Author Topic: Birthday Gift Question  (Read 3945 times)

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DottyG

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2013, 08:14:12 PM »
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However, it is not polite to keep score and only give gifts to people who have given you gifts.

This.  If your heart tells you to give a gift, give a gift.  If it tells you not to, don't give a gift.  But the basis shouldn't be "well, they didn't give ME anything!"  If you don't feel led to give one, don't, but it's not a score-keeping thing.


AnnaJ

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2013, 08:52:42 PM »
Husband's family = husband's choice.  Only exception to me would be if he wanted to buy something that would significantly impact your budget.

Mammavan3

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2013, 01:53:16 PM »
If your DH feels a gift is appropriate, let him pick up something small but thoughtful to bring.

I think a person who does not give you a gift is sending a clear message that they do not want to enter or continue a gift exchange, and I'm perfectly fine with that.  Actually, I'd find it rather rude to receive a message like that and continue to press presents upon that person, which to me signifies that I would want to be the one to set the parameters of the relationship.

DottyG

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2013, 04:27:42 PM »
I don't. I think it signifies that you saw something the person would like and realize that giving a gift is not contingent upon whether you get something in return. I see nothing wrong or rude with gifting someone that I wish to gift - even if I didn't get something from them; I give because I want to.


TootsNYC

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2013, 05:53:09 PM »
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.

Yes it is!

In fact, it's pretty appropriate. People send messages like that all the time. They don't think gifts are necessary for grownups, so they don't buy them, and then they hope like heck you don't give THEM one.

And I think you are confusing "etiquette" and "politeness" with "character" or "generosity."

It's not particularly GENEROUS to keep track and only give gifts to people who give gifts to you. But it IS perfectly *polite.*

fountainof

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2013, 11:37:22 AM »
I don't really understand the tit-for-tat thing not being okay.  Isn't it polite to recipricate the same way that was done to you?  I think always being the giver you are being used so I wouldn't want to give a gift to someone who never gave me one and if I was pressured to give a gift I would be resentful.   

ETA: I also think giving a gift to someone who hasn't gifting could have the result of making the receiver uncomfortable.  I certainly don't enjoy gifts from adults as I feel there is a social obligation to return the sentiment and it becomes an endless stream of either gifting back and forth amongst adults who can buy their own things or I feel like a user for taking gifts and not recipricating.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 11:42:22 AM by fountainof »

AnnaJ

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2013, 05:34:34 PM »
I don't really understand the tit-for-tat thing not being okay.  Isn't it polite to recipricate the same way that was done to you?  I think always being the giver you are being used so I wouldn't want to give a gift to someone who never gave me one and if I was pressured to give a gift I would be resentful.   

ETA: I also think giving a gift to someone who hasn't gifting could have the result of making the receiver uncomfortable.  I certainly don't enjoy gifts from adults as I feel there is a social obligation to return the sentiment and it becomes an endless stream of either gifting back and forth amongst adults who can buy their own things or I feel like a user for taking gifts and not recipricating.

The issue to me is the the OP's husband seems to want to give his brother a gift, which should be his choice.  If the OP wants to go with the tit-for-tat idea for her relatives I support that too, but it seems to me that it's his brother, not hers, and that it should be his decision (unless, as I said in an earlier post, giving a gift would cause financial issues for OP and husband).

Honey

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2013, 11:19:54 PM »
Thanks for all the advice.  To clarify a couple of things... No one is mad or upset.  I don't think DH wants to give a gift so much as he feels obligated to give one.  It's not like he has a specific item in mind that he really wants to buy for his brother.  I am the one who usually ends up having to buy the gifts, not DH.  Also, we've been married for quite some time now, and these are the types of decisions that we make together.  It's not just his decision, because it's his brother.  There are no financial difficulties that would prevent buying a modest gift.  But, I feel like this couple has clearly sent a message that gifts are not necessary for adult birthdays.  There are no hard feelings or tit-for-tat.  I just feel that, following their lead, it isn't necessary.  I'm more than happy to contribute to the meal by bringing a dish, which they are usually happy to receive.

sweetonsno

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2013, 03:05:57 AM »
This sounds like a perfect occasion for the Token Gift.

