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Getting over a distasteful gift...


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I'm trying here. I really am. I just received a gift from a relative who knows me pretty well. And, I'm just angry. Why? It's a book esposing a philosophy that I not only believe is unbiblical but is wholly against the values and beliefs dh and I share.

 

The giver KNOWS we don't share these beliefs, but every year I receive a book on this topic area.

 

Part of me wants to send them a book in return... but that would require me to go against my beliefs about giving gifts that I believe will be truly appreciated and enjoyed by the recipient. :lol:

 

GRRR.

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IMHO this is just rude and pushy.

 

You can choose to be offended and tell them that you find their gift distasteful. Or you can choose to laugh it off and pass the book on to someone who WILL appreciate it. I would generally tend to opt for the later and just see it as a quirk in that person and not really worth getting steamed about.

 

I hope they don't spend too much money on these books!

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I'm trying here. I really am. I just received a gift from a relative who knows me pretty well. And, I'm just angry. Why? It's a book esposing a philosophy that I not only believe is unbiblical but is wholly against the values and beliefs dh and I share.

 

The giver KNOWS we don't share these beliefs, but every year I receive a book on this topic area.

 

Part of me wants to send them a book in return... but that would require me to go against my beliefs about giving gifts that I believe will be truly appreciated and enjoyed by the recipient. :lol:

 

GRRR.

 

It's tough, isn't it? I can totally sympathize with wanting to send them a book in return.

 

To be honest, I try to recognize that their gift, although rude, is coming from a place of love and concern. Some days it works. The other days, I vent to DH and stay away from the phone.:D

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To be honest, I try to recognize that their gift, although rude, is coming from a place of love and concern. Some days it works. The other days, I vent to DH and stay away from the phone.:D

 

I know it's coming from a place of concern and love. It's my brother sending it... And, to be frank I have exactly the same type of concerns with the philosophical choices he and my SIL are making for their family. But honestly, I'd never send them anything that was so antithetical to their viewpoints as a Christmas/Birthday gift. At most, they might get a well-documented and hyper-linked e-mail or letter -- but not a gift. KWIM?

 

And honestly, I'd never send them a gift like that. I stick to my Christmas Ornament and food treats for the family, the occassional home-made family calendar.

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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

 

How irritating that this person continues to use a gift-giving time to continue to push their distasteful (to you) agenda.

 

I like the idea of selling the book (or can you return it?) and instead buying a book or making a contribution to something you do support.

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Have you told the person that you enjoy reading about opposing views, so they think the are providing you with that? If you have then, you have set the precedence. Just get rid of the book or read it to cement your beliefs and give you more ammo to use in dialogues.

 

 

 

Or are they using the books as a way of providing you more information on a topic they embrace? I would give the book back to them and just say "I am not really interested in reading this book, but since it is a philosophy you hold, I thought I would return it to you, for you to read. If you don't want it or already own it, I will just donate it to the Goodwill."

 

Maybe this will stop them from future insults and let them know they are are going unread.

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I can tell you what I would do. I'd put the book away until next Christmas. Then wrap it up and give it back to the relative with a lovely little note saying, "I saw this book, and just knew you'd enjoy it!" You don't have to say *where* you saw it, so that's not exactly fibbing. Either the relative will think you are completely bonkers, and leave you alone, or they'll get the subtle point, and leave you alone.

 

I am a firm believer in re-gifting. If we get a gift we don't want, or won't use in a million years, I put it in a box, and give it away when I am in need of a gift. Of course, this won't work for you in this situation, since this is a book about beliefs you don't want to spread (I assume.)

 

-Robin

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I can tell you what I would do. I'd put the book away until next Christmas. Then wrap it up and give it back to the relative with a lovely little note saying, "I saw this book, and just knew you'd enjoy it!" You don't have to say *where* you saw it, so that's not exactly fibbing. Either the relative will think you are completely bonkers, and leave you alone, or they'll get the subtle point, and leave you alone.

 

I am a firm believer in re-gifting. If we get a gift we don't want, or won't use in a million years, I put it in a box, and give it away when I am in need of a gift. Of course, this won't work for you in this situation, since this is a book about beliefs you don't want to spread (I assume.)

 

-Robin

 

Great idea... except the book has an inscription from them to me. Now, if I did that it would certainly create a stir :lol:

 

The beliefs are shared by people who are on this board, whom I do not wish to purposely and wontonly offend. It is a small (but growing) segment of the Christian faith.

 

So my purpose in not talking about what the book is about has more to do with my attempt to "live at peace with everyone" than not wanting to spread or refute the doctrine espoused.

 

I have publiclly said things about this philosophy in other threads which were about this philosophy -- but that isn't my purpose here.

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Now I'm stinkin' curious. LOL! I would simply put the book away or give it away (or if offensive enough, throw it away). I would also be tempted to get them a book espousing MY view. Seems like they believe everyone should read the other side, eh?

Edited by mommaduck
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If you feel okay about sharing the book with others, donate it to library or, as someone else suggested, sell it and donate the money to a good cause. If the philosophy is such that you wish it would cease and desist altogether, place the book in the recycling or wood stove.:)

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I would definitely return it, or ask him where he got it, so you can return it.

 

That reminds me of a story. Dh is an avid supporter/believer, whatever you want to call it of Dr. Laura. I personally cant stand her. Anyhow, he told me if I read her book, I forget the title, he would give me 300 bucks. I put my foot down and said no, but then gave in. Read it in about two hrs, said done, got my money and threw it(the book) in the trash. :001_smile:

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Ahhhh....Gotcha! ;) Well, kudos to you for being a peacemaker!

 

Now, if there are any relatives of mine out there lurking on this board, they know what happened to that gift they gave me that I never seemed to use! :lol: Guess I should be careful where I share my secrets, eh?

 

-Robin

 

Ha! Too funny.

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I would definitely return it, or ask him where he got it, so you can return it.

 

That reminds me of a story. Dh is an avid supporter/believer, whatever you want to call it of Dr. Laura. I personally cant stand her. Anyhow, he told me if I read her book, I forget the title, he would give me 300 bucks. I put my foot down and said no, but then gave in. Read it in about two hrs, said done, got my money and threw it(the book) in the trash. :001_smile:

 

I'd probably read it for $300! Actually, it would only take me about 30 minutes. I DID skim it to make sure I wasn't making a false assumption based upon the title, though -- even went beyond the Table of Contents.

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:lurk5:

 

I'm just here to learn. My sil (who was a public school teacher) has given us several books about kids or letters heading off to public school. One even has the letters crying when it looks like they would not be able to attend since they lost the dot on the letter i. :001_huh:

 

I'm sorry that you have to accept that from family. It is never easy for me.

Edited by Once
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If you feel okay about sharing the book with others, donate it to library or, as someone else suggested, sell it and donate the money to a good cause. If the philosophy is such that you wish it would cease and desist altogether, place the book in the recycling or wood stove.:)

 

Once I received a book that was so distasteful to me that I didn't want to put it in my own garbage, lest my garbage man decide I had a fetish of some sort (okay, of the bondage sort) so I put it in my neighbor's garbage. I felt they had earned the honor by allowing their dog to bark at night when I was trying to sleep:)

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Once I received a book that was so distasteful to me that I didn't want to put it in my own garbage, lest my garbage man decide I had a fetish of some sort (okay, of the bondage sort) so I put it in my neighbor's garbage. I felt they had earned the honor by allowing their dog to bark at night when I was trying to sleep:)

 

:smilielol5:Too funny!

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I often receive books from a Christian friend that are clearly of a conservative Christian bent. I don't take offense or consider the gesture as some sort of attempt at conversion. I assume that they are given because she knows me well and believes I will get something out of the reading. Which I generally do, even if it is a deeper understanding of my friend.

