Strangely, my family broke the tradition of buying gifts for everyone this year. During Thanksgiving we select names for Secret Santa to go along with our usual gift giving, but this year we had a heated argument with one of my sisters complaining that the other sister and her husband give people one present as a couple, which she declared as unbalanced. I should explain that my two sisters are biologically my mother and my aunt, but my grandparents raised me, so I refer to them as my sisters. My sisters who are well beyond an age where whining about the unfairness of Christmas gifts at the dinner table is cute. Try in their early 50s, while I am 27, but we all act 12 when we're together.
This argument occurred in hushed voices as the husband was in the bathroom. My married sister joined in with the complaints, revealing that her husband doesn't contribute to Christmas shopping. This is a second marriage for both of them and they keep their finances separate. Married sister had been bottling up resentment over the years about her husband receiving gifts from everyone in the family along with thanks for the ones he had no part in giving. I'd already picked up things here and there before Thanksgiving, but everyone else wanted to forgo gift giving altogether. The husband returned from the bathroom and was told the new holiday plan of getting together for dinner without the pretense of exchanging gifts. Everyone repeated the previous secret conversation, earning imaginary Oscars. I explained that I always get Dad a gift card for McDonald's because my parents go there before the crack of dawn on Mondays to drink coffee with a group of people from church. Everyone agreed that Mom gives people passive aggressive gifts, attempting control through subtle means. She gives me cooking equipment even though I have no desire to learn cooking, she gives my married sister make up even though she doesn't like wearing it, and she gives my other sister something exercise related (while making thinly veiled comments on how she should be married by her age). Dad admitted that he simply hands everyone wads of cash and puts gas in their car like a full tank fairy godfather.
Days later my married sister sent a text message saying that she'd changed her mind and wanted to do gifts, then sent another an hour later to change it back, then sent one two days later to change it back again. My mom finally put her foot down and said no gifts, but later told me that she'd gotten some gifts already from her and Dad. I asked my sisters, who fessed up to getting gifts as well. The end result will be a Christmas where everyone is getting and giving gifts except for one person. I'm patiently waiting for the moment after dinner when gifts are given out and an awkward silence takes over as everyone else figures out what is happening.