Author Topic: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column  (Read 9804 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Redneck Gravy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2679
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #45 on: December 16, 2013, 11:32:14 AM »
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.

Bingo!  And in our case, after spending years babysitting for my siblings, they moved away and when our turn came they were far away.  My kids hardly know their aunt & uncles whereas my nieces & nephews remember me quite well.

 

Mikayla

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4049
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2013, 04:07:12 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.

How the heck did you catch that?  I'm impressed!  I thought it was some weird attempt at poetry, and obviously the person who replied missed it, as well.

Anyway, I love C Hax and she was spot on in her response, as usual. 

Marisol

  • with a parasol.
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1915
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2013, 01:04:01 AM »

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.

Yes exactly this. When every family is receiving except yours it is isolating.  You have a moment to be involved when they are opening a gift you brought, but you're never fully part of the festivities and its like you are just watching through a window.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2013, 01:05:47 AM by Marisol »

mbbored

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5315
    • Budget Grad Student
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #48 on: December 18, 2013, 01:48:59 AM »

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.

Yes exactly this. When every family is receiving except yours it is isolating.  You have a moment to be involved when they are opening a gift you brought, but you're never fully part of the festivities and its like you are just watching through a window.

And with the knowledge that you "get to" spend money on them without them ever spending a dime on you.

Awestruck Shmuck

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #49 on: December 18, 2013, 04:11:40 AM »
I was very nearly in the same mind as the brother the LW was complaining about. Last Christmas, I was in a particularly emotional state, and for some reason was particularly stung by the lack of interest my nephews showed in the gifts I spent ages agonising over, and a fair bit of cash too.

I love my nephews and my niece ever so much, and it was a joy to shop for them (and other kids - the last few years has been baby season in my circle of friends), but was very hurt when my brother announced 'you're lucky you get anything - Christmas is all about the kids, and YOU don't have any' - I was pretty gutted.

The only thing I had done to 'deserve' that outburst, was get a new set of cookware from my mum (and my brother didn't get anything from her - his 3 children did). Mum still buys for my sister and I, and gets something for our partners, but we know when we have kids, that that will stop.

This year I thought long and hard about even going to the family christmas - and while I'm apprehensive, I love running around in the garden with my nephews and my cousins kids - and would missing singing christmas carols at the piano with my niece, so will go.

But I really felt for the subjects in that letter - the LW is seriously entitled and obnoxious!!

sammycat

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6070
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #50 on: December 18, 2013, 04:48:01 AM »
was very hurt when my brother announced 'you're lucky you get anything - Christmas is all about the kids, and YOU don't have any' - I was pretty gutted.

 Wow. :o >:( :-[ :-\

So very sorry you were subjected to that.

SCMagnolia

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 187
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #51 on: December 18, 2013, 01:53:42 PM »
I am single and childless.  I can tell you from many years of experience that the childless part around Christmas can absolutely SUCK.  I've left shopping malls in tears because I just couldn't handle the idea that I won't ever have a little one to sit on Santa's knee. 

It makes it especially hard when Christmas is made to be so child-centric. 

I don't blame Ted and his wife for opting out.  As many of you have already said, for someone without children it would be anywhere between tedious and downright uncomfortable to have to watch a bunch of kids open gifts.  Maybe Ted and his wife have been trying to have children and have been unable to.  Maybe they have chosen to be child-free and feel used -- I imagine this could be their line of reasoning given the LW's comments about how "wealthy" they are and how she and her sister are going to have a hard time explaining to their kids that Uncle Ted just "doesn't care about them".  Way to teach your kids the value of giving, LW!!!  Whatever the reason, giving a gift is a choice.  Ted and his wife have chosen to give their gifts to their goddaughter and to a child in need.  That is entirely their right.  It is not, however, the right of LW to tell Ted how he is supposed to spend his money just to "prove" how much he cares for her kids.

LW sounds like a greedy and ungrateful twit.  And I have a feeling her kids are being raised to follow quite closely in her footsteps.


magicdomino

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4643
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #52 on: December 18, 2013, 03:33:11 PM »
Ahem.  For the record, I did get a nice present at the family gathering on Sunday.  My great-nephew told me that I was a "cool aunt."  High praise, indeed, from a 16-year-old.  And this is despite me helping his parents try to convince him that being the first person to die on Mars would be an excellent career move (Yes, we are weird.)

Of course, the credit card knife that I gave him for Christmas might have had something to do with it. . . .    8)

proudmama

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 119
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #53 on: December 18, 2013, 07:02:10 PM »
I'm actually on both sides of this.  In my DHs family, my kids are the youngest of the nieces and nephews.  On my side of the family, they are the oldest, the difference between my youngest and the next oldest child is 6 years, lots of little ones on my side.

We always exchanged gifts with my DHs family.  Once the first niece was born, my SIL made it all about the kids (even though there was only one child).  So we all bought for just the niece.  Now that her kids are entering adulthood, she thinks that we should completely stop buying gifts for the kids, not just her kids, but all of the kids.  I have to admit that I feel a little annoyed.  And I totally get how the brother could be feeling used for his money. 

