Author Topic: Not expecting anything...  (Read 3717 times)

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hannahmollysmom

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Not expecting anything...
« on: January 07, 2013, 02:00:55 AM »
My sister has never been responsible financially. Money has been lent in the past, and never paid back. (No more lending from me!) Anyways...
4 days before Christmas, she ran into having her car repaired. Hey, it happens. She then started posting on FB that no one would get much for Christmas this year. (as usual, she hasn't done any shopping yet, but I digress) She has a tendency to post such info year after year as something always seems to happen at the last minute.

I had finally had it, and wrote back privately, and politely, that I wish she wouldn't post things like that as it makes people feel guilty for receiving anything from her. I told her, just do what you can, as it is the thought that counts, not the amount. She seemed to understand how I and others felt.

On Christmas day, we have the family gathering. Myself, my two adult daughters, granddaughter, son-in-law, and younger daughter's boyfriend, as well as my sister are opening gifts. My granddaughter received a lovely toy that I know she had purchased in November and all was good. Then, myself, and each couple, received IOU's for a gift certificate to a specific restaurant, saying we would receive them on 1/4/13.

My daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter were over for dinner last night. My daughter mentioned the gift certificate. I told her to just wait and see and in my head, I'm saying, none of us will ever see it. In the meantime, my sister posted how she went to the beach and treated herself to lunch, etc.

So, after this long story, my question is, how do I tell my sister without offending her good intentions, that it is better to not do, then to promise something and never come through?

Itza

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 02:43:43 AM »
Sorry for the diversion, but is that date 1st April 2013 or January 4th 2013?

I'm in the UK, so we read it DD/MM/YYYY and if it is the first date, that would be a concern due to what that date represents.

But yeah, you're right, I wouldn't expect anything. People tend to forget. If she remembers great.

I'm not sure what to say to your sister though  :-[





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cicero

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 02:48:03 AM »
your sister should have learned that by now. I wouldn't say anything - i presume this is her way of "saving face". see - now, in her mind, she *did* give you guys gifts. (My father can be this way, i just learned to (a) not expect and (b) be happy on the one-in-50 times when he does).

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CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 04:57:25 AM »
"It's the thought that counts" . . . sometimes not so much.
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

heartmug

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 01:11:03 PM »
Ugh - what a difficult position she has put you in.  Personally (and I too have a sister who is very bad with money) I would say nothing and then expect all gift giving occasions to be like this.  To get nothing for birthdays, this year's Christmas, etc.  If you want to still give her a small token gift, that is up to you.
One option in a tug of war with someone is just to drop the rope.

LilacRosey

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2013, 01:26:36 AM »
I agree with heartmug I think how frustratingf., LilacRosey

peaches

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 03:00:37 AM »

So, after this long story, my question is, how do I tell my sister without offending her good intentions, that it is better to not do, then to promise something and never come through?

I wouldn't even try.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 03:09:41 AM »
"Hey, sis, did you ever end up picking up that gift certificate?"  When she says no, you can be more direct: "Oh, that's okay - I wouldn't want you to feel like you had to overextend yourself financially for a gift, you know?  Don't worry about it - I'm happy to get a card next time!"

Jeremy

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 04:13:25 AM »

So, after this long story, my question is, how do I tell my sister without offending her good intentions, that it is better to not do, then to promise something and never come through?

I wouldn't even try.

Exactly.  I don't think there's anything you could say here that wouldn't end up making you look like the bad guy.  However, if she's short on cash again next Christmas you could perhaps let her know it would be all right to just get a card from her if she's really strapped for cash.

YummyMummy66

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 08:15:37 AM »
I think that what you should do for next year, or actually, now, this coming year, is just tell Sis that since it always seems to be such a financial struggle for her around the holidays, it might be best that we just skip the whole gift giving thing and just spend time together as a family. 

You don't even have to mention it being a financial struggle for her.  Just say that you will not be trading gifts this year, but just enjoying each other as a family unit. 

This stops yoru whole problem about getting gifts from sister.  If she wants to get for the kids under 18, that is fine.

Suggest making cookies together, playing games, singing caroles, etc.

Lynn2000

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2013, 10:53:19 AM »
That's very frustrating. I would completely understand if someone felt they couldn't afford to give gifts, and I would be sympathetic to them feeling bad about it. But to give an IOU when you basically know it's worthless, so that they can have that good feeling of giving a gift without actually giving anything, ever? That kinda stinks.

I guess it depends on what kind of relationship you have with your sister... It sounds like you were blunt with her after that Facebook post, so maybe you would feel comfortable saying something like, "I'd rather just not exchange gifts with you, than get a promise of a gift that I know you won't fulfill. Let's not make it about giving gifts at all, but just spending time together, and I think that will be less stress for both of us." Considering that it's only the 8th, maybe you could ask her about the gift certificates first, just in case she was really planning to get them?

Obligatory story about my friend Amy: Amy decided do a charitable donation in lieu of favors at her wedding, and trumpeted this fact on every table at the reception. A couple months later I was shocked to find out she hadn't actually made the donation yet. She'd decided to use that portion of her wedding budget on something else (like cake or flowers), so now she had to save back up in order to make the donation she'd gotten praise from people for making months ago.  ::) I think she did actually make the donation in the end, though.
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peaches

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2013, 01:09:17 PM »
I think that what you should do for next year, or actually, now, this coming year, is just tell Sis that since it always seems to be such a financial struggle for her around the holidays, it might be best that we just skip the whole gift giving thing and just spend time together as a family. 

You don't even have to mention it being a financial struggle for her.  Just say that you will not be trading gifts this year, but just enjoying each other as a family unit. 

This stops yoru whole problem about getting gifts from sister.  If she wants to get for the kids under 18, that is fine.

Suggest making cookies together, playing games, singing caroles, etc.

I really like this idea. 

Since she did buy a gift for the child, that appears to be a priority to her. This suggestion sounds doable, and something she'd agree to.

I'm all in favor of simplifying holidays and putting the emphasize on doing rather than buying.

Lady Eboshi

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 07:38:02 PM »
Sorry for the diversion, but is that date 1st April 2013 or January 4th 2013?

I'm in the UK, so we read it DD/MM/YYYY and if it is the first date, that would be a concern due to what that date represents.

But yeah, you're right, I wouldn't expect anything. People tend to forget. If she remembers great.

I'm not sure what to say to your sister though  :-[

Given the sister's history, I wouldn't be surprised if the certifaketes were actually dated April Fool's Day.

JenJay

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 08:02:08 PM »
"It's the thought that counts" . . . sometimes not so much.

No kidding!

It drives me crazy when people misuse that phrase! If you try to do something nice and it falls apart it's the thought that counts. Saying "Hey, I'm going to do this nice thing for you!" and then going home and forgetting all about it is not the thought that counts. Gah!!

It's so frustrating when someone's brain takes "I mean to do this." and turns it into "I totally did that!". We have a relative who's pretty bad about it, too. We've learned to expect them to forget the follow through and be pleasantly surprised if the promised thing materializes.  ::)

wolfie

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Re: Not expecting anything...
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2013, 08:17:09 PM »
"It's the thought that counts" . . . sometimes not so much.

No kidding!

It drives me crazy when people misuse that phrase! If you try to do something nice and it falls apart it's the thought that counts. Saying "Hey, I'm going to do this nice thing for you!" and then going home and forgetting all about it is not the thought that counts. Gah!!

But it is the thought that counts! In the second case the thought was "eh - you aren't worth doing that for afterall"