Author Topic: s/o Forgotten Easter Baskets....uneven gift exchanges/delayed reciprocation  (Read 4766 times)

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peaches

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I know there's probably nothing that can be said about this in good etiquette, but if there is, I'd like to hear suggestions.  Or does anyone else have similar circumstances?

I don't think there is anything you can say that's etiquette approved. And anything you do say could backfire and make matters worse.

This is pretty common. The people we interact with will have different levels of involvement and generosity. When it's relatives, as opposed to friends, it's both more frustrating and harder to deal with; you can't just drop your relatives over an issue like this.

I think the important thing in your post is this:

My kids are taught to appreciate whatever they get and thank the giver. 

That's a good approach for everyone to take.

And this:

Sister participated in the ceremony. 

It's not a small thing, in my view, for your sister to show up and participate in the ceremony. That's actually a big thing. And that is her way of showing she cares.
 
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 02:43:43 PM by peaches »

SingActDance

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I don't see any way you can bring this up without sounding greedy.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand the fascination with cards. I get sending them when you're far away and want to let someone know you're thinking of them on their special day. But if someone is there, celebrating the event alongside, even participating in it....I guess I don't understand why a card would say more than that.
Most people look at musical theatre and think "Why are those people singing and dancing in the street?" I'm sort of the opposite. I see a street full of people and think, "Why aren't they?"

cattlekid

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MissMarch, I'm in your boat but not nearly with as many passengers.  :)  I have two nieces, one from my side and one from DH's side.  I happily gift my niece from my side because I know that I will be included in her life as much as possible even though we reside 800 miles away from her.  Facebook, phone calls and good old snail mail are frequent methods of communication.

My niece on DH's side?  We live 20 minutes away and hardly see her.  SIL and BIL don't use social media and their lives revolve mostly around BIL's family.  However, we are supposed to be Johnny-on-the-spot with gifts for niece for birthdays and Christmas. 

To be fair, MIL is really the one who pushes the gift giving.  Since, like MM said, I can't gift to my niece without resenting it, I've dropped the rope.  DH is now responsible for what is purchased for niece (within reason of cost and appropriateness for age range) and where/when it is given.  If he forgets, it's now on him.  Very freeing.

Miss March

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Yes, I totally agree with MM. If you feel resentment about giving a gift, then do not give a gift. I am lucky in that my nieces and nephews are generally all very loving, demonstrative, and warm little people who seem very excited to see me- whether I have a gift for them or not. It would be very different if I felt gifts were demanded, and no thanks or shows of appreciation were given.
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SamiHami

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I don't see any way you can bring this up without sounding greedy.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand the fascination with cards. I get sending them when you're far away and want to let someone know you're thinking of them on their special day. But if someone is there, celebrating the event alongside, even participating in it....I guess I don't understand why a card would say more than that.

It's a tangible reminder of that person and the special event. A card can evoke strong memories and have a lot of meaning for the recipient.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Mergatroyd

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I agree that there isn't much you can say at this point. Perhaps in the future if you neglect to mail a graduation card or something and she calls you on it then you can remind her of this, but then it comes down to if you are willing to punish her kids for her behaviour.

Personally, I grew up nearly the youngest of one set of cousins, and by far the oldest on the other side. There may have been gifts from aunts and uncles when I was very small but I don't remember any. Geographically we lived quite a distance from them all so I'm fairly certain gift exchanges only happened when we were together for holidays, if then.
My own children are the oldest on both sides. They receive christmas gifts and occasionally birthday gifts from their aunts and uncles (the birthday gifts are from my sisters). We gift christmas presents to my nephews and nieces, but not birthday gifts (although I will send my sisters child a birthday gift, quietly, as she does send my children birthday gifts.) We also don't exchange birthday gifts among ourselves, just cards (my side) or phone calls (his side). My sisters are younger than me, and I gave them birthday gifts until they turned 18.
I feel in a way it was an easy path for us, because having kids first means when people didn't acknowledge their birthdays, I found it easy to follow their example when their own kids where born. I always gift a birth present when there is a new arrival, and after that they only get xmas gifts. I do buy them things when they are visiting though, like water guns for everyone, or a new shirt or special one on one ice creams. 

