Author Topic: The "obligation" of gifting.  (Read 7551 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8471
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #45 on: January 30, 2014, 01:33:21 AM »
I think it's worth talking to Jeff directly. I'd tell him that you don't expect him to give gifts when you mention things like weddings - you're just passing on information, and if he doesn't want to exchange at Christmas, etc, that's fine with you. I'd also mention directly that when it comes to DS, your main motivation is to help keep him from feeling left out in the family, as he's so much younger.

The mid 20s is the point where event related given can balloon - peers are getting married, and having babies, and it can cost a lot of money attending various events. It also may well be that he feels pressured when told about things like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, babies, etc. that he is feeling pressured to do something about it.

I think PPs have  a point about the likely relationship between the boys. With nearly 20 years separating them, and  not having lived in the same place, the relationship is very unlikely to be the same between DS and the older boys - I'd expect something more like an uncle and a nephew than siblings.

EnoughAlready22

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 161
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #46 on: January 30, 2014, 08:32:04 AM »
I would give Jeff a calendar with all pertinent dates listed, (everyone's birthdays, anniversaries, etc.).    If Jeff is an adult, your dh should not have to remind his sons all the time about calling for your son's birthday.  He can look at the calendar or list of dates each month that are special. 

If Jeff wants to act like an adult, than treat him like one. 

As for Christmas, I would point blank ask him the situation closer to the holiday season. For some that could be the beginning of October when people choose to pre buy their gifts.  "Jeff, so that we are clear, would you like to exchange gifts this year or not?".  Don't let him get wishy washy.  All you need is a simple yes or no. It is no big deal and he does not have to make it into one.

I wonder if Jeff is experiencing some financial difficulties?

As far as weddings, babies, etc., I think Jeff would be in for a rude surprise, when he feels he does not have to or should not have to give gifts at these events, and then people turn around and do the same for him.

The bolded is the question that I had.  I've been in that situation where my funds were limited and all these gift giving occasions kept coming up.  It can be very stressful. 

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30541
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #47 on: January 30, 2014, 12:53:37 PM »
Not sure how many sons you have but maybe a universal calendar given to everyone with all dates on it would help. 
It makes a  good christmas gift and if you have pictures of various family events they can be part of the calendar. 
There are a lot of companies that custom print calendars and with so much technology available maybe you could custom create this yourself and make it your gift to everyone else.

That could be fun--and put pics of them on the appropriate pages--pic of the calendar recipient with the birthday boy on his month, etc.

nolechica

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6166
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #48 on: February 03, 2014, 04:43:23 AM »
I'd guess there are money issues you don't know about.  Could be from number of events or pressure from girlfriend/fiancee.  She might want to make sure that she does get wedding gifts, which means he gives gifts he doesn't care about.  I know I was glad to not have many weddings/babies creating extra expenses in my 20s.  I'd find out what's up.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8471
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #49 on: February 03, 2014, 08:17:22 PM »
I'd guess there are money issues you don't know about.  Could be from number of events or pressure from girlfriend/fiancee.  She might want to make sure that she does get wedding gifts, which means he gives gifts he doesn't care about.  I know I was glad to not have many weddings/babies creating extra expenses in my 20s.  I'd find out what's up.

It could also be that now he has a steady girlfriend, the gift obligations have suddenly doubled, to include her family and friends as well.

Dindrane

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15376
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #50 on: February 04, 2014, 09:35:19 AM »
One thing that I found interesting about some of the original description of what happened with Coley's DS's birthday is that the other two stepbrothers (who presumably have as large a gap in age, if not larger) responded enthusiastically to the reminder that DS's birthday was coming up. It was really only Jeff who reacted negatively.

I'm thinking, therefore, that the whole issue of whether Coley and her DH should be reminding his sons of her son's birthday is kind of a red herring. Clearly, they have at least some positive reinforcement for those reminders. It wouldn't surprise me if this is not the first time one of the three older sons has expressed gratitude at a reminder.

I also think that whether parents reminding their adult children about birthdays or significant events in others' lives is appreciated and/or appropriate is highly variable from one family to the next. I talked to my mom on Sunday, and she asked if I remembered that my sister's birthday is coming up. I'm almost 29, and have been living entirely on my own (and halfway across the country) for the past 7 years. I'm the weirdo in my family who not only knows the date of everyone's birthday, but also what year they were born. But my mom reminds me of my sister's and brother's birthdays most years because she knows they appreciate hearing from me, and I appreciate a little extra insurance against getting caught up and not realizing that the date I know is upon me. There is a difference between remembering that my sister's birthday is Feb. 10th, and connecting it with the Feb. 10th that is this Monday.

