Friday, October 31, 2008

Because Christmas is all about judging and condemning dontcha know...

It's my turn to rant.

I've had it.

Absolutely had it with certain members of our (mine and my husband's) family. These members shall remain nameless for the sake of feelings but I've SO HAD IT!!!!

Just before Christmas last year I sent out an email to family members. You can read about this email in THIS post. I blogged about this idea to maybe inspire others to do the same. I urge you to go read it or this post will make no sense.

Go on.....I'll wait.......


So, we thought this idea was a fantastic way of restoring the Christmas spirit in our hearts, teaching our children a lesson in the giving spirit of Christmas, helping a family in need, and giving some children a wonderful Christmas that they otherwise would not have. It's a win/win situation.

So, in response to that email that was sent out.....One family member agreed. Another family member agreed but sent a 2,000 word email back to me with stipulations, requests, and requirements if they were to participate. And the last family member flat out refused to participate and had a full blown temper tantrum and refused to open a gift we purchased for said family member and asked if we'd like the gift to be returned to the company it came from because "you made it perfectly clear in the first paragraph of your email that it's too much trouble to purchase a gift for me." Yeah, this is an adult. An adult who's stomping their feet and "hmph"ing with their arms crossed because we suggested that a family in NEED get the gift that they were suppose to get.

Grow the fuck up!

Kinda left a sour taste in my mouth. But whatever.

So I've been exchanging phone calls with Volunteers of America these last couple weeks in the hopes of finding a family to sponsor for Christmas. Ideally, I would have liked to find a family that was in need for reasons that were out of their control. The economy sucks. People are losing jobs right and left here in Michigan. Ideally, I wanted to find a hard working family that was in need but not just looking for a handout. But after turning down the first 3 families that were presented to me it became very clear that these were not the types of families that were seeking out sponsorship.

So, after much thought, I decided on the 4th family that was presented to me.

Here's their profile: Single mother. 5 kids. 2 different dads are involved. Both dads are in jail and provide zero support. Mom doesn't work. Mom has severe asthma (is frequently hospitalized). Is on welfare. She's a size 22 as stated in her clothing wish list (this has absolutely nothing to do with anything but my reasons for bringing this up will become clear further down this post).

My initial reaction was to turn this family down. This would have been the 4th family I turned down.

Why did I want to turn this family down? I was thinking why isn't she working? Why is she on welfare? Why are the dads in jail? She's probably lazy. She's probably been looking for a handout her entire life. I was thinking that this is a family who is probably in the situation they're in for reasons that WERE in their control.

But, after some sole searching, I came to the following conclusion....Bottom line is I don't know this family. I don't know this mom. I don't know her situation. And all of these things that I don't know are irrelevant anyway. Because the one thing I DO know is that those kids had nothing to do with their situation. THEY (the kids) are in a needy situation for reasons that are out of their control. Because those kids are innocent bystanders in all of this. Those kids deserve a break....they deserve a good Christmas. Bottom line.

And you know what mom put in the kids' wish lists? Basic needs. Winter coats. Boots. Warm clothes. These kids deserve (at the very least) to be WARM this holiday season. So I sent out an email to the 2 remaining family members who wanted to participate. I received a phone call from one of them the next day. The following paragraph are just SOME of the things that came out of this person's mouth....

"We want to participate and sponsor a family with you but not THIS family. There are things that we don't like about this family. Mom's on welfare. She's not working. There's no reason she can't work with asthma. And the dads are both in jail? And she's a size 22 so obviously they're not going hungry."
I was speechless.
Absolutely speechless.
So, the spirit in which this was intended has been completely ruined. And we have decided to just scrap the whole idea and just tell everyone to use the money they would have spent on us to sponsor a family of their own choice....or just pocket the damn money and don't give it to anyone because I'm sure that's what everyone wants to do anyway. Cuz I give up. I had hoped to turn this into a nice family holiday tradition but it's become painfully obvious that that's not going to happen.


Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

K, that really sucks. And by "that", I mean your family members. I agree with you, I would have been initially a bit judgemental, but those kids never asked to be born. They never asked for the parents they got. THEY didn't create their reality, and they're probably not old enough to do anything about it. Too bad your family members aren't mature enough, and unselfish enough, to think of those things.

Keep doing what you're doing T. All you can do is be responsible for youself and your own actions. I think it's a wonderful idea and a very worthwhile tradition to have, even if it's just within your own immediate family.

p.s. We're doing something similar this year, within our immediate family.

Mr Lady said...

See? This is why I'm glad my family didn't celebrate Christmas.

We have a rule in our family...NO GIFTS for adults, and only gifts for children who are present. That means no one mails anyone shit. There's no pressure at all.

We all cook, we drink wine, we hang out, and we have a talent show. It's GORGEOUS.

I wish your family was being easier, but I LOVE the idea of sponsoring a family. I might steal it, actually.

You're a good person. And you're teaching your kids the right thing. Rock on, baby.

Kori said...

Okay, THIS pisses me off. Give your family my blog address and have them take a good hard look at what this other mom-the one you wanted to sponsor-might have to work with. why the fuck is SHE responsible for the fact that her kids' dads are in jail? She MADE them commit a crime? A lot of people WORK and still get WELFARE because jobs do not pay enough to support a living wage-fed. minimum wage supports a family on ONE, they are a family of 6. You have an excellent, most generous heart, but your family can kiss my fat, white, welfare ass.

