Gifts during the holidays are contentious — in this case, so contentious that an issue from Christmas is apparently still causing family tension. On Reddit's Am I the A**hole, a man asks:
I have seven kids, four are (10-15). Three are adults. My fiancée has one daughter (12) that is the same age as one of my kids.
My fiancée lost her job during the pandemic so I agreed she and her kid could live with me. She now makes a small bit of income as a freelance photographer. (About $25k) I run a business and make in the mid six-figures.
The agreement was that she would do the house chores and help with my kids and I would pay the rent. She would also buy the groceries and pay the light bill. So Christmas came and I wanted to go all out for my kids. I spent about $500 per kid. I did buy all the kids a pair of headphones ($30) and her kid was included. Her daughter loved the headphones, my fiancée admitted.
On Christmas my fiancée was upset because I gave my kids their presents in front of her daughter. She only bought her daughter a funny t-shirt, a photo album with their photos and a small cat figurine. She said I should not have given the big gifts to my kids in front of her daughter. ( It’s MY house!)
She also said she had spent a lot of money on my kids throwing their birthday parties, decorating for the holidays, and hosting movie nights when they came to visit. She said I didn’t warn her that I would be spending so much on my kids.
My ex-wife also complained that I spent way more than she could on the kids. If I’m paying for her and her kid to live in my house and only buy groceries and light bill, why am I the a——? She should be grateful, especially since her daughter loved the gift. AITA?
Here's how the grinches of Reddit responded:
Why is an issue about Christmas gifts being posted in April?
DaltonthePainter OP responded:
Because my sister asked me about it recently
YTA. How would you feel if when she’s grocery shopping for the household, she bought Kraft Mac & cheese for your kids to eat every day while buying her daughter fresh, varied food?
DaltonthePainter OP responded:
Why would she do that? Cook two different meals?
YTA. You're essentially punishing the kid for her mother's lack of income... AND you are dismissing your fiancee's contributions to the household. Trust me, if you have to pay for someone to do the laundry, do the shopping, do the cooking, do the cleaning, etc. you'd be paying a FORTUNE. You're definitely the AH
YTA. All kids opening presents at the same time in the same place should have equal gifts.
I remember one time my grandmother gave my cousin a PS2 (hundreds of dollars at the time) and I got a pair of socks. My cousin was a jock and didn't even play video games. I was the gamer.
That kind of stuff sticks with you for life. You have told one of your daughters that you don't care about her as much as your 'real' kids, in one of the languages they understand best.
If your intention is for your fiancée and her kid to become part of the family, treat them that way. And the fact that they live with you means you should basically be already treating them that way. 'MY' house? No. The family's house.
Change your attitude or your fiancée and her daughter would be better off without your house, your money, and you.
YTA more for your tone than anything else. Do you actually want to be with this person? You sound like she’s an annoying coworker that you’re helping out.
YTA, you know she's your fiance right? This girl is going to be your step daughter soon. The whole way you wrote this makes it seem very cold and transactional.
Oof. It's Christmas in April.