A couple of weeks ago it was my father’s birthday. After Father’s Day, it is probably my second least favorite day of the year. It is not because I don’t like celebrating other people’s days, it is that my father acts even worse on occasions where he feels entitled to extra attention.
My sister and I buy gifts for my parents on their birthdays and on Christmas. My father is literally the most impossible person to shop for. It is not that it is hard to think of good gifts for him, rather that he returns EVERYTHING! We are all guilty of occasionally returning or regifting something that we don’t love or need, but he does it with almost every single present we give him.
1. My dad got a job where he had to be on the road several hours a day traveling. I thought of the best gift- a mini fridge that plugs into the cigarette lighter in the car…because he was always complaining about having to stop for a cold soda and how his sandwiches would get warm. I was so excited to give it to him. He returned it to the store two days later.
2. My dad likes mini electronic helicoptors. My sister saw a Groupon for a really cool one and bought it for him. She thought she finally hit the nail on the proverbial head and found the perfect gift- the ONE that would not be returned. Nope. He returned it to Amazon and bought a bigger, better version.
3. My dad is obsessed with leftovers and my parents’ freezer is filled with all kinds of food in plastic baggies. After coming across the “As Seen on TV” vacuum sealer, I thought for sure that it was going to be a keeper. Negative.
3. There are too many others to name: sweatshirts, gadgets, tools, computer programs, jackets, books, etc. etc. There was one Christmas about 10 years ago where we got him a few polo shirts and some candy and he kept them! My sister and I felt like we pleased the Grinch!
But, after years of this, my sister and I decided that we would no longer put any effort into buying him gifts. Many of our friends/boyfriends thought we were crazy that we even bothered at all, considering that he acts so ungratefully. Now we simply buy him an Amazon gift card and call it a day. The thing is, I am not sure why we continued to try for so long. And there are still things I see that I think, “I bet he would like that” and then I remember all the years of having to hand over the gift receipt so he could return or exchange what we bought him.
I want to say that it became like a challenge or a game…”What Won’t Dad Return”…and although my sister and I joke about this, there is a hurtful element to it. I think it also molded me into an extreme people pleaser. This has been a recurring problem in my relationships with men. On a fundamental, simplistic level it is almost like “if I can just find the perfect gift or do something really nice and thoughtful, he (dad, boyfriend, etc.) will be happy and will continue to love me.” I am not a materialistic person at all and I would always rather give than receive. But this desire to please our father, who actually treats my sister and myself pretty horribly, has always been a little confusing and upsetting to me.
You and your sister have hearts of gold!
http://iamforchange.wordpress.com/awards-page-and-nominations-thank-you-i-am-so-honored-and-grateful/ So many have shared so much with me and I wish to share as well please accept my nominations and if nothing else know I am grateful for your sharing on your pages with us all and the time you share with me on mine.Thank you!! 🙂 Joe
That’s awesome, Joe! And they are all well deserved because you contribute so much to this online community. I am so, so grateful that you were one of the first people I was able to connect with on WordPress because you have inspired me a lot. Congrats on all your awards 🙂
I think you are smart with the Amazon gift card. It sends a message that you tried and tried and now it’s time he picks out his own gift. I have a similar situation with my sister’s kids at Christmas. Every year I would ask her to give me some ideas for them early enough (because I like to shop before December). She would put it off until a couple weeks before Christmas, and by that time I have already bought and wrapped their gift. They are very ungrateful and would say things like, “I already have this” or “Did I ask for this?”. I got to the point last Christmas that I sent care packages to the troops in lieu of gifts, and for their birthdays they get money. I barely get thank you notes, unless they are months late, so I’m ready to just send cards and that’s it! It’s gets frustrating trying to find a nice gift that goes unappreciated time after time. It’s hard to turn off that want to please other people. So, I hear ya, sister…
I am grateful that my mom taught my sister and me to be appreciative and we didn’t inherit that bad behavior from my father. No offense to your sister (I know that I can say bad things about my sister but god help someone else that does lol) but it is a shame that she isn’t teaching her kids to be grateful for gifts- it is such an easy thing to write (or even just say) thank you. Good for you for sending gifts to the troops instead- I am sure they are very thankful for the thought!!!
So, yes, I have a hard time trying not to please other people, but there are only so many times you can try before you just give up!
Thanks for your response 🙂 That’s my favorite part of blogging- knowing there are other people who really can understand!
I don’t really understand it because she (my sister) was taught to be grateful, so why isn’t it a priority to teach her kids this? Anyway, we eventually learn our lessons, right? Have a good night!
That is pretty weird. Maybe they can learn it from their smart aunt 🙂