 

Perhaps your brother - based on your comments about your feelings regarding his change of views - feels as if the book may offer you some insight into him.

 

Just a thought.

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I often tell dh that God puts some people in our lives so that we can practice Grace :D

 

(He hates it when I say that...:lol:)

 

 

Yes. This is what this particular relationship has *forced* me to do. Although, I think when it is repetative and one sided it tends to get a bit tired. kwim? It signals a thinking of disrespect which should have no place in holiday gift giving.

 

One thing that has helped me is to reduce my expectations significantly. It will not help this year but it may fortify you for next year's gift. The other thing is to find the humor in it all. Waiting to see if said relative can be even more offensive the next year has it's funny side. Or the old, if you can't beat'm, join'm. I have had fleeting thoughts of buying sil's children "My Mommy, My Teacher". I will not ever do it but it helps ramp up the humorous side of things. Not pretty but it is what it is.

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I often receive books from a Christian friend that are clearly of a conservative Christian bent. I don't take offense or consider the gesture as some sort of attempt at conversion. I assume that they are given because she knows me well and believes I will get something out of the reading. Which I generally do, even if it is a deeper understanding of my friend.

 

Perhaps your brother - based on your comments about your feelings regarding his change of views - feels as if the book may offer you some insight into him.

 

Just a thought.

 

Ever-so-gently tossing this out there...I am of the conservative Christian bent and I have given books about Christianity (including copies of the Bible) as gifts to people (especially those I love) as I feel the Bible tells us we are to witness to others in fulfillment of the Great Commission and sometimes (ok, most of the time) a book says it much better than I do (especially when that book is the Bible).

 

This is sort of the opposite of what happened to you but I am trying to see it from your brother's viewpoint. Is he sending you this book just to be a jerk? Or does he truly believe in this "philosophy" and truly thinks it would benefit you to know more about it? Even if you disagree with the message in the book, I would try to appreciate the spirit in which it is given. Now if he is just sending it to you to be a smart-a** then I would be mad.

 

I don't know if anyone I have ever sent a book or a Bible to has gotten this offended by it. If they have, they have never said anything. But I only do it because I care so much about them and I think they know that and recognize the sentiment behind the gift even if they never read it. I think they see it as just another weird book from their "Jesus Freak" relative....:D.

 

Of course, if someone told me they found it offensive and told me never to send them something like that again, I would respect their wishes.

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The relationship between my older brother and I has been strained for as long as I can remember.

 

My heart tells me he means no offense, and sincerely believes this book (along with year's previous) is what God truly intends.

 

However, that feeling is also battling issues that go back many, many, years. A perception on my part, that he has a real "need" to be better than me... in something, some way, some how. This is in large part due to our upbringing (not intentionally, but an unintended consequence).

 

He also has a very strong bent towards the belief that pretty much something (anything) can be categorized as absolutely 100% true or absolutely 100% false. He is more willing than I am to take what someone in a position of leadership says as "Gospel Truth."

 

That said, my brother also has a tender heart. I honestly have a difficult time discussing anything on topics in which we disagree, because I do not feel he or I can do so without the discussion degrading into something ugly. And I know he doesn't want that -- and neither do I.

 

Maybe one day we can have these discussions, but that time is not here. It took my mom nearly 40 years to "get me" -- and he is a lot like her in so many ways.

 

Until then, I will love him, pray for him, and pray for grace for myself to help deal with past hurts and be open to bridging the gap. But, I can pretty much say, that neither myself, nor my husband will ever come around to their way of thinking on the subject matter of this book -- or the others they have sent.

 

I have seen a lot of humor in this situation -- gotten over the angry -- and will find a home worthy of a book such as this. And that home, is a military secret :D

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Ever-so-gently tossing this out there...I am of the conservative Christian bent and I have given books about Christianity (including copies of the Bible) as gifts to people (especially those I love) as I feel the Bible tells us we are to witness to others in fulfillment of the Great Commission and sometimes (ok, most of the time) a book says it much better than I do (especially when that book is the Bible).

