Author Topic: Birthday Gift Question  (Read 3746 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Honey

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Birthday Gift Question
« on: February 07, 2013, 11:30:46 PM »
I've recently been told that my SIL is planning a surprise birthday party for DH's brother.  It will be a simple family gathering at their home.  My husband and I disagree over whether we need to buy a gift.  I had all the in-laws over for DH's birthday in 2012, and this particular couple did not bring either a card or gift.  I told DH that I would offer to bring a food dish of some kind, but did not feel that we needed to buy a gift.  Thoughts?

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21470
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 11:35:45 PM »
That's tough.  Following their lead I would say you don't have to give a gift.  OTOH, since this is DH's brother, I would let him take the lead and if her wants to give a gift I would not try to talk him out of it.

kudeebee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2200
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 12:15:41 AM »
I would not offer a food dish unless asked.  Buy a card and take that.

sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1395
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 01:51:26 AM »
I agree with Sharnita that you do not *have* to buy a gift.

However, it is not polite to keep score and only give gifts to people who have given you gifts. It's one thing if you've established a "no-gift" rule with someone else. It's quite another if your gift-giving has strings attached. The traditional rule of gift-giving is that you are only entitled to a thank-you.

If the reason that you don't want to give a gift is that the occasion is very casual and you don't feel a gift would be appropriate, or you are financially strained, then maybe get a nice card. However, if the primary reason that you don't want to get BIL a gift is that he and his wife didn't get one for your DH at his last birthday, it seems a bit spiteful.

If your hubby wants to get something for his brother, then let him get something. Remember, gift-giving benefits both the giver and the recipient. If doing something nice for his brother will give your husband joy, I think that's reason enough to let him.

BeagleMommy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3137
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 09:35:00 AM »
POD to following your DH's lead on this.  Unless they've established a "no gifts" policy your DH can get BIL a gift if he chooses.

GrammarNerd

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 569
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 10:08:05 AM »
If your hubby wants to get something for his brother, then let him get something. Remember, gift-giving benefits both the giver and the recipient. If doing something nice for his brother will give your husband joy, I think that's reason enough to let him.

Re: the bolded, if this were my husband, he would be wanting to get a gift not b/c it brought him joy, but because it was 'expected' of him, and he would be more afraid of how it would look to others if he didn't get a gift.  Of course he would never admit that, but I've seen that type of thing a lot in his family (of origin) dynamic, and dealings with his friends.  He always thinks that HE has to be the one to go along with what everyone else wants/expects, even if it doesn't necessarily make sense and even if it might inconvenience us.  Even if nobody shows that same kind of consideration for him/us.

If he's adamant about this, I would (personally) offer to buy the present, and have it be a little token something, like maybe a gadget of some type (I'd worry about my DH going overboard).  Or, since you said you'd be able to cook something, could you maybe give him a healthy serving of some baked goods that you know he likes?  Maybe stress when you give it to him that you know he loves these SuperDelicious cookies, so you made some just for him for his birthday, and he should be sure to hide them so he can keep them all for himself.  That way you're still making something, but you're not outright buying him a birthday present, and you don't show up emptyhanded, which is what your DH wants to avoid, if I'm guessing right.

I get the reciprocity thing....it really would have been nice if they'd at least brought a card to your hubby's birthday last year.  They kind of set a precedent by coming to your DH's party emptyhanded.  And a lot of times on this board, I've seen the advice to not give the present, and then if questioned, just say in a puzzled tone "Oh, I thought we weren't exchanging presents for birthdays anymore."

Like I said, I'm just going by what I would do if this was me/my DH.  Feel free to ignore if your situation is different.

auntmeegs

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3208
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 10:48:36 AM »
If your husband wants to get his brother a gift I don't see why you would try to stop him.  Provided that he doesn't have something expensive in mind that would interfere with your budget I wouldn't even think he'd have to mention it to you at all.  It's his brother. 

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4049
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2013, 11:30:08 AM »
These are always tough questions, because it depends on the norms in your family or group.  I have never brought a gift to an adult birthday celebration, but that's because it's just not done with my peeps.