When I had my first, I asked my siblings to just buy gifts for him, not me or DH.  We kept buying gifts for them and their significant others.  When my brother had his first, we stopped buying for him and his DW, and just started buying for the baby.  But my other siblings still got gifts.  Now they all have kids, so just the kids get gifts.  A few years ago, I started including a gift membership to either the zoo, aquarium or science museum.  My brother's oldest calls it the gift that keeps on giving.   :)

SCMagnolia

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 187
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #54 on: December 19, 2013, 09:53:52 AM »
Quote
When I had my first, I asked my siblings to just buy gifts for him, not me or DH.  We kept buying gifts for them and their significant others.  When my brother had his first, we stopped buying for him and his DW, and just started buying for the baby.  But my other siblings still got gifts.  Now they all have kids, so just the kids get gifts.  A few years ago, I started including a gift membership to either the zoo, aquarium or science museum.  My brother's oldest calls it the gift that keeps on giving.

This is a great solution, ProudMama!   And I love the idea of adding the gift membership.  In addition to it being very thoughtful, it includes the whole family and is a great way to fight those cabin-fever or summer vacation boredom days and is educational in a fun, doesn't-feel-so-educational way!

GlitterIsMyDrug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1120
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #55 on: December 19, 2013, 10:15:05 AM »
I'm kind of happy that Partner and I are still "the kids" to both of our families. I have cousins who have kids, but we aren't close to the cousins or the kids. We don't have kids, I don't have siblings, and her siblings don't have kids either. Her sister doesn't want any and her brother is starting the adoption process with his partner, so we might have one in the family soon, but not yet.

I think I'd have problems buying "just for the kids" in general, because I like buying people gifts, at least a little something. BTW I'm the worst person to buy for. I want very little, and I buy what I want when I want it. Every year, someone asks me what I want and I tell them "Oh, I don't care, I'm sure I'll like anything you give me!" because generally that is true. Or I ask for a unicorn. So if someone told me they were going to buy only for the kids I'd be like "Yeah, I get that, that's easier, here's what the kid(s) want", but I'd probably still buy them a present regardless of their offspring status.

A few years ago, I started including a gift membership to either the zoo, aquarium or science museum.

We're doing this for my BFF and her husband this year, they go with her brother and one of the kids she works with all the time, they used to have a memebership but gave it up to save money, so we decided to get one for them. We're looking at doing one for my friend and her kids who live out of state as well. It's an awesome gift!

I did ask my mom for a memebership to our science center for Christmas once (see above, impossible to buy for), but she didn't get why I'd want that because I'm a grown up without kids.  ::) (because I'm a grown up I bought my own)

Venus193

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15890
  • Backstage passes are wonderful things!
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #56 on: December 19, 2013, 11:21:41 AM »
I also find it easier and more fun to buy things for teens and adults.

When Brunhilde's son was about 4 or 5 I attended his birthday parties.  He got so many things that made so much noise I was grateful to not be a parent myself.  I remember posting a discussion question somewhere asking whether kids' toys are noisier today than in past generations and many people -- all parents -- said "yes."

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30545
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #57 on: December 19, 2013, 01:28:24 PM »
I think I'd have problems buying "just for the kids" in general, because I like buying people gifts, at least a little something.

I really dislike the "just gifts for the kids" idea. Partly bcs I like giving (and, TBH, getting) gifts, but also because I really don't like to give kids the idea that they're special in a way grownups aren't.
   Don't get me wrong--I like kids to feel special, and they aren't just like grownups, so they do deserve consideration that grownups don't get (eating first, bcs they're hungrier and less patient, stuff like that). But for them to get gifts, while others don't, is not a lesson I think kids should learn.

Saki_Fiz

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1142
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #58 on: December 19, 2013, 01:34:41 PM »
My husband and I are childfree.  I have two sisters with children (husband is an only child).

My sister with two kids still does the gift exchange.  Her family exchanges with my family.  So she buys for the two of us, and I buy for the four of them.  I am totally happy with this because it's still an exchange.  Same applies to birthdays.

My sister with four kids asked to bow out of the gift exchange for the adults, but somehow, the kids got left in.  So I buy for her four kids, yet we receive nothing.  Same for birthdays.  So in total, I am on the hook for 8 gifts each year, while we receive nothing.  And it hurts.  I can give you a dozen rational reasons why this shouldn't matter at all (I love my nieces and nephews, my husband and I can afford the gifts, we really don't need more stuff, etc etc etc)... but it still hurts.  And I haven't figured out how to explain this to her.

HelenB

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #59 on: December 19, 2013, 01:51:07 PM »
We hit this with my husband's mother's annual family Christmas party. She would have him and his sister, and his step-brothers/sisters and all spouses over for a really nice meal.  The adults were assigned one person to buy for, the month before, and each adult got a gift at the party.

When kids started coming along (Mr B and I are childless), we were still doing a name draw for the adults, but each kid was getting presents from each of the pairs of aunt-uncles.  Then one year they decided it was too expensive to get the adults a present, so it became kids only for presents. 

It really pretty boring sitting  and watching the kids open their presents.  Especially since almost immediately they'd start to fight over them and run around screaming and yelling. Some times we would skip the gift opening and start the clean up, just to get away from the din.

My MIL moved down south, and none of the step-sibs stepped up to start hosting it.