Mom Criticized For Excluding Daughter From Getting Christmas Presents After She 'Explored Buddhism'

A mother gave her two children the freedom to choose their religion when they turned 13.

One remained a Christian with the rest of the family, while the other chose a different religion: one that does not include the traditions that come with Christian holidays.

When one of the teenagers said they were exploring Buddhism, she was denied the receiving Christmas presents, since those who follow Buddhism don't partake in the Christian gift-giving ritual for religious reasons, but many people from non-Christian religions and atheists participate in gift giving for the cultural side of Christmas.

Let's face facts.

Much like the Christian observance of All Hallows Eve went mainstream as Halloween, the pervasiveness of Christmas in popular culture morphed it from a strictly religious event like All Hallows Day and the Feast of the Epiphany to something more like Easter where secular activities like egg hunts and secret Santa exchanges at work dominate the holiday more than going to church.

Does revoking the privilege of Christmas presents make you a mean one, Mrs. Grinch? Mom wants to know and asked Redditors to weigh in on the AmItheA$$hole subReddit, in which users bogged down by a guilty conscience ask readers if they are wrong.

"christmasconfusion" started off by writing about how she and her husband raised their children to be Christians.

"My husband and I have two kids (both teenagers). We raised our children to be Christian (as is our faith), but also didn't want to force them into our religion so as soon as they turned 13 they were allowed to no longer come to church, participate in saying grace before meals, etc."
"One of our kids has continued with church and their faith very adamantly. Our other kid has come to church more sporadically and over the past half-year or so has began to explore Buddhism."
"More recently they have been telling us that they are no longer Christian, but they are Buddhists. While we are disappointed that they are no longer Christian, I believe everyone is entitled to their own religion and I am proud that my daughter is exploring her faith."

So far, so good.

However, the yuletides were turning with a catch: the daughter would learn that her decision comes with consequences.

"At dinner recently we were talking about travel plans for Christmas (we usually will rent a cabin somewhere for family time) and I mentioned that I wasn't planning to get our non-Christian daughter any big gifts since her religion doesn't celebrate Christmas."


"She was immediately upset. I told her that I would get her some little goodies so she didn't feel too left out, but that she shouldn't expect to partake in a religious holiday for a religion she doesn't believe in."
"She said (in so many words) it's not fair for us to spend money on our other child's gifts, but not her and that we were punishing her for not being Christian."

The mom believed in not buying presents for someone who no longer believed in Jesus, but offered other options that did not suit her daughter.

"It doesn't make sense to me to give her gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus when she doesn't believe he is our savior. I told her if she really felt it were unfair, I would donate the amount of money I spent on our other kid to a charity of her choice in her name."


"She didn't like this either. My husband and I have since talked and he has very mixed feelings on the whole situation."

So, is mom the a$$hole?

"Edited to add: not sure if this matters, but I have made it clear to her that if she ever wanted to celebrate any holidays pertaining to her religion I would do my best and get her what she needs to celebrate. My goal is not to hinder her exploration of Buddhism."

In response to the confusion over the holiday's religious origin, she responded by explaining how she puts the Christ in Christmas.

"I see a lot of comments about how Christmas isn't a Christian holiday and I agree that many families celebrate a very commercialized Christmas."
"We (for example) do not involve Santa in our celebration, but we do (for example) read from the Bible and sing Hymns. Regardless of what others do, our family takes the holiday as an opportunity to celebrate and thank God for all that he has done and provided for us."

One user in the comments interpreted the "no presents" policy a different way.

"YTA and you know damn well you're doing that as a petty/passive aggressive way to express to your child that you are in fact not supportive of them making their own decision about religion if it isn't your preferred religion."
"Also I came from a Christian upbringing, when was the last time anyone ever thanked 'god' or 'jesus' for their presents? Everyone knows those come from Santa." – iLuvTopanga17


"Absolutely this. OP KNOWS DAMN WELL what they're doing. The typical pressuring of religious parents under a thin forced smile of -im 'proud' they have their own beliefs- then -oh btw were giving your sibling all these gifts during a family holiday and you get jack s**t cuz you're a blasphemer' total a$$hole. 100% a$$hole." – EvilAnnie25

Another declared mom the a$$hole.

"I remember the part in the Bible where Jesus said 'only give gifts to people who believe in me' so clearly... wait."
"You may celebrate Christmas in a religious way, but you know damn well it is a secular holiday. In fact, you probably know there were holidays like Yule and Saturnalia on this date long before Jesus was born."
"You're definitely punishing your kid, and you're being dishonest with yourself about it, and you're making everyone who sees you act this way feel more negatively about Christians than they did before. Triple YTA." – kayefayette

Others talked about how they celebrate Christmas as more of a family tradition than a religious one.

"Right lol? I'm a culturally christian atheist that celebrates Christmas because my equally atheist family (or at least that I know) does and always has."
"It is 100% secular for us and we do not even breathe a word about god or jesus. It's about the family time, the food, and the presents. I doubt my youngest brother (5) even knows its connection to any religion or what religion even is." – twinkprivilege
“The gift giving is pagan in origin anyway. Festivals of light and gifts go way back, Christians jumped into them to grow the religion, not because they had any sincere religious urge about those traditions." - stink3rbelle


“YTA. Christmas is a cultural and family celebration as well. My white in-laws don't even know what the Mid-Autumn Festival is and I still brought moon cakes to share in case they wanted to celebrate with me. They know I'm not Christian but very generously involve me in their Christmas Day." - RamenHands
“Plenty of people celebrate the Christmas season with gift-giving even though they don't celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday. This sounds like a malicious compliance act, not the act of a loving, supportive parent who is proud that her daughter is exploring her faith." – BaffledMum

In response to the comments, the mom acknowledged that she has "some growth to do as a mother and Christian" and emphasized the love for both her daughters and plans to discuss the thread with her.

"I hear you all and I know I have a lot of reflection ahead of me. Even though some of this is hard to read, I really do appreciate you all taking the time to respond."
"I think my family has a lot of discussion ahead of us and I specifically have some growth to do as a mother and Christian."
"I also want to let those of you who have voiced concerns know that both of my children are loved by my husband and myself and that I plan on talking with my daughter (maybe even showing her this thread) about how I can do better by her."

We are looking forward to an update as to how that discussion went.

Hopefully they can reach nirvana.

The book No-Nonsense Buddhism for Beginners: Clear Answers to Burning Questions About Core Buddhist Teachings is available here. Makes a great Christmas gift.


Listen to the first season of George Takei's podcast, 'Oh Myyy Pod!' where we explore the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.

Be sure to subscribe here and never miss an episode.

Anything dangerous or any foolish act you can think of has already been done by someone out there on the internet.

And I mean ANYTHING.

Keep reading... Show less


A White civilian faked being a police officer in order to berate a group of Hispanic teenagers enjoying a swing set in a public, all-ages park, in Fort Worth, Texas.

One of the teens recorded the confrontation on a smartphone and posted the footage online.

Keep reading... Show less

Being in the service industry is an incredibly difficult career. It is not for the lazy or faint of heart. In fact it has been scientifically proven that it takes an emotional toll on the soul, the body and most especially the mind. So what could possibly make a server reject the coin they are working for?

Keep reading... Show less

If you've ever worked with kids you know that their honesty and lack of filter can sometimes make them cringeworthy - and pretty hilarious.

If you haven't (or you don't have a thick skin) then you might not be able to appreciate just how funny kids can actually be. For those who can, this article should be a blast.

Reddit user moosepajamas asked:

Teachers of Reddit, what is the funniest thing you've ever heard a student say?

The answers could sometimes be insulting, sometimes silly, and sometimes downright baffling - just like kids themselves!

September 31


One time I was asking students their birthdays. One boy told me that his birthday was September 31st. I tried to explain that this was not possible, but he insisted. Later, I looked it up. I then informed him that his birthday was November 17th.

He looked at me kind of confused and said "ohhhh." Then his face brightened and he said, "Well, last year I KNOW it was September 31st!"

- RedditStateOfMind


I teach elementary band. One time we were preparing for a challenging playing test and a student said: "Man, I need to practice."

