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The $30 Drama Llama

Hello! I never thought I’d have this issue but I believe I have a greedy SIL.  She isn’t really my SIL, more my brother’s girlfriend but they’ve been together so long and have a family together we just call her my SIL now.

My issue is as followed: For her birthday neither my sister or I gave her anything for her birthday and she has been bitching about it to my brother who in turn bitched to our mum about it and it’s gotten back to me. She was in another state with my brother when it was her birthday, brother’s birthday occurred at the same time and, of course, we got something for him. When they got back it was my son’s birthday and they arrived with presents for all the family from their trip. We presented my brother with his gift of $30 from my husband and I and my sister gave him the same from her husband and her.

Now apparently her issue is that we didn’t get her anything and everyone in the family had a gift to open but her. Before she came along my brother used to give me and my husband $30 each for our birthdays and now she has come along its $30 from both her and my brother. i think that if she wants something for her birthday then she should give us $30 each as well, after all she isn’t family. So I don’t think she deserves anything for her birthday unless she is willing to give us the $30 she owes us for our birthdays otherwise she has no right to bitch. Am I right in thinking she is just being greedy?

She often talks of this website so I’m hoping she sees this.   0813-14

She’s your brother’s common law wife and therefore your common law sister-in-law which you recognize by referring to her as “sister-in-law”.   You have little nieces or nephews by her and your brother.  The only thing not making her a member of your family is a marriage license and your pathetically petty little heart.

She OWES you and your sister a birthday gift?  Newsflash OP…..no one owes you anything for your birthday. I can’t believe you actually used the word “deserves” to describe an obligation to give a birthday gift.  And I’m giving your SIL a pass because 1) the family custom is for family member and spouse (you, your sister and your husbands) to give a combined monetary gift of $30 from each couple and your SIL was simply following family custom when you received $30 from your brother and SIL on your birthdays; and 2) your SIL and brother showed up with presents for everyone which tells me they invested some time on their trip thinking of each family member and buying a gift.  You insult their kindness with a petty demand for an extra $30 on your birthday and a miserly heart about giving.

And the worst part of this is that family unity and harmony have been sacrificed on the altar of money….a mere $30.00.  Is the bitterness, animosity, hard feelings, estrangement from your brother, divisiveness, family drama all worth$30.00?


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lenore August 13, 2014, 6:55 am

    Frankly, they’re both guilty of pettyness, and both believe that the other “owes” them a gift. Everyone has mud on their faces here, OP may have a little more in that she calls SIL family only when it suits her to, which is very sad.

    • Abby August 13, 2014, 11:33 am

      For all we know, SIL just commented it made her sad that apparently the family of her longterm partner doesn’t see her as family, and her boyfriend was offended on her behalf and brought it up to his mother. We only have OP’s word (through third or fourth hand, no less) that SIL was “bitching” and demanding a present.

    • The Elf August 13, 2014, 11:56 am

      I agree – they’re all adults, right? Birthday gifts are a bonus, not a requirement. Let it go, already! Personally, I think the best solution would be to, as an extended family, agree to forgo all birthday gifts and just focus on the kids and milestones.

    • gb August 13, 2014, 1:46 pm

      This! 100% agreed.

      • Snarkastic August 14, 2014, 10:46 am

        Sounds like a solid plan. Plus, the whole handing $30 cash to someone is so odd and thoughtless; not only is it a strange amount, it is done without any regard for the giftee.

  • B August 13, 2014, 7:01 am

    Shame on you for this spiteful, nasty, grasping post. Shame on you. You are the greedy one, totting up totals and making invoices for birthdays, and you are extremely foolish to hope your SIL (who did nothing wrong) reads this. If she does, what do you think will happen?

    Prepare for massive family fall-out. You’ve painted yourself in horrible colours, I feel so sorry for your SIL.

    • The Elf August 13, 2014, 11:58 am

      Well, SIL did something wrong (if we are to believe the rumor mill). “she has been bitching about it to my brother who in turn bitched to our mum about it and it’s gotten back to me” You don’t bitch about not getting a birthday gift.

      • Meegs August 13, 2014, 7:49 pm

        I disagree, I certainly think you catch to your SO.

      • B August 14, 2014, 3:08 am

        She complained to her partner that his family left her out – which they did, they were totally unfair. She’s the only one whose birthday was ignored, and she and the brother had just brought everyone gifts from holiday when this happened.

        If that’s bitching about not getting a birthday gift, I’d do it. I’d bash the brother’s ear about his family’s treatment of me.

        He’s the one who chose to tell his mother.

        • The Elf August 14, 2014, 7:40 am

          True – leeway granted for bitching to spouse and not to the gift omitters and hairy eyeball given to brother who passed on the complaints. And I will grant that it is possible that the nature of the complaining wasn’t about not getting a birthday gift per se, but using the lack of birthday gift as an example of a larger problem of feeling left out or slighted.

          Still, one should accepts one’s birthday gifts (or non-gifts) graciously.

      • monkey's mommy August 14, 2014, 8:49 am

        No way. The sil has every right to express her hurt feelings to her boyfriend. He was upset on her behalf and took it further. The op and her sister are the only “bitches” in this story.

  • Michele August 13, 2014, 7:02 am

    Admin has it 100% on this one.

    You want to make the point that she is not “family” yet your brother has been in a long-term relationship with her to the point of having children together. He has made a family with her. You are being extremely petty by treating her so markedly different.

    What if your brother and your sister made it a point to give your husband $30.00 for his birthday? After all, he is not related to them by blood and does not meet the blood relation definition of “family”. I think you would be very upset and have something to say about it.

  • Suzanne August 13, 2014, 7:06 am

    Can I just say, why in the heck are they all giving each other $30? If everyone gives everyone else $30, then you’re just passing money around. Everyone keep your money! Wish people happy birthday and eat some cake.

    Stop passing around money for adult presents.

    • Saucygirl August 13, 2014, 7:46 am


    • Meegs August 13, 2014, 7:53 am

      Yeah, I found this to be the most bizarre part of the story too. OP, do you guys literally hand each other $30 in cash? Or is it an actual gift in the amount of around $30?

    • JeanLouiseFinch August 13, 2014, 8:05 am

      Maybe they can buy one $30.00 gift card and pass it around until it expires.

      • Bibianne August 14, 2014, 9:00 am

        *coffee up nose* …. Good one!!

      • Snarkastic August 14, 2014, 10:48 am

        Hilarious. Best suggestion yet.