But that's me and my family. If Jeff is chaffing at the reminders for any reason at all, I think the best way to handle it is to just lay out the options. You can a) say nothing to him at all about anything ever, b) give him a list of all the dates you'd otherwise call him about and let him figure out his own system of reminders, c) remind him of some specific types of dates, but not others, or d) continue as you have been.

If he chooses option a or b, that comes with the caveat that he is not allowed to be annoyed with you if he forgets about dates/events he wanted to acknowledge. If he chooses c or d, he doesn't get to be annoyed with you for reminding him, and he doesn't get to assume you're pushing him towards gifts (since your DH has already said that wasn't the message he was trying to send).

But I think laying out the realistic options for how you and your DH can respond to his frustration and letting him decide what he wants is going to be the best way to handle this. You can speculate about what is causing his frustration, but I don't know that you'll be able to figure out what's going on unless he tells you. And honestly, he might not want to tell you, or might not be able to articulate it. Discussing whether and when you remind him about things is probably going to be the easiest way to open the discussion if he does want to talk about it, though.

It might also be worth having a similar conversation with Jeff's brothers, just in case they would prefer you to handle things differently. You can open that one with a question about whether they want reminders or not. If they do, you can make sure you're giving them the ones they care about, and if they don't, you can offer to send them a list of all the things you would otherwise remind them about so they can keep track of things on their own.


ellebelle

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 176
  • I am L^2 and my favorite color is Damask
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #51 on: February 05, 2014, 09:12:14 AM »
OP, I do think ( having felt very much like Jeff at times) that when your DH called to remind him about DS's birthday and told him that he had a gift he could put Jeff's name on if he wanted implied that giving a gift to your DS was required or expected and I would be miffed.

I would cut him a LOT of slack. This coming so soon after Christmas may very have just been the straw that broke the camel's back. It is really easy to say I don't want to exchange gifts for the holiday's this year, but there is still a lot of pressure to do so (not neccessarily from you or DH) but from society.  I agree with others, talk to Jeff when there is not gift giving event near, this will allow for a more open conversation with the pressure of buying a gift to interfere.
- Well behaved women rarely make history


Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1186
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #52 on: February 05, 2014, 09:46:17 AM »
One thing that I found interesting about some of the original description of what happened with Coley's DS's birthday is that the other two stepbrothers (who presumably have as large a gap in age, if not larger) responded enthusiastically to the reminder that DS's birthday was coming up. It was really only Jeff who reacted negatively.

I'm thinking, therefore, that the whole issue of whether Coley and her DH should be reminding his sons of her son's birthday is kind of a red herring. Clearly, they have at least some positive reinforcement for those reminders. It wouldn't surprise me if this is not the first time one of the three older sons has expressed gratitude at a reminder.

I also think that whether parents reminding their adult children about birthdays or significant events in others' lives is appreciated and/or appropriate is highly variable from one family to the next. I talked to my mom on Sunday, and she asked if I remembered that my sister's birthday is coming up. I'm almost 29, and have been living entirely on my own (and halfway across the country) for the past 7 years. I'm the weirdo in my family who not only knows the date of everyone's birthday, but also what year they were born. But my mom reminds me of my sister's and brother's birthdays most years because she knows they appreciate hearing from me, and I appreciate a little extra insurance against getting caught up and not realizing that the date I know is upon me. There is a difference between remembering that my sister's birthday is Feb. 10th, and connecting it with the Feb. 10th that is this Monday.

I actually think it's a red herring that Jeff's response occurred surrounding DS's birthday. It could have been any event. It happened to be DS's birthday because that was the first event that occurred after Christmas, which was the point when Jeff began expressing some irritation about gift-giving. DH didn't know Jeff had concerns about gift-giving in general.

It was either Rob or Shawn (I'm not sure which) who first contacted DH and asked if DS's birthday was coming up. That's what prompted DH to contact all three of them with the reminder. Per the bolded above, that's exactly the kind of thing that can happen and has happened in the past. Dates the older guys aren't familiar with may be overlooked. They seem to seek reminders from DH. DH didn't want DS's birthday to be overlooked, so he reminded the three of them. The gift to DS was an add-on, and in this case, was the straw the broke the camel's back for Jeff.