Without missing a beat the kid next to him says "My mom says I need Jesus."

- moosepajamas

Shown Up By A 5th Grader


Was tutoring after-school a couple years ago. A kid asked "What time is it?"

I joked "Time for you to get a watch."

He responded "Time for you to get a new joke" without a moment's hesitation.

I had to laugh at getting shown up by a 5th grader. Two reading levels behind but witty as hell.

- Garlic_And_Sapphires


I had a student who was a newcomer (just moved to the US, almost no English) from Latvia. This kid is very bright and was one of my favorite 6th graders ever. We were having our annual jogathon, which is linguistically and culturally not translatable from Latvian.

Student: "So I pay you and you make me run?"

Me: "Yeah, that's actually how it goes."

Student: "This is simple. I don't pay you, you don't make me run."

Me: "uhhhh...."

- estrogyn


Middle school field trip to a different state. One of the chaperones (a large black woman) wanted to get in a little nap in the back seat of the bus, so she made one of the students move to a seat in the front that was far from his friends. He got in the seat and started sulking. He was normally a pretty lively kid, so I leaned forward and asked what happened.

To which he replied: "I think I just got reverse Rosa Parks-ed!"

- almost_queen

The Moon


I teach sophomores. One day, this girl was sitting at her desk, looking very concerned, and obviously wanted to ask me something. Finally, she blurted out, "Did anybody else see the moon in the sky during lunch? It's supposed to be out at night, something is wrong!"

- cubfanbybirth


Teacher to student: "Were you in class yesterday?"

Student, sounding more lost than anything and probably answering too honestly: "Physically... ?"

It wasn't so much an attempt at humor as just the summation of how we all felt in that class, one of those "it's funny because it's too true" things... we all were showing up, we were all sitting in the class physically... but being there? That was another question...

- Allisade

The Ladies

First grade. 6 yr. old lil dude about 3 ft. tall and 80 lbs. walks in late from recess.

Me - "Why are you late?"

Kid - grabs his hunk of belly with both hands like a ball of cream cheese and says "The ladies love this!"

Sits down like nothing happen with no smile.

- BoBoShaws



He asked me "If a synchronized swimmer starts drowning, do they all start drowning?"

I lost it in class.

- bunsenbernerr

It's A Miracle

I teach high school, and one of my sophomores referred to merry-go-rounds as "miracle rounds". He legit thought that's what they were called 😂😂 I corrected him and he refused to believe me lol.

- royalredhead

The Pizza Guy

I was sharing information about math in art to my students (they're about 13 years old) and mentioned Leonardo da Vinci. A student said: "The pizza guy?"

I was confused, but later she said, "See! The pizza party!"

We were looking at The Last Supper.

- catpflug



"I thought Astronomy would be easy because I know all about it but he hasn't even brought up horoscopes yet and we're 6 weeks in."

- chrisrayn

Budget Cuts

I teach band. One day I'm working with the high school jazz band and we're going to start mapping out some basic compositions. I pass out blank sheet music for them to use, which is simply blank 5-line staves with no notes, no symbols, etc.

One kid gets his sheet music expecting it to be a new song we're going to work on, sees that it's blank, looks up and says "Wow, budget cuts must've hit us hard, huh?"

- SquirrelSanctuary

Life Choices

Math prof. I finished a proof and to check understanding, I asked "does everyone understand my choices?" One of my favorite students ever piped up and said "Are we talking about your proof or how you've chosen to live your life?"

- coldstainlessnail



Wore a Captain America shirt to school since the student council had a super hero day. A student said I looked like Captain America - before the super soldier injections.

- numero1uno

Parenting isn't always easy, but most parents recognize that their kids are going to mess up and need to be taught how to behave. Some, however, have deluded themselves into thinking that their little angel couldn't possibly misbehave or do anything wrong.

Keep reading... Show less
Laura McIntyre / Facebook

Nurses are often one of the most undervalued professionals we have. Doctors tend to get the spotlight when it comes to healing.

But in the past week, many are placing nurses and all they do in the limelight–all thanks to Laura McIntyre celebrating her twin sister Caty's dedication.

Keep reading... Show less