Author Topic: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column  (Read 9267 times)

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Two Ravens

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S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« on: December 10, 2013, 05:41:13 PM »
The "OK Not to buy a Gift" thread reminded me of this column from a few days ago.

http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/advice/article/Advice-I-think-my-rich-childless-brother-should-5044651.php

Basically, the family of four siblings decided a few years ago to stop exchanging presents and only buy for the children in the family. Now, the one childless couple has decided to bow out of the present opening. The other siblings are outraged.

What do you guys think?

I think the LW sounds incredibly entitled. She makes comments about their income ("They're by far the wealthiest") and acts "hurt" because they give presents for kids on the giving tree at their church!

Runningstar

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 06:04:54 PM »
I can't imagine telling anyone that they have to buy a gift for any of my kids!  The definition of gift must contain some words better than what I can come up with, but I'd say that voluntary should be in there.   I would rather get nothing than get a gift that wasn't given this way!   
Wow -don't read in the comments  the one commenter got a really nasty one in (skeltonator) if you read only the left side letters down.

Winterlight

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 06:05:12 PM »
Maybe they buy for Goddaughter because she doesn't have a big family. Maybe they focus on the giving tree because those are kids in genuine need. Maybe they're tired of being treated like a gift machine, always giving.

I do think the LW comes off very badly.
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Lynnv

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 06:09:16 PM »
If my sibling was this entitled and greedy and was teaching the children the same I would quit being part of the "give gifts to kids while getting nothing in return" party too.   Noone is OWED a holiday gift. 

The fact that the LW somehow thinks the explanation to the kids should include a lack of caring on Scrooge's part instead of the idea that gifts are always voluntary leads me to believe that s/he is teaching the children to be greedy rather than grateful.

And the fact that Scrooge gives gifts to his goddaughter and to the giving tree leads me to believe that stinginess and selfishness aren't the issues here.  At least not on his side.
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GlitterIsMyDrug

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 06:15:21 PM »
I was jaw dropping the "how can I explain this to my children, they'll think their aunt and uncle don't care" line. So that's what LW is teaching their children? Love is expressed by gifts. Not by the fact that aunt and uncle will be at dinner later, will talk with the kids, let them show off their new toys, ect, ect. No, love is only expressed by someone giving you a shiny new something.

Partner and I are childless and we both make very nice salaries. We've been hit up (from cousins, ex-friends, ect) for the "more because you can clearly afford it", my finances and what I choose to do with those finances, are really none of anyone else concern.

Hmmmmm

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 06:16:02 PM »
I can't imagine this family of 4 siblings think it's fine for Ted and his wife to buy presents for each of their 5 neices and nephews but to receive nothing in return.

I'm also from a family of 4 siblings with a combined total of 5 offspring and we also decided to forgo buying presents for each other. But we have one childless sibling so we've always had the kids give a gift in return to them. Usually nothing too large or expensive and often a combined gift. But it seemed wrong for them to spend the time to buy for all of their 5 neices and newphews but receive noting in return.

I just can't believe the nerve of the siblings demanding that the uncle and aunt in law give gifts but that they must also be a captive audience.

And I be there is some type of token gift given from the god-daughter or her parents to the childless couple.
(For the last 10 years we've also done a secret santa exchange and as the offspring have entered college they've moved into the secret santa exchange and no longer receive gifts from their aunts and uncles. My DS is the last of the HS's and has 2 more Xmas's of receiving gifts from his aunts/uncles.)


magicdomino

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2013, 06:22:45 PM »
When I first read that, my first thought was that the children weren't showing any appreciation for the gifts.  Either the children weren't thanking their uncle and aunt, or the gifts were simply getting buried among other, perhaps flashier gifts.  It's not much fun giving gifts to children who are getting everything, especially if your thoughtfully chosen books are ignored in favor of Big Plastic Thing That They Really Wanted.  In my case, I confess to taking some comfort in the suspicion that the Big Plastic Thing didn't make it through New Year's Day; it was pretty flimsy.

Nuala

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2013, 06:39:39 PM »
When I first read that, my first thought was that the children weren't showing any appreciation for the gifts.

I wondered about that, too.

I also wonder what kind of a relationship the children have with their aunt and uncle, especially since their parents are such Gimmee Pigs on the kids' behalf.

Ted and Lisa probably have a nice, on-going relationship with the goddaughter, which is why she gets presents. Who knows, maybe she even makes macaroni pictures for them!

Luci

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 06:44:52 PM »
The attitude of Ted appalls me. The wealth of the family has nothing to do with it.

I'm working with my 1969 budget here: The giving should be done to the individual, not family. I would give each person the equivalent of $10. If Abby has 3 kids and Bea has a husband 1 kid, Abby's family gets about $40 and Bea's family about $30, and L and I as a couple hope for $20 if we have no kids. )Not expect, hope. And yes, a couple gift of $20 for Ms Bea & spouse (blender!) will do.

If we agree for kids only, I'd give Abby's family a total of $30 and Bea's family $10, and not hope for something in return. It's for the person, not the family.

So, Ted thinks that his nieces and nephews are worthless because he doesn't get a gift? I really am judgmental about people like that, but then, I guess Ted doesn't care a whole lot about what I think of him.

The whole thing about Christman giving and the angst it causes just is so weird to me. And yes, I am a Christian living in the US all of my life - Santa Claus fable and all, but I just don't get it.

Edited: nothing and something are not the same thing!
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 09:23:20 PM by Luci45 »

Corvid

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 06:50:19 PM »
I think here is a good opportunity for Ted's siblings to explain to their children that Uncle Ted gives presents to needy kids and why that's a good thing.  It sounds like those kids get tons of gifts as it is, they can manage without one from Uncle Ted and Aunt Lisa, and the kids probably won't think twice about it if their parents don't make a big fuss.

GlitterIsMyDrug

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 06:54:22 PM »
The attitude of Ted appalls me. The wealth of the family has nothing to do with it.

I'm working with my 1969 budget here: The giving should be done to the individual, not family. I would give each person the equivalent of $10. If Abby has 3 kids and Bea has a husband 1 kid, Abby's family gets about $40 and Bea's family about $30, and L and I as a couple hope for $20 if we have no kids. )Not expect, hope. And yes, a couple gift of $20 for Ms Bea & spouse (blender!) will do.

If we agree for kids only, I'd give Abby's family a total of $30 and Bea's family $10, and not hope for nothing in return. It's for the person, not the family.

So, Ted thinks that his nieces and nephews are worthless because he doesn't get a gift? I really am judgmental about people like that, but then, I guess Ted doesn't care a whole lot about what I think of him.

The whole thing about Christman giving and the angst it causes just is so weird to me. And yes, I am a Christian living in the US all of my life - Santa Claus fable and all, but I just don't get it.

I love giving gifts. Love it. Couldn't care less about getting them (though I do enjoy unwrapping...), I have everything I need and a good majority of what I want (if someone would just work on that unicorn for me). But I just adore shopping for, coming up with, wrapping, and giving a gift.

I hate being told I have to give gifts. I hate being told that I can "afford" to give more, better, ect. It takes all the gift giving joy out of it for me.

Ted can choose to spend his money however he sees fit. Perhaps he and his wife want a child but are having troubles having one and seeing all these kids gleefully tearing into a pile of presents is just too much for them to take. Perhaps they're saving their money for something else so can't afford it this year. Maybe the kids never say thank you or show any appreciation towards the effort put forth. Perhaps his siblings have off handily mentioned the Ted should give better gifts, fancier gifts, ect. It doesn't really matter. He's opting out and that's allowed.

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 07:00:38 PM »

I'm also from a family of 4 siblings with a combined total of 5 offspring and we also decided to forgo buying presents for each other. But we have one childless sibling so we've always had the kids give a gift in return to them. Usually nothing too large or expensive and often a combined gift. But it seemed wrong for them to spend the time to buy for all of their 5 neices and newphews but receive noting in return.