    • Lil August 13, 2014, 8:27 am

      Agree. Choose a funny or sentimental card with a message they will appreciate if you want to remember them on their birthday.

    • Goldie August 13, 2014, 8:44 am

      That’s exactly why my parents and I stopped giving each other gifts. At one point, we realized we were just passing the same cash back and forth. Our relatives are still doing this amongst themselves; more power to them!

    • HelenB August 13, 2014, 9:01 am

      That’s what I was thinking. It’s strange to me that this specific amount is being handed around from birthday to birthday. It’s almost like a round robin of a $30 loan.

    • Raven August 13, 2014, 9:16 am

      Love it!

    • Magicdomino August 13, 2014, 9:52 am

      Thank you! I was just thinking that. You might as well write “Happy Birthday” on the money, and pass them around without bothering to spend them. “Happy birthday! It’s your turn to hold the birthday bills.”

      • kingsrings August 13, 2014, 4:13 pm

        Ha! I never thought about it that way. You are correct indeed. Maybe they should just bronze this $30 or put it on a fancy plaque and just pass it around to each other on each birthday.
        Adults expecting birthday presents is just plain silly. My friends, family, and I stopped exchanging birthday presents years ago, thank goodness.

      • RC August 13, 2014, 5:22 pm

        Yes! I wish they would do this.

    • Elizabeth August 13, 2014, 11:23 am

      Um, ya.

    • Rosie B. August 13, 2014, 12:01 pm

      I guess it’s possible that the OP meant they each spend around $30 on each other’s gifts–I know some families put price limits on gifts so everyone ends up spending about the same and no one feels bad if they can’t afford to spend very much. From her wording, though, she did make it sound like they all just write each other checks for $30 every time someone has a birthday. Weird tradition, especially for adults.

    • mark August 13, 2014, 12:26 pm

      This will never work. It makes too much sense. 😉

  • Comradde PhysioProffe August 13, 2014, 7:24 am

    Wow! This LW is seriously off kilter about the meaning of gift giving!

  • Tracy P August 13, 2014, 7:25 am

    I have to question if this is legit post, it’s just so out there. It almost sounds like the SIL is posting and trying to make the others look bad. Because I just can’t imagine that someone would post this and really think that they were in the right.

    If this is real – the OP is a greedy hypocrite. Maybe I’m interpreting it wrong, but it sounds like she and her husband give a combined $30. So why can’t the brother and his “wife” give the same?

    I just don’t see the point of handing back and forth $30 for each birthday. Either take the time to buy a gift that means something or stop gifting all together for the family.

    • Mary August 13, 2014, 11:06 am

      I thought the same thing. If the OP and her husband give $30, then the Brother and girlfriend get to give the same. Not $30 from each.

    • Lucretia August 13, 2014, 11:54 am

      I’m with you on this one. Methinks I smell a troll. Or at the very least, a massive overhaul of truth.

    • Rosie B. August 13, 2014, 12:03 pm

      Good point. The fact that she ended it with “I hope my SIL reads this” makes me think that her intention wasn’t just to vent, but to make someone else look bad. (I really hope that’s the case since I can’t imagine typing this entire letter out without realizing how self-entitled it sounds.)

      • Georgina August 13, 2014, 8:16 pm

        Well, my sister-in-law once told my husband in all seriousness that he should be more loyal to her rather than me because I wasn’t a ‘blood’ relative. “Blood is thicker than water” was her actual phrase and she put it in writing. We’d been married for six years and had two children by that point. So yes, I do believe that someone can be this petty and spiteful and not realize how blatant it is.

        • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 8:09 pm

          Lots of things are thicker than water, including several bodily fluids, some of which are also thicker than blood. What does that have to do with the price of tomatoes?

          As for his loyalty, he got the mother fate decreed. He CHOSE his wife. He made vows and signed a legal contract with his wife. And if they had children together, odds are there was some blood happening at the birth, so …

          Nope. Mother is a fool, and she won’t hold onto her son that way.

        • InTheEther September 19, 2014, 1:33 am

          Time to be pedantic. (Seriously though, inform people who say that of this and watch their brains implode :P)

          The quote actually goes back a translation of an ancient Greek text. Could be better translated as “The blood you spill as brothers in arms (this was directed at soldiers) ties you together much more closely than and supersedes the weak water that was spilled at your birthing.” Basically stating that you owed more loyalty to some 3rd party than you do to people that you are related to “as an accident of birth”.

    • Daphne August 14, 2014, 4:04 pm

      I don’t know. This sounds exactly like something my sister would say. I think people would be shocked at how many adults have extremely warped, hypocritical, and immature attitudes about gift giving.

  • Another Sarah August 13, 2014, 7:29 am

    How would you feel if your brother didn’t give your husband a present – after all, your gift of $30 didn’t go up when you got together with him, did it?
    What really gets me though, is the last line. You tried to make this a public shaming to upset the poor girl, who for all you know said something in confidence to her boyfriend.
    I now feel sorry for your brother’s girlfriend who will have to have incredible restraint not to show this to your family so they can all see what a nasty move this was. It would be no more than you deserve, but no one wants to be in the middle of family strife.

  • Livvy17 August 13, 2014, 7:31 am

    OP, you should have been giving her birthday presents all along – once you realized the relationship was long-term & serious. To do the math ….+ one new family member, -$30 from you & yours. Also -$ for each new child produced by their union. If all you guys do is exchange $30 cash each occasion, why not drop it altogether, and just exchange cards instead? Obviously, making it a straight money exchange has made you think of this exchange as a financial transaction rather than a familial one.

  • Steve August 13, 2014, 7:39 am

    Nobody is entitled to a birthday present. And nobody is entitled to complain if they don’t receive one. No exceptions.

    Both the OP and her SIL are brats.

    • Renee August 13, 2014, 9:40 am


    • WMK August 13, 2014, 10:30 am

      Hear, hear!

    • lizza August 13, 2014, 1:11 pm

      I can see being hurt by this whole thing – they get presents for the family on the trip, “of course” brother gets something, and she gets jack. I’m thinking too the bitching could be exaggerated by the OP; there’s a difference between that and SIL telling her boyfriend how hurt she is and how she doesn’t feel a part of the family.

    • Calliope August 13, 2014, 3:09 pm

      I don’t think there’s enough information here to decide that the SIL is a “brat.” She complained to OP’s brother, her long-term boyfriend, that she didn’t receive a birthday gift from OP. She probably felt slighted, and rightly so. She was slighted. Complaining to the OP or anyone else for not giving her a gift would certainly have been out of line, but I don’t see anything wrong with a person confiding in his or her partner about something like this.

