" ourselves, and boy did we have a big fight over who got to work for which Magus(2)), we went through the ritual of each of us laying down one shoe, then each person in order went and laid down his presents to each of the others, then we went back to open them...
to reveal candy coal That was all! Each of us had a huge lump of black sugar. We stared in dismay, Mom and Dad did a little song and dance of asking us whether we thought we deserved more; I remember Littlebro mentioning that Middlebro "helps me put my shoes on!". After the other presents came out, we talked about where the idea of the Magi bringing "only coal" might come from, and I remember pointing out that if it was a matter of the family being too poor to afford presents and In Olden Times, then coal might actually be a thing to be very grateful for!




1: lit. housemistress, more like "SWMBO by anybody who doesn't want to sleep in the rain"
2: the intermediate explanation between three dudes spending the night of January 5th zipping all over the world and "the Magi are the parents". The parents help the Magi, would you like to help the Magi now?

Last edited by Nava; 11-26-2010 at 08:46 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 11-26-2010, 12:52 PM
phouka phouka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
My dad tells a story of one Christmas in Oklahoma as a boy where they got nothing - not a single thing - because their father had spent all the money in a poker game.

His father later reformed, but . . . there are more than a few things in his childhood that are as ghastly as that.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 11-26-2010, 02:11 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Never for Christmas, but I had a birthday once where my parents went and returned every single present they'd bought me, and took me with them so I could watch, because I did something really awfully bad. I don't remember the crime, but I definitely remember the punishment! (I think I did get a cake and a Birthday Dinner, you know, all your favorite stuff, but no party and no presents that year.)
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 11-26-2010, 02:15 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 32,571
My B-day is December 25th, and I never got anything more than my siblings. It was all "this is for your birthday and Christmas combined." Nothing wrapped in birthday wrapping paper. My mother wouldn't let me have my favorite breakfast of French toast and bacon because it would "ruin your appetite for Christmas dinner." I liked chocolate cake with vanilla icing best, but I always got a (tasteless) white cake with white icing and red and green decorations.

I'm still bitter about it.

Last edited by Annie-Xmas; 11-26-2010 at 02:15 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 11-26-2010, 03:03 PM
Ludy Ludy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
My B-day is December 25th, and I never got anything more than my siblings. It was all "this is for your birthday and Christmas combined." Nothing wrapped in birthday wrapping paper. My mother wouldn't let me have my favorite breakfast of French toast and bacon because it would "ruin your appetite for Christmas dinner." I liked chocolate cake with vanilla icing best, but I always got a (tasteless) white cake with white icing and red and green decorations.

I'm still bitter about it.
That sucks. My brother is a Christmas baby and my parents always made sure that he had separate gifts. In the morning we would all open our Christmas gifts, and after dinner we all sang happy birthday and he got his birthday gifts. However most of the time he got an angel food cake since my aunt is diabetic and that is the one cake she could have.

The closest I have to no presents is when my family packed up and travelled the 7 hour drive to my aunt and uncles, only for my parents to discover that they forgot to pack the bag with my presents in it. I did get gifts from other family members and was just told that Santa got confused and delivered my gifts to our house.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 11-26-2010, 03:46 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka View Post
My dad tells a story of one Christmas in Oklahoma as a boy where they got nothing - not a single thing - because their father had spent all the money in a poker game.
.
See, this is the sort of thing I was thinking of. Some drunk/druggie/gambling douche of a parent being so selfish as to completely spoil things for their children.

Anne-Xmas - yours is one of the stories/circumstances that I was thinking of when I wrote my OP, although to be fair it sounds more like your mom ignored your birthday as opposed to Christmas. You've said in other threads that your mom hates you - can this possibly be true? Do you look like her ex-husband (your dad) or something? What could a little girl possibly do to make their mom act like such a total twat? Have you ever asked? Is she just totally nuts?

Why on earth would someone have children if they were going to be such a shithead to them??

BTW - my birthday is December 10th so I've certainly got the 'This gift is for your birthday AND Christmas' line from people who expect two gifts for their separate days, but never my mom. The whole thing kind of makes me want to punch your mother in the throat.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 11-26-2010, 03:49 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Never for Christmas, but I had a birthday once where my parents went and returned every single present they'd bought me, and took me with them so I could watch, because I did something really awfully bad.


I'm kind of dying to know what the crime was...
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 11-26-2010, 03:49 PM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
This doesn't quite fit the OP, but one of my classmates in grade school in about fifth grade or so, got only coal for Christmas. His brothers and sisters got all the regular stuff, but all he got was a lump of coal in his stocking. Where exactly you go to procure coal is something I've always wondered about.

