It's never enough.

Started by

My grandmother, who I have posted about many times before has in many ways gotten worse. Christmas is upon us and that means Christmas shopping. She has always been a greedy, cheap and selfish person. If it's not about her, she isn't exactly interested. She has always coveted anything that either my mother or I have bought ourselves. If I want that pearl necklace, Coach purse or whatever, it takes me a year to save up for it and buy it. When she sees it, she automatically asks if she can "borrow" it. Her use of the word borrow means that she is keeping it. Yes, she is that cheap and she has money to go out and buy whatever she wants and go on expensive trips but she wants someone else to pay for it. A phone call yesterday left me incredibly angry for some reason. Her words were that for Christmas, she was demanding that every one in the family buy her 2 bottles a piece of her favorite perfume. Not the little travel sprays, not 1 small bottle, but the largest available size. I had already gotten her gift, a travel spray of her favorite perfume and a scarf. She was complaining that she had no nice scarves for winter and I found a cute one that didn't break the bank. My Christmas budget is only $250 and I have to split that between 8 people. Take my word for it, you can get split $250 between 8 people and still give them nice gifts. I'm just sick of her greed and I work hard for my money and I can't blow it on an elderly woman who is phenominally cheap.


One way to think about it is that Grandmother has been through twice as many Christmases as the all the grandchildren, thus she probably had gotten many a gift, some she liked some she didn't... or never gotten gifts she really wanted. This could far back into her childhood, too. Maybe her childhood friends got from Santa what they wanted, and she didn't.

Some people like to portray themselves as being wealthy when they are not... or not want to spend the money when they are older feeling they need that money for their late in life care, which can be very expensive.

And I had noticed with my own parents, I would always hear that this cost $5 back when they were younger, when today it cost $50... so that can be part of it, too.

Honestly, no one needs those large bottles of perfume, but maybe for Grandma it could make her feel like she will live a few years longer.

What you bought for your Grandmother sounds perfect. If she is grumpy with it, so be it. Just smile and realize that is just how she is, she isn't going to change at her age.
Both my great grandmothers had lived well into their 90's and this grandmother is only 84, so she can easily live to be 97 years old. I think part of it is that even though she finally redid her bathroom to make it safer and easier to bathe, she just doesn't. She would rather use 7 sprays of perfume and call it bathing. I can't even go 1 day without bathing because I would stink to high heaven if I let that go. Take my word for it, she has money. With an income of an easy $3,500 between her pension and SS and her savings, she's not hurting. Everything is paid off and her bills are minimal. I just don't care if she isn't happy with what I got her. I let her know that I did get her gift already and she told me to return it and get her what she told me to get her. I was flabbergasted that she would say something like that.
Evermore, Your gift to your grandmother sounds great. There is absolutely no need to yield to the pressure for a different gift. If she repeats the demand, you could just tell her, "Sorry. I'm not taking requests this year, but I'm sure you'll love what I've bought for you."
I was glad my Dad saved like there was no tomorrow. When he needed full time professional caregivers it cost him $20,000 per month, yes per month. So in a way, be glad your Grandmother won't let go of a dime.

Try not to make how she acts about gifts into a snit, try to find some humor in it. If Grandmother won't accept your gift, tell her with a big smile that you will donate the gift to someone who would love to have it.

I have a vision of your Grandmother marinating in her favorite perfume so one can tell if she had been in a room 5 hours earlier.... wearing a lot of makeup especially rouge, heavy lipstick, and blue tinted hair. [meaning no disrespect but trying to throw some humor into it].
I would try to put into perspective that your grandmother is now in advanced age. Maybe, she was like this long ago, but now, it's likely that she has some age related mental decline. If anyone instructed me what to get them as a gift that extravagant, I would laugh on the inside and think they must not be thinking clearly. Her filters are off and I would do what I had planned to do, which sounds lovely and be happy with my gift to her. Do you know how many adult grandchildren give their grandmother NOTHING for Christmas? A LOT. lol

If she's not bathing, but just just putting on cologne, I might check around to make sure she's doing okay. Does she live alone?

Yes, she lives alone. Won't hire anyone to help her. No house cleaning, no nurse's aid, no nothing. She has a big problem of taking advantage of people, so we just do phone calls to make sure she is alright. My family has accepted that the only way to have her move somewhere safer is to wait until a crisis hits her. We have done the whole going over once a week to do some cleaning and errands but she expected one of us to come 4 days a week to help out. You would have thought that the Russians had landed at the front door when the almighty no was said. If she doesn't like or want her gift, it ain't my problem any more.

You have described my mother who is now almost 94....but she is exactly like your grandmother. You sound young, I'm 60 and all I can say are the one who has to let it roll off. Took me 55 years, but I've never felt belt and wished I'd had the strength to ignore and discount her behavior long ago.
Give her the gift and if ungrateful, then tell her next year you will just send a card. If you had a girlfriend act this way how would you handle? My lesson, just because they are old and family does not give them the right to bad behavior. Make a donation to her fav church or charity in her honor and be done with this.

Don't feel bad or guilty. Enjoy the holiday and giving out of love to those who appreciate.
"Felt better" meant to type.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support