    • Lacey August 18, 2014, 12:57 pm

      Agreed. Nothing is more immature and petty than a grown adult whining about not getting a birthday present.

  • KiwiAlice August 13, 2014, 7:44 am

    If it wasn’t for the bit about SIL bitching behind your back, I’d be convinced this was actually one of those sneaky “devil’s advocate” posts where the OP turns out to actually BE the SIL.

    I can’t believe you said “she’s not family”. Aside from any gift giving rights or wrongs, it pretty neatly sums up your attitude to the mother of your niece(s)/nephew(s).

  • Shoebox August 13, 2014, 7:52 am

    Ugh. OP, you honestly don’t realize how petty, jealous and frankly immature you sound here? So much so that I was honestly about to give you the benefit of the doubt for being very young until I saw the reference to husband and children. The latter of whom you’re undoubtedly exposing to this same culture of entitlement. Double ugh.

    You clearly don’t like your SIL for whatever reason, and are determined to make her feel it; it’s entirely possible she’s chosen this rather small issue to make a stand over it. I’d suggest you knock off the passive-aggressive “family tradition” stuff, honestly confront your feelings towards her, and try to reconcile as far as you possibly can. If that’s not very far, fine; but at least you’ll know you’re taking the high road.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith August 13, 2014, 8:00 am

    This is a tempest in a teapot. No one should be expecting presents for their birthdays as an adult. If you are exchanging presents with people who don’t reciprocate well, just quit. Problem solved. (Or continue, if it pleases you to do so, notwithstanding the lack of parity.) What is more troublesome is the family dynamic of wheedling, whining and attempts at self-aggrandizement. Very unbecoming.

  • Meegs August 13, 2014, 8:01 am

    As strange as this post is, I think I see what the OP is trying to get at. It sort of like one of those situations where one all the siblings in the family have children except one. At some point it is decreed that the adults will no longer exchange gifts, gifts will just be for the kids now. So the sibling without children is buying gifts for everyone’s kids, but never gets a gift herself. I can see where that would get old after a while.
    So here, the OP is expected to spend $30 each for DB and SIL, so $60 total, but she’s only getting back $30. Now, aside from the weird aspect of this just being a cash exchange, I can see where the OP might feel that this has gotten unfair over time. I, personally, would not look at it that way because I think that’s kind of petty, but I can see this perspective.
    OP, what about giving your DB and SIL a joint gift instead from now on?

    • Meegs August 13, 2014, 8:08 am

      Wait a second…never mind my post above. I just reread the story and see that for some reason I missed the part where the OP has a husband that also gets a birthday gift, so this is not a question of uneven gift-giving.
      So yeah, the OP and her sister seem pretty nasty and I feel really bad for the SIL.

      • Dee August 13, 2014, 12:03 pm

        Except that, even in your scenario above, there is no unfairness in the gift exchange as NONE of the adults is receiving a gift. If a childless person does not want to purchase gifts for other people’s children then that is their right, but a gift to a child cannot be considered a gift to its parents – unless, of course, it is necessities for a very young child/baby. But it is petty to be an adult and complain that you do not receive gifts from other adults who also are not receiving gifts, and then to be jealous of those adults whose children do receive gifts. Seriously, do you really think those moms are lucky when their daughters get another barbie?

      • Devin August 13, 2014, 12:28 pm

        When I first started reading I thought the same thing, she was tired of giving gifts for parents and children only to get one gift back, but not the case.
        I’m that one in my family, youngest, unmarried, no kids, lives further away. It definitely became irksome when we went to the only gifts for children rule. But then again, while they’re dealing with screaming kids fighting over toys, I’m enjoying a glass of wine not having to deal with that!

        • A different Tracy August 14, 2014, 8:59 am

          We have the “kids only” tradition. When I was the only one in my family with a child who was receiving gifts, I started giving gifts to everyone’s pets to even it out, and they all appreciated it.

    • MsDani313 August 13, 2014, 12:22 pm

      I am one of those people without children. My family decreed that only the “kids” (in my family until you graduate from college) receive gifts for Christmas and birthdays. So now that I am out of college I no longer receive gifts which is fine until someone points out that I did not buy a gift for all of the kids. All of my siblings and most of my cousins have children and they all expect me to buy for Christmas and birthdays. While I do buy for my 9 nieces and nephews I do not have the funds to purchase for the 30+ little cousins. And yes I typically see all of them around Christmas time.

      As far as the story above, this is the reason why my group of good friends stop buying each other gifts and started a tradition of a quarterly lunch/outing. We realized that we were just passing gifts back and forth.

      • MISSMINUTE August 13, 2014, 10:05 pm

        I have a friend who deals with their super-large family in a novel way – he purchases a dozen or so identical $1-$2 toys and lets the kids do an “easter egg hunt” in the yard on Christmas day. The fun of the competition makes up for the small gifts and the kids go nuts.

        • The Elf August 14, 2014, 7:41 am

          That’s truly a brilliant idea.

          • Anonymous August 15, 2014, 7:54 pm

            It’d be a brilliant idea for people who live in temperate climates, but an outdoor Christmas gift hunt in the winter in Canada just wouldn’t work. Even if it wasn’t horribly cold, the wet snow could damage the toys.

  • Timothy August 13, 2014, 8:07 am

    If I had it my way, I would cut out all gifts for people of legal drinking age. That includes recieving them. Since I like 4000km away from my in laws, we just end up passing gift cards around.

    • Calliope August 13, 2014, 3:12 pm

      If you don’t enjoy just passing around gift cards, why not put in the effort to buy or make one another thoughtful gifts instead? I agree that this “tradition” of passing around cash and gift cards is stupid. But that’s not a gift problem; it’s a convenient-but-thoughtless gift problem.

      • Aletheia August 13, 2014, 5:02 pm

        @ Calliope: I’m not Timothy, but I’m kind of in a similar situation (living far away from family, etc). The problem with buying or making thoughtful gifts is, largely, the problems regarding shipping them to the intended recipients. Shipping often cost me more than the actual gift (and that was before the past… three or four?… price hikes from the USPS), and not everything is guaranteed to arrive in one piece (especially baked goods – I’ve had cookies arrive little more than flour granule-sized crumbs sometimes), no matter how carefully they were packaged or how many times “Fragile” was written on the box. Shipping something directly from a website is a sometimes-viable option, but I hate how so many of them include receipts/packing labels with the prices of everything on it; it seems really tacky to me to include that. :/

        Sometimes getting gift cards to a store you know the recipient loves and/or has wanted something from for a while is the best option, unless one’s visiting the far-away family members (or having them over as visitors).