In his parents' defense, this guy was an asshole, and he more or less deserved it, at least from the perspective of fifth-grade me.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 11-26-2010, 03:53 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadicalPi View Post
This doesn't quite fit the OP, but one of my classmates in grade school in about fifth grade or so, got only coal for Christmas. His brothers and sisters got all the regular stuff, but all he got was a lump of coal in his stocking. Where exactly you go to procure coal is something I've always wondered about.

In his parents' defense, this guy was an asshole, and he more or less deserved it, at least from the perspective of fifth-grade me.
Jeez. I am totally will to concede that my son is 3 months old and really hasn't had a chance to do anything very rotten other than spraying poo all over the wall and even that was OK 'cus his dad was changing him at the time, BUT...

what could a 10 year old do that would warrant this? I mean, I guess he could have ODD or something which would make him a real pain in the ass, but being purposefully mean doesn't seem like a great way to get him to reform.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 11-26-2010, 03:53 PM
EvilTOJ EvilTOJ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland View Post

Why on earth would someone have children if they were going to be such a shithead to them??
Children aren't always planned.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 11-26-2010, 03:57 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilTOJ View Post
Children aren't always planned.
Yes, well. There are still options other than 'Be a complete asshole to my kids.' available - adoption, for one. And actually, let me add 'Raising your children and not being a shithead and punishing them for your mistakes.' seems like a pretty good option too.

And in Anne-Xmas's case, her parents had more than one child so unless they were too stupid to figure out what was causing it, there's really no excuse. She's also suggested that her mother was nice to the other children.

Last edited by alice_in_wonderland; 11-26-2010 at 03:59 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 11-26-2010, 04:02 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
Creature of the Night
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
My B-day is December 25th, and I never got anything more than my siblings. It was all "this is for your birthday and Christmas combined." Nothing wrapped in birthday wrapping paper. My mother wouldn't let me have my favorite breakfast of French toast and bacon because it would "ruin your appetite for Christmas dinner." I liked chocolate cake with vanilla icing best, but I always got a (tasteless) white cake with white icing and red and green decorations.

I'm still bitter about it.
My parents were both born on December 17, and my mother always received a separate birthday and presents, while my father's mother always grabbed a couple of presents from under the tree and told him that was his birthday presents. I don't know if he got a separate cake.

I'm somewhat confused about the "breakfast will ruin your appetite for Xmas dinner" thing...surely you would have time to get hungry again?

My daughter was born on June 26. If you like, I give you permission to share her birthday, and have French toast and bacon all day long, followed by a chocolate cake with vanilla icing. Even though yellow cakes with chocolate icing are the very best.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 11-26-2010, 04:08 PM
Mr. Miskatonic Mr. Miskatonic is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
There was a housekeeper in our neighborhood who had a kid a few years younger than me. She got addicted to drugs and started pawning her kid's presents (both the few from her and from the families whose houses she cleaned) to feed her habit. When word of this got back to the (rather influencial) families whose houses she cleaned CPS was informed and she was fired from almost all the houses she was cleaning. It went very bad for her after that.

Last edited by Mr. Miskatonic; 11-26-2010 at 04:09 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 11-26-2010, 04:15 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland View Post


I'm kind of dying to know what the crime was...
I'll have to call my mom and ask her! I think it was around seventh grade, so really it could have been anything and I probably totally deserved it. I was a little shit in middle school. (Middle school was a little shit to me, too.)
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 11-26-2010, 05:16 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of the haggis
Posts: 20,270
I too have a December birthday and got combined presents. It sucked.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 11-26-2010, 05:28 PM
Malthus Malthus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
My wife's birthday is December 25 and our son's birthday is December 16. I always try to make the extra effort to ensure they both get Birthday *and* Christmas treats.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 11-26-2010, 05:35 PM
VunderBob VunderBob is online now
Mostly harmless
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: The VunderLair
Posts: 14,725
We had our bad times growing up, but Mom always made sure we got clothes, and something to play with.

One year, we were so poor, all I got was a pair of Levi's with a hole in the pocket...
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 11-26-2010, 05:42 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
I never got nothing, but the year after my parents divorced, the present I got from my mother was clearly an afterthought; a cigarette logo t-shirt stuffed in a Pringles can, wrapped in aluminum foil. I then got to spent Christmas Eve on her boyfriend's couch, and Christmas Day going around to his various family members exchanging gifts. I did get a gift from her boyfriend; I believe it was a device called a chest expander, which he explained would make me less of a wimp. Good times.

I had a somewhat more traditional post-Christmas dinner with my father and paternal grandmother, but as her husband had just died a few weeks prior, it was a fairly somber affair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland View Post
What could a little girl possibly do to make their mom act like such a total twat? Have you ever asked? Is she just totally nuts?

Why on earth would someone have children if they were going to be such a shithead to them??
I can't speak for the poster in question, but while I'm not a qualified psychiatric diagnostician, I'm certain that my mother met the pathological criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Forgetting a gift on Christmas was far from the most neglectful or self-serving thing she ever did. I suspect that there are plenty of people out there with similar stories, and a lot of parents who shouldn't be or never really thought about what it actually takes in terms of sacrifice and devotion to be a good parent.

Stranger

Last edited by Stranger On A Train; 11-26-2010 at 05:46 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 11-26-2010, 06:21 PM
Omega Glory Omega Glory is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
This isn't a situation where a charity would get involved, but post 19 in this thread might be of interest.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 11-26-2010, 06:30 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omega Glory View Post
This isn't a situation where a charity would get involved, but post 19 in this thread might be of interest.
Yah - it doesn't really qualify - once you're a teen you're old enough to behave in an appropriate way. I know plenty of 14 and 15 year olds that might benefit from a bit of 'meanness'.

The OP is more about very young children - 5, 6, 7. Old enough to know what's going on and be expecting something and too young to understand 'Mommy is a crack-head who spent all the $$ on drugs.'

Please note - being older with a crack-head mommy would suck just as much as being younger, but the child in question may at least have some sort of emotional tool to deal with such a thing where a very small child does not.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 11-26-2010, 06:40 PM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Nearly Mile High
Posts: 9,182
Nope. Even when we were dead broke we managed SOMETHING for the little ones. Kids, usually to preteens, are pretty happy with presents, it doesn't necessarily have to be something fancy or expensive. And with little kids, lots of little presents are better than one big one. Later we made up coupon books or some other homemade thing if we really couldn't afford anything.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 11-26-2010, 07:20 PM
SparkleLilly SparkleLilly is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Twice as a teenager I had nothing under the tree. It wasn't due to hard financial circumstances nor extremely bad behavior on my part. My sibling had many. I don't want to go into the entire saga, but suffice to say my mommy isn't like the other mommies. She can be vicious for reasons known only to her.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 11-26-2010, 07:41 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Not Christmas, but my wife claims her parents would make a show of giving her and her sister an envelope of "lucky money" for Chinese New Year when company came over, and then they'd take it back afterwards "to hold onto it for you". Uh huh...

Last edited by hogarth; 11-26-2010 at 07:41 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 11-26-2010, 08:48 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 15,576
I was estranged from my parents for about 5 years that I also didn't really have a steady BF, and was pretty solitary so I didn't do any sort of gift exchanges through work, or with friends. No birthday or christmas presents, cards. Not that big a deal to me.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 11-26-2010, 11:09 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
I was estranged from my parents for about 5 years that I also didn't really have a steady BF, and was pretty solitary so I didn't do any sort of gift exchanges through work, or with friends. No birthday or christmas presents, cards. Not that big a deal to me.
Erm, I'm assuming you weren't a child at the time, 'cus if you were estranged from you parents from age 3 - 8, that would be intense...
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 11-27-2010, 01:59 AM
Olentzero Olentzero is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nava View Post
For those who haven't seen him mention it before, Olentzero here got his name from the charcoal maker who delivers presents to kids in the Basque Country - so excuse me, sir, are you planning on going on strike this year? Don't make me go to Sweden and get all etxekoandre(1) on your ass, mister!
Hey, I said if they wanted to cut back, not me. They cut back, less work for me, more time for drinking! ('Cos that's what Olentzero does.)
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 11-27-2010, 02:24 AM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
They never got zero presents. However there was one year, when it was still possible that one of them believed in Santa Claus, when they were very very bad, very close to xmas. I mean disobedient, belligerent, surly. Some lying was involved.

Things were very tight that year, and some of the tightness of the money was directly attributable to the misbehavior, but nonetheless Santa Claus had been planning to make one more secret midnight trip to a nearby store to get stocking stuffers. However, on the night of the last chance, more misbehavior occurred, and based on the bad behavior, Santa decided not to. So the stockings were a little skimpy. They noticed.

Apparently they did not notice that their father and I didn't give each other anything at all.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 11-27-2010, 03:40 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Eastern Connecticut
Posts: 15,576
Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland View Post
Erm, I'm assuming you weren't a child at the time, 'cus if you were estranged from you parents from age 3 - 8, that would be intense...
Didn't think that there was an age range specified in the OP =)

But yes, I was in my young 20s =)
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 11-27-2010, 04:16 AM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Nope, I always got something. I didn't get much once I got to my teens; it'd be like wrapped-up nightdresses or something; that was because there wasn't much I wanted (I got stuff through the year as and when I needed it, if there was the money available) and I didn't feel hard done-by.

