Author Topic: Receiving money as a gift - response?  (Read 3665 times)

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TealDragon

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Receiving money as a gift - response?
« on: December 26, 2011, 07:09:30 PM »
My family is not big on Christmas gifts, we normally just exchange some small things with immediate family and give cards and maybe $10 gift cards for extended family, with something a little larger for the young ones (under 18). Being 25, I haven't received a larger gift in several years, which I am fine with. However this year, I think my parents told my relatives that I was recently laid off because there have been a few kind of quiet hintings at my money situation. Also, one of my aunts gave me $500 in cash. When I opened the card, I was floored and I didn't know what to say other than to thank her profusely. I knew that no one else had gotten something so generous, so I quickly closed the card, and I said "Thank you Auntie, this is incredibly kind of you, I really appreciate it." I planned on flipping through later to see how much and then privately thanking her again, but she asked me flat out if I was even going to bother to count it. I was kind of stumped - my parents always told me that it's rude to count money gifts in front of the giver and that you should just make very clear your appreciation and then follow up later with a thank you note or phone call. I kind of stuttered and eventually said something along the lines of "I don't need to comb through it all to be touched by your generosity" and she kind of mumbled a bit (in a sort of joke-y tone) about how if she's going to give money as a gift, the least someone could do is care enough to see what they got. No one else really said anything, my grandparents just started giving out gifts to the kids to change the subject, and my aunt had to leave right after gifts so I didn't get an opportunity to follow up with her, so I was going to send a thank you note in the mail this week.

Did I do something wrong here? I'd hate to think I offended someone who was trying to be so nice to me. =\

Searcher

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2011, 07:16:22 PM »
While I don't think you were rude, it does sound like your aunt put you in an awkward situation by expecting you to count the money.

I think your aunt was looking to be offended.  You weren't rude by not being psychic.

Surianne

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2011, 07:59:54 PM »
I agree, she's the one who made you feel awkward here.  You weren't rude at all.

In the best of worlds, you might have counted it when she asked you to -- but I know how hard it can be to think fast when you're overwhelmed (and it sounds like you were -- between her generosity, and then the awkwardness of her expecting you to count it when you've been taught that's rude).

If you can, though, I'd try to let it go and send her a really nice thank you note/card.  Remember the nice thing she did rather than the awkwardness, because it was really awesome for her to think of you at a time like this and try to help. 

Erich L-ster

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2011, 08:17:33 PM »
I was always taught to not show or count a money gift in front of anyone, the gift giver included.

TootsNYC

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2011, 09:47:04 PM »
I agree that it was awkward to expect you to count it in front of everyone.

But I also would vote for doing something more powerful than writing a note.

I'd call her and thank her for the big amount, and mention the amount specifically. And tell her again that you're really touched. And then, in a couple of weeks, when you do something specific, drop her a note and say "I bought a new shirt today to go with my interview suit, and I wanted you to know how grateful I am that I was able to do this, since you gave me $500."

NyaChan

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2011, 09:56:22 PM »
Sounds like Aunt wanted to make sure you knew exactly how much it was so that you could express $500 worth of gratitude with an audience to watch.  I'd call her and thank her as well with a mention of the generous amount.

Surianne

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2011, 01:34:12 AM »
I agree that it was awkward to expect you to count it in front of everyone.

But I also would vote for doing something more powerful than writing a note.

I'd call her and thank her for the big amount, and mention the amount specifically. And tell her again that you're really touched. And then, in a couple of weeks, when you do something specific, drop her a note and say "I bought a new shirt today to go with my interview suit, and I wanted you to know how grateful I am that I was able to do this, since you gave me $500."

Great idea!  When I give money or a gift card (in much smaller amounts, haha) I always love hearing how it was spent, if the recipient thinks to mention it to me.



cicero

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2011, 03:57:04 AM »
I don't think you did anything wrong. and i want to say that your family is awesome for supporting you right now!

and POD to what toots says - when i was younger, i used to always tell my aunts what i bought with the birthday money they sent
I agree that it was awkward to expect you to count it in front of everyone.

But I also would vote for doing something more powerful than writing a note.

I'd call her and thank her for the big amount, and mention the amount specifically. And tell her again that you're really touched. And then, in a couple of weeks, when you do something specific, drop her a note and say "I bought a new shirt today to go with my interview suit, and I wanted you to know how grateful I am that I was able to do this, since you gave me $500."

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lkdrymom

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2011, 06:48:48 AM »
I agree with Nyachan...she wanted a big show of gratitude...$500 worth and she wanted everyone else to know what she had done. You didn;t give her 'the moment' she wanted.

Luci

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2011, 02:20:05 PM »
Mostly, we do give money. I'm a terrible shopper, and it is really nice to be old enough to do this. So a small thoughtful gift (CD, bath spray kind of thing) and a wad of cash. I get embarrassed if the receiver blatantly counts it  in front of us. Just a thank you. (Everyone got a 'raise' this year.)

I think your aunt is a little begging to be bowed to and expecting to be put on a pedistal for expecting an immediate reaction like that. I know you will show your appreciation properly privately, but really, your aunt needs to get over herself. I'm almost afraid that years from now she'll be saying, "Remember the year I gave you $500. Wasn't that wonderful of me? Don't you still think I'm a goddess for doing that?"

Can you tell I have trouble with people who give (even to charity) and then expect adulation for the gift?