        • Calliope August 13, 2014, 8:34 pm

          I guess I don’t see the big difference between a receipt with a price on it and a gift card for a specific amount. Either way, the person knows how much you spent on them. There’s often a gift receipt option, anyway. I live far away from my extended family, too, so I understand how tough it can be with shipping and everything. Still, I do think a personal gift is worth the extra hassle.

        • Anonymouse August 14, 2014, 8:18 pm

          I can agree with this. A portion of my immediate family live in the US, with me and the rest in Canada. Shipping across the border is a pain, expensive, and usually altogether not worth it. Cash goes missing in the mail, and so many websites either don’t ship to Canada or (more rarely) don’t ship to the US. Gift cards are usually the safest option, unless we want to hold onto gifts until one of us crosses the border.

        • Anonymous August 15, 2014, 7:56 pm

          Off-topic, but have you ever tried packing cookies, mini-muffins, or brownies baked in a mini-muffin tin, in an empty, clean Pringles tube?

        • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 8:21 pm

          Cloth gifts. Cloth is not fragile, and ships just fine. And a handkerchief can easily be slipped into a card. It’s pretty and useful, too! And it brings a return to elegance to those people only family with facial tissue. It doesn’t cost much to add to the price of mailing a card. And embroidering a small, simple picture (or having it printed, if you’re not too crafty) both personalizes the handkerchief, and shows you cared enough to do something specific for that person. Crafts take time and effort, which show your love. Also, they are fun to do.

          If it’s cold, little things like hats, mittens, scarfs are good. Also, pot-holders and oven mitts are good for any climate. Again, if you’re not crafty enough to do it yourself, just do something simple to personalize it, like using cloth-markers to add their initials. Or, just buy a dishtowel, and write a lovely note to go with it.

          Gifts don’t have to be expensive. It’s more about showing you care. And useful, usable items are the best gifts, in my opinion. Something that doesn’t depend on proper sizing is most convenient, of course. Hats and mittens do require some sizing.

          If you’re knitting a scarf, remember to stop knitting before the scarf is taller than the recipient! (guilty, here)

  • iridaceae August 13, 2014, 8:13 am

    I foresee a day when brother and his wife cut off contact with the letter-writer and the letter-wtiter will put 100% of the blame on brother’s wife.

    • Goldie August 13, 2014, 11:39 am

      On brother’s “more like girlfriend”, to be exact… You’re right.

  • Marie August 13, 2014, 8:22 am

    It is completely normal that the gift from your bother changed to a gift from your bother AND SIL, after they established their relationship. The same would happen if you got yourself a steady boyfriend: your gift would be from the two of you.
    Giving extra money? Shouldn’t it be the thought that counts?

    Yes, OP, you are petty by not giving SIL a birthday present while giving your brother one. Your SIL did nothing wrong. She didn’t even made a big drama out of it – she only mentioned it to your brother, and he was the one to pass on the message. The only drama queen here is you, for feeling entitled to an extra gift, and not wanting to give SIL any because you didn’t get more than 30 dollars.

  • Pax August 13, 2014, 8:34 am

    The fact that the OP mentions she WANTS her sister-in-law to see this post is enough to condemn her to E-Hell. Why not then speak to her about this? Why not address it like an adult and come to an understanding?

  • Goldie August 13, 2014, 8:49 am

    I don’t understand how this works: “For her birthday neither my sister or I gave her anything for her birthday (…) She was in another state with my brother when it was her birthday, brother’s birthday occurred at the same time and, of course, we got something for him.” So OP’s brother and SIL have their birthdays at the same time, OP and her sister get nothing for the SIL, but “OF COURSE” they get gifts for the brother? And then they give the brother his gifts in front of the rest of the family, but give nothing to the SIL who’s right there and whose birthday was at the same time?! That is such petty in-your-face exclusion. If a 12-year-old did that, I wouldn’t be surprised (I’d still be upset at the 12 year old though, for not having good manners!), but coming from an adult, I don’t even know what to say about this.

    • Anonymous August 15, 2014, 7:58 pm

      Yes, exactly. If money is a problem, then you could even do a joint gift to Brother and SIL together–a bottle of wine, a DVD and some microwave popcorn and candy, etc. Blatantly excluding SIL isn’t very nice.

  • Midge August 13, 2014, 8:52 am

    So, she’s your SIL when she “owes” YOU a gift, but when it’s her time to get a gift, she’s not family?

    And I agree with someone else upthread–why are you all basically just passing $30 around?

  • Shannan August 13, 2014, 8:53 am

    When I read the new post of each day, I try to to pause before I read the administrator’s comments so as to form my own opinion first. Admin is spot-on. Additionally, it had to be a little kick in the gut to be expect a little token on your birthday, watch everyone else recieve their $$ and then realize there’s none for you. Also, I agree with other commenters about the idea of adults passing $$ around. I can’t imagine having to get $30 together or write a check for every adult birthday that comes aaround. OP, if you’re gonna refer to her as your SIL then she IS FAMILY. Get over yourself and grow up.

  • moll August 13, 2014, 9:01 am

    I guess all families have their weird traditions or habits, but count me among the people whose takeaway was “wait – so they all just pass 30 bucks around at every birthday?” It would make a lot more sense to give a $30 spending limit and buy actual presents, give $30 donations to different organizations every time, or just do cards.

    If it wasn’t SIL herself who sent this in knowing all of the comments would be in her favor, this is absurd.

  • Ruth August 13, 2014, 9:14 am

    I think the OP needs to step back, cool off and stop acting like her SIL is the bad fairy at the christening.

    “We presented my brother with his gift of $30 from my husband and I and my sister gave him the same from her husband and her.”
    So group presents from couples are the norm.

    “Before she came along my brother used to give me and my husband $30 each for our birthdays and now she has come along its $30 from both her and my brother. ”
    But when they do it, it’s wrong.

    Frankly, I think you owe her a big apology. Like it or not, she is the mother of your brother’s children. That makes her part of his family. Do you really want to cause a breach over $30.00?

  • Raven August 13, 2014, 9:19 am

    OP sounds like a complete PITA. While I don’t think SIL should have been complaining (to anyone besides the brother), OP’s take on things turns my stomach. This kind of nit-picking will destroy family lines and complicate things for years to come. OP, grow up. This kind of ridiculous squabbling is shameful.

    Also, +1 to others commenting about the silliness of passing around money to adults. I have to agree. We exchange birthday gifts with my brother and SIL, but they are small gifts, usually (gift cards to eat out, flowers, favourite candy, a bottle of wine – more of a symbol than anything else) and really just get together to celebrate. As adults, it shouldn’t be about the “stuff” anymore.

    • Shh its me August 13, 2014, 3:10 pm

      It’s sounds like SIL did only complain to her SO(Brother) and Brother complained to Mum and then Mum told OP. So the complaint is 3rd hand at least. So I don’t think SIL did anything wrong(I think you agree , we may just be reading the post differently)

  • JO August 13, 2014, 9:22 am

    As soon as I read hat first “bitching,” I knew we would be dealing with a real class act. I was not disappointed.

    OP there is so, so much more I would like to say to you. But I have a feeling that, between Ms. Jeanne and the other commenters, most or all of those things will be said at some point. So for today I think I will just sit back and enjoy the rest of the show 😉

    • Lisa August 13, 2014, 10:43 am

      ha! Where’s the Like button?

    • FlyingBaconMouse August 13, 2014, 12:11 pm

      In a way, I feel like this is a classic example of a certain kind of letter to EHell, lacking only wedding shenanigans and a sentence where the words “Needless to say” are followed by something dreadful.

  • Hanna August 13, 2014, 9:26 am

    Aside from the OP being a total gimmie pig herself, in-law present situations are hard. I get my brother a birthday gift/card, do I do the same with his wife? I’ve been struggling with this myself as I’ve only been married 2.5 years and sporadically will get gifts from my husband’s siblings but other times I won’t. This year I got nothing from them (but they did get something for my husband for his birthday) so do I put in the effort to get them anything for their birthdays? Am I obligated to? IDK!

    • Anonymouse August 13, 2014, 1:19 pm

      I don’t think you are ever “obligated” to get someone a gift. They should always be a token from the heart and given because you want them to be happy. That being said, if you are close with your in-laws, getting them gifts is a nice gesture, whether or not you get anything back from them that year. If not, a card or a sincere “Happy Birthday!” should be fine.

      I do hear what you’re saying though. My own in-laws are a minefield of mental illness, family drama, and general oddity. I usually just make my husband deal with it (he’s been involved with the crazy for 22 years, he’s got experience). Good luck!

    • AS August 13, 2014, 3:02 pm

      @Hanna – in your case, you are not obligated to, as no one else is obligated to in your families either.

      But in OP’s case, apparently, everyone got a gift for their birthdays, including the BILs. And the couples gave gifts as couples. So, why should the SIL be left out unless she AND her boyfriend/common-law-husband give everyone gifts separately? Also, if birthdays are close together, and you are exchanging gifts during a get-together, and token gift is always nice. Otherwise, everyone feels the love and the one person gets left off like an outsider.

    • Saucygirl August 13, 2014, 3:09 pm

      Personally, since I am opposed to just passing cash around, I think it depends on if you actually like and have a relationship with the in laws. My sister has been married for seven years. I’ve met her husband two or three times – he never comes out with her when she visits, he is rarely there when we visit, and he makes no effort to be around when we skype/call. So he gets a card for his birthday. My husbands sister has been married for around 10 years. We lived in same town as them for a while and saw them all time. We have both moved over past four years, but both they and us make a point to stay connected. He is a fabulous uncle to my daughter (whereas my sisters husband probably couldn’t pick my daughter out of a line up) So my sils husband gets a gift.

  • Lady Anne August 13, 2014, 9:28 am

    So you guys just pass the same $30 around the family indefinitely? Yeesh. Aside from coming across as incredibly petty and “grabby”, why do you bother with this nonsense? My sister and I stopped exchanging gifts long before she died because it was a case of “I’ll give you $20 and you give me the same.” (Beside the fact that neither of us needed a darned thing.)

    And yes, even if they are not married, the fact that they have children together makes her “family”. Grow up.

  • Kovi August 13, 2014, 9:28 am

    SIL was extremely rude to demand anything. On the other hand, none of you are ‘owed’ a birthday gift. And it *is* rude to have a gathering where everyone has something to open, instead of one person.

    I’m very lucky – my mom is the complete and total opposite. If I was bringing, say, a brand new room mate home for Christmas (for example only), she’d quickly want to find out a gift idea for me, simply so we’re not all opening stuff while one person is not. Doesn’t matter if she ever even met the person or not. Now, I’d get extremely uncomfortable if I was part of a group receiving gifts, while one person was not included.

    • Marie August 13, 2014, 11:47 am

      My boyfriend’s mother is the exact same way. I was only dating him a couple of months when we celebrated our first Christmas. She invited me over for Christmas dinner and made sure that I had gifts to open so I would not feel left out. She did the same for his sister’s boyfriend, and they had only been together a couple of weeks. I wish people were more focused on making sure that everyone felt included in the celebration instead of doing what the OP and her family do, which is apparently count the value of all gifts to make sure everyone is contributing equally.

      • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 8:38 pm

        My mom, for years, kept a stash of generic gifts, for just in case. They were usually for children, of course, but even adults can appreciate a puzzle. Because you just never know who might show up, and everyone should be included, if there is general gift-giving.

        I remember moving near my birthday, and actually arrived at my new home and attending my new church ON my birthday. I was a child, and desperately sad when they called up some other birthday children to sing to them, but did not call me. I was so sure my mother had told someone (she had) about my birthday (she told the wrong person). I did not yet have the gumption to stand up and say, “Hi! I’m new here, and it’s my birthday, too!”

        However, my Mom made it all right, by inviting my entire class from church for a party, so I had some “instant friends,” or at least playmates for a birthday party.

        I remembered that years later, when I was teaching a class at church, and a new girl came in, and mentioned that they had moved right around her birthday. She never got a birthday party, so the next week, I cut my lesson short, and hosted a tiny party in our classroom for her. I knew how important it is to feel validated, one day out of the year, especially when you are young.

        Adults may not need presents on their birthdays, but a simple card, phone call, or even just a smile and a hug, if you’re there in person, can make so much difference. It’s important to make everyone feel included, and valued.

    • Double You August 14, 2014, 6:39 am

      Your mom sounds a bit lik my mom…

      I remember when I was a kid my parents once picked up a hitchhiker late one Saturday night. He was a student in his early twenties, stranded in the pouring rain in a strange city, having just missed his last train home – and he was very grateful when my parents said he could come home with us, get dried up, have some dinner and stay the night in our spare room. But as the next morning it was Easter, my mum didn’t stop at merely offering the guy breakfast – she actually made sure he had a huge chocolate Easter egg waiting for him when he woke up, and a bag of candy in case he got hungry on his train home.

    • Michelle C Young August 21, 2014, 8:32 pm

      SIL did not “demand” anything. She complained to her common-law husband that his family acknowledged everyone except for her, and she felt singled-out and slighted. Also, his sisters said that she’s “not family,” in demanding an extra gift FROM HER.

      She complained to her husband, as is her right to do, when she feels hurt at being slighted, which she certainly was. Whether or not you agree that adults ought to get presents, it is clearly the family tradition, and she very clearly was NOT considered part of that family. He’s the one who stirred the pot by passing on the complaint. SIL didn’t do it.

      I think she basically just got a “Get out of Jail Free” card here, though. They as much as told her she’s “not family.” They even submitted the “she’s not family” to the internet, and made it public. Therefore, she is not obligated in any way to do any “family” stuff with them, if she doesn’t want to. And really, with this OP? Why would she want to?

      Many daughters/sisters-in-law cut off their own personal relationships with their husband’s family for just this sort of thing. It is not just this one occasion. This is just a single episode of a symptom of a really nasty, systemic problem. That family has issues.

  • Wild Irish Rose August 13, 2014, 9:28 am

    I had to laugh at the whole everybody-gets-$30-for-their-birthday thing. Seriously, who does that? Why not take that $30 and have a nice dinner together? Better yet, if birthdays are THAT important to you, why don’t you take some actual time to find a suitable gift for the recipient? In my opinion, giving money (especially a set amount) as a birthday gift is just lazy and thoughtless.

    OP, you need to come to terms with your “SIL” being your SIL. She may not be married to your brother, but they have children together, and you can’t really get more “family” than that. You also need to grow up some and realize that this type of petty silliness is for middle school kids and not grown adults–and ESPECIALLY

    • Annie August 13, 2014, 1:40 pm

      Weird the trading money! Although with my sister since we have birthdays very close, we do set an amount but instead of giving money we buy each others gifts that we where looking forward but did not want to spend money on. Sure we could buy the things ourselfs but it became a tradition and there is always the sentimental value we give the gifts.

      • MISSMINUTE August 13, 2014, 10:13 pm

        My sister and I do the same thing! We set a $50 limit and just each other something we want but would not dare spend $50 on ourselves. It may seem silly, but it’s a nice little tradition.

  • Wild Irish Rose August 13, 2014, 9:29 am

    Dang it I hit the wrong button! Anyway, it’s not for grown adults and ESPECIALLY not for people who have children–you’re supposed to be setting an example for your kids and showing them how to treat people. All you’re doing is showing them how to perpetuate animosity and mean-spiritedness. Shame on you.

  • Margo August 13, 2014, 9:31 am

    So, in the past, your Brother used to give you $30 and your husband $30, and you and your husband gave him $30. So when he was single, your brother was $30 down every year, if you chose to look at it from a purely financial point of view. Now he has a partner and you think that he and his partner ought to give you and your husband $60 each in order to ‘earn’ a $30 gift for his partner .

    And on top of that, Brother and SIL brought gifts for all the family, There is certainly someone being greedy here, and it isn’t SIL.

    If the custom in your family was that only immediate relatives got gifts them it would be one thing (although still potentially pretty hurtful!) but it isn’t. Your husband gets gifts, it is only your SIL who is being excluded.

    I am not in the least bit surprised that she is hurt and upset. It’s obviously made worse by the fact that your brother’s birthday falls close to hers *and* that she and brother were giving gifts, as those things will both have served to rub in the fact that she was not even getting a token birthday gift

    It does seem odd to me that adults would all solemnly pass $30 cash to each other – but if that’s how you do it, treat everyone the same.

    Of coruse it is not polite to complain, but that seems to be down to your Brother – his partner let off steam to him, it is he and your mum who have chosen to share that with you. You don’t know whether your SIL ever intended the complaint to be passed on to anyone outside her immediate family.

    However, now that you know that you have been being mean and exclusionary *and* that your actions have been noted and are hurtful, I hope that you all see it as a wake-up call and start to treat your SIL as a member of the family.

    • MISSMINUTE August 13, 2014, 10:15 pm

      I understood that the brother gave EACH the wife and husband $30, making it $60? I found it hard to follow. Regardless she is in the wrong.

      • Margo August 14, 2014, 4:23 am

        Yes, that’s how I read it. Brother gave them $30 each, but they, jointly, give him $30 and his partner nothing, so OP + husband get $60 total and Brother gets $30 total, but OP thinks that for her to give SIL $30, Brother and SIL ought to *each* give her and her husband $30, which would mean that OP+Husband wound up with $120 total between them, and Brother and SIL wound up with $60 total between them.

        I found it hard to follow too.

  • Scott August 13, 2014, 9:31 am

    Boy, I don’t know about the SIL seeing the post but I SURE hope the OP sees it. How spiteful that is. “I sure hope my SIL sees this and reads (hopefully) all the comments telling her how horrible she is; THAT will show her”. Amazing.

  • JO August 13, 2014, 9:32 am

    ‘That,’ not ‘hat.’

  • Jinx August 13, 2014, 9:38 am

    If this were me, I would be somewhat “put out” by what seems to be the same $30 going back and forth between people for their birthdays. It almost seems pointless.

    I like giving gifts when I have a gift to give, but don’t have a ton of money to get something for every adult, so usually, I would just say gifts for my relative’s kids only.

    If I see something I know someone would love (or something particularly hilarious), then I get it for them. The idea of $30 seems so perfunctory it takes any joy out of a birthday for me. Especially since it’s the same gift people are giving AND receiving, like some rock hard fruitcake that’s given back and forth as a joke, but it’s not really a joke.

    Either this $30 exchange is tradition: if OP is given $30 to her husband and her, they need to give $30 back to bro and SIL… or it’s not tradition, in which case maybe people should get together and talk about a better exchange (homemade cookies, make crafts together, make a bday dinner for the couple, or screw it the gifts are for kids here’s your bday card).

  • DGS August 13, 2014, 9:42 am

    Are these actual grown-ups? Oh my…spoiled brats, the lot of you.

  • Mya August 13, 2014, 9:45 am

    Wow it sounds like a case of what is good for the Goose isn’t good enough for the Gander.

