General Etiquette > Holidays

Refusing to accept the other shares of a joint gift

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3 cousins and I planned to chip in to buy our grandfather a moderately expensive holiday gift.  Older cousin ordered the gift and had it shipped to me, as I live near grandpa and he does not.  I asked older cousin how much I owe, and she is refusing to take money from me.

Older cousin likes to be the oldest, and I assume, feels uncomfortable taking money from us younger cousins.  But now I have ExpensiveGift for grandpa, and I didn't contribute.   I could figure out about how much I owe and send a check, but Older Cousin would never cash it.  The others and I are considering sending OlderCousin's son (12 yo) a Christmas card filled with cash, but it seems a little off to me.  I could also but grandpa some accessories for his gift.  What do you guys think?

Personally, I would say to Older Cousin, "This is not fair, for you to refuse to allow me to participate in purchasing the gift. You may think this is generous, but it's really bothering me, and it makes me really uncomfortable. Please respect me by allowing me to follow through on my commitments and by allowing me to participate in the gift. I'm not going to be able to enjoy the giving of this gift, because it's not from me. You aren't allowing it to be from me."

And if she wouldn't accept the money, I'd make sure my name didn't go on it, and I'd go get another gift for Grandpa. That wasn't at all related. But I'm a little immature at times.

I would not play this sort of "giving a gift that's not really to the main person" routine--I don't see that card to the 12yo as appropriate either. And it doesn't solve your problem, which is that the Older Cousin is treating you like a child, a freeloader, or a dependent. And that Older Cousin is taking away from you the satisfaction of giving Grandfather a great gift.

And I'll just say: This is very patronizing, this "I'll foot the whole bill even after you agreed to go in on it with me." It's very infantilizing. It annoys me greatly.

I would send the check you expected to send including tax and shipping costs. Keep sending another if she sends it back. 

 I feel your frustration. I have relatives that point out how much more money they have then I do every single time I do something with them.

I would tell Cousin that I appreciate that she doesn't expect me to give her money but that, if I don't, the gift won't reall be from me. I'd then ask her if she prefers to accept my portion of the cost or if she'd rather I leave my name off the main gift and buy an accessory to go with it. Don't give her the option of refusing to let you chip in while insisting you sign the card.

If I understand correctly, four of you were supposed to go in on this gift. One paid for the whole thing and now won't take money from the other three.

I would not put my name on the gift and I'd let the others know that so that if they wanted to leave their name off they could. The gift is from cousin #1. Period. The only time it's normal to put other people's name on a gift when they didn't actually contribute is if they are your kids or dependents or something similar.

I don't even see the point of her asking you & others to go in on it in the first place if she never intended to take your money. That part just seems off somehow. What could her motivation be?


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