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Person Goes To Celebrate Christmas With Fiancé’s Family For The First Time, Loses It After Getting 18 Pieces Of Coal As Gifts
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Person Goes To Celebrate Christmas With Fiancé’s Family For The First Time, Loses It After Getting 18 Pieces Of Coal As Gifts

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Spending the holiday season with your significant other’s family for the first time can be daunting. The pressure to make a good impression and fit in with their traditions can be overwhelming.

However, Reddit user Virtual_Ad_3893 took the plunge and embraced the opportunity. Things were going great at first. They felt welcomed. The initial nervousness subsided and everyone was enjoying the festivities.

But that quickly changed when the Redditor started opening the presents. Turns out, their in-laws decided to play a “joke” on them. Unprompted. With no heads up. It was so bad that eventually, Virtual_Ad_3893 teared up and bailed.

Unsure about their reaction, the Redditor told the whole story to the platform’s ‘Am I the [Jerk]?‘ community, asking for their feedback. Continue scrolling to read it and tell us what you think about the ordeal in the comments.

This person, for the first time, chose to spend Christmas with their fiancé’s family instead of their own

Image credits: Kira auf der Heide (not the actual photo)

But started regretting their decision the moment they began unpacking their gifts

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Image credits: eve lloyd (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: MART PRODUCTION (not the actual photo)

Image credits: Virtual_Ad_3893

Part of the reason why navigating in-law relationships can be tricky is the fact that there is no rulebook for them. For example, it’s not entirely clear how close people should live to their in-laws, how often couples see them, and what responsibilities they might shoulder.

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While the mother-in-law to daughter-in-law link is the most complex, virtually all in-law relationships come under tension as couples move through life together. The most frequent intra-familial flashpoints are religious celebrations and holidays. Occasions like Christmas are a major point of conflict because it’s where people are expected to be together.

Thrown together for an extended period of time, without sufficient room for autonomous behaviors, families come up against the phenomenon of ‘hypercopresence,’ which can happen with any interaction involving forced closeness – holiday gatherings included. Melanie Booth-Butterfield, a professor of communication studies at West Virginia University, US, who is writing a book on the topic, is certain that the negative effects can be long-lasting. “Hypercopresence can result in conflicts with relatives, angry words that cannot be taken back, and cold, rude nonverbal behaviors which leave lasting impressions,” she explains.

Additionally, holidays are when families carry out much-anticipated traditions and rituals, which research shows makes them feel closer and increases people’s enjoyment of these occasions. However, each family’s traditions might be different – and when in-laws diverge from our beloved rituals and traditions (or vice versa), tensions can flare.

However, judging from their post, the Redditor’s in-laws weren’t even trying. Gift-giving is a social ritual that requires careful thought and consideration. Whether a present is a home run or a fail depends less on cost, design, style, presentation, or practicality and more on the giver’s ability to listen, observe and empathize with the receiver.

“Gifts are an expression of feeling,” psychoanalyst Dr. Bonnie Buchele, who has heard her share of angst about gifts, both given and received, tells The New York Times. “So in the rush of the holidays — that panic of ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to get gifts’ — it is a good idea to take a little time to think about ‘What do I want to say here with this gift?’”

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It sounds, like the Redditor behind this post was simply… ignored. And that hurts.

People unanimously said the author of the post was not being a jerk and their reaction was completely valid

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daughterofathena80 avatar
queenofthecastle15
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The only present that he got her was coal?? Her FIANCÉ. He didn’t even just not tell her about this, he gave. her. coal. I would not marry this man.

mrob avatar
Gardener of Weeden
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My father would have called it "checking her sense of humor". I call it for what it really is, seeing how much bullying they will take. My mother was miserable with his "humor" tests. I HATE bullies with a passion.

arianwen001 avatar
Deborah Harris2
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

He should have warned her, it's not as if it was a pleasant surprise for her. That way she could have given all of them a piece of coal too as the 'newby' and let the fun and games commence!

guineveremariesmith avatar
Gwyn
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Party of the hazing is the not warning her. He's totally complicit.

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daughterofathena80 avatar
queenofthecastle15
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The only present that he got her was coal?? Her FIANCÉ. He didn’t even just not tell her about this, he gave. her. coal. I would not marry this man.

mrob avatar
Gardener of Weeden
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My father would have called it "checking her sense of humor". I call it for what it really is, seeing how much bullying they will take. My mother was miserable with his "humor" tests. I HATE bullies with a passion.

arianwen001 avatar
Deborah Harris2
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

He should have warned her, it's not as if it was a pleasant surprise for her. That way she could have given all of them a piece of coal too as the 'newby' and let the fun and games commence!

guineveremariesmith avatar
Gwyn
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Party of the hazing is the not warning her. He's totally complicit.

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