Author Topic: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column  (Read 9204 times)

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Jones

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2013, 03:10:24 PM »
Regarding gifting the godchild but not the nephews/nieces... I wonder about the rest of the year, outside of Christmas. Does Godchild call to chat, send pictures in the mail, etc. and is therefore closer to the couple than these expectant receivers? The letter writer makes it sound like this is all about Christmas but it could be that the couple have made this decision based on activities (or lack thereof) the rest of the year, or relationships (or lack thereof).

Jules1980

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2013, 03:17:05 PM »
I've been the childless aunt on Christmas morning and it sucks.  As much as you love those kids, present after present gets boring.  And you don't feel like you are a part of it.

The nicest thing ever was the Christmas I spent at my sister's and she got me 4 gifts, all thoughtful and well planned out.  It made me feel like I mattered that she took the time to do that, but the best part was her reason.  She said that I bought 4 gifts or more for her family of 4 and then anothe 2 on my brother's family so it wasn't fair for me to spend $$$ on christmas for their families and the after 2 small gifts, got to sit and watch everyone open a ton of gifts.

magicdomino

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2013, 04:30:20 PM »
I've been the childless aunt on Christmas morning and it sucks.  As much as you love those kids, present after present gets boring.  And you don't feel like you are a part of it.

Oh, I don't know about that.  It doesn't bother this childless aunt, except when a gift from me flops like a dying duck.  Back when the adults exchanged gifts as well, most of the stuff that I got was just that, stuff.  Scented bath sets, scented candles, that sort of thing.  (Did mention that I'm allergic to perfume?)  I honestly prefer not receiving gifts, although I still get the occasional White House Christmas Ornament or food basket when someone feels guity.    :)

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2013, 11:59:25 PM »
As the "childless Aunt" growing up. Thankfully, in my family we only gift to our God Children or whoever we are close to. We don't do huge family Christmases anymore.  I can totally see Ted's point of view. It is not the wonderful time the letter writer imagines to watch children open piles of gifts. It isn't that Ted and wife aren't getting gifts; it's that they are left out of the activity by it's very nature.

We were the last couple in our family to have children - no, it isn't all that much fun watching your children open piles of presents, piles and piles.  And then to see the lopsided great gifting from Grandma to sister X's children and so much less to brother Y's kids-just no.

Add to that, when you're the last, there's a likelihood that your siblings will all have less money than you did and will also be sort of "over it," now that their kids are older.
   That's true for me! I "was there," as an auntie, to my nie-phews. My kids didn't get that at all from their aunts & uncles.

POF

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2013, 07:45:12 AM »
Hi Toots - same thing here. We were very generous with the 8 nephews and nieces.  My 2 came much later and some of DH's siblings have grandchildren now that my 2 are in their teens.

Everyone else always remember my boys at XMAS. B-days, confirmation etc - with the exception of DH's brother and odd SIL.  They were the first to call of we forget someone's b-day ( we did this once - we were on a 3 week vacation and forgot to mail the gifr before we ledt - it was a BIG deal with crying by SIL ) ,  this SIL would call and tell us we needed to buy housewarming etc for her children.  But know they frequently don't recognize anything of my kids.  My response to DH and the boys is that a gift is voluntary - let it go.

I remember when DH and I were childless, and the other sibs and their kids would plan great outings to beach, water park,  museum, etc and not include us because we don't have kids. We were fine to be included if we needed to bring a gift - otherwise our company wasn't welcome.

The letter writer is out of line.  How many gifts does a kids need on XMAS ? They are getting stuff from other relatives and parents I presume. Gifts do not equate to love / friendship or anything.  I also bet there is a back story behind it as well.  I have  niece who's mother was sooooo specific about what to buy her for birthday. And if it wasn't right we heard about it - we finally started getting her gift cards and then we heard .. oh but she likes something she can open.

Personally - the holidays for me are not about gifts, and DH and I cut down with everyone- We no longer exchange with any adults - our  parents included.  We buy a few small token things - but we took off the pressure of buying a big thing for people who have everything they need. Instead we go out for a nice dinner.  our preference is to enjoy the season and stay out of the mall.






Chelsealady

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2013, 10:46:32 AM »
I'm the childless auntie. And I never get a good present from my SIL, sister or mother. Not because they are being mean but because it just never occurs to them that we are buying multiple gifts and we get a little token gift. They just assume that if want something we will go get it ourselves. And most of the time we do.

That being said I enjoy giving the gifts and  the kids and parents are very appreciative. If they didn't I would stop.



NyaChan

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2013, 11:55:21 AM »
I'm going to sound grumpy and cantankerous here - but I can't think of anything more boring than sitting for an hour or more and watching someone else's kids open present after present.  At least if the adults were included there would be something to break up the monotony, something to include me.  But otherwise, it feels like I'd be watching another family's Christmas morning because I'd have no participation except to bring a present.  It's a family event and yet it would feel like we were only celebrating for the families with children.

I love my nieces and nephews, but they aren't my kids and nothing they receive is going to interest me the way it interests their parents unless it is something personal between us.  Focusing entirely on them during an event that should be for everyone doesn't sound like a fun time.

Library Dragon

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2013, 02:38:10 PM »
I feel for Ted and his wife.  Being treated as if they are obligated to provide goods rather than givers of gifts is not nice. 

DH's always had a give to the kids or childless adults gifts.  BIL and his husband are extreely generous to all their nieces and nephews.  Years ago they did get tired of the kids ripping through presents in five minutes without more than a token thank you.  This was when DS1 was 9 months, so fortunately he wasn't a culprit. (Actually I missed the entire gift opening experience that year because I was in the kitchen checking on dinner.)

BILs put their feet down. They were absolutely right. Time and appreciation should be part of the gift exchange. They aren't vending machines.

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Venus193

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2013, 04:57:47 PM »
My college buddy's six children got Christmas gift from me until the year that his younger daughter (who was about 8, I think) actually asked me what something I gave her cost.  I was floored at the question and sidestepped it by saying I bought it wholesale so that number would be meaningless.  He chickened out of telling her that it was rude to ask by saying "They all ask that now."

However, the real trigger to my not buying gifts for them anymore was when his wife decided to divorce him and started turning the kids against him and his friends.  They were encouraged to make fun of me.  When I heard that I made my decision.

To this day that same girl doesn't speak to her own father; she is the only one of his children he never sees.  I have no idea what that's really about but I know that the ex suffered from severe depression.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2013, 05:18:49 PM »
The only time I'd ask what a gift cost is in a roundabout way, such as "I hope you didn't pay too much for this really nice thing!" And hopefully they say, "I got it on sale and glad you like it."

amylouky

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #40 on: December 14, 2013, 07:43:10 PM »
I was the childless auntie for a long time. We tended to alternate between buying for everyone and buying for just the kids. In years that we bought just for the kids, it didn't really bother me not to get gifts. I had fun watching the kids open their gifts.

What DOES bother me, however, is that it seems the new (as in, the last few years) tradition in my family has been to either draw names (so everyone gets one gift), do a small gift for the whole family, or decide not to do gifts at all. DH and I were the last in the family to become parents. This will be the third Christmas that our boys have been in the family. It does bother me that I spent years picking presents for their children (which I loved doing, don't get me wrong), but now that we have children it's too much for everyone so our boys don't get as much.

I realize that that sounds childish, selfish, and possibly gimme-piggish.. and that no one is obligated to get gifts for my kids. It just seems a bit lopsided.

DoubleTrouble

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #41 on: December 14, 2013, 08:42:56 PM »
My one SIL and BIL are childless.  My dd buys their dog and cat a present and they love it!

That reminds me that I need to find a bone-shaped cookie cutter. My cousin & her husband are childless but have two dogs & I'm planning on having my boys give their doggie cousins homemade treats for Christmas in addition to the people-friendly treats ;) 

Hmmmmm

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #42 on: December 15, 2013, 02:00:05 PM »
I was the childless auntie for a long time. We tended to alternate between buying for everyone and buying for just the kids. In years that we bought just for the kids, it didn't really bother me not to get gifts. I had fun watching the kids open their gifts.

What DOES bother me, however, is that it seems the new (as in, the last few years) tradition in my family has been to either draw names (so everyone gets one gift), do a small gift for the whole family, or decide not to do gifts at all. DH and I were the last in the family to become parents. This will be the third Christmas that our boys have been in the family. It does bother me that I spent years picking presents for their children (which I loved doing, don't get me wrong), but now that we have children it's too much for everyone so our boys don't get as much.

I realize that that sounds childish, selfish, and possibly gimme-piggish.. and that no one is obligated to get gifts for my kids. It just seems a bit lopsided.
No it's not childish at all. I'm the youngest in my family so the last to have kids. I would be very irritated if my older sisters didn't gift my kids to the extent I did theirs when they were under 18.

TootsNYC

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #43 on: December 15, 2013, 02:56:09 PM »
As often happens, I agree w/ Hmmmmm. (5 m's)

I had the same sort of reaction--and believe me, it wasn't about the stuff. It was about the fact that I went out of the way to make their kids feel that they were important to people in the family beyond their mom and dad. My siblings really haven't done that for my kids.

And that's what bothers me. It makes me feel a little miffed, but it mostly makes me feel hurt and sad.

blarg314

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #44 on: December 15, 2013, 07:39:20 PM »

I suspect that Ted wasn't consulted about the change in giving.

A good rule is that you cannot make suggestions about gift exchanges that benefit you (or your family unit) at the expense of other people. So the LW could have suggested that they exchange gifts family to family, or told Ted that he didn't need to get a gift for the adults, or suggested not exchanging all. But they picked the solution that benefited their families (tons of presents for their kids), while Ted and wife don't get anything at all.

And yeah, there can be something isolating about sitting there watching other people tear into tons of presents when you don't get anything at all. Particularly if there's no thank-yous involved. The worst case of this is for the single, childless family member, who is not only expected to get presents for all the kids, but doesn't have *anyone* to give them presents. Even in the kids present scenario, I'll bet the spouses exchange gifts, and the kids get something for the parents, neither of which the singleton has.

I would be curious to know the dynamics of the family in general - for example, is there a trend of everything being all about the kids, and the couple without them being shoved off to the side as less important?