New Socials Are Up!

Hi everyone!

I don’t have enough content up yet to do a formal and proper launch, but since I consider you all friends (and I feel like you won’t judge me to harshly for the incompleteness), you all get the heads-up on my new project.

See, I kinda have a dream job where I travel all over the world and facilitate good people networking with other good people to accomplish good things. And if I don’t do something to make this dream-job happen for me NOW, then I might never do it.

So that’s the purpose behind my new website:

And I’m excited that I was able to grab this name on all the major social medias too. Like, that NEVER happens so this must be a good sign. So if you’re a fan of social media too, please connect with my new project over there too:

Facebook: Bloggers Offline | Facebook

Twitter: Bloggers Offline (@bloggersoffline) / Twitter

Instagram: Bloggers Offline (@bloggersoffline) • Instagram photos and videos

Now definitely don’t worry, I won’t quit this Pepper Valentine blog. I need this outlet and this support system in my life. I definitely NEED it, as well as all my friends here, so it’s not going anywhere!

I’ve Changed my Mind about Being Polite Over Gifts

Yesterday I posted about 8 Ways to Handle Unwanted Christmas Gifts.

I slept on it, and now I feel like I need to publish a correction, as I’ve changed my mind about one of my items.

Item #1 of my original post was:
1. Thank Them. Yes, thank them as convincingly as possible to avoid anyone feeling bad about it. At least, that’s what I do. Anyone opposed to faking-it in the moment to spare feelings and to maintain the Christmas spirit? 🙂

But upon further reflection, I’m quite disgusted by that answer and I believe I’ve led you all astray and I feel compelled to re-write it to say instead:
1. Refuse It. Some gifts are inappropriate and cross boundaries. It would be toxic to accept and encourage such a relationship in its current form. Acceptance of the gift can also give mixed signals. Some examples of how it can be in your best interest to decline a gift would be a romantic gift from someone you’ve no romantic interest in, or a romantic gift from your boss or a married friend, etc…

Definitely, one of my character flaws is that I always try to protect other people’s feelings. Usually at my own expense. I’m trying to different now by being an advocate for standing up for ourselves when necessary and this may be one of those moments.

Some people out there are predators and seek to spread discomfort and harrassment, while others are just plain clueless and mean no harm. Whatever the case for the inappropriate gift, it does not matter. Setting clear boundaries is the only way to put yourself first and to prevent the underlying issue from continuing.

I know I may seem incredibly paranoid with this post, but I’ve been in these situations before and I handled it with politeness. My politeness at the moment was taken as permission for the predator to continue. So if I had a do-over, I would refuse the gift. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

I don’t wish this situation on any of you! But if it does happen to you, I hope you remember that refusing the gift is an option for you! It may be awkward, but it may also be necessary.

Have you been in a situation like this before? How did you handle it?

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8 Ways to Handle Unwanted Christmas Gifts

So what do you do when you receive unwanted Christmas gifts, or gifts you just simply do not like?

It happens to all of us, and we just treat it like a dirty little secret and don’t talk about it that much. And, we don’t want to think about it… but we’ve all gifted duds to other people too. It does go both ways. But here are 8 things you can do whenever you receive unwanted Christmas gifts, in order to make the best of the situation.

  1. Refuse It. Some gifts are inappropriate and cross boundaries. Acceptance of the gift in these circumstances can also give mixed signals. Some examples of how it can be in your best interest to decline a gift would be a romantic gift from someone you’ve no romantic interest in, or a romantic gift from your boss or a married friend, etc… I wouldn’t recommend refusing a gift unless there is an underlying issue that is unhealthy. If there is no unhealthy or toxic underlying issue, then I would advise accepting the gift to avoid any hurt feelings.
  2. Keep It and Show It Off. Depending on who gave it to you (for example, kids or anyone else that will be looking it for it on a regular basis), then you’d probably feel compelled to keep it forever and show it off. This is my reaction to every gift from my mom – I just proudly display it in my home. Despite the fact that it doesn’t fit in. Just like I’ve done with her brightly colored-egg gift from a couple years ago at Christmas. It’s in my curio cabinet.
Unwanted Christmas Gifts / Image Source: Pepper Valentine

3. Keep It and Hide It. Yes, I totally have a hiding spot for items that I want to forget even exist, but yet I also cannot part with them due to guilt or a feeling of obligation.

