Christmas gift controversy sparks family tensions after social media post

Reddit users have offered advice and support to a woman facing family tension over a private Christmas gift. Picture: Pexels/Monstera Production.

Reddit users have offered advice and support to a woman facing family tension over a private Christmas gift. Picture: Pexels/Monstera Production.

Published Jan 3, 2024


Christmas is regarded as a time for joy and giving, but for one woman, a secret present from her husband caused a family uproar.

The story, shared on the popular Reddit forum AITA (Am I the a--hole?), is sparking widespread reactions for its depiction of familial strife wrapped up in holiday gift-giving traditions.

Taking to the forum, the woman explained: “Every year, my family does Christmas at my mom’s.”

She added that their family’s holiday tradition is to open gifts as a group, including those exchanged between spouses.

In the post, the woman also expressed how her family responsed to her husband’s present—an expensive handbag.

In a bid to protect the sentiment behind the luxury gift, the woman explained, “My husband got me an extra gift that wasn’t the ‘real’ gift (it was a moderately priced skincare set).”

She said that the actual Christmas celebration passed peacefully without the slightest hint of drama.

However, trouble started brewing after the gift made an unintended appearance on social media.

“I recently posted a picture of my husband and our kids at dinner,” she said, “and my handbag could be seen hanging off the back of my chair.”

Upon noticing the accessory, one of her friends complimented the bag online, unwittingly igniting the spark that led to family members finding out.

Sharing gifts should be a happy time but can cause tension. Picture: Pexels/ OurWhisky Foundation

The revelation triggered a volatile response from her kin. According to the woman, “They totally blew up”. She revealed that some relatives felt betrayed by her decision to open a private gift separately, while others lashed out over the bag’s cost.

The backlash left the woman’s siblings accusing her of secrecy and superiority. Left questioning her own actions, the woman lamented, “I didn’t open it with them because I didn’t want their opinions, but now I’m starting to feel like an AH for keeping it a secret”.

Struggling with guilt, she admitted that regardless of her choice, criticism seemed inevitable due to the gift’s hefty price tag.

“I don’t know whether or not I’m wrong,” she concluded, seeking the moral judgement of her online peers.

On the AITA platform, users offered advice and support. One commenter urged her to confront her family head-on, saying, “It’s time you be 100% bluntly honest with them”.

The suggestion to capture snide remarks and address them in a group chat was also put forward, with the commenter even drafting a letter for the woman to consider sending to her relatives.

The proposed note cut straight to the heart of the matter, expressing frustration with the family’s reaction to the special gift from the woman’s husband, and the negativity surrounding their Christmas gift traditions.

The commenter further suggested that the woman should voice her feelings and concerns directly, and even urged her to consider stepping back from the family tradition due to its emotional toll.

Meanwhile, another respondent offered their own experience of selectively sharing gifts with in-laws, and raised concerns about the mother’s demands for all gifts to be opened in her presence, arguing that her insistence was unreasonable.

These voices portray the struggle faced by the woman and reflect the broader complexities of family relationships and holiday traditions, resonating with those navigating similar challenges during the festive season

Another person said, “You’re a grown adult with your own family. You don’t have to follow someone else’s made-up rules about opening all gifts in front of your entire extended family.”