However, on my 12th birthday, I was visiting my Dad, his wife and my two-year-old brother. We went shopping. My Dad bought my brother a 30 remote-control car that he was far too young to play with, and refused to buy me a cute little pink elephant straw that cost 2p. On my birthday - I even mentioned it in case they'd forgotten. There were no other gifts we got home and I had to pay separately for my lunch using my own money. He was a terrible Dad in more significant ways, but my stepmum was OK, and this was just baffling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
Didn't think that there was an age range specified in the OP =)

But yes, I was in my young 20s =)
It says 'as a child.'
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 11-27-2010, 06:43 AM
Dusty Rose Dusty Rose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
No, but I was close once. I was a young mom. Had a baby at 18, a baby at 19, divorced at 20. Unsurprisingly, I was very broke. The year they were 3 & 4, I had no money for gifts. I was working and going to school, and there just wasn't any money.

I signed up at Salvation Army for charity.

People, I will never ever forget the generosity shown to me and my girls that Christmas. I had requested blankets, boots, winter coats for my girls; and at the sign-up lady's insistence, a pair of boots for myself. (I had no problem asking for help on the behalf of my children, but felt guilty asking for anything for myself.)

I must have gotten picked by a church, or a girl scout troop, or something... not only did my girls get the warm items they needed, we got boxes of food, toiletries, TOYS and I got a pair of boots. This was 20 years ago, and it's bringing tears to my eyes as I write this. (And I still remember what those boots looked like!)

After my car was loaded, I couldn't drive away. I sat there and cried my eyes out. I was, and am still, so amazed by the generosity...

To this day, I will donate to Toys for Tots, or Salvation Army. When I was doing well financially I adopted families and always gave more than what was requested. Just trying, somehow, to pay it forward.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 11-27-2010, 09:27 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Xmas no, but as a child I never was given birthday presents.
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 11-27-2010, 11:42 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 32,297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusty Rose View Post
I signed up at Salvation Army for charity.

People, I will never ever forget the generosity shown to me and my girls that Christmas.
I always throw some change into the Salvation Army bin as I'm walking by. Perhaps I'll dig even deeper this year.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 11-27-2010, 12:39 PM
Troubles Troubles is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
My brother and I haven't received any gifts from our mom (our dad is a deadbeat) the last two or three Christmases. We're below the poverty line, and she just hasn't the money to buy us gifts. It probably isn't going to be any different this Christmas. It sucks, but I don't want her to buy us gifts at the expense of rent or bills.

I don't want this year to be another Christmas without presents under the tree, so I'm going to buy my family at least one gift for each of them. I'm trying to sell stuff on Amazon and eBay, so if I'm lucky, I might even get enough money to buy them 2 or 3 gifts!
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 11-27-2010, 06:33 PM
Count Blucher Count Blucher is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
My mother used to recount the story of the boy in her class in school who misbehaved (and not all that badly) the week before Christmas. His father was a coal miner. A Lot of people were; that town had a lot of mines. Rumor was the stocking took about 1/3 of a bucket. She always said his name (which obviously I won't do here).
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 11-28-2010, 08:39 AM
Gala Matrix Fire Gala Matrix Fire is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
If you're looking for stories of jerkwad parents who ruin their kids' Christmas out of assholery, my stepmother reported that one year when she and her brother were small their dad threw all the gifts and the tree into a ditch behind the house in a drunken rage.

(I have a late Dec birthday and yes, I am bitter about my birthday's being neglected every year of my life, including being totally forgotten multiple times)

Last edited by Gala Matrix Fire; 11-28-2010 at 08:40 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 11-28-2010, 01:17 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 32,571
Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland View Post
Anne-Xmas - yours is one of the stories/circumstances that I was thinking of when I wrote my OP, although to be fair it sounds more like your mom ignored your birthday as opposed to Christmas. You've said in other threads that your mom hates you - can this possibly be true? Do you look like her ex-husband (your dad) or something? What could a little girl possibly do to make their mom act like such a total twat? Have you ever asked? Is she just totally nuts?
First of all, I must say and I very surprised, pleased and grateful for the responses to my post. You guys are the best.

My mother had it in for me my whole life. She started me in school late, insisting I was retarded. When the school gave me an IQ test and i scoared 148(!), she refused to let me skip a grade. Her response was "She must have guessed lucky." I marrid shortly after my 15th birthday solely so I could get away from her. On my 16th B-day, I had birthday presents, a chocolate cake, and French toast and bacon for breakfast.

Blood and DNA testing have since proved that my father and I are not genetically related. That explains so much and also leaves so many unanswered questions. Nobody knows or is confessing to the story, but I bet it's a doozy
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.