    If I read this correctly, when a person in your family has a birthday, they are given $30 as a gift from other couples. The issue here is that when it was SIL’s Birthday, you DID NOT give her a gift, yet made a point of giving your Brother (her spouse) $30.

    Regardless of the etiquette ‘rules’ around this, it seems a little unfair that she did not receive a gift and I imagine it made her feel marginalised which is probably what she was ‘bitching’ about.

    Get over yourselves and stop being so petty.

  • Abby August 13, 2014, 9:53 am

    I don’t see where it is in the OP that not-SIL and Brother have kids together? The only kid I see mentioned in the story is OP’s son. Yet I keep reading that OP has a niece or nephew by this SIL?

    Regardless, it sounds like in OP’s family, all the inlaws get $30 on their own birthday from each couple, except Not-SIL, because not-SIL is not married, even though she participates in the gift giving.

    If this was truly written by the sister of the boyfriend, and not the girlfriend of the brother, I am willing to cut Not-SIL a break in that perhaps she was not “bitching” but was confiding to her long time partner that she was hurt that she was excluded from certain family things, even though she has been around for a long time and gives gifts.

    So, OP, you and your husband give combined gifts to your siblings, but you feel that because they aren’t married, brother and his girlfriend “owe” you separate gifts?

    • admin August 13, 2014, 9:59 am

      The first paragraph mentions that brother and SIL have been together for a long time and “have a family together”.

      • Abby August 13, 2014, 11:25 am

        Aw I see. That probably does indicate kids, which means SIL has been around likely for more than a couple years.

  • Nicole August 13, 2014, 9:56 am

    If you can’t give a gift out of love and affection, don’t bother and stop keeping a mental ledger! My brother is married and has children. I buy birthday gifts for each member of their family, (spending what I can afford) and they, as a family, give me a birthday gift. I don’t feel I am owed four presents or a gift of four times the value, I am just appreciative that they love me and care enough to give me a gift (and usually a very thoughtful one!)

  • Hannah August 13, 2014, 9:56 am

    I can’t help but feel like the tone has been a bit misinterpreted in this post. I agree that OP is being rather childish about it, but I can understand her bitterness. I don’t think she actually expects and money from her SIL, I think just want to make the point that if you want double the money you will have to be mutual about it.

    I also see her side of “gifts for only family!” She says her SIL has been with her brother for a long time, but does she mean 1 year, or 5 years? I’m a little more inclined to think on the shorter end, simply because this sounds like its the first time it has happened. In which case I can see her argument. Not saying I condone her behavior, but as someone who also doesn’t give gifts outside of my family, (unless they are extremely good friends or have hosted a party) I can sense where her irritation is coming from.

    All in all, I don’t think either of the woman are particularly handling this well, but I don’t know that the OP needs to be scolded quite so aggressively.

    • B August 13, 2014, 10:34 am

      But she isn’t being mutual. She and her husband gave her brother $30. Her sister and BIL gave her brother $30. The SIL and brother give the LW $30.

      What she wants is for her SIL to give her $30 as well as her brother’s $30 = $60. When that didn’t happen, she and her husband gave the SIL nothing.

      So, she got gifts from this couple but only gave a gift back to one of them. Not cool.

      Her SIL and brother have children = SIL is family and they have to have been together for well over a year.

      You cannot call someone your SIL then say they aren’t family.

      And seriously? You understand why someone is bitter that their SIL expects equal treatment? The SIL who, with the brother, bought gifts for everyone when they came back from vacation? You actually think the OP is not a greedy little witch? Wow.

      • Abby August 13, 2014, 11:30 am

        “So, she got gifts from this couple but only gave a gift back to one of them. Not cool.”

        She got $30 from her brother and his girlfriend, and gave back $30 to her brother. However, OP’s husband, also got $30 from the brother and the girlfriend, as he is a “legit” inlaw, as OP seems to think. Yeah, there’s nothing mutual about what OP is proposing.

    • hakayama August 13, 2014, 10:58 am

      This post made me thankful mainly for two things:
      1. having a strong sphincter so that the cushion I’m sitting on is not soaked
      2. not knowing people like the OP and her nearest and dearest
      I’m also saddened by mainly two things about the OP and hers:
      1. their right to vote
      2. their fertility

      • hakayama August 13, 2014, 11:01 am

        Sorry that I hit the wrong button: “reply” instead of “submit”… ;-(

  • acr August 13, 2014, 10:06 am

    I really don’t understand why the Dame was so harsh with the OP. After all, the SiL is the one complaining about not getting gifts. The OP is just pointing out that the SiL doesn’t give gifts either.

    • Abby August 13, 2014, 11:25 am

      1. We don’t know the context of how SIL framed her unhappiness. Perhaps she just said, it kind of hurts that I am excluded from receiving birthday gifts when I give them.

      2. She does give them. She and the brother give $30 a head for birthdays. So, OP and her husband each got $30 from the brother and the girlfriend. OP and her husband gave brother $30. OP got $60 that year, she gave $30. Evidently, since OP is married, it is perfectly acceptable to GIVE gifts as a unit while RECEIVING gifts as individuals (therefore doubling her return), while if SIL wants a gift, she has to give as an individual. Very nice.

    • pdolly August 13, 2014, 11:40 am

      SIL and brother do give a gift. What OP seems to want is that brother gives her $30*and* SIL gives her $30 while OP gets to give her brother $30 and say it is from both her and her husband. SIL is giving her a gift but she seems to feel that since it’s the same amount her brother used to give her when he was single that SIL is, in effect, giving nothing and just adding her name to the card.

      So it’s ok for OP and hubby to give a combined gift but some how SIL is a greedy pig.

      I give SIL a pass for complaining. She was talking to her partner in private and he is the one who blabbed.

    • Jays August 13, 2014, 11:46 am

      Err. The SIL *does* give gifts. As part of a couple with her long-time partner. Just as the OP gives gifts as part of a couple ….

  • Booklover13 August 13, 2014, 10:21 am

    On the matter of passing around $30, that makes perfect sense to me. My family has been in some tight financial spots, where it gets hard to justify spending money on yourself. However none of us would ever think of skimping on someone’s birthday. So you budget for other’s birthdays and then when you get money on your birthday that is money you spend on you. Its money people gave you to enjoy yourself so there is less pressure(and guilt) to put it toward something frivolous or just for fun. I am a real saver and put most of my money away, however when I get money as a gift(I am notoriously hard to shop for) I like to spend it on something tangible that I would not usually buy. That way I can, for example, show my sister and bother the bag I got with the money they gave me. They appreciate seeing that I used the money for something special, same as I do when I see what they have gotten with my gift. Think of it less as “passing around money” and more as giving someone a chance to splurge on themselves in a way they would not ordinarily do.