Surianne

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2011, 04:49:11 PM »
I think there's a lot of jumping to conclusions here about the aunt's negative character traits and motivations.  Without more background, I think it's very possible she just wanted to OP to know how much there was, or maybe she's simply used to people counting money when they receive it.

She did a pretty nice thing here on the surface; unless there's real evidence she's as bad a person as posters are assuming, I think assigning her motivations like wanting to be put on a pedestal, bowed down to, or have $500 worth of gratitude in front of an audience is extremely uncharitable.  OP, if your aunt is normally a decent person, I hope you don't let an awkward moment that way not mean anything colour your view of your aunt's gift. 

Unless, of course, everyone else is right and I'm just not picking up on the underlying message -- you of course know your aunt better than we do, and know whether it was a sincere gift or a way to get attention.


Luci

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2011, 05:06:26 PM »
I think there's a lot of jumping to conclusions here about the aunt's negative character traits and motivations.  Without more background, I think it's very possible she just wanted to OP to know how much there was, or maybe she's simply used to people counting money when they receive it.

She did a pretty nice thing here on the surface; unless there's real evidence she's as bad a person as posters are assuming, I think assigning her motivations like wanting to be put on a pedestal, bowed down to, or have $500 worth of gratitude in front of an audience is extremely uncharitable.  OP, if your aunt is normally a decent person, I hope you don't let an awkward moment that way not mean anything colour your view of your aunt's gift. 

Unless, of course, everyone else is right and I'm just not picking up on the underlying message -- you of course know your aunt better than we do, and know whether it was a sincere gift or a way to get attention.

I just watch to be sure the receiver is putting the envelope away properly even if just carefully with the other gifts, not that he count it and fawn over me. (Even a 10 year old can get a little careless, sometimes, but actually I have never had to say anything.)

I was taught that it is rude to count the money, even just flipping through the envelope, in front of people.

If Auntie isn't expecting a public display, why else would she want the neice to know how much there is? TealDragon will find out in time and thank her in a timely manner. Auntie did do a nice thing, but I think making it very public or pushing for a response at the time is asking for attention,  which I find rude in itself.

Maybe I'm just too private a person to understand Auntie's motivations.

Surianne

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2011, 05:37:17 PM »
Yeah, I was just trying to provide another perspective.  It really bothers me how quickly posters here jump to extremely negative interpretations of gifts and automatically assume people they've never met have serious character flaws. 

I'm sure it's possible the aunt's motivation was to get accolades and watch the OP bow down to her, rather than help the OP out of the goodness of her heart.  I just wish that weren't the default assumption at ehell.  Wouldn't it be more enjoyable to life live thinking that people giving you gifts mean the best, rather than the worst, until proven otherwise?

But I know I'm in the minority so I won't argue the point; I've said my piece now.  I'm sure part of my problem with it is that I'm an awkward gift-giver myself, so knowing just how judgemental people can be about gifts makes it even harder for me to pick out gifts without becoming totally insecure and stressed about it all.  I didn't have a clue about any of this before I came to ehell; I was very naive about gifts and assumed everyone loved what they received.

Arrynne

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2011, 07:10:54 PM »
I agree that it was awkward to expect you to count it in front of everyone.

But I also would vote for doing something more powerful than writing a note.

I'd call her and thank her for the big amount, and mention the amount specifically. And tell her again that you're really touched. And then, in a couple of weeks, when you do something specific, drop her a note and say "I bought a new shirt today to go with my interview suit, and I wanted you to know how grateful I am that I was able to do this, since you gave me $500."

POD to this.  My nanny's uncle gave her a signficant sum of money for Christmas this year with a note saying that he wanted her to "Have a very merry Christmas with it."  She's going to buy herself a splurge item she wouldn't otherwise be able to afford, and put the rest away for a rainy day.  Once she figures out what she wants to buy, she'll send him a note thanking him for the money and describing what she did with it. 


NyaChan

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Re: Receiving money as a gift - response?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 07:23:34 PM »
Yeah, I was just trying to provide another perspective.  It really bothers me how quickly posters here jump to extremely negative interpretations of gifts and automatically assume people they've never met have serious character flaws. 

I'm sure it's possible the aunt's motivation was to get accolades and watch the OP bow down to her, rather than help the OP out of the goodness of her heart.  I just wish that weren't the default assumption at ehell.  Wouldn't it be more enjoyable to life live thinking that people giving you gifts mean the best, rather than the worst, until proven otherwise?

But I know I'm in the minority so I won't argue the point; I've said my piece now.  I'm sure part of my problem with it is that I'm an awkward gift-giver myself, so knowing just how judgemental people can be about gifts makes it even harder for me to pick out gifts without becoming totally insecure and stressed about it all.  I didn't have a clue about any of this before I came to ehell; I was very naive about gifts and assumed everyone loved what they received.

Since I was one of the first to say that Auntie wanted $500 worth of gratitude, let me clarify - I don't think she was trying to get OP to bow down to her or give her accolades.  Her gift was of course very generous and she wasn't under any obligation to give so much.  I do think it likely, however, that Auntie wanted the money counted so that OP & the family watching would know how generous it was right then and there.  I don't think it is necessarily a horribly negative character trait to want to see how your gift affected the person you gave it to - in this case OP would probably have been very excited and maybe the family would have been impressed to some degree.  In fact, I think it is human nature to not be entirely altruistic (let me cite Phoebe's problem with doing a truly selfless good deed...), to want people to be aware that you are a generous person.  I don't think that makes her a bad person, it just acknowledges a common human frailty that may shed light on why she pushed the OP to count the money right then.