 

I don't think there's any "stealth witnessing" going on in my case. :D The books are generally on a topic we have discussed, written from a Christian viewpoint. I have also given such things as 'Mistakes Were Made, but Not by Me' and 'A Year of Living Biblically', both of which I would consider secular, because I thought she would find them interesting, not in an attempt to suggest she abandon her faith. That would be vulgar.

 

(There would be a raised eyebrow if somebody gave me a bible, though, unless there was explanation attached.)

Edited by MyCrazyHouse
ironically, someone made a mistake in typing - it wasn't me.
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The relationship between my older brother and I has been strained for as long as I can remember.

 

My heart tells me he means no offense, and sincerely believes this book (along with year's previous) is what God truly intends.

 

However, that feeling is also battling issues that go back many, many, years. A perception on my part, that he has a real "need" to be better than me... in something, some way, some how. This is in large part due to our upbringing (not intentionally, but an unintended consequence).

 

He also has a very strong bent towards the belief that pretty much something (anything) can be categorized as absolutely 100% true or absolutely 100% false. He is more willing than I am to take what someone in a position of leadership says as "Gospel Truth."

 

That said, my brother also has a tender heart. I honestly have a difficult time discussing anything on topics in which we disagree, because I do not feel he or I can do so without the discussion degrading into something ugly. And I know he doesn't want that -- and neither do I.

 

Maybe one day we can have these discussions, but that time is not here. It took my mom nearly 40 years to "get me" -- and he is a lot like her in so many ways.

 

Until then, I will love him, pray for him, and pray for grace for myself to help deal with past hurts and be open to bridging the gap. But, I can pretty much say, that neither myself, nor my husband will ever come around to their way of thinking on the subject matter of this book -- or the others they have sent.

 

I have seen a lot of humor in this situation -- gotten over the angry -- and will find a home worthy of a book such as this. And that home, is a military secret :D

 

 

The middle part of this post expresses very well your understanding your brother's motivation, your concern about "discussions", and your love for him. I would write all of this in a handwritten letter to him and return the book and ask him to please not send anymore of this "type" of book.

 

Just a thought.

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Once I received a book that was so distasteful to me that I didn't want to put it in my own garbage, lest my garbage man decide I had a fetish of some sort (okay, of the bondage sort) so I put it in my neighbor's garbage. I felt they had earned the honor by allowing their dog to bark at night when I was trying to sleep:)

 

Maybe their dog was barking to let the homeowners know that someone was messing around in their garbage cans?

 

:D

 

Oh, and as to the original post, I would just have chucked the book or donated it (w/ the inscription marked out). If ever asked if you read it, I'd give an honest reply of no & leave it at that.

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My dear mil has sent my husband a gift subscription to National Geographic for the last 29 years. The photos and maps are lovely, but the humans-are-descended-from-apes articles are bad science. I was a geology and English major in college, so I know all the arguments. I have held my tongue re. the subscription and the worst offenders go right into the trash. Life is too short to let this come between us.

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How close are you to your brother? If you want to be really bold and try to put an end to it, tell him next fall that you realize he'll probably want to give you another book about ___ for Christmas, and that you appreciate that his love for you is the reason for his desire to give you such a book, but that you hope he'll save his money because you won't be reading it. "I really love you, db, and I appreciate your concern for me, but since we sincerely disagree about this subject, I would appreciate it if you would just agree to disagree and not try to push your beliefs at me through your gifts."

 

Not that I'd have the guts to do that, mind you, but it's an option.... :) Actually, I'd probably just decide he's going to do it every year and expect it. Whatever. At least he loves you.

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I'm trying here. I really am. I just received a gift from a relative who knows me pretty well. And, I'm just angry. Why? It's a book esposing a philosophy that I not only believe is unbiblical but is wholly against the values and beliefs dh and I share.

 

The giver KNOWS we don't share these beliefs, but every year I receive a book on this topic area.

