Author Topic: Expensive gifts for children OK?  (Read 4042 times)

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wellisawstar

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Expensive gifts for children OK?
« on: December 06, 2012, 12:08:12 AM »
At Christmas, my DH's family uses a Secret Santa system for adult gift giving. Only one of the siblings has children. The kids open gifts from their grandparents and their parents. Sometimes the aunts and uncles give the children gifts, but not always.

When asked what his children might appreciate as gifts this year, DH's brother responded with an email listing some very expensive gifts for the kids. All four of them are into sports. Each kid has one to two major gift desires, and each gift request is probably about $300 but he didn't really specifically say how much. DH's brother asked all of us how much we wanted to pitch in, saying that he and his wife would pitch in the rest.

The email feels weird to me, and I don't know where to pin it on the etiquette spectrum. On the one hand, I think the grandparents and any willing and able aunts and uncles will pay what they would have for another gift. On the other hand, do the kids really only want extremely expensive stuff, or is that the stuff that the parents are hoping someone else will fund?

I'd love some insight into this.

AylaM

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2012, 01:22:23 AM »
I think it is a little strange, but not too bad.  I'd have expected the parents to send a list of ideas with varying price ranges, as that is what I usually receive.

I've rarely met a kid who only wanted one or two things.  I'm thinking the parents are limiting the list to this.  Either by not passing on other information or by telling the kids that if they want "big ticket item" they are going to have to ask for less.

But I consider that to be better than some scenarios.  Last year my uncle asked some people to buy each of the kids laptops and others to get them things like cell phones and ipods.  This year the kids could really use a tablet.

So in comparison the response you got isn't too out there.  The parents seem to have realistic expectations.  They are asking you to chip in, not fully fund it.  And the kids may need the equipment in order to participate in a sport.

And you can always get them something else if you want.  It doesn't sound like the parents asked you not too.

CakeEater

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 04:32:17 AM »
It depends on the age of the kids. I'd be thrilled to do this for 10+ because I have no idea what to buy them, and yes, they probably do mostly want things that are pretty expensive.

For younger kids, I'd be more reluctant to do this.

MindsEye

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2012, 07:51:10 AM »
When asked what his children might appreciate as gifts this year, DH's brother responded with an email listing some very expensive gifts for the kids. All four of them are into sports. Each kid has one to two major gift desires, and each gift request is probably about $300 but he didn't really specifically say how much. DH's brother asked all of us how much we wanted to pitch in, saying that he and his wife would pitch in the rest.

The email feels weird to me, and I don't know where to pin it on the etiquette spectrum. On the one hand, I think the grandparents and any willing and able aunts and uncles will pay what they would have for another gift. On the other hand, do the kids really only want extremely expensive stuff, or is that the stuff that the parents are hoping someone else will fund?

I agree... that feels weird to me as well, and the bolded is why it feels weird to me.  If your BIL and his wife are asking you and your DH to "pitch in" and they will "pitch in the rest", then who exactly is the gift going to be from?  It sounds like your BIL and his wife want to get their kids some expensive stuff, and want you and your DH to help them fund it.  :/

Personally I hate the "pitch in for an expensive gift" trope because A - it means that the gift is not really "from" me, if you know what I mean, and B - it means I am going to get pressured to pitch in much more than I would have otherwise felt comfortable giving. 

JenJay

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2012, 07:57:25 AM »
I would find out where the item is going to be purchased from and give a gift card in whatever amount you are comfortable with. The child can use it toward the item or, if someone else purchases it, an accessory, spare part, etc.

We've never asked family to purchase the big gifts outright. Once, when the kids were 2, 3 and 5, we asked if everybody would contribute cash toward a swing set instead of a wrapped gift. Nobody had a problem with that and the amounts varied from $25 to $100. Another time my nephew wanted a gaming system so bro & SIL asked everyone to send a gift card or game for that. Games ranged from $20 to $60 so that was no problem.

In our family my bro & SIL spend about $20-$30 on each of my kids and I spend the same on theirs. Grandparents will buy gifts in the $20-$75 range and there will be 1-3 gifts per kiddo depending on what they spent.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 08:08:45 AM by JenJay »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2012, 08:15:54 AM »
My 3 sisters and I regularly pool funds to buy a niece or nephew a big item.  We know the norm we spend for each is around $40 so if my DD is wanting say a $200 watch, they will fund &120 and I'll fund the rest but the gift is from my sisters, not me. 

And yes, it is hard to come up with any gift ideas for teens that is less than $75.

O'Dell

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2012, 10:18:46 AM »
DH's brother asked all of us how much we wanted to pitch in, saying that he and his wife would pitch in the rest.

