The holiday spirit is in full swing, from searching for the right present for each person in the family and making Christmas special for them. Kids eagerly wait for Christmas gifts. Read the story to know why the son was upset with his gift and do you think the son is right in being upset? What would you have done?
Our son is 22 and our daughter is 26. She bought a house in July. We know that moving into a new home always comes with unexpected costs, right after you’ve probably depleted most of your funds. So, for Christmas we gave her $4000. Our son we gave a few different gifts totaling somewhere around $800.
Our daughter had to work Christmas, but we did Christmas on the 26th and she stayed with us for the holidays from then until yesterday. Our son still lives with us, and today he told us both that he didn’t want to say anything while his sister was here, but his feelings were hurt by the disparity in the value of the gifts. We explained that the gifts we got him were tailored to his interests, but his sister has just passed a big life milestone where money is more important to her right now than sentiment. He said it’s still hurtful because it feels like we are more proud of her than him.
My wife got really frustrated when he said that and asked why he would choose the least charitable interpretation of our actions. He said that’s just how he felt and he couldn’t control it. I said that we didn’t give her money because we were more proud, but because we had experience being new homeowners and knowing that something always breaks in that first six months and it’s always expensive. He said that was all fine and good, but it still hurt to get a worse present and feel like an afterthought.
My wife asked if he expected us to get him four thousand dollars worth of gifts. He said no, but he expected the gifts between him and his sister to be equal. My wife said that’s the same thing, and my son said it isn’t. He said we could have given her the monetary equivalent of what we gave him. I told him that it isn’t really fair for him to decide how much we spend on someone else’s gift. Furthermore, cash is less personal than gifts, so giving her a cash equivalent to what he got would be her getting the “worse” gift.
He said we weren’t listening to him, just justifying. My wife said we didn’t need to justify anything, and he was being entitled. At that point he said he didn’t want to talk unless everyone was civil and he went to his room. He skipped lunch (breakfast for him) today, and when he left for work he didn’t say goodbye even though I was right by the door.
My wife is irritated, and my son is clearly resenting us. I can’t really decide if we’re in the wrong here. On the one hand, we should be able to give our money to whoever we want. On the other hand, I never want to hurt my son’s feelings. Were we wrong?
Here are a few comments on the story where it was originally posted: