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Sun15Dec2019

LastMinuteChristmas.com

Christmas presents; changing incomes

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My parents don't have a lot of money. They would like to send Christmas presents. I have more money than they do. I would like to send them presents. How do I make it not awkward? Snowflakes inside. My parents are struggling financially for a variety of reasons, including a late career layoff, bankruptcy, bad real estate loss, and my mother's mental health and other disabilities. They have had a particularly tight season.

My stepdad got in touch last night to ask what me, partner, and child, would like for Christmas. I didn't know how tight things had been, so I said "child likes Lego, partner would like a gift card for clothes for their new job, or a magazine subscription maybe" (not realizing how awkward it is to ask someone with little money for a gift card, and that said magazine subscription might be out of their price range).

I would like to communicate to them that it is very kind of them to want to get us gifts, but if the gesture is important to them, they could get us coffee or chocolate or some other small scale consumable. Neither of them do crafts or make foodstuffs, and we live in different cities. Time and energy are both limited.

I also want to get them gifts. I know my mother needs new clothes and hasn't been able to get them for herself. I would like to get them a giftcard for a restaurant they like, because they haven't been able to go out in months. I would like to get them gift cards for groceries or for the drug store so they can get good food and toiletries they might not otherwise be able to. I'm concerned that it will create an uncomfortable dynamic if the gift/care package I send them is much larger in scale than the coffee/chocolate they send me.

My mom and I have a strained relationship and communicate minimally, largely because of her untreated mental health issues and alcoholism, but I care about her and want her to have a comfortable life.

I feel so uncomfortable about how to communicate this. What is the most tactful way?

They helped me out financially quite a bit in my early twenties, and I feel guilty that that money could have gone into their savings to cushion this difficult time.


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