Jeff's response blew DH's hair back, particularly because it was prompted by DS's birthday. This wasn't the wedding of a distant cousin he hasn't seen for 5 years. This is his young stepbrother, who he says he loves and wants to have a relationship with. From that standpoint, the conversation DH had with Jeff didn't make a lot of sense.

Going forward, I think the best we can do is clarify what information Jeff would prefer to have and how he would prefer to receive it. It would be simplest to give Jeff all the necessary dates, let him plug them into his calendar, and leave it at that. If he overlooks something, then that's his responsibility, and he can't complain if he forgets. If he wants us to give him a reminder, we can do that, but as Dindrane says, there can't be complaining or resentment about the reminder.

There's another theme in the OP though, and that's the idea of obligation surrounding gift-giving occasions. I can't quite get past the idea that Jeff resents giving gifts when certain occasions come up. I'm not speaking of DS's birthday there. I'm talking about all events, like weddings and births and graduations. From their conversation, DH seemed to think there was some entitlement in Jeff's attitude: an "I don't think I should have to." DH clarified that no one is required to give gifts; it's done because the giver wants to. If he doesn't want to, then he shouldn't.

If Jeff wants to acknowledge these occasions in a different way or in no way, it's up to Jeff to decide to live those values. If Jeff is having difficulty reconciling his feelings (i.e., he doesn't want to feel obligated but also feels guilty about not giving a gift), then that's for him to sort out.

mj

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 571
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #53 on: February 05, 2014, 10:46:05 AM »
One thing that I found interesting about some of the original description of what happened with Coley's DS's birthday is that the other two stepbrothers (who presumably have as large a gap in age, if not larger) responded enthusiastically to the reminder that DS's birthday was coming up. It was really only Jeff who reacted negatively.

I'm thinking, therefore, that the whole issue of whether Coley and her DH should be reminding his sons of her son's birthday is kind of a red herring. Clearly, they have at least some positive reinforcement for those reminders. It wouldn't surprise me if this is not the first time one of the three older sons has expressed gratitude at a reminder.

I also think that whether parents reminding their adult children about birthdays or significant events in others' lives is appreciated and/or appropriate is highly variable from one family to the next. I talked to my mom on Sunday, and she asked if I remembered that my sister's birthday is coming up. I'm almost 29, and have been living entirely on my own (and halfway across the country) for the past 7 years. I'm the weirdo in my family who not only knows the date of everyone's birthday, but also what year they were born. But my mom reminds me of my sister's and brother's birthdays most years because she knows they appreciate hearing from me, and I appreciate a little extra insurance against getting caught up and not realizing that the date I know is upon me. There is a difference between remembering that my sister's birthday is Feb. 10th, and connecting it with the Feb. 10th that is this Monday.

I actually think it's a red herring that Jeff's response occurred surrounding DS's birthday. It could have been any event. It happened to be DS's birthday because that was the first event that occurred after Christmas, which was the point when Jeff began expressing some irritation about gift-giving. DH didn't know Jeff had concerns about gift-giving in general.

It was either Rob or Shawn (I'm not sure which) who first contacted DH and asked if DS's birthday was coming up. That's what prompted DH to contact all three of them with the reminder. Per the bolded above, that's exactly the kind of thing that can happen and has happened in the past. Dates the older guys aren't familiar with may be overlooked. They seem to seek reminders from DH. DH didn't want DS's birthday to be overlooked, so he reminded the three of them. The gift to DS was an add-on, and in this case, was the straw the broke the camel's back for Jeff.

Jeff's response blew DH's hair back, particularly because it was prompted by DS's birthday. This wasn't the wedding of a distant cousin he hasn't seen for 5 years. This is his young stepbrother, who he says he loves and wants to have a relationship with. From that standpoint, the conversation DH had with Jeff didn't make a lot of sense.

Going forward, I think the best we can do is clarify what information Jeff would prefer to have and how he would prefer to receive it. It would be simplest to give Jeff all the necessary dates, let him plug them into his calendar, and leave it at that. If he overlooks something, then that's his responsibility, and he can't complain if he forgets. If he wants us to give him a reminder, we can do that, but as Dindrane says, there can't be complaining or resentment about the reminder.

