Poll

Do you gift your children and sons/daughter in law equally? Alternately if you are married, do your parents gift you and your partner equally?

Yes, gifts are equivalent or near equivalent
193 (60.7%)
The child gets a substantially bigger gift than the son/daughter in law
55 (17.3%)
Gifts are intended for both (i.e. home decor, kitchen items, etc.)
36 (11.3%)
We don't exchange gifts/only gift the grandkids/etc.
12 (3.8%)
Other
22 (6.9%)

Total Members Voted: 318

Author Topic: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?  (Read 17198 times)

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Library Dragon

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #75 on: December 30, 2013, 02:43:54 AM »
Miranova, you make a good point. It's not about an exact $ amount as attentiveness. 

My DIL is a big Nightmare Before Christmas fan. My Christmas gifts included items featuring Jack. The cost was maybe a few $ off of DS2's gifts, but it was about taking time to find things she would really like. It showed that I cared about her interests. 

DS1's He-Man plushie wasn't expensive, but it was sharing a memory. With DIL it's about creating new memories.

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sunnygirl

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #76 on: December 30, 2013, 05:39:22 AM »
Of course you may never feel the same thing for your son in law that you do for your daughter.  But in my opinion, Christmas gifts are not really the best forum to express that.  There is no reason to draw attention to biology at Christmas.  There are times where it is more important, of course.  For example my parents in law have 3 children, my husband being one of them.  The three children are listed by name to inherit their property in equal thirds.  This is 100% expected and completely normal.  Two of the children are married, and neither I nor my sister in law expect to be personally named in their will and the money to be split in fifths!   But Christmas presents?  That's a time to be inclusive, not exclusive.   That's the time to say "you are a part of the family and I will treat you as such". 

Also, when it comes to relationships and feeling close to someone, I think sometimes people neglect the fact that gift giving, if done well, can actually cultivate the very relationship that you don't yet have but want to have.  If you make the effort to really find out what someone likes and find a gift that suits them, in general that can only help solidify and build a relationship.  Of course if you don't desire a close relationship that is something else entirely, but if you want one, I think equal gift giving and making an effort to find out what this person would enjoy would go a long way.

Obviously opinions will differ.
I don't think it has anything to do with "calling attention to biology." It's simply that it's perfectly natural to get different types of gifts for your closest life-long relationships, than for people you barely know. If I had in-laws I'm sure I'd get them something nice, but I wouldn't lavish expensive and deeply personal gifts on them the way I do my own family. I mean, I gave my mother a brand new BMW this Christmas. No way in a million years would I ever consider doing that for some random woman I was related to by marriage.

I personally would never want or expect to have any kind of parental relationship with my (hypothetical future) in-laws - I can't even conceive of having more than a cordial, friendly relationship. I find it very sweet that some people regard their in-laws as being like their own parents/children but until I read this thread it was a concept I'd honestly never heard of or thought of. Unless perhaps someone married very young or was seeking a parent surrogate anyway. No matter how lovely they are, I don't think anyone I met for the first time in my 30s could ever become a parent to me like someone the ones who raised me from birth.

EllenS

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #77 on: December 30, 2013, 06:59:11 AM »

I personally would never want or expect to have any kind of parental relationship with my (hypothetical future) in-laws - I can't even conceive of having more than a cordial, friendly relationship. I find it very sweet that some people regard their in-laws as being like their own parents/children but until I read this thread it was a concept I'd honestly never heard of or thought of. Unless perhaps someone married very young or was seeking a parent surrogate anyway. No matter how lovely they are, I don't think anyone I met for the first time in my 30s could ever become a parent to me like someone the ones who raised me from birth.

I think the idea that the woman who raised your (hypothetical) SO could ever be a "random" stranger is a bit of hyperbole - if your SO/spouse has a relationship with their family at all, they are going to be in your life -and if SO has a terrible relationship with them, they are going to be inside his/her head for you to deal with the aftermath.  Good or bad, your ILs are a significant relationship.

However, there is lots of middle ground between "truly like family" and merely cordial.  I have a very warm and affectionate relationship with my MIL. She refers to all her five DIL's as the daughters she never had, and really takes time and effort to make us feel welcome, included, and important to her.  Of course our relationship is not truly as intimate as with my own mother, but it is also less complicated and has less baggage.  We are very huggy and have good long talks when we visit, we put a lot of thought or $$ into gifts for each other (I have more time, she has more $$).  But it would never occur to me to call her three times a week just to "touch base" or tell her what cute thing the baby did, the way I did with my own mom.  I have both an individual relationship with her, as well as a role within the "cohort" of DIL's.

