......and Christmas is coming

triximkyNovember 20, 2008

This is my first real "Christmas" with the step-kids and ex wife situation. About a week ago, my fiance 6 yr. old daughter said (in front of ex wife), "we have you (me) on our 'give list' for Christmas. The ex agreed and then we went on with our business.

So, my question is: "What is appropriate when it comes to Christmas and giving the (mean/jealous) ex a gift?" What is the best gift that isn't (I guess) too personal, but not insulting? Just a note, the ex wife is still in love with my fiance and reminds me/him a few times a week.

I worry (even when a child picks it out) that she'll either get a glimmer of hope of getting back together with my man or insulted to the point of no return.

Anyways, there is probably no perfect answer to this one, but I will throw this out there to see if anyone has had a similar problem. Thanks.

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We have kept it very basic for BM. We usually get a great picture of SS (I take TONS of pics!) and enlarge it to a 5x7 or 8x10 and get a nice frame for it. Then DH has a tradition of taking SS to Yankee Candle Co. and picking out a yummy-scented candle for his mom.

She usually does something similar for DH.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 6:20PM
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My DD (in other words, I) get my ex a t-shirt, a baseball cap, a framed piece of her artwork... anything very impersonal but that has meaning for her. So, a shirt from her martial arts class would be an example.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 9:56PM
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Last year, I put together a scrap book of SD's holidays from when she was a baby. I found old pictures in a box DH had of several Christmases and made copies. Then I could cut up the copies to fit into the scrap book without ruining the originals (which are still in the box). I used cute captions and there were pictures of SD with her sister, SD with her mom and SD with her dad. I didn't put their old family picture because I didn't know how it would be interpreted. That might have been awkward. But, it was a nice scrap book... of course it wasn't acknowledged. I also got a nice frame & put SD's school picture in it. She didn't buy any pictures so we wanted her to have one. We also sent gifts for all the other kids (her other DD & BF's 3 kids). In addition to that, I gave SD $50 to spend at the school "santa's workshop" sale and she spent most of it on her mom & sister. None of the gifts were acknowledged and she didn't get us (well, DH... I didn't expect anything) gifts from SD.

This year, I'm hesitant to get anything for her. Not that we need anything from her, but who wants to bend over backwards for someone that owes over two thousand dollars for support, refuses to pay any medical bills, and won't even acknowledge when someone does something nice. (and that goes beyond gifts). [okay... sorry for the little rant. I feel better now!]

Back to OP... don't worry if she reads too much into it or that she may get insulted, if she does that, she wants to read more into it or she wants to find a reason to be insulted. You can't control that. Find out what her hobbies are and get her something she might enjoy. Be sincere and don't look back.

PS. The first year my parents were divorced, my dad gave a gift to my mom's BF (the one she was having an affair with while they were married. My mom had actually taken one of my dad's paychecks and 'loaned' it to this guy when they were struggling to keep the electricity on & food on the table) Dad gave him a wallet. At the time, I thought it was so nice of my dad to rise above the fact that mom had cheated (how naive was I?) but eventually realized that it probably signified something. Fortunately, the guy didn't 'get it'. (or at least there was no fallout or war)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 11:09PM
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hahaha your dad gave him a "wallet" ... thats funny!!

Did he put a couple bucks in it!!

IMA SD could do a coupon book with mom ... put SD's wants in coupon form and cash them in ... with mom. Quiet time reading a book together etc.

Trix ... (evil grin) get her a makeover!! beauty day... but in your situation I would let daddy take the child shopping for the "gift" .... this way its on them and not you ...

I have always bought something for my ex "from the kids" ... and he did the same nothing too wonderful. Something we knew each other would like ...

I have taken the SC in the past on holidays to buy mom a gift and get cards for mom ... but after 3 years I figured out she couldn't be bothered doing the same for hubby and I know its not the gift its the thought that counts well she hadn't thought to get him anything in 3 years from the kids .... So this year I don't think I will be offering to do it for the kids ... unless they specifically ask and have their own money for it.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 1:31PM
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Since we've had SD we(read: I) have done something special for her mom ~ a photo coffee table book of SD's 'life thus far', Starbucks coffee mug with the picture inserts, hand painted picture frames, picture charm bracelets, etc. I've also done personalized wedding and baby gifts. I also frame her school and sports pictures for mom, her grandparents, step grandparents, aunt and uncle on mom's side. Never until this year has she acknowledged any to me, or has she thanked me. I've never heard anything from her family. I continue to do it because it makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing . . . even though I then gripe to you all about it.

I think gifts that center around the kid are best. Anything else becomes more about the giver than the getter, and that could send a weird message. I had forgotten until now - the first year DH and I were together at Christmas mom sent SD with a gift for daddy - boxers and jammie pants. I thought that a little weird.
So I say make it about the kid and you can't go wrong - it almost sends the message that all things between mom and dad are about the child now - nothing more.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 5:37PM
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Wow.... I didn't even think of all that.... I am new to being an "SM".... in fact, I'm actually marrying the love of my life Dec. 20th, so I'm not technically the SM yet. :)My soon-to-be SS is only 3 and we only get to have him EOW (during the school year anyways; during the summer we get him every other week :) ) So.... do I even do the whole "getting BioM a gift" thing, or leave it up to her parents (she lives with them currently)? She is a real snot to my wonderful h2b, so I'm pretty sure she's not going to get him a gift from his son.... I was going to have SS's portrait done and given to DH(2b); think that's ok? :) The only portrait he has of him is when he was about 6 months old and it's sitting on his fireplace mantle.. I figured that would be a good idea. Yes/no? I would LOVE some advice. :) Sorry for being so wordy!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 9:08PM
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Congrats, and welcome to the board!