There's another theme in the OP though, and that's the idea of obligation surrounding gift-giving occasions. I can't quite get past the idea that Jeff resents giving gifts when certain occasions come up. I'm not speaking of DS's birthday there. I'm talking about all events, like weddings and births and graduations. From their conversation, DH seemed to think there was some entitlement in Jeff's attitude: an "I don't think I should have to." DH clarified that no one is required to give gifts; it's done because the giver wants to. If he doesn't want to, then he shouldn't.

If Jeff wants to acknowledge these occasions in a different way or in no way, it's up to Jeff to decide to live those values. If Jeff is having difficulty reconciling his feelings (i.e., he doesn't want to feel obligated but also feels guilty about not giving a gift), then that's for him to sort out.

Not all people, myself included, associate good quality relationships with others and gifts.  I just don't, whether I'm giving or receiving.  And I'm not a young chicken here and I can afford to buy gifts for these occasions. 

I do not think this is entitlement and to be honest, it's worrisome to me to see that type of attitude because it is happening with my ILs and their refusals to compromise over gifting (huge family and a bunch of other background that has left a lot upset in the family, not just me or DH) has led to feeling like events are obligations, rather than a chance to get together to catch up.  As a parent myself, it is more important to have a quality relationship than the material aspects, so if gifting is a source of tension it is easy for me to say cut that part out to continue on with the pleasant parts.  Not all agree with me, and that is fine - but it doesn't mean I'm entitled and when people get extreme about this, it seems to me they are entitled for expecting everyone to agree with them on their views of gifting. 

I'm not saying you're doing that, but some of the phrases you've written stand out to me in that you and your DH are having a hard time with his adult sons views.  Blended families are not easy in the beginning and adults do need time to find the ground below them - what I got what Jeff was saying was "hey, I don't want to be left out of the loop - so yes, it's nice to hear what you are up to and if what you are up to is celebrating younger stepbro's bday, then tell me!  But I don't need a reminder of his birthday and I would like to cut down on gifts in general". 

I don't believe any of that is entitlement, it is an adult expressing his wishes.

eta - what lead to a lot of my views on this was that Jeff & his brothers do not exchange gifts for their birthdays and your husband seems fine with that, it seems contrary in that he was taken aback about Jeff's views about gifting to your DS.  Your DH presumably could have stressed his gifting values when Jeff & his brothers were younger, but had not?  So it does seem odd now and I can see where Jeff is confused.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 10:49:41 AM by mj »

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1186
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #54 on: February 05, 2014, 11:21:06 AM »
Not all people, myself included, associate good quality relationships with others and gifts.  I just don't, whether I'm giving or receiving.  And I'm not a young chicken here and I can afford to buy gifts for these occasions. 

I do not think this is entitlement and to be honest, it's worrisome to me to see that type of attitude because it is happening with my ILs and their refusals to compromise over gifting (huge family and a bunch of other background that has left a lot upset in the family, not just me or DH) has led to feeling like events are obligations, rather than a chance to get together to catch up.  As a parent myself, it is more important to have a quality relationship than the material aspects, so if gifting is a source of tension it is easy for me to say cut that part out to continue on with the pleasant parts.  Not all agree with me, and that is fine - but it doesn't mean I'm entitled and when people get extreme about this, it seems to me they are entitled for expecting everyone to agree with them on their views of gifting. 

I'm not saying you're doing that, but some of the phrases you've written stand out to me in that you and your DH are having a hard time with his adult sons views.  Blended families are not easy in the beginning and adults do need time to find the ground below them - what I got what Jeff was saying was "hey, I don't want to be left out of the loop - so yes, it's nice to hear what you are up to and if what you are up to is celebrating younger stepbro's bday, then tell me!  But I don't need a reminder of his birthday and I would like to cut down on gifts in general". 

I don't believe any of that is entitlement, it is an adult expressing his wishes.

eta - what lead to a lot of my views on this was that Jeff & his brothers do not exchange gifts for their birthdays and your husband seems fine with that, it seems contrary in that he was taken aback about Jeff's views about gifting to your DS.  Your DH presumably could have stressed his gifting values when Jeff & his brothers were younger, but had not?  So it does seem odd now and I can see where Jeff is confused.

Believe me, we are not associating a good-quality relationship with gifting. If Jeff would prefer not to exchange gifts, we are perfectly content in respecting that. He needs to articulate clearly what he wants so that we can respect his wishes. Thus far, that hasn't happened. We are no more clear on what Jeff wants to do than we were before DH spoke to him. All we know is that Jeff is feeling heartburn over feeling obligated to give gifts. He has not specifically said that he doesn't want to give gifts. He will have to figure out what his values are regarding gifting so he can live them. We will respect what he decides.