 

Part of me wants to send them a book in return... but that would require me to go against my beliefs about giving gifts that I believe will be truly appreciated and enjoyed by the recipient. :lol:

 

GRRR.

 

 

and they continue to send the books, I'd either return them, or donate them.

 

My inlaws often send very Christian gifts, even though they know I am not Christian. It's tiring to be proselytized to, isn't it?

Michelle T

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This is the brother who thinks SKORTS are too racy, right? Who tells your daughter to dress his way in her house or she can't play with his kids?

 

I don't think you're going to get anywhere with talking to him. He seems to be very strict in his beliefs, and one of them is that he is being a good person to expose you repeatedly to the way you should follow. If you are upset by it, it is just proof of how much you need it.

 

I'd just give it to Goodwill and forget about it. Have a private laugh with hubby about how this habit of his is as perennial as the spring. I'd be more distressed about how he treats your kids.

 

:grouphug:

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If it's by the P's, then I take back what I said. I lean one way...but not with them!

 

You know...there is always going to be someone out there that thinks you are too liberal and others that will think you are too conservative. Pretty much, just go about your day. But I would lovingly tell your brother your feelings about his gifts.

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This is the brother who thinks SKORTS are too racy, right? Who tells your daughter to dress his way in her house or she can't play with his kids?

 

I don't think you're going to get anywhere with talking to him. He seems to be very strict in his beliefs, and one of them is that he is being a good person to expose you repeatedly to the way you should follow. If you are upset by it, it is just proof of how much you need it.

 

I'd just give it to Goodwill and forget about it. Have a private laugh with hubby about how this habit of his is as perennial as the spring. I'd be more distressed about how he treats your kids.

 

:grouphug:

 

Yes, this is the same brother. And no, I'm not going to get anywhere talking to him about it. Which is why I have to be the bigger person and just get over it. :001_smile: We're much more likely to talk to them about how they treat our children... (they are always very SURPRISED at our children's understanding of the Word of God, not just their knowledge -- for some reason, they seem to have this idea that because we don't drill character and Bible throughout the curriculum, they shouldn't be as perceptive about the intent and meanings -- which is what we do, all the time, teach them how to apply the teachings of scripture not merely recite it.)

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If it's by the P's, then I take back what I said. I lean one way...but not with them!

 

You know...there is always going to be someone out there that thinks you are too liberal and others that will think you are too conservative. Pretty much, just go about your day. But I would lovingly tell your brother your feelings about his gifts.

 

No, my mother gave me the books by the P's about 9 years ago... I read them... we started to apply some of what they said, and about 2-3 years later they were in the trash. I have never looked back on that one. Oh the guilt, shame and horror of it all!

 

Yes, there are always people who will think I'm too liberal -- and others who will think I'm too conservative. I'm definitely not someone who is easilly packaged in a box! And, to me, that's a good thing :D

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No, my mother gave me the books by the P's about 9 years ago... I read them... we started to apply some of what they said, and about 2-3 years later they were in the trash. I have never looked back on that one. Oh the guilt, shame and horror of it all!

 

Yes, there are always people who will think I'm too liberal -- and others who will think I'm too conservative. I'm definitely not someone who is easilly packaged in a box! And, to me, that's a good thing :D

 

Something just occured to me...did you have that baby yet????? :D

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It could also be that he's just a bad gift-giver. Maybe he just buys a bunch of these books and gives them to everyone, sure that everyone will be interested.

 

My SIL is a wonderful person but a horrible gift-giver. This year she gave me pantyhose. Four packs. In the completely wrong size. She also gave the same thing to her sister. She tends to do that...see something that she's sure everyone will want and just buy a bunch of it and give it to everyone.

 

I'd probably just toss the book and not say anything to your brother. You aren't going to change his opinion or his gift-giving abilities and it's probably better to just roll your eyes and say good-bye to the book.

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My SIL is a wonderful person but a horrible gift-giver. This year she gave me pantyhose. Four packs. In the completely wrong size.