I think the gifting thing is also dependent on the overall family context.  In DH's family, there are 10 people in Generation 2.  All of the bio-kids are boys, and 3 of the 5 couples have always lived close together.  Treating the DIL's significantly differently from the bio-boys would come off like a gender statement, and treating the DIL's (at least the local ones) significantly differently from each other, would look like an intentional slight because they usually are together for gifting occasions.  I think if the family were more mixed in gender/family alignment, or more geographically spread out, the relationships might grow more separately.

FWIW, I also think it is odd to give a significant sum of money to one spouse and not the other. When either FOO gives a cash gift to only one of us, (Birthday or whatever), it is a modest amount of "fun money" (somewhere between a cheap haircut and a decent bottle of wine).  It is the norm in our families that spouses pool financial resources, so any significant check would be assumed to be a couple gift.
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Yvaine

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #78 on: December 30, 2013, 07:45:03 AM »
It's simply that it's perfectly natural to get different types of gifts for your closest life-long relationships, than for people you barely know. If I had in-laws I'm sure I'd get them something nice, but I wouldn't lavish expensive and deeply personal gifts on them the way I do my own family.

I will say that though the dollar values are about the same, the gifts for in-laws actually might not be as "personal" as the ones for blood family members, and that goes double if one person who married into the family draws another person who married in as their giftee (because they just don't know each other as well). There just isn't the same weight of decades of inside jokes and knowing weird things about the person's preferences that they might not remember to put on a wishlist. I can be out shopping and see some random thing and realize it's perfect for my sister even though she never mentioned it and might not even know it exists, but for my BIL, I'm probably going to get something exactly off his Amazon wishlist because I don't know him well enough yet to have "That'd be perfect!" epiphanies for him.

green.and.blue

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #79 on: December 30, 2013, 07:50:35 AM »
My parents get us a generous couples gift (a now decades-long membership to a museum), then give thoughtful individual gifts that vary in value, but are about even. This year my DH's gift was more than mine, because they found something great.

My FIL and his wife, on the other hand, spent three times more on DH than me, and about twice as much on DS (8) than on me. Also, they gave me scented products that I can't use because of allergies, exactly the same as they gave my SIL (who can't use them either) but are of a brand that SMIL sells. Otherwise, they gave me cash.

Before DS was born, MIL and SFIL would give gifts like this: SFIL's son (same age as DH's older brother) would get a gift worth X dollars. DH and BIL would each get a gift worth half X, which is apparently the way it's always been. When I got married to DH our gifts together would total half X, but his would always be worth more. When their stepbrother got married, MIL and SFIL doubled their gift budget instead of cutting back on his gift value - and were very public about it.

miranova

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #80 on: December 30, 2013, 08:53:19 AM »
Of course you may never feel the same thing for your son in law that you do for your daughter.  But in my opinion, Christmas gifts are not really the best forum to express that.  There is no reason to draw attention to biology at Christmas.  There are times where it is more important, of course.  For example my parents in law have 3 children, my husband being one of them.  The three children are listed by name to inherit their property in equal thirds.  This is 100% expected and completely normal.  Two of the children are married, and neither I nor my sister in law expect to be personally named in their will and the money to be split in fifths!   But Christmas presents?  That's a time to be inclusive, not exclusive.   That's the time to say "you are a part of the family and I will treat you as such". 

Also, when it comes to relationships and feeling close to someone, I think sometimes people neglect the fact that gift giving, if done well, can actually cultivate the very relationship that you don't yet have but want to have.  If you make the effort to really find out what someone likes and find a gift that suits them, in general that can only help solidify and build a relationship.  Of course if you don't desire a close relationship that is something else entirely, but if you want one, I think equal gift giving and making an effort to find out what this person would enjoy would go a long way.

Obviously opinions will differ.
I don't think it has anything to do with "calling attention to biology." It's simply that it's perfectly natural to get different types of gifts for your closest life-long relationships, than for people you barely know. If I had in-laws I'm sure I'd get them something nice, but I wouldn't lavish expensive and deeply personal gifts on them the way I do my own family. I mean, I gave my mother a brand new BMW this Christmas. No way in a million years would I ever consider doing that for some random woman I was related to by marriage.


I think it's pretty rare that someone is in the position where they are able to give out brand new $80,000 cars (give or take) as gifts to anyone.  So I am not sure that situation is even what we are discussing.  Personally I was discussing more mainstream gifts in the range of $20-$200 (give or take). 

I do not even remotely feel that my in laws are parents to me and didn't say that.  I am speaking as to what I would do for my own children and their future spouses and what my family does for us.  I don't claim that the relationships will be equal, far from it.  Just that the gift giving doesn't need to scream "you are really an outsider still".

