I would just say to Will--he's 16, so just say directly to him:
"Hey, Will--last year, did you get the Christmas present I tucked into the card?"
Ask him in a message on Facebook.
And if he says yes, then say, "I would have liked to know you got it safely, and I always like hearing 'thank you.' If you can't say it in person, a Facebook message would be smart. Not a bad policy anytime someone gives you something. It makes them more likely to want to give you something again. See you at Christmas!"
And then I'd give him the same type of present.
And see if he learns something from it.
But Will is 16--you can talk directly to him about how *you* feel. Or about society's expectations in general. Just keep it from sounding like a lecture or a scolding.
I can definitely do something like this. In person, I do have to watch my tone, especially with people that don't know me very well. I can practice this for sure. Thanks for the script!
To help get the right tone, get the right mindset. Make it "cluing you in, something I know that you might find useful one day."
Also, feel free to say, later in the day, "Be sure to let me know what you decide to do w/ the money. I like to hear about the followup! And it helps me know what to do for next Christmas, if I hear about this one."
There's a cause-and-effect here that LOTS of perfectly nice people don't "get" until they're older. And some of them never.
Sorry, Toots, I disagree. Sio does not have a relationship
yet with this young man where she can hint or teach under any circumstance.
I think, first, they need to establish that there is going to be an ongoing permanent relationship
and then she can start showing him by being a gracious example, not instructing him. Kids tune out instructions, but they do observe behavior.
And yes, Sio, you have to gift equally. Put yourself in Will's shoes. He sees the known-about child getting $100 and he gets $10. That's going to send a powerful message. If you want to set a good example for him to follow (and the rest of your family), treat him as well as you treat your son.