When this woman feels like people are being too hard on her, she asks Reddit:
One of the gift exchanges I participated in this year was one where we made up our own rules. We liked the white elephant idea, but then people shared experiences where they literally ended up with trash or useless junk.
So we modified that idea and set a budget of about $15-20. We specifically agreed that for our 'white elephant' exchange, there would be no joke gifts or trash, and that everyone should bring thoughtful or useful gifts. (For reference, most of us are in our 30s, with a few over and a few under).
For the most part, the party turned out great. Everyone but 2 people brought nice gifts (out of about 30). There were a few that were on the cheaper side, but still decent, IMO.
Example: one person made a winter care package with things from the dollar store: mugs, hot cocoa, marshmallows, chocolates, etc, for no more than $5 (She had confided in me beforehand that she was worried about her gift.
It was all she could afford, but IMO, it's the thought that counts and it still keeps to the spirit of our gift exchange in bringing something useful or thoughtful to gift).
I was the first person to go, and much to my surprise, I unwrapped a brand new boxed Barbie doll. In my head I was wondering if this was a joke? No one said anything.
I tried hard to find something nice to say about it, but I honestly didn't know what to say. I just said 'oh cool, a barbie toy! thanks!' and put it back down. I wish I could've come up with something clever or funny to say.
The couple who brought it asked me to take it out of the box & show it to everyone in case anyone wants to steal it, so I did. I felt embarrassed that anyone would think this was an appropriate gift to bring. When I sat down, the couple said 'we grew up poor and that's actually a really nice gift that cost us a lot of money.'
We go around & everyone else got nice gifts until the 2nd bad gift. Someone brought a used beauty product she used once but it was just lying around the house.
The GUY who got the product was a really good sport about it & talked about how much he would enjoy it. The couple who brought the barbie doll said this (these are the exact words): 'You're just being nice about it, unlike some people. Who are rude and ungrateful.' They gave me the stink eye.
The more I think about it the more annoyed I feel.
To clarify, I wasn't annoyed or upset about the actual gift. I was frustrated at being told I was rude and mean for not acting MORE enthusiastic about the puzzling gift.
I was upset because they made it seem like *I* was the asshole when I felt like I was being polite and gracious by saying thanks and saying the gift was cool.
TBH, I was genuinely puzzled and felt the entire situation was awkward, and it made me feel like sh't for being told I was not being nice for faking MORE enthusiasm than I already did. AITA?
NTA, why would they think a grown adult would want a Barbie doll and then get upset when (shocker) they don’t?
Just because they grew up poor and that was a nice gift for them as a child doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to pretend like you like that gift.
I collect some very not rare Barbies, but even I have standards!! 1) I’d never give one in an exchange of this sort unless it was somehow relevant, such as Veterinarian Barbie for an animal clinic work party.
2) Even then, it would not be one of the super cheap ones, it would need to be $10+ and probably come with some other element that would actually be useful. And I would make sure the person that got it knew I would NOT be offended if it was given to someone else, like the actual Vet or a kid.
The joy of giving is making someone else happy with their gift, not to cause guilty. Ugh!! Even the Grinch knows that maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas means a little bit more!! NTA.