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The Holiday Struggle

5 Worst Relationship Gifting Woes We’re Handling

We’re nearing the time of the season when you have to pretend to like your significant other’s family as if they are a pop song from a blonde newcomer that the radio won’t stop playing. If you’re lucky, your time with your significant other’s family will go slightly better than a North Korean missile test (although, in all fairness, those have been going pretty well lately). Whether you’re single, have a serious SO, have a not-so serious SO, or have a fake SO for your SO’s mom’s sake you probably have some horribly awkward situations on the horizon. Luckily, we’re here to help you through it like Drake songs during a breakup (or Drake songs during any other life situation). So let’s get started.

Spending significantly more or less than your SO.

Let’s start with some psychoanalysis. Don’t worry, we’re qualified. We’ve watched five episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. If you got them a $300 wallet and they got you a $7 bottle of wine, does it mean they’re trying to break up with you and probably have been for months and you’ve just been in denial the whole time? Yes. Of course it does.

Just like if you’re the cheap one, it means you don’t value them and they’ll quickly grow to resent you. In rare cases, however, a big difference in gift cost simply means one person is going through a rough financial time and has nothing to do with the underlying relationship. These situations can be very awkward, and the best way to avoid them is to drop hints of what you want. Send them some Keeps you are loving and hopefully they’ll see where your head’s at budget-wise.

Getting snubbed by your SO’s family

There’s a reason mother-in-laws are commonly called monster-in-laws. They’re not very nice. And they often have scaly skin and breathe fire. Picture this: you show up to Christmas Eve, the first night of Hanukkah, or whatever other gift-giving occasion to see beautifully wrapped presents for everyone. Everyone except you. After you spent all that time searching for the perfect piece of art for that one spot in the beach house and practiced laughing at your SO’s uncle’s unfunny and semi-problematic jokes.

They knew you were coming, there’s something for your SO’s sister’s boyfriend (who’s been in the picture way less time than you, BTW), something for your SO’s grandma who is only alive in a very medical sense, and even something for the family dog—but nothing for you. It’s okay to be mad. It’s okay to be pissed. But don’t make it a thing. Not even privately to your SO, because choosing between the wife/girlfriend/partner and the family is a losing game. Suck it up, and maybe subtly spill a little bit of red wine on the cream couch. Okay, a lot of red wine.

Showing up nearly empty handed when your SO’s entire family got you gifts

Stop, wait a minute. See my cup, put some liquor in it. When you show up with a measly bottle of $8 champagne only to find out each member of the family got you a gift, you need to do exactly as Bruno said.

They even got you the new Tory Burch wallet, which isn’t cheap, unlike how you look to your SO’s family right now. After filling up your cup, keep it cool. It’s a little awkward, yes. But it will only be more awkward if you over apologize since that will just make everyone else feel awkward too. Make it through the night, then send a nice thank you gift after the fact. A wine subscription, a cute cheese plate, a chic designer handbag, something like that.

Intentionally being sabotaged by your SO’s family

If your SO’s mother pronounces your name wrong one more time… Also, your name is Jane. Also, how is she pronouncing it a different way each time. Also, her name is also Jane. You’ve been dating her kid for three years so you’re well within your right to correct her in front of the entire fam. Besides pronouncing your name wrong, she also bought you a salami for Christmas even though she knows you’re a vegetarian and also knows that Salami is disgusting regardless on where you stand on the subject of meat-eating.

Then there’s your SO’s sister, who has posted ten pictures from the night and cut you out in every single one—or worse, only posted the ones you looked bad in. This isn’t just petty. This is Real Housewives of Major Metropolitan Area petty. What are you going to do? The only thing you can do. Rise above it. Kill them with kindness. Thank mom profusely for the salami. Like every single one of the sister’s pictures. You’re playing the long game, here. When mom is getting older, you’ll be the one to pick which senior citizens’ home she goes to, and it won’t be one she likes.

You got a gift for your on and off again BF and you’re OFF. What now?

Seriously, what are you supposed to do with that Apple watch now?! You have a couple options. The obvious one? Return it. Get your money back and spend it on yourself. You deserve it for putting up with Mr. Fuckboy. You could also just keep it for yourself. But if you want to get creative and a little masochistic, use it as leverage to see them again. Arrange to give them the gift anyways… in your hottest new outfit. And if the person you’re talking to instead of him just so happens to Facetime you while you’re dropping off the gift… well, that wouldn’t be so bad now would it?

This is just the tip of the iceberg for getting through the holidays with your sanity. Especially when it comes to your significant other’s family. But with your prickly outside, and golden inside, we know it won’t get to you too much. And if it starts to, don’t worry, we’ll be back next week with the 5 things you’ve been waiting to get away with all year. And in the meantime, enter to win today’s gift to make it through the holidays.

The Holiday Struggle series was creative directed and edited by Emmy-nominated writer Damilare Sonoiki.

Catch up on The Holiday Struggle!

Read Post #1: The Holiday Struggle—It’s That Time Of Year Again

Read Post #2: 8 Toughest People To Shop For Over The Holidays | Part I

Read Post #3: 8 Toughest People To Shop For Over The Holidays | Part II

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