A Hurtful Gift-giving Experience: Why I Think Christmas Gifts are for Children

Surprise, I have an opinion. I think that adults buying gifts for adults is ridiculous. Why don’t we just swap $50 bills? While discussing with my family what method of gift giving we would do this year it was leaked that the person I bought for in a previous year (when we drew names)  had sold the gift that I bought for them on kijiji (Canadian Craig’s List).

It was two Christmases ago, but it still hurt me deeply (and I’m still kind of hurt). I had looked and looked for the perfect gift, and I ended up going with a high end item that was roughly 15-20% over the set budget. I didn’t care about the extra money, to me it was worth it to buy her something she would really like, get a lot of use out of. That said I knew she might prefer a different style or print so I included a gift receipt, and since the high end store wasn’t located where she lives I offered to go and exchange it on her behalf and mail it to her.

She declined my offer. I don’t remember her exact words but she was satisfied with the gift. When I visited I’d observe to see if she was using it; but I didn’t see it and didn’t ask.

Two Christmases later… I’m saddened to find out it was sold. I have thought a lot about why this was so hard for me to accept. I  think it’s because I would never do that, I’m too sentimental. I think that I interrupt the sale as her way of saying that she doesn’t feel an emotional closeness with me. And if that is the case then why am I buying you a gift? Just keep your $50 and I will keep mine.

– hurt Joy


7 thoughts on “A Hurtful Gift-giving Experience: Why I Think Christmas Gifts are for Children

  1. I don’t know why…but ya, I would be crushed it someone did that! I don’t give presents often, so if I’ve taken the time and money and EFFORT to get you something that I think is super thoughtful, I would be super upset if someone just went and sold it! I also feel like I have a vague idea of who you’re referring to as well…so I think I get it a bit?


  2. I have to say I’m a bit confused at the initial tag line (Gifts are for kids) and what ended up as a story about feeling hurt from a gift exchange gone wrong. I think gifts for loved ones, regardless of the time of year, are always appreciated and not sold or returned, without the consent of the gifter.

    I think the real issue is you got into a gift exchange with a person that you normally would never give a gift to and they end up being a d*** who sells it on Kijiji. So I think the real issue here is, gifts are for kids and adults alike, just not for douches in a gift exchange.

    – Mean Eugene


  3. I’ll admit that I’m one that will get rid of gifts. I do not want to be the person that holds onto everything because “it was a gift”. That’s not enough of a reason for me to clutter my mind and my life and my house. I love gifts, I swear that getting gifts is my love language! It doesn’t matter what it is, if you tell me you have a gift for me, I’m so there!! But, I can’t keep them all. I love every single gift I’m given, but I can’t live with them all. And I don’t think that the person who gave it to me would want me to hold onto it if it makes me unhappy.

    Plus, sometimes what the person thinks is a great gift for me is something I’ll never use.

    So, as someone who gets rid of gifts, please know that it’s done out of love. We love the giver, but we can’t always keep the gift. And, if it’s not easy to return, like you mention above, then it’s not getting returned, I’m just cutting my losses and selling or donating it. It would be rude to give the gift back and say “it’s too far for me to return”, it’s much easier to just sell it ourselves. A gift receipt is great, but not when the store is far away!

    I’m sorry you felt incredibly hurt, but I’m sure she didn’t mean to hurt you! And I wouldn’t take it to mean that she’s not emotionally close to you – I’m close to my parents and sister and 90% of what they just gave me for Christmas is going in the sell pile – I’ll never use it – but I love that they thought of me!

    I debated whether or not to respond, not knowing if it helps or hurts, but as someone on the other side of the fence, I just wanted to share my side and hopefully provide some insight. 🙂

    And really, never go over budget!


    • Thank you Kate for the insight. Let me clarify I don’t think it’s wrong to sell gifts you were given, once they are in your hands it is yours to do with as you please. Really this story is more about me exploring why I felt so hurt by it. To be honest, I am terribly confused by the feelings. It may be that this is just the latest of a few things that have made me feel distant or maybe I could blame Aunt Flo. Either way gift giving has been ruined for me (at least for now) – lucky for me it’s not my husband’s love language!


      • I probably should have added that I, too, notice when a gift I’ve given doesn’t get used – or sits in my parents garage for 20 years before they sell it in a garage sale. Not even making that one up.

        And it bothers me, too – especially when I think I’ve totally nailed it!! As such, I’ve decided that movie theatre gift cards are the way to go with my parents! LOL. I know they attend the movies, and that’s good enough for me!

        I’m glad that you could explain a bit more, and that you weren’t upset at me – but I can totally understand how gift giving has been ruined… why do you think I came up with the “Let’s not exchange gifts but go have lunch together instead” idea? 😀


      • Wow, 20 years?! You win! I would definitely prefer the lunch plans, however, the family INSISTS that we exchange gifts. So, it looks like I will be doing the dance for a while longer. It’s a relief that you can confirm that I am, indeed, not crazy.


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