TurtleDove

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #81 on: December 30, 2013, 09:04:27 AM »
Just that the gift giving doesn't need to scream "you are really an outsider still".

I think it would be a waste of emotion to create this thought process.  If the relationship is not good, gifts won't fix it.  If it is, why would you even notice the gift giving "inequality"?  That is what I am struggling to understand.  To me, it would never be about the gifts.  As an aside, some comments in this thread read quite a bit like the ones attributed to "gimme pigs" in other threads, and I don't see why it would be so out of bounds there but fine here!  Why would anyone feel entitled to a gift?

LadyL

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #82 on: December 30, 2013, 09:12:54 AM »
Just that the gift giving doesn't need to scream "you are really an outsider still".

I think it would be a waste of emotion to create this thought process.  If the relationship is not good, gifts won't fix it.  If it is, why would you even notice the gift giving "inequality"?  That is what I am struggling to understand.  To me, it would never be about the gifts.  As an aside, some comments in this thread read quite a bit like the ones attributed to "gimme pigs" in other threads, and I don't see why it would be so out of bounds there but fine here!  Why would anyone feel entitled to a gift?

 It might not be helpful to *dwell* on the issue but I think people can feel however they want to feel. I think it's not about the physical gifts at all, but rather being involved as an equal in the gift giving family tradition. And there are different ideas of what fair/equal treatment is,depending on whether PPs feel like part of their in-laws family or not, and whether they view their sons/daughters IL as their family.  The reason sometimes the inequality is noticeable is one person, or a group of people, are opening gift after gift, and there is much exclaiming and excitement over those gifts, while another person or persons have one small gift next to the pile given to everyone else. I think most reasonable people would notice the difference regardless of whether they actually felt slighted or not.

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #83 on: December 30, 2013, 10:10:55 AM »
My children are too young to be married, but when I look to the future and envision their spouses, that is going to be the most significant person in their life, more significant than me, and considering how I feel about my children, the person they choose to commit to, hopefully for life, makes that person incredibly significant to me, especially if they're going to parent my grandchildren.  We may not be blood, but there are strong ties there and I would consider them fully family and gift them equally. 

That being said, I totally see TurtleDove's point that if the relationship sucks, the relationships sucks and no amount of gift-giving is going to fix that.  My mother-in-law is the loveliest woman in the world and has always treated me so well.  If she gave my husband a significantly better gift, I don't think I would look at it as a reflection of how she felt about me because her love for me is evident in so many other ways.
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Julsie

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #84 on: December 30, 2013, 10:16:12 AM »
At the risk of posting an annoying "I agree" post with no other substance, I have to say that Miranova really sums it up beautifully.

Gift giving is a language and sends messages, whether we mean them to or hear them or not.  I want my messages to be of inclusion and acceptance.

English1

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #85 on: December 30, 2013, 10:20:06 AM »
This thread has really made me think.

In my family the blood relations probably usually get presents that are slightly bigger/more expensive than the married-in relations. This has always seemed normal to me and there is still thought put into the in-law presents. We don't spend a huge amount anyway so the difference is not a huge one. To be honest this year I spent least of all on my parents' presents as they are at a stage in life when they really don't want to be cluttering up with more possessions (they are thinking of moving into supported housing so are getting rid of stuff already), and they don't really 'want' anything, so I bought them small token presents that I think they still liked.

I have a new OH and my family all got him a small but nice present (only slightly smaller than the small but nice presents they got me) if they got us separate ones, or got us a joint present. We only got together this year but have just moved in together. His parents gave him 150 and gave me a jumper (sweater) that probably cost about 30, which at the time I didn't think anything of, but now reading this thread it's struck me that it was a BIG difference.

I'm not really bothered by it, but yeah, it's a different approach to what I'm used to.

I was more, well upset is far too strong a word for it, a bit hurt maybe, that his two children (age 11 and 21) came over for a couple of hours Christmas Day bringing him a 'Happy Christmas Dad' Christmas card, and me no card at all and not included on it...but then how do you include someone else on that anyway? I noticed that in his family they all seem obsessed with getting cards that state the relationship on the actual card - so he bought cards for 'Mum and Dad' and 'son' and 'daughter' and 'Brother' and 'Uncle and Aunt' and wouldn't use normal ones I had. His parents house was full of cards  all stating various relationships like 'Mum and Dad' and 'Grandparents' and 'Brother and sister-in-law' etc. Whereas we don't bother with those in my family, we just get nice standard cards. So I guess that's important to them. and there probably aren't any cards that say 'Dad and his girlfriend', lol, so I just got missed out altogether. (his parents us bought us a 'to the both of you' card.