I do agree with auntmeegs that if your motivation is a tit for tat thing, this seems a little petty if your DH wants to buy his bro a gift.  In that case, just let him.

heartmug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2347
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2013, 12:23:12 PM »
I would not offer a food dish unless asked.  Buy a card and take that.

That is what I would do.
One option in a tug of war with someone is just to drop the rope.

peaches

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 814
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2013, 12:32:03 PM »
If your DH wants to give his brother a gift, by all means let him.

It doesn't have to be expensive. It can be something clever and personal but inexpensive - perhaps related to an interest or hobby the brother has, or his favorite sports team (or beer!).

I would let your DH handle this. It will mean a lot to his brother.

« Last Edit: February 08, 2013, 12:48:19 PM by peaches »

wolfie

  • I don't know what this is so I am putting random words here
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7021
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2013, 03:17:41 PM »

However, it is not polite to keep score and only give gifts to people who have given you gifts.

I don't agree with this. I think I have every right to decide not to give gifts to people who have let me know that we aren't in that kind of relationship by not giving me gifts and still be polite. Being polite does not mean being a doormat - you can look at the way other people behave and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21470
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2013, 03:27:52 PM »

However, it is not polite to keep score and only give gifts to people who have given you gifts.

I don't agree with this. I think I have every right to decide not to give gifts to people who have let me know that we aren't in that kind of relationship by not giving me gifts and still be polite. Being polite does not mean being a doormat - you can look at the way other people behave and adjust your behavior accordingly.
I fall somewhere in the middle.  I think you can use it as a major factor to decide what you will do but I don't think you shuold use it to tell somebody else what they are to do. If this was OP's sibling and she wanted to use it as the dertemining factor that would seem reasonable.

peaches

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 814
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 04:03:01 PM »
In DH's family, and also mine, we don't routinely give birthday gifts to our siblings. We phone them to say Happy Birthday or send a card or an email.

But if there is a birthday party (which happens occasionally - usually for a signature year, but not always) then we bring a gift. And the others do the same.

I do think "party" puts this into a different category than routine birthday, at least for us.

The gifts aren't expensive. That isn't expected or typical in either family. Our relatives would rather get something clever (or funny) or something that brings up a memory of times past.

I would not play "tit for tat" in this situation.

It appears that you and your DH disagree about whether to take a gift. It's his family, his brother. I think that gives him the deciding vote. If he doesn't hold a grudge about his birthday party, why should you?

kitchcat

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 318
    • Flickr
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2013, 05:32:58 PM »
I would say bring at least a small gift unless this couple has a habit of not reciprocating. You said they didn't bring a gift to DH's last birthday, but do they routinely not give gifts for birthdays and other holidays? Have they done anything in the past that makes you not want to bring a gift (no thank you note, rude comments, etc.)? At the bare minimum, bring a birthday card.
Quote from: magician5
Quote from: Kinseyanne
In the bag was two cans of kitten formula

So now ... just add water and you get kittens? What will they think of next??

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5263
Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2013, 05:52:28 PM »

However, it is not polite to keep score and only give gifts to people who have given you gifts.

I don't agree with this. I think I have every right to decide not to give gifts to people who have let me know that we aren't in that kind of relationship by not giving me gifts and still be polite. Being polite does not mean being a doormat - you can look at the way other people behave and adjust your behavior accordingly.

I agree with both of these things; I don't think they're mutually exclusive. :) Maybe some more background would help? I think sweetonsno has a point with the motivations--I couldn't tell if you were mad they didn't bring your DH a gift, or if you're providing that as evidence that the two couples don't really have a gift-giving relationship.

I think it's nice to offer to bring a dish, whether or not you guys also get him a gift. So my main question is, what is your reasoning for not wanting to do both? (some ideas: budgetary, you feel like they don't reciprocate/appreciate you in general, you fear the gift-choosing will fall on you and you don't know BIL that well, etc.)

Generally speaking, I think if your DH wants to get his brother a gift, I would let him. If your budget is tight or you're worried he'll go overboard, agree on a maximum price first. And tell him he has to come up with the idea, and buy it and wrap it, or whatever your limits are, so you don't feel like you're getting sucked in more than you want to be.
~Lynn2000