A Token Gift is like a card in that it requires minimal effort but still shows that you have remembered a special occasion and want to show the honoree that you care. It should be special but not so special that the recipient feels as though you've gone to a lot of trouble. Basically, it's a happy medium: hubby doesn't feel rude, and BIL shouldn't feel put on the spot.

For an adult's birthday party, I would vote for a bottle of wine or a good microbrew/Belgian in a gift bag. The total cost could be under $20 (heck, even less than that). It's enough that your husband wouldn't feel any guilt over showing up empty-handed but not so much that your in-laws would feel guilty about not reciprocating. (It would be fairly normal to show up at a regular dinner party with a bottle of wine or beer, right?)

If your husband and his brother have been giving birthday gifts for a long time, then I'm going to disagree that the other couple has given a "clear message" that they don't want to exchange gifts. It was just one birthday. If BIL says, "You shouldn't have" or "I feel a little old to be opening birthday presents" or something like that, you'll know to stick to a card and his favorite treat next year.

Lynn2000

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2013, 10:56:13 AM »
Thanks for all the advice.  To clarify a couple of things... No one is mad or upset.  I don't think DH wants to give a gift so much as he feels obligated to give one.  It's not like he has a specific item in mind that he really wants to buy for his brother.  I am the one who usually ends up having to buy the gifts, not DH.  Also, we've been married for quite some time now, and these are the types of decisions that we make together.  It's not just his decision, because it's his brother.  There are no financial difficulties that would prevent buying a modest gift.  But, I feel like this couple has clearly sent a message that gifts are not necessary for adult birthdays.  There are no hard feelings or tit-for-tat.  I just feel that, following their lead, it isn't necessary.  I'm more than happy to contribute to the meal by bringing a dish, which they are usually happy to receive.

In that case, I think it's perfectly okay, etiquette-wise, to not bring a gift. In other words, if he showed up without a gift and people whispered and pointed, they would be the rude ones (whatever consolation that might be). If he still feels obligated to get something, I would go with the "token gift" as sweetonsno suggests. Kind of baby-steps down from a full-fledged gift, but not quite empty-handed.

To me, bringing a dish is a separate thing, which can occur whether or not a gift is given. So I guess if your argument is, "You don't need to get him a gift, we're bringing a casserole," to me that wouldn't compute because I wouldn't see a gift for Bro and a casserole for Bro's meal as equivalent. But I think you could say, "No, we don't need to stress out looking for a great gift for him--remember your last birthday? They didn't get you a gift, so it seems like they aren't really into that anymore. How about a nice bottle of wine, as a token gift? Now, I'm going to go make that casserole..." That's just how I personally would understand it better.
~Lynn2000

DottyG

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Re: Birthday Gift Question
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2013, 11:30:29 AM »
This VV

Quote
This sounds like a perfect occasion for the Token Gift.

A Token Gift is like a card in that it requires minimal effort but still shows that you have remembered a special occasion and want to show the honoree that you care. It should be special but not so special that the recipient feels as though you've gone to a lot of trouble. Basically, it's a happy medium: hubby doesn't feel rude, and BIL shouldn't feel put on the spot.

For an adult's birthday party, I would vote for a bottle of wine or a good microbrew/Belgian in a gift bag. The total cost could be under $20 (heck, even less than that). It's enough that your husband wouldn't feel any guilt over showing up empty-handed but not so much that your in-laws would feel guilty about not reciprocating. (It would be fairly normal to show up at a regular dinner party with a bottle of wine or beer, right?)

If your husband and his brother have been giving birthday gifts for a long time, then I'm going to disagree that the other couple has given a "clear message" that they don't want to exchange gifts. It was just one birthday. If BIL says, "You shouldn't have" or "I feel a little old to be opening birthday presents" or something like that, you'll know to stick to a card and his favorite treat next year.