Author Topic: MIL and The Christmas Gifts- Drama-free update! pg2  (Read 6793 times)

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lkl492

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MIL and The Christmas Gifts- Drama-free update! pg2
« on: December 21, 2012, 12:22:23 AM »
Ok, I need an outside perspective on this, probably more than one  :)

B/G MIL had a 20 yr separation from her only sister who coincidentally lives an hour from us.  She lives 2 flights from us.  Recently she got an apartment in our city for part time.  She stays there mainly to be away from her husband, which I completely understand b/c he is a piece of work.

Our family situation is that DH & I have a DD who will be 2 next month.
End B/G

I like my MIL but I find her generally frustrating.  Here's the most recent episode:

MIL is alternately generous and stingy with her time.  One time she will email us that she is coming to visit and that she'd like us to pick her up at the airport (obviously) and then take her back to our house (obviously). Then the next day she'd like to be driven to her sister's house an hour away and we pick up her sister and bring her back to our house for several days (huh?).  Then we should drive her and her sister back to sister's house and leave them there til she wants one of us to come pick her up. 

The next time she comes she'll say, "I'm at your disposal to watch DD anytime so you guys can get stuff done."  And she does follow through.

So the Christmas situation...

She asked for us to pay for a Bible study course as her Xmas gift.  It was $400+.  I didn't mind. 

I went onto a popular photo sharing/storing site and made her a calendar from DD.  She knew she was getting it b/c DH mentioned it in front of her but I figured, she's an adult, so that's ok.

So DD gives it to her and she looks at us and snaps, "We're not exchanging gifts."

I was stunned.  I said, "It's from DD and <name of our cat>.  She had to go through "cat" to get the money b/c he's the only one with access to the accounts."  I generally react to things with humor (and sometimes sarcasm) so I tried to diffuse it in that manner.   She opened it and acted pleased. 

So now I know that DD is not getting a gift from her on Xmas. It's fine this year b/c she doesn't really get it.  In the future I have no idea if she will get a gift from Grandma or not. 

What can I possibly say to all the parties involved?  MIL... DH...DD...
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 03:14:06 PM by lkl492 »

Rusty

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 12:44:42 AM »
Wow. So are you still to pay for the Bible study course, or does that not come under "not exchanging gifts".  Your MIL sounds like she has a split-personality, being accommodating sometimes then demanding at other times.  If I were in your situation I would definitely get your DH to find out which personality is going to be visiting.  Are you on good enough terms to actually call her herself and discuss plans and gift-giving etc. as I have found that sons tend to pass on doing the hard stuff with their mothers.  It seems to me to be overtly stingy not to even consider giving her granddaughter a present.

ClaireC79

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 03:54:40 AM »
The sister isn't her identical twin and you sometimes get the evil one?

Nope, no idea what's causing it though.

It wouldn't occur to me that my parents, if they chose not to exchange gifts with me, would not get something for the kids - even if it's a 1 selection box/50p box of colouring pencils - which is what they always get off their greatgrandmother because she has 25 in that generation

Girly

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 08:25:10 AM »
I have no idea what to say to MIL because honestly, you can't control what she does / does not purchase.

I also have a two year old, and he really is too little still to know who has given him gifts and who hasn't, so I'm not going to address this year.

For the future though, I just wouldn't mention it to DD. When I say that, I mean I wouldn't go out of my way to say anything, much less anything of the sort of 'oh, grandma didn't get you anything this year', even if she is standing right there.

It totally is a sucky situation, and I feel bad for your DD, but pointing something like that out would just make her feel bad. If your DD asks where presents from grandma are, I think I would respond with 'oh, she must have forgotten' or something similar.

I also would not be purchasing her anything large in the future 'for Christmas', either. All of my gifts to her would be from DD, and would have something to do with her (calendar, etc.)

Good luck, I'm interested to see some other responses, because that's a tricky one!

BarensMom

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 09:17:45 AM »
I think you need to discuss this with your DH, because he is the one who should tell his mother that the $400 Bible study isn't happening.  I hope you haven't already purchased it or you can get your money back. 

What kind of person hits her son up for a $400 gift, then won't buy a present for her grandchild?

BeagleMommy

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2012, 09:48:31 AM »
I also think your DH should address this with his mother.  He could say something like "Mom, I feel as though I'm getting mixed signals.  It's very confusing when you ask me to pay for a Bible study class as a gift and then seem surprised when DD presents you with a gift.  This will get confusing for her as she gets older.  Please let us know if there will be no gifts exchange as soon as possible."

Eden

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2012, 09:49:15 AM »
I have no idea what to say to MIL because honestly, you can't control what she does / does not purchase.

I also have a two year old, and he really is too little still to know who has given him gifts and who hasn't, so I'm not going to address this year.

For the future though, I just wouldn't mention it to DD. When I say that, I mean I wouldn't go out of my way to say anything, much less anything of the sort of 'oh, grandma didn't get you anything this year', even if she is standing right there.

It totally is a sucky situation, and I feel bad for your DD, but pointing something like that out would just make her feel bad. If your DD asks where presents from grandma are, I think I would respond with 'oh, she must have forgotten' or something similar.

I also would not be purchasing her anything large in the future 'for Christmas', either. All of my gifts to her would be from DD, and would have something to do with her (calendar, etc.)

Good luck, I'm interested to see some other responses, because that's a tricky one!

I'm with you except for the bold. I would not cover up for Grandma or make excuses. I might say, "She must not have gotten a gift." And if DD pointed out that they get grandma a gift and but grandma doesn't return the favor, I'd use it as a chance to point out that we give gifts out of generosity not because we should expect anything in return.