Regarding birthdays: My three adult stepsons do not exchange birthday gifts now that they are adults. When they were children, they did participate in gift-giving with each other. My DS turned 13. He is still a child. DH was attempting to follow the same practice with DS's birthday that he followed with his sons' birthdays when they were children in terms of recognizing them.

mj

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 571
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2014, 11:36:48 AM »
While it is being relayed here, Coley, I understood what Jeff was saying.  He prefers not to receive obligatory reminders of birthdays but does not mind hearing what you all are up to.  That is how I took what you relayed of the conversation which may be the game of telephone here since it was a conversation that your husband had with him, relayed to you and then relayed here.

If anything it is one of those situations that is coming across to me that understanding is not really needed or may never happen.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8471
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #56 on: February 05, 2014, 07:24:49 PM »
I can't quite get past the idea that Jeff resents giving gifts when certain occasions come up. I'm not speaking of DS's birthday there. I'm talking about all events, like weddings and births and graduations. From their conversation, DH seemed to think there was some entitlement in Jeff's attitude: an "I don't think I should have to." DH clarified that no one is required to give gifts; it's done because the giver wants to. If he doesn't want to, then he shouldn't.

I'm getting a pretty strong conflicting message here - basically, that you aren't *required* to give gifts, you give them because you want to, but you *should* want to, or there's something wrong with you.

If these gifts truly are voluntary, then the fact that Jeff's not into gifts should be a total non-issue and a quick "No, of course you don't have to send a gift when X - if you want to acknowledge it, send a congratulatory email instead". But it sounds like the fact that he isn't interested in sending birth/wedding/graduation gifts to the extended family is in itself a problem - it's seen as baffling and entitled.

If he is expecting gifts from everyone else and doesn't want to give in return, that *is* entitled. If he's not big on gifts in general, it's not.

And if he is getting the message that he should want to send gifts for weddings/births/graduations to extended family, plus birthday and Christmas with the close family, plus all the wedding/birth/shower stuff for friends, times two for the girlfriend's sides.... For a twenty-something, getting established on their own financially, that could be a pretty big burden, both in effort and money.

I don't think I've ever given or received a gift with most of my extended family (with the exception of grandparents and one aunt, who gives gifts to us), unless I was actually invited to the wedding etc. At the moment, I've got 7 sets of aunts and uncles, 18 cousins, 14 cousins in law, 24 in the next generation, with about seven of those married with kids, so it's probably a good thing.

daen

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 708
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #57 on: February 05, 2014, 10:07:36 PM »
I can't quite get past the idea that Jeff resents giving gifts when certain occasions come up. I'm not speaking of DS's birthday there. I'm talking about all events, like weddings and births and graduations. From their conversation, DH seemed to think there was some entitlement in Jeff's attitude: an "I don't think I should have to." DH clarified that no one is required to give gifts; it's done because the giver wants to. If he doesn't want to, then he shouldn't.

I'm getting a pretty strong conflicting message here - basically, that you aren't *required* to give gifts, you give them because you want to, but you *should* want to, or there's something wrong with you.

If these gifts truly are voluntary, then the fact that Jeff's not into gifts should be a total non-issue and a quick "No, of course you don't have to send a gift when X - if you want to acknowledge it, send a congratulatory email instead". But it sounds like the fact that he isn't interested in sending birth/wedding/graduation gifts to the extended family is in itself a problem - it's seen as baffling and entitled.

If he is expecting gifts from everyone else and doesn't want to give in return, that *is* entitled. If he's not big on gifts in general, it's not.

And if he is getting the message that he should want to send gifts for weddings/births/graduations to extended family, plus birthday and Christmas with the close family, plus all the wedding/birth/shower stuff for friends, times two for the girlfriend's sides.... For a twenty-something, getting established on their own financially, that could be a pretty big burden, both in effort and money.

I don't think I've ever given or received a gift with most of my extended family (with the exception of grandparents and one aunt, who gives gifts to us), unless I was actually invited to the wedding etc. At the moment, I've got 7 sets of aunts and uncles, 18 cousins, 14 cousins in law, 24 in the next generation, with about seven of those married with kids, so it's probably a good thing.

Bolding mine.

