Wedding Woes

Go shopping with your mom?

Dear Prudence,

I have a poor single mom, who loves gift-giving and is terrible at it. Growing up, she would scrimp and save leading up to Christmas to buy gifts I would inevitably hate but pretend to like so as not to hurt her feelings. I have tried to ask her to use her money for necessities or donate to charity, but she insists on buying me gifts. When I got accepted to college, she bought me a $200 poorly-fitting (to the point of being inappropriate) dress, and I cried for hours in my room. Now I’m a grad student in a tiny apartment, and I don’t have space for my necessities, never mind expensive stuff that my mom can’t afford and I don’t want. I know I’m being ungrateful, but I’m sick of feeling so distressed around the holidays. Is there a way to get her to stop without hurting her feelings?

— Guilty Gift-Hater

Re: Go shopping with your mom?

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    Are they things you cannot exchange?  As hard as it is to maybe have a conversation I would guess that mom truly doesn't want her hard scrimped money to be wasted on something ill-fitting like that.  I would also try to gently suggest doing things together instead of gift giving if you think she might be amenable to that.  I personally don't think it's ungrateful to not want ill-fitting clothing or similar gifts.
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    Some moms mean well and never get it. 

    Last year she gave my H a XXL sweater.  My H is an XL at BEST and this XXL made him look like a kid in a Shredded Wheat commercial.  I have numerous items that are too big or not my taste. 

    I work on her when I can and have tried to reiterate what is just not my taste.  I think LW can broach the subject before the holidays and also not count on mom for furnishing her wardrobe.  I know I'm not building mine around my mom's choices.
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    I would either tell mom EXACTLY what I want or am saving up for or drop many hints (or have a direct conversation if that is more your communication style) about not having room for anything else. 
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    I was also thinking LW could make something up to bring up sizes if clothing is what the mom wants
    "Oh wow, these things run small. I'm definitely a medium here"
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    I just had this conversation with my mom. My recommendation is to come up with a specific item that you really do want or need and ask for it. 

    But then I decided this morning that next year I'm going to ask to be excluded from gifts, so take me with a grain of bah humbug.
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    I'm wondering if it would work for this mom to have a gift amount limit.  The LW could say something like, "Mom, now that I'm an adult and living in my own small place, you don't need to go all out on gifts for me anymore.  I'd feel so much more comfortable if we put a $40 cap on gifts."

    Then the LW could suggest gifts or general categories they like.  For example, a box of chocolates or a plant/small bouquet of flowers.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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