In a recent Reddit post, a user faced a dilemma with religion and her MIL. Here’s the whole story.
An Italian Christmas
The original poster (OP), an Australian, and her fiancé, an Italian living in the US, planned to spend Christmas with his family in Italy.
On a previous visit, OP’s future mother-in-law (MIL) had shown her an extensive collection of nativity scenes depicting the nativity story with Jesus born in different parts of the world.
Plus, when OP met MIL, she told her how much she loved koalas.
A Thoughtful Gift
Inspired by this, OP and her mother gave the MIL an Australian-themed nativity scene, with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph portrayed as koalas surrounded by other cute Australian animals.
But, the well-intentioned gift took an unexpected turn when the MIL’s reaction was not what they had hoped for.
Upon opening the gift, she grew visibly upset, putting the koala back in the box and hiding it away.
Why Wasn’t She Stopped?
Later, when OP and her mother had left, the MIL knocked over the Christmas tree and started crying, blaming her son for not preventing the gift from being given.
She said that the Baby Jesus Koala is a sign that her son had turned his back on his culture and religion by leaving Italy and not following the Catholic faith anymore.
OP thinks that MIL’s strong reaction might have been influenced by her disappointment in her son’s decision to leave the Catholic Church and another son being gay.
Not So Lighthearted
OP says she may harbor resentment towards them for no longer practicing Catholicism.
Despite this, OP and her mother didn’t anticipate the negative response to the gift, as they believed it to be a lighthearted and culturally inclusive gesture.
OP’s fiancé, who also left the Catholic Church, took some blame upon himself, feeling he should have foreseen the potential offense caused by the gift.
He accepted his upbringing in the Catholic faith and the cultural sensitivities surrounding the nativity scene.
OP’s mother, who was raised Catholic but no longer practices the religion, didn’t find any issue with the Baby Jesus Koala.
She questioned why depicting Jesus as an Inuit or Native American, in cultures with different religions, was deemed acceptable, while the koala representation was seen as blasphemous.
OP now questioned herself whether she was in the wrong for what happened and took to Reddit to ask if she was wrong.
A Major Overreaction
Several Redditors sided with OP, saying that she was not wrong.
One Reddit user wrote, “NTA, it was a thoughtful gift based on the information you had. Would Have easily been a no AH situation if she had reacted like an adult, even if she didn’t like it.”
Another Redditor commented, “NTA. You tried to find a Christmas gift that would be special and meaningful for your MIL, and she overreacted horribly.”
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi