General Etiquette > Family and Children

The proper way to refuse a gift (update #19, 56)

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TootsNYC:
You haven't received the gift yet. So you don't need to do anything.

If you avoid all contact, they can't hand it do you. If they go ahead and send it,  you can mark "return to sender" on the front and hand it to the post office to return (unopened). Which will create extreme drama as well.

Also:

There's a famous saying: "least said, soonest mended."

Seriously, drop the rope.

Hide SMIL's Facebook feed.
Edit the settings so she can't see what you post.

Don't keep fueling the fire (don't keep allowing HER to fuel the fire).

Just let it be.

In a couple of years, your DH may not feel quite as strongly--and if you guys get all proclaim-y now, you make it harder than ever for *either* side to ever back down.

Defend your reputation in the larger family where you think you need to, but do it without anger (throw in some sorrow--it'll help with the P.R. campaign).

Twik:
I agree with previous posters that this sort of card is often an symptom of "words over deeds". By saying a present will be sent later, they can consider they've done their job, without actually putting a plan into action or spending money. In which case, they can be ignored.

If it does arrive, I would (if practical) simply readdress it and send it back to FIL. Do not bother to explain why. Just let them know through your actions that you are not accepting anything further from them.

mspallaton:
We have not received anything yet - I ask because FIL's pattern includes doing things to seem magnanimous with a guilt trip attached so DH has said he's more likely to send a gift with a note about loving DH so much and when DH is 'ready to apologize' he'll be waiting -- he's done that to DH and the sibs in the past.

I hope we simply don't get anything.  That would be easiest.

As to the FB portion - we have deleted them from our lists entirely so there won't be any further drama on that regard.  That was a hard decision for DH, but it was his choice and I simply followed suit.

sevenday:
I've actually gotten a package from someone I had cut ties with.  As soon as I saw the address on the box I took it the nearest post station (about half a mile away) and simply told the man at the desk that I was refusing the package.  Since it was unopened, he just took it and didn't charge me anything.  I don't know what happened to it from there, but... yeah.  Alternatively, open box, dump contents into trash bag without looking, and drop the bag off with other donated goods at your local donation site.  (Goodwill, etc if you have one)

Pen^2:
People here have good advice. I particularly like the phrase, "be a black hole."

If a gift arrives, you can either dump it or return it. If you're worried about FIL gossiping with other family members about how rude you are not to send a thank-you note, then returning the gift is the best option as it frees you from any thank-you note obligations.

Ignore anything and everything from them. From what you've said, it sounds like they very much do owe you both an apology. It sounds like they don't think that them saying sorry and possibly salvaging a damaged relationship is worth more than their own pride and appearance to others. This is the kind of mindset that won't change for a long time, generally. Sending a note to them explaining why you're returning their gift would therefore accomplish nothing, as they already know exactly what they did wrong (they were there!) but don't want to admit it. A note won't change that until they change their mindset. So get into a mode of life where you don't actively seek out information about what they've been up to, and have fewer conversations about them, until they are as gone as is reasonably possible from your minds (not completely, of course, but not taking up nearly as much space as they currently are).

In a few years, you might receive a message from them that's mindful of how they've hurt you, and then you can choose where to go from there. But for now, be a black hole and change your way of life to one that doesn't feature them very prominently. deleting them from Facebook was a good move in this direction.

Also, ((hugs)) because it sucks when people are horrible. Your spouse is very lucky to have someone who is supporting him during something like this.

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