1.) Everything must be equal:
If Grandma is going to give gifts to the kiddos they darn well better have an equal number of presents to open. It would be wildly unfair if one kid opened three and another had only one (despite the one being worth the same as the three combined). And she absolutely must spend the same amount on each kid. Heaven forbid one kid receive a gift worth $10 more than another.
If one grandchild gets four outfits, the others must get four as well. If one kid gets an ornament, they darn well better all get one. Everything must be equal. Everything! Christmas is about nothing if not equality.
2.) No gifts for the adults:
If you want to buy something for your brother, how dare you be so bold. I mean there's a rule: no gifts for adults. Once that threshold of 18 has been passed, don't you dare. He can't even legally drink yet but gosh darn it he is too old to be getting gifts. I mean how would everyone else feel? I suppose it'd be okay if you showed up to the party early and gave him a gift behind closed doors. Or no, actually you better just schedule a separate meeting and give him a gift in secret. Secret gifts are better because then no one gets hurt. Christmas is about nothing if not covert gift giving. (but it better be a gift that he would be able to afford getting you because if you give him something too expensive his feelings or pride may get hurt; see rule number four)
3.) You better make sure and buy all the kids something they REALLY want.
I mean, if it's not on a list somewhere that they've made, if they haven't specifically picked it out themselves then you probably shouldn't be gifting it to them. Actually, you're best off to have their mom or dad buy them a gift and wrap it from you. You can just give the parents cash under the table. If several phone calls back and forth have not been made before the actual gift giving ensues then something clearly was done wrong. If that doesn't work out just gift the kid a gift card. That way you're sure to not get the gift wrong, not to offend the parents with a stupid gift, and not to see a tantrum from the hurt child.
4.) If you receive a gift from someone then you better give them one too.
This one is just conscience speaking. I get it. I really do. We all feel a sort of obligation when an unexpected gift is given but this rule still bothers me. When I give someone a gift that wasn't expecting anything from me it's generally because I found something for them that really meant a lot to me, that made me really think of them. Or the person means a lot to me and I really want to do something extra special for them. Honestly, if I give someone a gift and they automatically feel obligated to gift something back to me that takes away from the giving for me. I don't like it. I think this rule is sad and the obligation is unnecessary. But we've all heard it said, Christmas is about nothing if it's not about obligation.
And it gets even worse when the money equality thing gets thrown in there. If I give you a gift worth $100 (don't worry, that's not going to happen) and then you feel you need to get me something equally as nice. Spit on that! It's all stupid. Don't get me anything. Maybe that should be a new rule: If you get a really unexpected gift then you're not allowed to return the sentiment.5.) We no longer say Merry Christmas. It's offensive...
Should I keep going? I could. I know I shouldn't. I'm being a real Christmas downer. This December has been really special. Little Abe is old enough to remember years past, to totally comprehend everything that's going on, to be really excited about things he's been looking forward to for months (Christmas tradition type things). We've pretty much been celebrating Christmas every day this month and it's been awesome but all these rules, OH. MY. GOODNESS. I'm about to explode. I seriously want to be a hermit. My husband is not bothered about the true Christmas spirit of "obligation and fair play" like I am so the frustration has really just been building and building for me. Thus, all you fine folks get to hear my cheery Christmas rant.
You know, the really Christmasy thing to do would be if everyone just bought everyone else a $10 gift card. I buy one for you to Wal-mart and you buy one for me to Red Lobster and so on and so on. That way everyone would get something from everyone and it'd all be equal. Although, I might not actually like Red Lobster, they use a bit too much butter in their food so actually we should just all give each other cash, no more then $10. $10 cash for everyone. Then everyone gets something. Everyone gives a gift, everyone gets a gift. It's all fair. Kind of pointless in the long run but gosh darn it, it would be fair. No feelings would get hurt. No one would be offended. Perfection. Wonderful, pointless, Christmas perfect... I mean holiday perfection! Who wants to get this ball rolling with me? (that's sarcasm by the way... in case you hadn't figure it out. If everyone gave everyone $10 then no one would have actually given or received ANYTHING!)
The Grinch signing off.