I love my sister Shelley to pieces but like most siblings, there are a few things she does that annoy me. Quite frankly, I know there are many things I do that annoy her, but one of her annoying qualities is Christmas-themed, so it bears recounting at this time of year.
Shelley is tight. Really tight. In fact, if I discovered that somehow she was a descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge himself, I probably wouldn’t be that surprised. She takes frugality at Christmas to new heights.
I have deals going with many of my friends where if we honestly can’t afford to buy one another gifts, then we just don’t. Or we just buy small things for each other’s kids. This has worked well for many years.
I have tried unsuccessfully to get Shelley involved in the Christmas deal process but she pooh-poohs it as if such behaviour is beneath her. She says that her kids – my niece and nephew – love getting Christmas presents from Australia; that they look forward to the parcel I put together every year.
Now I love putting that parcel together and every year I hope a similar parcel will wing its way over from America for my boy, but no parcel comes. For 13 years no parcel has come.
A couple of years back I got really sick of it and didn’t send a parcel to America. The fallout was tremendous. Shelley went on and on about how disappointed her kids were. She even got my Mum involved and I was painted as the most selfish sister and aunt ever. Yet the one little detail of my son never getting a Christmas parcel from his aunt in America was overlooked.
I got tired of trying to explain myself, so I started to send the parcels again, but my heart really wasn’t in it. I don’t need to take as much as I give, but sometimes giving, giving, and giving some more just gets to be too much; especially when you have a son who would dearly love a parcel from America.
So the parcel is off this year. I don’t want to disappoint the kids but there has to be a limit to this non-reciprocal thing. I feel bad, but I feel good at the same time. Scrooge is definitely in the house.
*Image by SweetSoulSister at DeviantART.