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Author Topic: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column  (Read 38508 times)

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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #75 on: December 21, 2013, 06:38:38 AM »
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!

I have to disagree.  It is Ted's siblings attitude that is appalling.  They think Ted owes their children gifts which comes across as extremely entitled and seem very put out that Ted dares to spend his money for less fortunate children, yet won't participate in the family gift exchange.  The fact that Ted does spend money for charity shows that he is willing to give without getting something back.  Maybe Ted never agreed to the children only policy or the children from his family were greedy and unthankful and he was tired of it (it wouldn't surprise me based on the parents' attitude).  My siblings and I stopped exchanging gifts.  They are both childless and I am a mother of 2.  If they get a gift for my kids, I am grateful.  If they don't, I am certainly not upset.  I can't imagine demanding they get my kids gifts, especially if I don't get anything for them.

I also have to disagree that Ted not getting gifts means he thinks his nieces and nephews are worthless.  There are a myriad of other reasons not to give gifts.  They may be very hard to shop for, not have a close relationship, or unappreciative of gifts in the past.  If not getting a gift for somebody means you equate them with being worthless, would that mean Ted and his wife were worthless because nobody got their family a gift?


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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #76 on: December 23, 2013, 12:13:45 AM »

I quite liked Fred's response in this week's Carolyn Hax. He sounds like a reasonable guy, who just reached his limit when it came to demands from his siblings.

What we will no longer do is just give, give, give and sit there for *hours* like little kids pressed with our noses up against the glass. It is absolutely true that we don't need anything (though who can't "use" a good bottle of wine at any time??) But neither do they.

I also think that it's important for the children to learn to *give*, not just to get - to think about what sort of gift someone will like, and pick it out or make something, and as they get older take into consideration things like price, and have the fun of watching someone open something you chose or made.  If you've got kids who get a giant pile of gifts at Christmas and birthday, without having to think about giving, that tends not to end well.

My mom gives magazine subscriptions to her grandkids, once they're old enough (Chickadee and the like). They've got more than enough toys, but the magazine comes every month and gives them something to look forward to through the year.


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Re: S/O "OK not to buy gift" Carolyn Hax column
« Reply #77 on: December 24, 2013, 01:14:37 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.

What would happen if you just... stopped buying presents for the kids?  Or at least stopped buying the birthday presents?  Would your sistes call you up and demand to know where they were?

Have you tried saying something like "When I buy birthday and holiday gifts for your kids, and you don't get me anything for the holidays or acknowledge my birthday at all, I feel used and undervalued.  So since you are obviously not interested in any kind of exchange, I am going to cut way back on (or stop entirely) getting presents for your kids."

I am actually incredibly close to the non-gifting sister (she does send cards).  We talk on the phone often (live in different states), and often turn to each other for advice. Which it why it's so awkward to bring up the gifts.  It's such a little part of our overall interaction.  But the main reason I think I don't bring it up is that I don't really know what I want the resolution to be (gifts for adults, less gifts for kids, etc).   I've really need to figure that out before I talk to her about.  So yes, it hurts.  But luckily, for me, it's not the main interaction between my sister and me.

I do understand completely why the couple in the OP would back out.  Especially if the gift giving was the main form of interaction between the families.