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A Couple Is Fighting Over A Christmas Stocking Tradition And Neither Will Back Down

Should a dad boycott his family's holiday celebration if his stepson doesn't get a homemade stocking?

A couple is fighting over whether or not their stepson should get a personalized stocking like the r...
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Holiday traditions matter. No matter how small and silly, and no matter which holidays you celebrate, they are the part of what makes a family a family. And because traditions matter, it follows that leaving a family member out of your traditions matters, too.

But that can be a tough lesson to learn.

Over in Reddit’s Am I The A—hole (AITA) Forum, a dad asked for a ruling on a fight he’s having with his wife over Christmas stockings. The family is headed to his mom’s house for the holidays, and his mom makes personalized stockings for all of her grandkids. The issue? His 9-year-old stepson isn’t going to have a stocking of his own.

His wife of three years expected equal treatment for all of their kids, but that’s not looking likely.

“When [my wife] found out about the tradition mom has, she said she expects my stepson to get his own custom stocking and be hanged along with the other kids' stockings,” he explained in his post. “I asked my mom and she said that she loves her step grandchild but does not feel comfortable yet to have a stocking of his name and hang it in her home.”

His wife’s response was to refuse to go to the event at all.

“Apparently, my wife refused to drop it and chose it as a hill to die on and even told me she would not be attending christmas party if mom doesn't do it,” he continued. “We started arguing about it for days. I finally blew up and told her it was not reasonable for me or her to dictate how my mom decorates her home and what stockings she hangs. She started crying and called me 'blind' for not seeing how my family are treating my stepson. I said they love him and some stocking isn't going to prove anything. She said she wouldn't go then and I called her ridiculous for deciding not to go over something so trivial.”


At this point, he’s getting the silent treatment and their holiday trip as a whole hangs in the balance.

Down in the comments, readers formed a solid wall of agreement with his wife, and let him know that he was indeed being an a—hole. Specifically, his mom is being an a—hole, and he’s supporting her completely inappropriate behavior.

“If you can’t see why this makes your wife — and will also most definitely make your stepson — feel unwelcome, you’ve got bigger issues than Reddit can help you with,” one person ranted. “What’s ridiculous is how your mom is treating your wife and stepson — what’s the big f—king deal? Hang a damn stocking so the kid feels included and equal to the other grandkids, it’s been three damn years and you’re married to his mom. What’s even more ridiculous is that you’re not only backing your mom up on her awful stance, but apparently have zero capacity for compassion or empathy.”

Lots of responders also shared personal stories about how it felt to be left out of blended families over the holidays as kids.

“I was that kid. We had to go to Step Mom's family Christmas celebration every Christmas Eve,” one person wrote. “She had 7 siblings with all their kids there. For NINE years, my brother and I sat and watched those people open presents. Not one person included us - not one. It was absolutely awful.”

Many in the comments stressed that not only should the stepson be treated exactly the same as everyone else but that any guest of any kind should, too. It’s not just about being polite, it’s also the Christmas spirit.

“My friend invited me to a get together and I didn't realize until I got there that it was their family Christmas gift exchange,” one wrote. “I asked her why she didn't tell me it was only her family? I didn't want to intrude. She said we were family. 😊 She made candy stockings for all of her family members and made one for my son when she knew we were coming. (It was so much candy in it that he had candy until February!)”

Another shared her mom’s strategy for making sure no one ever feels left out over the holidays: “My mom even kept a stash of kinda generic gifts so that anyone who showed up had something to unwrap. One year a cousin brought his then-girlfriend over and my mom quickly wrapped up some bath stuff and a pretty hair barrette, slapped a tag on it and snuck it under the tree.”

Now that’s how you do it.

Another put it more succinctly: “It is never okay to make people feel left out, but specially not on Christmas.”

Get that kid a stocking, STAT. Or don’t go to the celebration at all.