Is that really how he worded it? The assumption that you *will* pitch in doesn't sit well with me. It's one of those annoying sales techniques: assume the answer is yes and make it uncomfortable for the mark person to say no. It would be better if he had asked if you'd like to pitch in. Other than that it wouldn't bother me but then I'm a pragmatist and lazy so I'd like to be able to send a check or cash and be done.
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Shoo

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2012, 10:22:42 AM »
My daughter's wish list for Christmas includes a $300 bat.  I would never put that on the list of things for friends/family to get for her unless they specifically told me they were all going in together on something and needed an idea for something "big" to get for her. 

In your case, OP, I'd ignore the list of only big items and come up with something on my own.  I wouldn't  buy a gift card at a sporting goods store, because in my experience, the best quality sporting equipment (the kind the select players tend to want) can usually only be purchased online or by special order.  It's not really available at Sports Authority or stores like that.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 10:24:54 AM by Shoo »

DavidH

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2012, 10:49:18 AM »
I suppose it depends on what range of gifts you normally exchange.  If you historically buy things in that price range then it is not that unreasonable to have that type of items on a list.  On the other hand, if you typically exchange less expensive gifts then it is somewhat much. 

I like the idea of people pitching in for one large gift if that's what the recipient wants, rather than them getting a number of other gifts they don't really want.  I undersand what they were trying to do with the pitch in comment since it is probably not that big an assumption that some type of gift was going to be purchased.  I think a more gracious way would be to have said that the person is saving up for a XYZ which they will likely buy from ABC.  They could even add that a contribution or gift card towards it would be very much appreciated.  It would accomplish the same thing while making it clear they don't expect anyone to purchase it. 

Thipu1

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2012, 11:11:19 AM »
The sport slant on this request is an interesting one. 

There's a big difference between essential safety equipment, such as hockey pads, and a super expensive pair of name brand shoes for a kid who is into Basketball.  I'd be willing to chip in for the first.  I'd not be so willing to chip in for the second. 

Just Lori

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 11:26:20 AM »
I have teen-aged kids and, trust me, they have very expensive tastes.  But I wouldn't feel comfortable asking all the aunt and uncles to pay for an Ipad for Christmas, because it feels off.  Christmas gifts for me have always been smaller items bought for fun and to hopefully fulfill some smaller wishes for the recipient.  If I knew my kids had their hearts set on Ipads, I might ask the grandparents if they wanted to help.  But even then, my parents like to buy their own presents for the kids.  Basically, my kids aren't getting Ipads this year. :)

Honestly, I think everyone should be able to come up with a list of a few small things they've wanted but never purchased for themselves. I have a lot of stuff - a lot - but I'd still love a silicone steaming insert for steaming veggies and a pair of gloves that let me text without removing them. :)


Take2

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 03:43:46 PM »
I wouldn't be willing to ask for a big item for my kids from relatives, unless they asked for something in that price range. I generally ask for a feel of price range before sending a list, actually. My stepsons are pretty good at coming up with inexpensive video games and music and other random stuff they want in lower price ranges for non-parent relatives. They do also want expensive stuff, but they know it would be rude to ask their cousin/uncle for an ipad.

rashea

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 05:44:37 PM »

When asked what his children might appreciate as gifts this year, DH's brother responded with an email listing some very expensive gifts for the kids.


Who asked, and who was it sent too? If it's the same people, it's not as weird. If Grandma and Grandpa asked and they sent this to everyone that would be off.

DH's brother asked all of us how much we wanted to pitch in, saying that he and his wife would pitch in the rest.

This seems especially bad. Because it sounds like they asked people who might not have been planning on getting anything at all. I think they would have been fine giving a few ideas and then adding a big present that people could chip in on if they would prefer, but to have that the only option is awkward.

If they are into sports, it might also be possible to find books or other things related to those sports that would interest them.
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wellisawstar

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 06:13:22 PM »

When asked what his children might appreciate as gifts this year, DH's brother responded with an email listing some very expensive gifts for the kids.


Who asked, and who was it sent too? If it's the same people, it's not as weird. If Grandma and Grandpa asked and they sent this to everyone that would be off.

DH's brother asked all of us how much we wanted to pitch in, saying that he and his wife would pitch in the rest.

This seems especially bad. Because it sounds like they asked people who might not have been planning on getting anything at all. I think they would have been fine giving a few ideas and then adding a big present that people could chip in on if they would prefer, but to have that the only option is awkward.

If they are into sports, it might also be possible to find books or other things related to those sports that would interest them.

The grandparents asked.

I am seriously considering writing back and asking what smaller gifts they might appreciate.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Expensive gifts for children OK?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 08:16:51 PM »
I would have a problem with kids asking for up to $600 in gifts, per kid, for Christmas!  Unless I read that wrong, and the gifts would be about $300 total?

I don't mind asking if people would like to chip in for a larger, more expensive item (I'm doing that myself this year), but I think asking how much people want to chip in is too much.  It's presuming that is what people want to do with their holiday spending budget, and some people don't like doing group gifts.