    This in no way excuses the OP, who seems of the opinion that until they tie the knot they don’t count as a couple when it comes to gifts.

    • Jays August 13, 2014, 11:47 am

      I do agree with this. Been there too …

    • Anna Wood August 13, 2014, 12:43 pm

      The passing of money around as a Birthday gift goes on in my family for the same reason. It is money that can be spent on what we call a frivol (frivolity). Something that you otherwise would not have. My family thinks it is fun and the thank you notes (always sent) let us know what the frivol was.

      On another note, my mother refused to recognize my DIL at all, would not even mention her name because DS and DIL were ‘just’ living together. This went on for 4 years until they were married. Now this is important. During this time my mother divorced my father and was living in a common law relationship that lasted for 10 years. Go figure. But she did teach all of her children to write nice thank you notes 😉

    • MISSMINUTE August 13, 2014, 10:22 pm

      My sister and I do this too. It’s money we are “allowed” to “waste” on ourselves, only we send each other out to get the “frivol” as Anna Wood puts it.

  • Whodunit August 13, 2014, 10:22 am

    For Christmas one year my SIL was in charge and said we would draw names ( all adults and children equally. We were each to spend $25 each. The problem? There was 9 in my family ( 9 x $25=$225 which was far more than we could reasonably spend that particular year) so we bowed out. Of course SIL threw a big stink about our priorities and our non participation. We got each family a nice collective gift (board game, pop corn ) and left it at that. We never jointly had Xmas together after that and I was always blamed for it ( not that I’m bothered by that at all)

    • Whodunit August 13, 2014, 10:26 am

      I forgot to add that even tho I knew that collectively our family would the same amount back ($225)– which is the point my SIL can’t making- she couldn’t seem to understand that I couldn’t cough up the $225 to begin with.

      • Tracy W August 14, 2014, 7:17 am

        How bad! Normally I’ve heard this done as a price limit – eg everyone has to buy a present not costing more than $25 (well, in my circles we tend to stick to £5, to really emphasis the not-grand-gifts-idea).

  • cattlekid August 13, 2014, 10:34 am

    Count me in with the rest of the posters who have done away with gifts for adults for reasons like this. If all you are going to do is round robin money, then why have a gift at all?

    At some point, it would seem to make sense to have an agreement that gifts among adults are no longer necessary. However, this only works if everyone holds to the agreement.

    Personally, as others have stated, I like giving gifts when I run across something that I know the recipient would like. It might be months away from their birthday or other gifting holiday. If I can stash it away until a gift-giving occasion, then great. If not, I will just give it at the time and say “hey, I saw this and thought of you.” I don’t like giving gifts when I’m pushed into it by a third party (I’m looking at you, MIL). That’s when I think the agreement above makes sense. Gifts from obligation aren’t really gifts, IMHO. They’re just payment for some other social purpose.

  • WendyW August 13, 2014, 10:34 am

    So B+SIL have been together long enough to have a family. She is SIL in every way except that they are not legally married. So with the exception of one piece if paper, they are same family unit as every other family unit in the family.

    Tradition seems to be that the birthday person receives the equivilant of a $30 gift from each couple. So B+SIL give a $30 gift, as a couple, to the birthday person. So SIL is gifting the family, as per tradition. But, when it is her birthday, because she is not legally married, she receives nothing.

    Think SIL has every right to be hurt. She is gifting but getting nothing back. It seems like OP feels that since SIL is bit married she is required to give a separate gift, she does not count as part if the couples clause simply because she does not have a marriage license. She has a long standing relationship with BIL, is raising a family with him and in every other way being a family member, but because she is not married she is thought of as a separate, not family, person.

    Shame on OP.

  • Phoenix August 13, 2014, 10:39 am

    I think the SIL isn’t so much of a gimme as we are expexted ti believe. I hink she was honesly hurt by the EXCLUSION and said this her SO. The SO was insulted by this that he told mom about it.

    A part of me thinks that the op is simple treating sil basly because sil and bro are not legally married, and yet the have kids. So he OP probably thinks of sil as “the mistress” or “slut”, so she excludes sil for it.

    Eitherway, OP has shown her true colors by “bitching” about her sil to us and only seeing her as another bank account.

    • lizza August 13, 2014, 1:17 pm

      Exactly what I was thinking.

  • Shyla August 13, 2014, 10:40 am

    This is so confusing. It sounds like birthdays are so perfunctory. $30 for you, $30 for me. What about putting some thought into a present? No one would even know exactly what you spent if you gave a present they might care about.

  • ketchup August 13, 2014, 10:42 am

    I would like to point out that the SIL bitched to her own partner, who in turn bitched to his mum. I would like to think that the SIL is allowed to bitch to her own boyfriend, yes? How he continues, is his fault, really not hers.
    And yes, OP is petty. I can’t imagine spending all this effort on keeping track of these 30 dollars. What a waste of time.

    • Renee August 13, 2014, 11:28 am

      I agree. Lord knows my husband hears me “bitch” about things that drive me up the wall. Only difference is he is mature enough not to run and tell his mother. The brother should have addressed his two sisters without involving his mother.

      If my husband was being shunned by my siblings, I will address them directly. If you are old enough to start a family, you should be old enough to address adult issues. The brother could have casually mentioned to his sisters that he noticed they do not acknowledge his wife’s bday. Then asked why do they exclude her?

  • Lisa August 13, 2014, 10:44 am

    It’s pretty scary that everyone involved is old enough to reproduce (and actually has). It sounds like a squabble between a bunch of 5th graders.

    • Wild Irish Rose August 13, 2014, 11:21 am

      I agree, and look at the legacy they are leaving those kids. I’ll bet that is one entitled bunch of brats.

  • WendyW August 13, 2014, 10:47 am

    Sorry for all my typos, darn phone!

    Anyway, I hope that OP and her family at least give SIL a Christmas gift of her own, or are they insisting she gift a separate gift to everyone then as well?

  • VM August 13, 2014, 10:47 am

    I suspect she wasn’t “bitching” about the $30 out of petty greed. I think she saw it as a deliberate snub, a mark of being treated as the outsider.

  • Alli August 13, 2014, 10:50 am

    Regardless of whether you decided to gift her $30 or not- you should have at least given her a card. If they have been together that long, and their birthdays are about the same time- it’s a pretty big snub to ignore it all together.

    And dump the $30 exchanges.