4. Re-Gift It. This is my favorite move, undoubtedly. If there is someone in my life that would enjoy it instead, I would prefer that they have it and I’ll gladly gift it to them at my soonest opportunity.

5. Donate It. This is my second favorite move with gifts I don’t like. It’s just another way to get into the hands of other people that would enjoy it instead.

6. Exchange It. This option works if you KNOW where the item originated from. And your likelihood of success when attempting to exchange it depends on the specific store, as well as the terms on the gift receipt (if you even have a gift receipt, which isn’t that common I’ve noticed). So this option doesn’t work all the time. I wish you luck if you try it! 🙂

7. Sell It. I’ve tried this on some online marketplaces before – like the Facebook marketplaces or Ebay. And it’s a bit of a hassle in my opinion since you have to create a posting to advertise the item on sale, then you have to wait around for someone to be interested enough to buy it, and then you have to figure out the logistics of getting it to them. So it’s probably the most leg-work of all the options available.

8. Throw It Away. This may be the most dramatic option, and it feels a bit wasteful to me. But sometimes you just have to take this step. I would probably do this if the gift I received was already damaged in some way so I wouldn’t want anyone else to have it instead.

Anyhow, this is the time of year when I start dreading the whole gifting thing. It does stress me out as it’s not something I enjoy very much. I’m definitely not a gift person. I actually don’t mind giving gifts, I enjoy that. But I kinda HATE receiving gifts. Is that weird?

Whenever anyone asks me what I want for Christmas, it’s never an object or a thing that can be bought. I’d want them to accompany me to dinner or to drinks or to join me on a little trip somewhere. I’d appreciate that so much more than an item that I just end-up re-gifting to someone else anyway, or stowing away somewhere and forgetting about it.

I don’t know. I’m being a weirdo about gifts, I guess. 🙁

How about you all? What do you do about Christmas gifts you don’t like?

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My mother-in-law has left the house so now my happiness is overflowing! I know that I complain alot on this blog so I wanted to take a time-out and make this post super-positive for a change and focus on the many things in my life that I am thankful for….

1. I survived another Thanksgiving with the mother-in-law putting me down the entire time for everything I do. But I’m thankful now that she has left! I want to celebrate and PARTY! GOODBYE Felicia!

2. My daughter is feeling much better now and is pretty much back to her normal self! We had appts with 2 specialists earlier this week, and 1 more appt next week! Still no answers, but I’m amassing an army of specialists to call upon should she fall ill like this again.

3. My Christmas tree is UP and decorated and I didn’t lift a single finger! The price of admission for being my guest at Thanksgiving is to work on my tree instead since I provided the holiday meal.

4. My 8 month old cat is surprisingly behaving himself with this Christmas tree! I thought he would have torn it up by now (as he does with everything else), but nope. He’s decidedly been thoroughly ignoring it. Awesome!

5. And finally, I’m also thankful for my friends here. I do consider you all my friends. I can tell you things that I don’t tell people in my real-life. And you’ve been incredibly supportive to me too. I don’t expect this sort of support from people in my real-life, which makes you all so much more valuable to me. Thank you!

I wish you all a lovely Thanksgiving and I hope the rest of your holiday season is blessed and cheerful.

My Christmas Shopping List

So… I’m definitely one of those people that NEED to make a Christmas shopping list in order to stay sane during this HUGE endeavor. I’m still anxiety-ridden and stressed-out over it, but having the list does noticeably help.