I see what you did there--you are showing your true colors, Hmmmmm.

Nice colors--caring colors. For you, the inequity is not as much the money as it is the effort, energy, caring.



Luci45, do remember that we don't actually know what Ted's attitude is.
He has said, "we're not coming for the gift opening; we'll come later." He said, "we're not really into that." I'm not absolutely certain whether he actually said, "we aren't giving presents"--I wouldn't put it past this particular woman to have assumed that, even if Ted is thinking "we'll skip the present-opening and bring our gifts when we come for the afterward thing." There simply isn't anything I would trust to indicate whether presents will arrive or not.

The letter writer is also the one who assumed "because they don't get presents, they aren't going to give them." In fact, she used the words, "in other words," meaning she is interpreting a meaning there. Ted didn't say that!

I don't think I'd ever decide to never give a present--but I might skip the whole frenzy with all the kids. And I might really scale down what I give them. (Honestly, in that situation, I think I'd just start buying everybody a box of wacky breakfast cereal or a huge box of Goldfish crackers. And be That Aunt. Most kids might think that's kinda fun.)

MummySweet

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2013, 07:02:30 PM »
The attitude of Ted appalls me. The wealth of the family has nothing to do with it.

I'm working with my 1969 budget here: The giving should be done to the individual, not family. I would give each person the equivalent of $10. If Abby has 3 kids and Bea has a husband 1 kid, Abby's family gets about $40 and Bea's family about $30, and L and I as a couple hope for $20 if we have no kids. )Not expect, hope. And yes, a couple gift of $20 for Ms Bea & spouse (blender!) will do.

If we agree for kids only, I'd give Abby's family a total of $30 and Bea's family $10, and not hope for nothing in return. It's for the person, not the family.

So, Ted thinks that his nieces and nephews are worthless because he doesn't get a gift? I really am judgmental about people like that, but then, I guess Ted doesn't care a whole lot about what I think of him.

The whole thing about Christman giving and the angst it causes just is so weird to me. And yes, I am a Christian living in the US all of my life - Santa Claus fable and all, but I just don't get it.

But do we really know why Ted and his wife have opted out of the gift exchange?   He stated that "they aren't really part of it" and his sister obviously has an opinion about what  that means...but do we know she is correct?    I can totally see a childless couple feeling on the outside of a kid-centric Christmas.  We often hear about childless people feeling left out when all their parent friends talk of nothing but children.  Isn't this an amplification of the same issue?    Christmas should be a time of happiness and enjoyment.  What's wrong with opting out of something that doesn't bring happiness and enjoyment?     

VorFemme

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2013, 07:08:39 PM »
I know how the childless couple felt. 

VorGuy and I tried to get gifts for all the nieces & nephews (until they graduated high school).  But I could (cough) name the aunts & uncles who didn't give gifts to our kids...note, the childless aunt was the one who never forgot their birthdays & Christmas.

The others - some of whom did have money issues or were single parents - but not all of them....  Well, we didn't get presents for our kids and we didn't get thank you notes from all of them and it was almost a relief when some of them graduated high school & were put on the list of "we mirror what you do" for presents, greetings, and the like.

I will admit that as my tendinitis got worse, the Christmas card list got shorter & shorter, too.
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kherbert05

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 07:50:15 PM »
I'm the childless aunt - but I'm a teacher so no one thinks I'm wealthy. The parents of my 1st cousins once and twice removed have their kids give me a something small, because I give them something.

When I was a kid it was decided to do kids only presents among the 2nd cousins on Christmas eve. The way basically worked was if you were younger than 16 or so you brought a gift for every cousin 2nd and further removed in the same age bracket. We didn't get or give presents with the adults that distant. 1st cousins didn't exchange presents that night because their families would get together Christmas morning or afternoon and exchange presents. It was the KIDS that gave and received (yes the parents were paying)
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