Author Topic: Heading off gifts that aren't your style  (Read 9318 times)

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Ciarrai

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Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« on: November 02, 2012, 10:29:11 AM »
My MIL, SIL and her mother all have Pandora charm bracelets, and thus give each other charms as presents for every gift-giving occasion. I don't personally like them and would never wear one, so buying me one and then buying me charms would be a waste of money. However, I'm concerned that my MIL will try to buy me one for Christmas as she gushes about them and how much she loves hers on a regular basis, and about how lovely it is to be able to buy my SIL charms as a gift.

Is there a way to head her off and tell her that I don't like them without offending her? I was contemplating getting my husband to do it, but I wonder if it would be better coming from me. Our relationship has never been good and we're currently at a stage of careful politeness but nothing closer than that, if that makes a difference to your answer.

peaches

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2012, 10:51:12 AM »
The next time she starts gushing about the charm bracelets, I would say "They are pretty! For myself, I never wear dangling bracelets. I find they get in the way. But I'm glad you enjoy them."

Another approach would be to say "I enjoy jewelry, but I have to pick it out myself". I have used that defense in similar situations (I don't like for anyone to buy clothing for me, for example).

Kaypeep

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2012, 10:54:38 AM »
Peaches has some good suggestions.  I'd also add something like "I'm more of an earrings person.  I can never have enough earrings!" or "the only thing I can wear on my wrist is a watch, unfortunately.  I have 2 bracelets and I never wear them. I'm just not a bracelet person, just earrings and sometimes a necklace."

Ciarrai

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2012, 10:59:29 AM »
I knew I forgot something.

I wear quite a bit of jewelry each day (a watch, two bracelets, four earrings, my wedding rings plus one more ring, plus a necklace if my neckline permits), so saying I don't like jewelry would definitely be false!

peaches

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2012, 11:03:22 AM »
I still think it's fine to say "I love jewelry. But I need to pick it out myself. I'm very particular."

And I like the idea of giving some ideas about things you do like as gifts.

I wouldn't delegate this job to DH. I think it's better to communicate directly with people rather than indirectly. But it would be fine to tell DH your preferences, in case he gets asked (as often happens).

sevenday

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2012, 11:48:47 AM »
I have tried in the past to communicate about gifts that I didn't want.  When I moved out into my own house, a couple years later my mother got it into her head that I NEEDED a comforter. (Note: I didn't. I had 2 already.)  Not just "a" comforter, but a rather expensive one that was frankly not my taste at all - had giant flowers printed on it, etc. I told her I didn't need or want a comforter, please don't spend that kind of money on something I have no room for.  (Small house, not much spare room to store a giant comforter.)    For my birthday I asked for *one* book in particular.  What did I get that year? Yup, giant comforter.  Later, when it was just Mom and I in that corner, I thanked her for the thought but reminded her that I had specifically told her no comforter due to size, storage, etc.  My dad yelled at me for being an ingrate.  I ended up having to lug the stupid thing home because Mom opened it "to show everyone" and thus claimed she couldn't take it back to the store.    I hated that thing. We still have it, but it didn't have an actual use until 4+ years later and I could very well have simply purchased one at that time for all the good it did me. 

You can certainly tell them "I'm glad you two enjoy these, some of them are really quite cute! They're just not my style, though.  I prefer more traditional things like this." (what you're already wearing) "I'm at my limit!  But I'd love (something else)."  If they say "but whyyyy" "There's nothing wrong with liking or not liking charm bracelets. It's just not my style, and I'd feel bad for not wanting to wear something you gave me."

BeagleMommy

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 11:50:40 AM »
Would it upset your MIL if you said something like "Oh, I know so many people who love them, but I've never found them to be my style.  I'm more of a shiny, purple, gothic elephant girl."

Incidentally, I've never found them attractive either.

Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 11:58:31 AM »
Has your mother in law actually mentioned to you that she wants to get the bracelet for you, or hinted, or anything?  Or do you just think she'll buy it because she loves them so much?

Because if you tell her out of the blue, "Please don't get me a Pandora bracelet, they're not my style," I can see how that would go over really poorly.  It sounds kind of presumptuous.

I think you're better off getting your husband to drop a hint.  He can contact his mother about possible gifts for you, and if she says she was thinking of the bracelet, that's the time to tell her that you don't really like them.

shivering

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 12:06:49 PM »
Good suggestions so far. I'll just add that while I wouldn't have your husband expressly bring it up on your behalf, I'd let him know that if MIL happens to mention the idea to him down the line, he should gently discourage it  ("I don't think that's her style" as opposed to "I know she doesn't like those bracelets.").

I say gently because unfortunately, I do think it matters that the relationship is somewhat tenuous.

O'Dell

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2012, 12:09:24 PM »
I like the look of them, but they aren't my style either. I like the idea of saying something along those lines when she starts going on about them, but avoid getting too specific.