I like to list out WHO, and if I come-up with any ideas that I want to pursue for them, I’ll list those ideas too. But the best part of having this list, is I can scratch stuff OFF it as I go. That’s where the satisfaction comes from, being able to scratch stuff off it. Feels so good.

With the exception of my daughter and the few kids on my list, I really have the most difficult family to shop for. Because on the one hand, there’s nothing they NEED; and on the other hand, they already go and buy for themselves immediately anything they WANT. So when it comes to gifting anything for them, it just feels like it’s such a waste.

But the real problem is that their love language IS gifting while mine is decidedly NOT. And they are quite easily offended if I fail at either 1) gifting them something on-par with their tastes, or 2) showing immense appreciation for whatever they gift to me.

So this is why Christmas stresses me out so much. It’s certainly not pleasant. How’s the Christmas-shopping experience for you all?

Below is my Christmas shopping list so far. Lol, I haven’t come up with any good ideas for all the people on my list yet. I’ll try to look around online and see what I can find…

1 Husband
1 Daughter
1 Adult Step-Son
1 Mother-In-Law
1 Father-In-Law
1 Mom
1 Dad
1 Brother
1 Sister-in-Law
1 Adult Niece

3 Child Nieces/Nephews – DONE!
3 Teachers – DONE!
2 BFFs of my daughters – DONE!

Christmas Shopping Progress

So… on Friday I was so fed up with my daughter still being sick and no doctors being available to help us, that I stopped giving her all the prescriptions she was on… They didn’t seem to help or make any difference anyway.

And today she started feeling so much better! This is the best she’s felt in 2 weeks! I’m not saying there’s a correlation, but I’m losing trust in the medical system for sure. I don’t like their lack of urgency, their lack of investigation, and I definitely do not like their lack of availability.

We’re still going to pursue specialists to help us figure out what’s going on with her, but my distrust is still firmly in place.

She felt so much better that we went Christmas shopping and she picked out gifts for 3 of her cousins, her 2 best friends, and her 3 teachers.

We even wrapped them today too.

I still have to make a proper shopping list for everyone else (all the difficult folks are still left – oof), but I’m happy to get the easy ones out of the way already.

I’m Expecting Another Disasterous Thanksgiving

So I know I’ve been flooding you all with the issue I’m having with my daughter’s health. Still no update there unfortunately.

In addition to that, the holiday season is approaching. It doesn’t stop when you’re having issues. So now I’m expecting my holidays to be way more stressful and awful that usual. 🙁

For example, I just placed my order for our holiday Thanksgiving meal with a restaurant that offers this and it is DELICIOUS. All I have to do is pick it up Wednesday and reheat it all in the oven on Thursday. You’d think that sounds simple enough right?

Except my mother-in-law HATES me for it. Like, if HATE had a physical manifestation, she would have so much of it that it would literally ooze out of her by the gallons.

She believes that meals (especially holiday meals) should be homemade, because she used to spend an entire week prepping in the kitchen for Thanksgiving and anything less than that is not acceptable. And she’ll spend the entire meal telling me so.

But I have several problems with that: 1) I don’t have the skillset, 2) I don’t have the time, and 3) I don’t WANT to.

Another thing she does at Thanksgiving that ticks me off, is that she’ll sneak me $200. EXCEPT, the purpose of that money is that I’m supposed to buy my daughter Christmas presents with it, then wrap it all up and label it all from my MIL. So SHE gets all the credit for the gifts but I actually did all the work!

Her reasoning for this is that I would know best what my daughter likes and doesn’t like and what she already has, etc. So I should do it all.

But again, I have several problems with this: 1) She just outsourced all of her work to me, 2) I don’t have the time, and 3) I hate wrapping Christmas gifts even more than I hate buying them.

So basically, I’m expecting another Thanksgiving from hell for me. She ruins ALL my holidays. I’ve never had a decent one because of her. 🙁