I would lightly add that since gift-giving is a social norm (granted, a voluntary one), choosing not to participate may have some consequences, but it is still entirely his choice.

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1186
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #58 on: February 06, 2014, 08:17:38 AM »
I can't quite get past the idea that Jeff resents giving gifts when certain occasions come up. I'm not speaking of DS's birthday there. I'm talking about all events, like weddings and births and graduations. From their conversation, DH seemed to think there was some entitlement in Jeff's attitude: an "I don't think I should have to." DH clarified that no one is required to give gifts; it's done because the giver wants to. If he doesn't want to, then he shouldn't.

I'm getting a pretty strong conflicting message here - basically, that you aren't *required* to give gifts, you give them because you want to, but you *should* want to, or there's something wrong with you.

If these gifts truly are voluntary, then the fact that Jeff's not into gifts should be a total non-issue and a quick "No, of course you don't have to send a gift when X - if you want to acknowledge it, send a congratulatory email instead". But it sounds like the fact that he isn't interested in sending birth/wedding/graduation gifts to the extended family is in itself a problem - it's seen as baffling and entitled.

If he is expecting gifts from everyone else and doesn't want to give in return, that *is* entitled. If he's not big on gifts in general, it's not.

And if he is getting the message that he should want to send gifts for weddings/births/graduations to extended family, plus birthday and Christmas with the close family, plus all the wedding/birth/shower stuff for friends, times two for the girlfriend's sides.... For a twenty-something, getting established on their own financially, that could be a pretty big burden, both in effort and money.

I don't think I've ever given or received a gift with most of my extended family (with the exception of grandparents and one aunt, who gives gifts to us), unless I was actually invited to the wedding etc. At the moment, I've got 7 sets of aunts and uncles, 18 cousins, 14 cousins in law, 24 in the next generation, with about seven of those married with kids, so it's probably a good thing.

It's the actual resentment he is expressing about "having to give gifts" that we find baffling. I'm not sure I've been adequately able to express that here. To put it another way, what DH heard from Jeff was, "Every time someone (read: anyone -- not just family) has another life event, it's another gift I have to buy. I don't like having to do that." That's why DH responded that gifts are given by choice. It's not a "have to." If Jeff doesn't want to give gifts, then he shouldn't give them.

I actually don't know where he has gotten the message that he must give gifts. We've all shared gift ideas at the holidays, and there was DH's offer about DS's birthday gift a few weeks ago, but other than that, we (DH and I) don't talk much with any of the boys about gifts. Whether there is some pressure coming from others in Jeff's life -- his mom, his GF, his brothers, etc., I just don't know. And it could simply be, as many have speculated, including myself, that he is inundated with gifting occasions right now and is tired of it.

It was confusing for us when he hinted to DH at Thanksgiving that he's too old to give and receive Christmas gifts but then later asked DH for gift ideas. We didn't know what to do with that. In fact, I said to DH, "I thought he said he didn't want to do gifts anymore." And DH said he thought the same. We then found ourselves doing some last-minute shopping so we could reciprocate and get gifts in the mail. Then Jeff turned around complained to DH a few weeks ago that he had to give gifts at Christmas. This doesn't make sense to us. Jeff initiated the discussion about gift ideas; we didn't.

As I said in a PP, there are any number of ways to acknowledge someone's life event. Gifts are only one of them. Jeff has to decide what he wants to do: which life events he wants to acknowledge and how he wants to acknowledge them. That will be HIS way, and we will respect whatever Jeff decides. But he has to make the decision and follow through with it. Time (and the next gift-giving occasion) will tell.

mj

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 571
Re: The "obligation" of gifting.
« Reply #59 on: February 06, 2014, 08:43:02 AM »
At Thanksgiving, what was your DHs response to him?

Honestly, I find myself thinking a similar thing about gifting as what you're saying Jeff is saying - I'm more than happy to cut gifts out at Christmas.  And I would be taken aback if someone offered to put my name on a childs birthday gift - that is expressing that this is a gifting obligation in some form, especially coming from your father.  Age doesn't matter much in that respect, imo.

The conversation I think your husband should have with him shouldn't be about reminders, but a talk about the gifts - what does Jeff want to do?  And if he does not want Christmas gifts and to stay out of that exchange, I think he is looking for his father to agree to this so there is not the obligation to gift him back.  It sounds like Jeff is looking for this agreement and in not getting one, he feels obligated to gift when he just doesn't want to.