TurtleDove

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #86 on: December 30, 2013, 10:20:47 AM »
At the risk of posting an annoying "I agree" post with no other substance, I have to say that Miranova really sums it up beautifully.

Gift giving is a language and sends messages, whether we mean them to or hear them or not.  I want my messages to be of inclusion and acceptance.

This resonated with me, as my husband and I are currently going through the "Love Languages" book.  I had my love languages analyzed and mine is overwhelmingly "Words of Affirmation."  The "Gift Giving" language did not even register for me. Not a single point.  I guess my point is that some people see gifts as love, and some (like me) do not at all.  I think it makes sense to understand that the message you may be "hearing" is one of "love or not love" based on the actual gift, but that may not be at all what is intended by the giver. For me, rather than assume the worst of people, I would take a look at the overall relationship.

Yvaine

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #87 on: December 30, 2013, 10:22:39 AM »
I was more, well upset is far too strong a word for it, a bit hurt maybe, that his two children (age 11 and 21) came over for a couple of hours Christmas Day bringing him a 'Happy Christmas Dad' Christmas card, and me no card at all and not included on it...but then how do you include someone else on that anyway? I noticed that in his family they all seem obsessed with getting cards that state the relationship on the actual card - so he bought cards for 'Mum and Dad' and 'son' and 'daughter' and 'Brother' and 'Uncle and Aunt' and wouldn't use normal ones I had. His parents house was full of cards  all stating various relationships like 'Mum and Dad' and 'Grandparents' and 'Brother and sister-in-law' etc. Whereas we don't bother with those in my family, we just get nice standard cards. So I guess that's important to them. and there probably aren't any cards that say 'Dad and his girlfriend', lol, so I just got missed out altogether. (his parents us bought us a 'to the both of you' card.

I've definitely noticed this perfectly-specific-card is a fixation for some people!  ;D At one of my old jobs, we sold cards, and I'd occasionally encounter a customer who couldn't bear the thought of buying a card for her niece that didn't specifically say Niece, or buy any card that didn't say 50th Birthday if that was the birthday at hand. I've certainly bought those at times, but I'm more likely to pick a general card with a funny joke or cute picture, and do the personalizing in my note inside.

Snooks

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #88 on: December 30, 2013, 10:30:51 AM »
This thread has really made me think.

In my family the blood relations probably usually get presents that are slightly bigger/more expensive than the married-in relations. This has always seemed normal to me and there is still thought put into the in-law presents. We don't spend a huge amount anyway so the difference is not a huge one. To be honest this year I spent least of all on my parents' presents as they are at a stage in life when they really don't want to be cluttering up with more possessions (they are thinking of moving into supported housing so are getting rid of stuff already), and they don't really 'want' anything, so I bought them small token presents that I think they still liked.

I have a new OH and my family all got him a small but nice present (only slightly smaller than the small but nice presents they got me) if they got us separate ones, or got us a joint present. We only got together this year but have just moved in together. His parents gave him 150 and gave me a jumper (sweater) that probably cost about 30, which at the time I didn't think anything of, but now reading this thread it's struck me that it was a BIG difference.

I'm not really bothered by it, but yeah, it's a different approach to what I'm used to.

I was more, well upset is far too strong a word for it, a bit hurt maybe, that his two children (age 11 and 21) came over for a couple of hours Christmas Day bringing him a 'Happy Christmas Dad' Christmas card, and me no card at all and not included on it...but then how do you include someone else on that anyway? I noticed that in his family they all seem obsessed with getting cards that state the relationship on the actual card - so he bought cards for 'Mum and Dad' and 'son' and 'daughter' and 'Brother' and 'Uncle and Aunt' and wouldn't use normal ones I had. His parents house was full of cards  all stating various relationships like 'Mum and Dad' and 'Grandparents' and 'Brother and sister-in-law' etc. Whereas we don't bother with those in my family, we just get nice standard cards. So I guess that's important to them. and there probably aren't any cards that say 'Dad and his girlfriend', lol, so I just got missed out altogether. (his parents us bought us a 'to the both of you' card.

I think the first year is the most difficult because everyone's trying to work out what to do.

English1

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Re: Do children and sons/daughter in law get equal gifts?
« Reply #89 on: December 30, 2013, 10:46:13 AM »
That's true - we all tend to assume that 'our' way is what happens everywhere and it's a surprise when we find out it isn't.

We hosted his parents for Christmas Day and found another possible clash between his family's 'all the men go to the pub for a few hours while the women cook Christmas Dinner' culture, and my family's 'no-one goes to the pub Christmas Day' culture. We ended up ALL going to the pub for an hour and meeting his brother and nephew there (his Dad's face was a picture when he found out  >:D but his mum looked pleased as punch) and OH and I cooking dinner when we returned.