Kori said...

God, I suck. I am so sorry. I am a bitch to the nth degree, and please don't hate me for typing before I think. I am sure your family is kind and loving and generous, and like I told you in my email, we are all guilty at some point in our lives of making assumptions about people. Again, a thousand apologies.

Marni's Organized Mess said...

:-( I'm sorry sweetie.

Backpacking Dad said...

I have people in my life who would respond in a similar way, and I just don't understand it.

jodieboedie said...


So sorry :-(

We went through the same thing . . . although the rest of Hubby's family decided to just not exchange (except for the kids).

Anyhoo - we decided to sponsor a family every year. We've been lucky finding a family. One year we asked at Church - found a wonderful family who was really trying, but just struggling. Two kids, mom and dad both working - barely making it. Same thing - coats, boots, mittens, pants, socks, etc. on the list. We went off the board and got them some fun stuff, too.

Second year, we found a family accidentally through a local organization. Single mom, 2 kids, all with bipolar disorder, trying really hard, struggling. Same thing on the list . . . basics . . . and the only thing mom wanted was a coffee maker and some Folgers.

Taking the kids shopping for these families was excellent - and they loved wrapping the gifts and taking them to the families. Grandpa dressed up as Santa and the kids as elves and dropped of the gifts and it was AWESOME!

So I hear ya. And good for you. Keep doin' it. You can only do what you can with what (who!) you've got.

Next on our list . . . serving Turkey Dinner at the soup kitchen (next year, the kids are still a bit too young).

LittlePaintedPolkaDots said...

Wow. The good thing about all of this is YOU. Keep doing your thing and don't let the other negative nellies ruin your good tradition and more importantly your good heart.

April said...

Okay, first off, and I hope this doesn't sound offensive, but I'm so PROUD of you for being able to mvoe past your own reservations and realize that the children deserve this.
Secondly, tell whoever it was that felt the need to judge that their response says more about them than it does about the family in need.
I wish our family could be more like Mr Lady's, but I don't think I can ever break my mom of the habit.

April said...

Sorry - one more thing to add.
Last year, in lieu of gifts to my multiple cousins/aunts/uncles, etc., my sister and I made a donation to a veteran's organization. Only the kids got gifts.

Tracey said...

That is really too sorry...

We are a family of 8 siblings, all married and 17 grandchildren. My mother was buying for all of them!!! She's Catholic...she felt obligated!! Anyway...we decided many years ago to do a name draw. Each sibling and my parents (that's nine couples) would get one sibling and 1-2 grandchildren to buy for. Anyone else you wanted to buy for you could but didn't have to feel obligated to! It's worked wonders. We've changed it now some...the grandchildren that are out of the house and on their own only get presants from their own parents...and (we haven't told my mom this because she would go back to buying for everyone) we now don't give the siblings another sibling we just buy for whomever we want. My mother is given a sibling and spouse to buy for and it works wonderful. No one goes broke, and we are all grown ups...we buy for who we want to and who we spend the holiday with. When my brother came to visit last xmas he bought us a gift...this year he won't be here and probably wont buy us a gift AND THAT IS TOTALLY OK! Like I said we are all grown was basically done so my mom wouldn't go broke buying for everyone...this system still works out great!!!

Best of luck and God bless!

Anonymous said...

We don't give presents on my side of the family, but my husband's family goes nuts (in my opinion.) It drives me nuts. This is going to be the year that I have the kids contribute to Heifer International.

Leslie said...

Wow. That's just sad. I'm sorry for all the stress that it's causing. But what a wonderful idea. Try not to let them get you down. Just continue on with this generous and loving idea. Kudos to you. ;)

Carol said...

That is so sad.

Good for you for wanting to get to the root of what Christmas is all about.

You hit the nail on the head, regardless of the situation with the parents those children are deserving of warmth this christmas.

It's not like she was asking for a xbox and all the trimmings.

Brooke said...

Thats too bad! I agree with you, christmas has gotten way out of control with all the presents! I am sorry some of you family are being such butts about it!! Forget about them! Do what you know is the right thing in your heart! I admire you for what you are doing and would love to do the same thing! You go girl!

auntie said...

i'm so with you on this whole idea. it stinks that some people just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

That is really, really awful. We have tried something similar with dh's family and it also failed. On my side, we just give to the children.

Also, just a thought, but possibly one of the reason's the mom is overweight is steroids for asthma. It makes you crazy hungry and puffs you up like a fish. I was on steroids for a month due to a horrible allergic reaction and gained 10lbs in 4 weeks. That stuff is horrible.

Angela said...

Wow...are you somehow related to my family? because that is the exact same thing that happened when we tried to do this with my grandparents. My grandmother got all huffy and said that if it's too difficult to just buy her a present than we don't need to come to her house to participate in "Christmas" (because presents are what Christmas is about, right?) at all! I was so pissed...especially since my sister was the one who made the suggestion. Oh yeah, and my sister and her husband have been struggling financially for a couple of years now and can barely afford to buy gas much less presents for 20 people. But my grandmother insisted that we still give everyone presents. She wouldn't even let us do just the kids!

Dana said...

wow!! that would sooo annoy me!!