I accidently ruined my mom's Christmas suprise and hurt her feelings. Help Please?


Hi there,
Blessed Advent to everyone!

Anyways, my mom and I switched cell phones recently, and I realized I marked my NHS tutoring date in my old phone. I went to go mark it down in my calendar, and a text pops up saying 'I found Katie's Coach purse for Christmas!"

Now, for those of you who don't know, Coach is a very expensive brand. The cheap purses are a hundred dollars. Every time we pass the Coach store in the mall I tell her how expensive they are and how I'm perfectly happy with a sensible purse from Ross Dress for Less instead of a Coach one. And plus, Coach is not my style. I'm more into vintage 60's clothing.

Well, I told her what I found, and she was upset that I looked through her phone. She offered to return it, but I just feel terrible. I know she bought it for me because she thinks I deserve better than clearance purses and she loves me, but I feel absolutely horrible that I ruined her surprise and that she knows I don't want a Coach bag. I told her that I wanted her to pay and sign for me to go to a retreat weekend for Christmas, which she will do, but I feel terrible. I'm a very humble person. I don't like drawing attention to myself with clothes.

Can someone give me some advice?


I think you should just graciously accept a gift. Even the Pope was wearing some fancy red Prada shoes that someone gave him as a gift! He still needs to wear shoes and you still need a purse. Noone will judge you by your purse unless you draw attention to it and you can say your mom gave it to you as a gift.

The most saintly people I know are always wonderful to give gifts to because they appreciate them so much and enjoy the love and care that was showered of them. I don't think humility is about rejecting gifts from loved ones who just want to give you something nice. I would just apologize to your mom and thank her so much. She may take it back anyway as it's clear you don't want it but don't be someone who's "hard to please", be easy to please! This is just one of your mom's ways of showing you love. A gift is just that, we shouldn't have expectations of what people should or shouldn't give us, that's up to the giver.

Happy Advent!


Kindness, I bet you're a joy to shop for! :thumbsup:


Red slippers have been part of the papal uniform for centuries.


I'm amazed to read that $100 is 'cheap'. I have never and will never spend anything near that on a purse! It's just a purse! If it's got pockets, that's handy, and a white for summer and black for winter...I guess i don't live in the real world.

Katie, you've already sprung the surprise...with my sons in mid to late teens I knew I couldn't choose for them anymore...so there's probably not a lot you can do now as your mom's already been disappointed. I guess she has learned she can't choose for you anymore...but a lot goes into choice of gifts for one's children, and she's tried to give according to what she might like, or might have at your age.

You have already conveyed the purse isn't the gift you want so you can't change anything, except to be extra thoughtful to your mom. There are lots of hard lessons for parents of teens and young people to learn, and many of them hurt, and it's a process. And you didn't have to convey that you didn't want the purse, but as you have and can't change anything now, you can't pretend either. You have a lesson to learn too, about how to deal with disappointment without hurting others. That too is a process.

Perhaps next time give your mom a hint earlier, like maybe mentioning the retreat idea early enough. That takes the guessing away from both of you.

You didn't wilfully do this so just put it down to life's relationship lessons, as your dear mom must.

My own parish priest told us today how when he was 8 and liked hiding in his parents' closet, he has a brother! often a good reason for a kid! and one day near Christmas he found these packages in the closet. He opened one and it was a toy. He was excited and ran with it to his mum. She was disappointed, and told him to put it back...I'm sure such things have happened hundreds of times, mothers' carefully chosen surprises for Christmas blown!

As you can't undo what's done, just be extra kind and thoughtful to your mother...I'm sure you are...but extra kind from now on. It's hard to find the children you raise are different to you, have different expectations and goals to your own. But it's not so unusual.


Learn the lesson, if it happens againn - keep the secret to yourself.

Accept the gift, your mother did a gracious and sacrificial thing.


Consider that maybe your mother has never spent that much on a purse for herself, but she got it for you, and for that fact alone, you should appreciate it.

The cheap purses are a hundred dollars. Every time we pass the Coach store in the mall I tell her how expensive they are and how I’m perfectly happy with a sensible purse from Ross Dress for Less instead of a Coach one. And plus, Coach is not my style.

With many adult women, they tell themselves and their friends precisely this, but deep down, they’d LOVE a (supply your own) Coach purse, Manolo shoes, Pashmina scarf just once in their life. And maybe your mom thought that you were just consoling yourself with your own practicality but she’d see to it that you’d have that very nice purse.

IF she doesn’t return it, I’d suggest you use it with a smile, and comment on it’s durability and good workmanship and I believe they also have guarantees and the store will fix them if they have problems down the road.

You may find she’s bought you a perfectly lovely one that goes fantastically with vintage 60’s clothing. :wink: The bag isn’t necessarily to draw attention to yourself. It’s made with superior durability and you may find it lasts far longer than the cheap Ross purses. My former FIL once said, “I can’t afford junk.” He had a point. Buy one good one that lasts for years, or keep replacing the cheap ones over the years and end up spending what you would have for a good one…

(Here… I’ll pull out the guilt violins… someday you won’t have a mother buying you gifts and you’ll wish you had appreciated each and every gift she ever gave you more. Because they were gifts from the heart.)

The others are right… next time you stumble upon something, keep it to yourself. Someday you’ll be married and if you think your mother’s gift was something you didn’t think you wanted or needed, join a thread about hair-brained gifts from husbands… :wink: Husbands sometimes have a way, when it comes to gift-giving, of making us long for our mothers who at least had a clue about us and what women need. (And I’m talking about the good husbands! We won’t talk about the bad ones like mine who one year gave me a 1.5 oz package of coffee for Christmas, made the pot and drank it himself.)

Treasure your mother. She obviously treasures you. And if you don’t want that bag, I’ll take it. I never had a Coach bag.


I am 45 and do not use purses. Pockets work just fine!

REgarding the gift: accept it graciously.

I've received many gifts over the years I would never pick for myself, but the givers took the time to choose them. Be gracious.


A note on expensive purses...
I love the expensive purse my in-laws gave me as a joint birthday/Christmas gift! I've been carrying that same purse daily for exactly two years now (to the day, actually!) and it still looks brand new. One purse that lasts five years for $250 is the same price as a $50 purse that lasts one year!

About the gift...
Your mom wants to give you a nice item that you will use and appreciate daily. One of the great joys about giving gifts is knowing that the recipient will be reminded of you every time she uses that gift. The retreat weekend you want lasts a weekend. In your mom's eyes, a nice purse will last many years and remind you of her daily. Let her have that joy! If you don't like Coach, perhaps you could ask your mom to set a budget and the two of you could spend a day shopping for a high-quality purse together. That sounds like a win-win situation for everyone. (If you're not a fan of Coach, may I suggest Dooney and Bourke? That's what I have and I LOVE it.)


I guess I'll just wait until Christmas and see what happens. In the mean time, I'm working hard at making her a video slideshow of family pictures for her Christmas gift.



And THAT is a priceless gift she'll treasure!


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