Author Topic: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?  (Read 2330 times)

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Hijinks

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Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« on: November 23, 2011, 01:56:17 PM »
My SIL (husband's brother's wife) is a real piece of work.

She insists upon having extremely specific gift lists from myself and the other members of my family for Christmas.  She won't take "nice bubble bath" or "a fantasy romance novel" or anything like that as a suggestion - she wants specific brand names.  So, for the past few years, I've created Amazon wish lists for myself, my husband, and my two boys. 

I send these to her every November and ask her for her and my BIL's lists as soon as they can send them to us, as we are on a budget and need to spread gift purchasing out over several paychecks (buying less expensive gifts is not an option for my husband, who always has specific dollar amounts he wants to spend on each person).  My mother- and father-in-law are also on a budget, so we always try to get gift lists from BIL/SIL as early in the year as we can.

SIL flat-out insists to even think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  For her part, anyway - she always feels free to ask me about our lists and the things on them in November, so I know she's doing her shopping - but she won't give out theirs. 

I believe it's because she wants to "punish" MIL because MIL refuses to celebrate Christmas at Thanksgiving.  BIL/SIL drive from the next state over (4 hour drive) and they only want to come for Thanksgiving and celebrate everything at one go.  My MIL refuses to do that, and insists upon doing two separate occasions.  I stay out of that, but I think that's why SIL won't give us her and BIL's lists in November.

Is there a polite way to ask them for their lists earlier?  It really does create a hardship for DH and I to have to spend all of the money for their gifts at once in December.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2011, 01:59:53 PM »
No advice on the SIL and the list thing but could you and DH set aside a little bit of money from each paycheck as far back in the year as you need to so that you aren't crunched come Christmas?  Like a separate savings account where you put in $20 each pay - giving you $520 (assuming byweekly pays) by the time Christmas rolls around.
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Kaypeep

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2011, 02:05:50 PM »
You can't change your SIL so do what works best for you. Buy SIL something off-list when you see something you think would make a great gift (at any time) and save it for xmas, or do what the PP suggested and start saving early so you have cash saved up.

(I have to say that this idea works fantastically. I started doing it and it's great. I put aside $20 a week all year long, now I have plenty of cash for tips for my service folks, presents for my family and boyfriend,and some extra to enjoy myself during the holiday break when all my friends want to go out to eat or drink. I anticipate not having to charge a single thing and even have enough to cover a car tuneup!

Hijinks

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2011, 02:25:17 PM »
Excellent suggestions, thank you!

I do need to start a Christmas savings fund LOL!

I try to buy gifts throughout the year but it's so hard to know what they will want.  One year I bought her a dolphin-themed tchotchke for her bathroom because it's already dolphin themed, and she obviously didn't like it - she opened it, looked at it, then set it aside without comment.  That's the last time I bought her anything that wasn't on a list.  Even though I don't like her, I do want to get her a gift that she will want/need/like.

O'Dell

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2011, 02:40:48 PM »
No advice for this year, but save up the list she gives you this xmas and use it for your shopping next year.
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rose red

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2011, 02:47:00 PM »
Just flat out tell her you need a list early to figure out a budget, and that if you don't get it you cannot assure them something off the list.  She's the one who's have to live with (possibly) unwanted gifts and only punishing herself and her family if she continues this PA game.

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2011, 08:39:42 AM »
You can do what the pp suggested, or, simply start a Christmas savings account, set aside the $ and spend it in December.
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Lynda_34

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2011, 09:39:18 AM »
Excellent suggestions, thank you!

I do need to start a Christmas savings fund LOL!

I try to buy gifts throughout the year but it's so hard to know what they will want.  One year I bought her a dolphin-themed tchotchke for her bathroom because it's already dolphin themed, and she obviously didn't like it - she opened it, looked at it, then set it aside without comment.  That's the last time I bought her anything that wasn't on a list.  Even though I don't like her, I do want to get her a gift that she will want/need/like.

I'm sorry, I'm thinking that she needs to suck it up. You gave her a gift you thought she would like, she didn't. Oh well. IT IS THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS. 
I have a yellow ducky theme in one of my bathrooms, I also have tenants.  They tolerate my duck decorations and if you'd given me a dolphin tchochke it would have gone on the shelf with everything else and when you came to visit you'd have seen it.

 ;D of course then we'll see her postings, my SIL gives me things that fit in the theme of my BR but since I didn't list them I don't display them.  >:( Good luck.  ;)

baritone108

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2011, 01:33:29 PM »
Just one time I would go ahead and shop for everyone on my own schedule, list or no list, doing my best to find something that would please SIL and family.  When she gave me the list I would return it saying I didn't need it, that I was done shopping.  Any displeasure with that statement would me met with, "If I don't have a list by (date), I just have to shop without one.  If you can get me the list earlier next year I'll be sure to use it."


I have a Christmas Club account, too.  It's really helpful, especially after I added the cost of the meals into the amount I would need.

JillyJ

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 06:32:01 PM »
My SIL (husband's brother's wife) is a real piece of work.

She insists upon having extremely specific gift lists from myself and the other members of my family for Christmas.  She won't take "nice bubble bath" or "a fantasy romance novel" or anything like that as a suggestion -
I originally read this wrong and thought it said "fancy" romance novel. I was going to chime in with, "What is a "fancy" romance novel?!

Meanwhile, I agree with baritone108.  I think that's a brilliant idea.

violinp

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2011, 06:37:22 PM »
POD to other posters. And massive hugs for having to put up with that from your SiL.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


yokozbornak

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2011, 06:45:31 PM »
Just one time I would go ahead and shop for everyone on my own schedule, list or no list, doing my best to find something that would please SIL and family.  When she gave me the list I would return it saying I didn't need it, that I was done shopping.  Any displeasure with that statement would me met with, "If I don't have a list by (date), I just have to shop without one.  If you can get me the list earlier next year I'll be sure to use it."


I have a Christmas Club account, too.  It's really helpful, especially after I added the cost of the meals into the amount I would need.

I think this is a brilliant approach.

Bijou

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2011, 07:51:17 AM »
No advice for this year, but save up the list she gives you this xmas and use it for your shopping next year.
Very good idea!
I was going to suggest a gift certificate to a store OP knows SIL likes.
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Hijinks

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2011, 09:47:40 AM »
I appreciate everyone's responses!

I got a list from her the day after Black Friday  ::)  Two shirts for her, two shirts for BIL.  That's it.  She said, "if you don't get everything on this list, let me know so I can send it to my sister."  So eventually I will either have to tell her, yes, I got everything on the list, so now you know what you're getting, OR no, I didn't get you everything on the list.  She makes my teeth itch.

I decided to buy my DH an Xbox and the Skyrim game that he wants so much, because he's a good DH and he deserves it :)  I told my MIL and SIL that I was buying it, and that it was $250 total, and if either of them wanted to chip in, that could be their gift to him this year and it can be from all of us.  MIL is chipping in $50, but SIL refuses.  First she had to tell me that she saw an Xbox 360 at Target on Black Friday for $139 (thanks, that helps me not at all because it's not at that price here or anywhere online that I can find), then she said she'd get him another game (thanks, but the only one he wants is the ONE I ALREADY GOT). 

I don't know why she resists everything I do or say.  It's very frustrating!

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: Is there a polite way to ask for a gift list?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2011, 10:30:45 AM »
I don't understand people who allow present exchanges to become power games. If your SIL won't give you her list in good time, and won't be gracious about the giving or receiving, give her something that brings you joy and says, "this makes me think of SIL". A list isn't a command performance. If she just returns it or is dismissive of it, give her a gift card, or decline to give her a present.

By the same token, you don't have to tell her exactly what to get you. The Amazon list is helpful, but not a requirement. You get some of the surprise because you don't know what, if anything, she got for you, but you still sacrifice a lot of the joy by providing a shopping list instead of a wish list. Let your SIL off the hook next year - tell her that if she doesn't want to put any effort into your gift, she doesn't have to get one. The gift of being there twice is enough.
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