That said, I would not let DD get Grandma anything more extravagant than the photo calendar. And I wouldn't get her anything else myself only because of how odd and inscrutable she is.

BTW, OP, I loved your humorous response. I think it was a great way to handle it.

weeblewobble

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2012, 12:22:14 PM »
It seems awfully convenient that she decided there would be no gifts exchanged after she bilked you for a $400 gift.  I definitely agree that DH needs to address this ASAP before future gift-giving occasions.

And I also agree that you shouldn't make excuses for grandma, particularly if this is a pattern of behavior for her.  My grandmother favored my sister and it was super-obvious.  Mom tried to convince us that grandma loved us all equally and made excuses for her.

The excuses dragged my hopes out and kept me coming back for more disappointment.  It would have been a lot easier if Mom would have said, "I don't know why grandma does these things.  Sometimes grandparents get along with some kids more than others.  I'm sorry it hurts your feelings."

LilacGirl1983

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2012, 01:06:21 PM »
I agree with others. Grandmother would NOT be getting the $400 bible study gift..no way in ehell. IF you aren't going to make even an effort to make your family feel loved and appreciated then no I am not going to spend that kind of money on you (general you) I am just gob smacked at her audacity. Give me a 400 dollar gift but I am not giving you anything at all..Just floored..I wouldn't be driving her anywhere either..It sounds like she is a user that has moments of sweetness but it sounds like its still something she gets out of it (time with g/children, bragging rights ect) I might be being harsh but wow just wow.

baconsmom

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2012, 01:21:45 PM »
You know, if you had heard her talking about the Bible study course and decided to get it for her as a gift, I would probably tell you to let this go.

But. She didn't. She specifically asked for a high-priced item as a gift - which IMO is fine for family to do - and THEN decided there wouldn't be an exchange. So she got what she wanted (unless you can cancel that order, which I would do), and gave you and your husband the impression that this would be a typical holiday gift situation.

That? Not cool.

Assuming that there are no medical issues that might have precipitated this and other odd behavior, your husband needs to speak with her. If you can cancel the Bible study order, I would do that, and have him let her know. "Mom, since you decided we wouldn't exchange gifts, we decided not to pay for your course. Next year, we'd appreciate it if you didn't present us with expensive gift ideas for the holiday if we are the only ones giving."

She needs to be called out on greedy behavior. I understand that gifts aren't tit-for-tat, but she took away your and your husband's joy in giving by treating you like a retailer, where she places an order and receives exactly that.

As far as your little one, I would just be honest. "Grandma didn't give you a gift. I don't know why." Don't try to sugar-coat it or assure LO that Grandma still loves him. I had terrible grandparents growing up, and I hated - HATED - that my mother tried to tell me they loved me. They didn't. They were not good people, and watching my mother lie for them was awful. It broke my heart. On top of that, it forced a relationship with people I would not have given the time of day to (and didn't, after I became an adult.). It essentially made me a liar.

I'm not saying that will happen with your LO, or that your MIL is a bad person. I'm just saying that children respond well to honesty, because they can see that something isn't right.

There's no need for anyone to get mean in this situation. Your husband should establish some boundaries - "We aren't a warehouse where you place orders" - and you should instruct LO that no gifts isn't something to mention.
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LadyL

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2012, 02:02:46 PM »
Am I the only one doing this  ::) about the fact that she asked for an expensive BIBLE study but then isn't interested in buying gifts for anyone herself? Maybe she really does need to study her scripture a bit more closely... >:D

lkl492

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2012, 03:44:32 PM »
Am I the only one doing this  ::) about the fact that she asked for an expensive BIBLE study but then isn't interested in buying gifts for anyone herself? Maybe she really does need to study her scripture a bit more closely... >:D

Oh believe me... this crosses my mind multiple times a day. 

The sister situation is really strange.  MIL's sister is rather hard to deal with and the two are more alike than MIL would care to admit.  So I mentioned that MIL now has an apartment in our town?  She's been lying to her sister about it the entire time.  Sister thinks MIL still lives 2 flights away.  She says she doesn't want Sister hassling her to spend time with her if she knows that she lives only an hour away.

Every time MIL preaches at me about something I'm tempted to pull out one of the many Bible passages about LYING.

Anyhow, thanks for the suggestions.  It will be interesting to see which of the two personalities is here for Xmas.  DD won't notice anything amiss this year so I'll use that as a barometer for how to handle next year (or DD's birthday, which is in January).

Otterpop

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2012, 09:42:13 PM »
I think you need to discuss this with your DH, because he is the one who should tell his mother that the $400 Bible study isn't happening.  I hope you haven't already purchased it or you can get your money back. 

What kind of person hits her son up for a $400 gift, then won't buy a present for her grandchild?

^^^This, totally.  How can she expect a $400 gift from you and not get ANYTHING for her grandchild?  (I don't spend that much on both sets of grandparents combined and I love giving gifts - especially to little ones)  Also, when she said "We're not exchanging gifts."  Why didn't you say "What about the Bible study course?"  I'm really curious how she justifies this.

johelenc1

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2012, 11:17:13 PM »
Can you clear up the Bible Study gift situation?  Are you still getting it for her?  And, frankly, why $400!!  What in the world kind of Bible Study costs that much?

jaxsue

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Re: MIL and The Christmas Gifts
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2012, 07:19:05 AM »
Can you clear up the Bible Study gift situation?  Are you still getting it for her?  And, frankly, why $400!!  What in the world kind of Bible Study costs that much?

This. When I was a practicing Xian I studied the Bible a lot - read it through a few times and did in-depth study. Total cost: $0.  :o