General Etiquette > Holidays

no gift...

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I'm the oldest grandchild on my mothers side of the family.  I have always been fairly close to my grandmother and always got gifts for my birthday and Christmas, ect.  I got married in 2010 so when my birthday came around in September, I received a birthday card but my usual gift card was not enclosed.  My mother told me that my grandmother had decided to eliminate a birthday gift as I had gotten married...although I found it a bit odd, I figured ok, she is no way obligated to give me a gift and I got over it.  Time went on and I had a baby in November 2011. My Grandmother explained that she was no longer going to give my dh and I a gift any longer as she would be buying for my son (her first great grandson).  Perfectly fine, he got "elf on the shelf" that of which we wanted to get anyway :)  This year being my son's first birthday he got a cute gift from her and I sent her a thank you card and an email thanking her.  Christmas comes, she sends a Christmas card and no gift for my son........  I'm hurt, why didn't she buy for him? I'm fine with her not getting my dh or I anything but I thought the whole reason for not buying for me anymore was because she was going to buy for him.  It's not about the gift, it's the fact that my son appears to be just cut off with no reason what so ever.  I sent a thank you card and an email....maybe 3 weeks after his birthday, but with a 1 year old and many notes to write, I got side tracked. Please don't think I'm greedy...just hurt and wondering what others thoughts are.

My first suggestion is to ask around your family--like your mom, someone discreet--and see if anything has changed in Grandma's situation lately. Maybe her income is drying up, she's been ill, she's becoming forgetful, etc.. It doesn't sound like you've done anything to alienate her (like not sending TY notes), so perhaps it doesn't really have anything to do with you personally.

Second, you said your son was born in November. Is it possible Grandma meant the birthday gift to also be a Christmas gift? If she's tightening her belt due to economic factors, she may have decided to just combine the holidays.

Third, you said she sent a Christmas card in 2012, so personally I don't see that as anyone being cut off. Do you have an otherwise good relationship with her--phone calls, emails, visits, etc.? It may just be that for whatever reason (again, nothing to do with you personally) she's decided to cut down on gifts altogether, without severing any relationships.

I think it's understandable to be hurt and confused, but to me it seems like there could be several explanations that aren't meant to be personally hurtful, so I think I would look into those first.


First, your son hasn't been cut-off. You were sent a card and a gift for his birthday and a card on Christmas. The elf on the shelf is a Christmassy type gift so she may have felt that covered both. (My daughter's birthday is near Christmas. Some people give her one gift around then without specifying what event it is for).

It sounds like you are equating the gift-giving from your grandmother with her affection. That's a bit odd to me so I am wondering what the rest of your relationship is like. You said you are close. When did you last visit with her or talk with her. How did she sound. What did you discuss?  Also, do you get gifts for your grandmother on Christmas and her birthday? Did she acknowledge those?

I'm not sure why you not getting gifts anymore is even mentioned. But I know I may be a little odd in my level of not keeping track of gifts. A few months ago my mom mentioned that she bought gifts for my sisters (we are all in our 30's) this year so she would get me something for Christmas. Then she mentioned that she she had stopped giving gifts to us older sisters as we had kids. She said she stopped a few years ago. I was surprised as I hadn't noticed.

I agree that it doesn't sound like you or your child have been cut off.  He received a gift in November.

But I do understand being curious about your son not receiving a gift.  When you speak to your Grandmother on the phone, does she seem upset or more distant to you?  If other aspects of your relationship seem fine, I'd let the absence of a gift for your son go. 

She may be thinking that with more great grandkids popping up in years to come that setting a precedent of gifting to each of them every Christmas might be too much for her to handle.  I suspect many Great-Grandparents might decide to gift to their great-grandkids on the child's birthday only. 

Did you buy her a present this year?

How many grandchildren does she have?

I don't remember receiving gifts from my great grandparents. She may have chosen to stop at grandchildren.


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