This story is still talked about in my family to this day.
We had a surprise birthday party for my grandfather when he turned 70 – one of the relatives has a pool and he graciously hired a caterer, a band, and purchased all kinds of party games for everyone to play. It was fun and memorable.
Nobody was expected to get gifts, but most of us wanted to get Grandpa SOMETHING – a bottle of his favorite scotch, a card made by some of the younger kids, etc. I think I gave him a watercolor painting I did – I was a poor college student at the time. Nothing fancy, but small gifts, or no gift at all. Nothing was opened at the event, so nobody knew who did and didn’t get anything. The relative who hosted has quite a bit of money and is very generous with it, but most of us don’t have overflowing coffers. Still, we manage.
My Uncle ‘John’ never bothered to get a gift. Instead, he decided that a fitting gift for his father’s 70th birthday would be to tell everyone that he was running a 50/50 raffle, complete with homemade ‘tickets’… and that he’d give the winner the first 50, and make the second 50 my grandfather’s birthday present.
I would understand if John was impoverished – but he actually owns his own business and does pretty well for himself!
We all thought it was pretty gauche, especially since he told my grandfather about it, and apologized because people didn’t buy in to the raffle, so he had no gift to give.
It was cringe worthy. But this is par for the course with John – he refused to pay for his son’s funeral, recently, and crowdfunded it instead. 1123-15