I think a portrait is a great idea. You could do a cute 'manly' pic - one of my favorites of my sons is them in jeans, no shirts and baseball hats. Darling! You could also schedule to have dad and son do pics together - a gift for you as well. :-)

As for mom - I wouldn't sweat it this year. Maybe you could help SS draw a picture and put it in an inexpensive mat and frame? Simple and not overbearing. To come in as the 'newbie' with a big fancy gift could set things off on the wrong foot. As coordinating a gift isn't rally your 'job' I think it's great you are exploring your options.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 1:10AM
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I have a good suggestion for people in my situation for a gift for the ex....a LONG TERM membership to eharmony....ok, ok, yes I am kidding. ;]

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 3:09PM
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over the last 7 christmas' we have never bought a present for my dh's x. That just seems inappropriate to me. If the child is young and wants to make her something then that sounds nice. My sd has never asked either of us to buy her mom a gift. I guess if any was going to be given then a pictures sounds nice. But the whole idea of buying presents for an X seems bizarre to me. Especially if she still has feelings for your dh or bf. I left my 10 yr old son's bio dad when my son was almost 2 and have never given him a present from my son either. Maybe I am just not nice. I don't know.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 10:27PM
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We are horrible. We don't buy the girls mom anything. We always let them make her cards. We do this for every holiday including mother's day. I refuse to spend money on the woman besides the girls get more satisfaction of CREATING something for their mother than they would get out of handing her a present they did not even buy.

They made her Thanksgiving cards but I doubt they'll even see her to give them to her.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 12:44PM
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Our situation is new this year...both my husband and his ex remarried (since I'm in the picture, that's obvious) so they each have a new significant other that is close to the kids. We've communicated to our kids that the stepparent should help to buy something for their spouse with them. So, for example, I took the kids to buy something for their dad, and I expect their stepdad to take them to buy something for their mom. I don't think that needs to be our responsibility anymore. I could maybe see doing it if she hadn't remarried, but I think there's enough adults now that it is not necessary for my husband to buy his ex anything and vice versa.

I think the idea of homemade gifts is a good one to encourage with the kids- I used to make my parents little coupons that I'd do chores or babysit and give them at christmas. It's FREE and it's definitely worthwhile to the parents!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 10:32AM
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triximky: What caused their divorce if she is still so in love with him?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 7:46AM
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bnicebkind: Well - they had alot of issues that surrounding the fact that she was spending too much money and then he became sober right after they split up and I think that she felt she deserved the "new and improved" relationship.

She keeps talking about how "he" had robbed her of the 'perfect family' and never taking the time out to be with the kids and her. I know she plays the 'victim' card very, very well and can't even pay her rent because of mismanagement of money.

When he had come back in state, after leaving to get a better education, he used to go over to his ex wife for visitation twice a week and she would lean on him for advice. Since he has been with me, this has changed, but I do think it has set things back emotionally for her a bit. I am glad that as time goes on, her feelings seem to be getting less prominent even though I am still uncomfortable with her personal feelings.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 6:01PM
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trix~ It doesn't really sound to me like she is in love with him. She may have regrets that she doesn't have the new & improved relationship but if he didn't get sober until after they split up, then she probably has some resentment and gives him some of the blame for not being sober during their relationship. He deserves the blame for that if he chose to drink in excess during their relationship, he is partly to blame for their 'perfect family' not existing, just as she probably did things too. I don't see her as playing the victim & I can understand her frustration/resentment but I can agree she needs to deal with it and move on. It sounds like she is doing that if as time goes on her feelings seem to be less prominent.

So, yes she needs to take responsibility for her own problems... apparently with spending & money mismanagement but if he wants to help her along in getting over what he did in their relationship, maybe he could apologize and make amends for whatever problems his drinking contributed to their relationship/family breaking up. It's one of the 12 steps to recovery and it doesn't mean he wants to start over with her but he should acknowledge the pain he caused her (and their children) with his drinking. He may also want to do the same with his kids. I'm an adult child of an alcoholic and my mother still has never acknowledged what she put me through. She stopped drinking and thinks that should be enough... "I'm not drinking, what more do you want?" but it would be nice for her to say 'sorry I made your life hell growing up.'

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 10:05AM
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trix she is not playing a victim card, she actually is a victim of someone else's (in this case her exhusband) alcohol or drug addiction. and yes she probably is resentful of the fact that she didn't expereince nice relationship with him because she had to live with an addict-and it is not a picnic.

i agree with imamommy that he needs to acknowledge what pain he caused her and their children. it is not enough to just stop drinking, an addict has to make ammends, your DH didn't make ammends to his exwife, but he has to. she does not have any hope to get back wiht your DH, why would she? but she sure has hope that he will acknowledge causing her pain and ruining their marriage and hopefully aplogizing for what he has done to her and kids.

it is extremely damging for anyone's well being to live wiht an addict. your DH s Xwife is damaged by him for life. part of his recovery is to make it up to her.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 12:04PM
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