Would it upset your MIL if you said something like "Oh, I know so many people who love them, but I've never found them to be my style.  I'm more of a shiny, purple, gothic elephant girl."

Incidentally, I've never found them attractive either.

IME, that sort of statement doesn't work well. There are some people who will try shoehorn what you like into the gift, thinking that will make the difference. Surely the purple, shiny, and gothic-motif charms will change your mind about the bracelets! Yeah...learned this sort of thing the hard way.  :-\
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

Oh Joy

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2012, 12:12:51 PM »
It sounds like a sort of tradition or connection they have, so I would be careful to not imply that I don't want a connection with them, KWIM?

In your shoes, I might take an opportunity to admire her bracelet on a non-holiday and say how neat I think it is that they do that, but they're not my style and I wish someone had a tradition of always giving me their favorite book of that year/Christmas tree ornaments/small purple gargoyles playing accordions.

Best wishes.

TootsNYC

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2012, 12:19:50 PM »
Next time she says something about loving these bracelets, say, "They *are* pretty. I like them on other people's wrists, though--I wouldn't want one. They're just not my style. I don't like dangly things, and I'm sort of picky about my jewelry. But they are lovely. Unfortunately, they're pretty pricey to take a flier on, aren't they? I think it's neat that the two of you have that as your 'thing,' since you *know* the other person likes it. But I wouldn't want one."

I found that I had to get pretty explicit w/ my MIL because she was always admiring--and asking ME to admire--very "European" items--platters w/ lots of spindly floral patterns and gold edging. Not my style--I'm very modern or transitional. And I had the feeling that she was sort of fishing for gift ideas, etc. And she had already given me something like that.

So I found that I did a lot of saying, "It's very pretty, I like it in OTHER people's houses. I don't really like it myself, though. Intellectually, I can recognize that it's attractive, but it is really not MY style. I wouldn't want one. But I can see that it's pretty in other people's homes."

Ciarrai

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2012, 12:44:36 PM »
Has your mother in law actually mentioned to you that she wants to get the bracelet for you, or hinted, or anything?  Or do you just think she'll buy it because she loves them so much?

Because if you tell her out of the blue, "Please don't get me a Pandora bracelet, they're not my style," I can see how that would go over really poorly.  It sounds kind of presumptuous.

I think you're better off getting your husband to drop a hint.  He can contact his mother about possible gifts for you, and if she says she was thinking of the bracelet, that's the time to tell her that you don't really like them.

She's dropped several hints about them, and brings up the fact that it's so easy to buy charms as presents quite often as well.

jmarvellous

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2012, 01:02:18 PM »
It sounds like you see her quite a bit. I would be pretty explicit: "that's a great tradition for you guys, but it's not my thing at ALL."

Of course, sometimes people are just so determined to get you what they THINK you'll like that it doesn't matter what you want. My father was this way with, of all things, a tent! He kept saying how nice it would be if I had a tent, how we could go camping together (me in a tent, his family ib an air conditioned motor home ...), how I could camp anytime I wanted. And NO amount of "that doesn't sound like fun at all" or "if I wanted a tent, I'd have one," or "please do not geme a tent.  I'll never, ever camp with you" or "we're hotel people, not campsite people" dissuaded him. He wanted me to want a tent, darn it. (And probably already had bought it or been given it before the hinting started). I got it and exchanged it, unopened, for a few pairs of shoes.

If she does give you one despite the necessary, explicit warnings to the contrary, my advice is to never wear it and to possibly return it. You are under no obligation to use it or participate in someone's tradition you don't care for. They probably won't get you any charms after that.

LA lady

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Re: Heading off gifts that aren't your style
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2012, 01:30:53 PM »
She's dropped several hints about them, and brings up the fact that it's so easy to buy charms as presents quite often as well.

You know it really does sound like it is more about making gifting easier for her than about pleasing you as the recipient.  And maybe about making you over in her image.

Is there an "add a link" style that you do like in bracelets or necklaces?  I don't care care for the mixed up, everything is different of your average charm bracelet, nor do I care for dangly.  But when add-a-slide bracelets were the thing, my DH started me and filled in with slides on various occasions, an absolutely gorgeous ruby and gold bracelet with each slide the same.   Add-a-pearl designs are classic.   

If there is something like that which you do like, you could steer her there and flatter her a little at the same time.  Something about how you never dared much for the mixed media effect for yourself, but after seeing how much she and SIL enjoy their Pandoras, you have been thinking about an add-a-pearl necklace.   How smart she is to go with the add on idea, and so forth. 

You can avoid all crass mention of gift buying, just that you like her idea, and are thinking about adapting it to your individual style.  You might get your DH to give you the starter.

All this assumes that you enjoy jewelry, just not the Pandora style.