 

Wow. That really IS a bad gift. I guess you could use them to strain stuff. Or make cheese.... :001_huh:

 

My MIL gave me a rather large bag of... hair.

 

It's ok, though, because I'm a knitter and it's alpaca (my favorite fiber) and I've been wanting to learn to spin. :D Still, in any other context, a bag of hair would be a horrible gift. You know, like non-fitting pantyhose.

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Something just occured to me...did you have that baby yet????? :D

 

Nope, I'll probably have the priviledge of carrying this one until the 15th, and dealing with contractions waiting for something to change... :tongue_smilie: So much for a small baby (I've only had one that was under 8lbs... and he was 2 weeks early. My last one was almost a week early and still weighed over 9 pounds.

 

No newborn sizes for my children! But, I'm grateful they aren't 14 pounders. OUCH>

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Yes, this is the same brother. And no, I'm not going to get anywhere talking to him about it. Which is why I have to be the bigger person and just get over it. :001_smile: We're much more likely to talk to them about how they treat our children... (they are always very SURPRISED at our children's understanding of the Word of God, not just their knowledge -- for some reason, they seem to have this idea that because we don't drill character and Bible throughout the curriculum, they shouldn't be as perceptive about the intent and meanings -- which is what we do, all the time, teach them how to apply the teachings of scripture not merely recite it.)

 

Amazing, isn't it? (my underlining)

 

We attended a multi-group cub scout Christmas party where the boy scout leader had a long prayer (sort of an invocation) that was borderline insulting to anyone not attending the sponsoring church. He was implying that those of us not in their pews on Sunday mornings were just totally lost in every way. If this is in fact why they're sponsoring scout groups, well, I guess I'll keep my ears open for further messages....it may not be the pack for us (for the same reasons as your brother's assumptions).

 

As for the book gift, since you mention "others" like it goes on every year, I might suggest next fall that db's family make a donation to the Operation Christmas boxes or a similar outreach charity in your family's name -- even $25 or 50 goes a long way for these groups.

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I see you as wrestling with the idea of whether the gift was given in a sort of spiteful way, or not, and how to respond -- to ignore it, make it clear you're not interested, "retaliate" somehow, or so on. I think it's probably better for your relationship if you tread carefully and don't say something nasty (or overly encouraging). Sometimes you just have to accept people for how they are...I have a relative who belongs to a religious group well known for its active outreach. For a year or two, I was subscribed to their monthly publications, which I did actually read, but I did not join the cause. Gifts of religious tracts to my children never made it into their hands, but I don't actually reveal that!; saying anything would, I think, be really hurtful in an already fragile relationship.

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Is it in fun? I have been known to do a few possibly offensive things in the name of good fun. I would share my yearly joke here, but I wonder if most would even find it humorous. :001_huh:

 

Okay...what the hay...:tongue_smilie:

 

My best friend (since we were about 11) is Christian and so am I. Her husband is Jewish. He is not REALLY Jewish in beliefs, but he was raised Jewish. In belief, he is more agnostic. Well, one day, her daughter came home from school and told my bf's husband he was going to Hell because he didn't believe in Jesus. Both my best friend and I believe that your salvation is between you and God...so she told her daughter not to ever say that again. Her husband asked if her daughter was becoming a "Jesus Freak." :eek: My friend got very angry and they argued about the term, as well as her dh's beliefs - which resolved in "agree to disagree" for them.

 

However, now, once a year, I send my best friend a Christmas card....with a large picture of Jesus on the front...signed from "one Jesus freak to another.":lol: I am sure many, many, many people would find that horrible of me...but he laughs and so do we.

 

She always hangs it on her fridge for the remainder of the year too.:D

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Ohhhhh, THAT brother. Kalanamak was much quicker on the uptake than me. OK, SuperUgh!!! I'd probably have a ceremonial burning, and I'm not one for burning books. (I'm also another who tends to be either the most conservative person in the room or the most liberal.)

 

I'm getting mad all over again at how he treated your children . . .

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