TootsNYC

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I don't see any way you can bring this up without sounding greedy.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand the fascination with cards. I get sending them when you're far away and want to let someone know you're thinking of them on their special day. But if someone is there, celebrating the event alongside, even participating in it....I guess I don't understand why a card would say more than that.

It's a tangible reminder of that person and the special event. A card can evoke strong memories and have a lot of meaning for the recipient.

Or they end up in the recycling bin.  ;)

Photos are what I count on as a tangible reminder, instead of words written by someone in Kansas City (or wherever Hallmark, etc., are located). I'm pretty unsentimental, compared with other people, I think, so cards don't do much; presence does.

For me the disparity isn't in the gifts. It's in the relationships. I have relationships w/ my nieces & nephews, and that's because those relationships started when they were little, and I had no family and more discretionary income.
   My kids don't have relationships with their aunts & uncles at all, because when my kids were little, my sibs were busy raising their 9yos and older. And now that their kids are grown, they don't have any background w/ my now-older kids to refer back to. 

ladyknight1

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I save cards, and have all cards given to me for the last two decades.

Mergatroyd

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I save cards from my grandparents and elderly relatives, until the next year rolls around and then I burn the old ones and keep the new ones. I know one day they won't be around to send me a new one.
I send my sisters cards so I don't have to phone them.. I don't text either, which seems to be the preferred method nowdays.

SingActDance

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I get that some people might like getting and keeping cards, but maybe not everybody does. Some people see being there and participating/supporting as something that's just as nice as a card. So I don't think the OP is fair to fault her sister for not getting a card when she participated in the event.
Most people look at musical theatre and think "Why are those people singing and dancing in the street?" I'm sort of the opposite. I see a street full of people and think, "Why aren't they?"

purple

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I don't keep cards.

I keep some of them for a while because I feel like the person who gave it to me might be upset to think it went in the bin the next day, but they are meaningless to me after the first moment of opening and reading them.  The memory of the person giving me the card and the memory of what they wrote inside stays with me though.

Otterpop

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I don't keep cards.

I keep some of them for a while because I feel like the person who gave it to me might be upset to think it went in the bin the next day, but they are meaningless to me after the first moment of opening and reading them.  The memory of the person giving me the card and the memory of what they wrote inside stays with me though.

Thats me too, unless they are unusually crafted and I can use them for decoupage.  They might go on the fridge for awhile but then they're tossed after a month or two.  It's the words inside I keep.

TootsNYC

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I don't keep cards.

I keep some of them for a while because I feel like the person who gave it to me might be upset to think it went in the bin the next day, but they are meaningless to me after the first moment of opening and reading them.  The memory of the person giving me the card and the memory of what they wrote inside stays with me though.


I will confess--In general, I don't even keep the memory of the giving of the card, or the memory of what they wrote inside (maybe bcs most of them don't have much in the way of a message). I have kept and remembered cards with particularly powerful messages inside, where the card was simply the fancy stationery they used to write me a note.


But--we're getting off track, I think, from the OP's problem of feeling that there's an uneven investment in sibling's children, and that the gifts are a very tangible and visible evidence of that.

KarenK

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I don't see any way you can bring this up without sounding greedy.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand the fascination with cards. I get sending them when you're far away and want to let someone know you're thinking of them on their special day. But if someone is there, celebrating the event alongside, even participating in it....I guess I don't understand why a card would say more than that.

Nope, it's not just you. I think they are a waste of money and when I get them, I throw them away after I read them. Even the ones that play music, which I do think are very cool.

lowspark

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I know some people do keep cards but I think most just throw them away. Which is why I've stopped buying Hallmark type cards. They aren't cheap! $5 or $6 is a lot of money to spend on something someone is going to glance at and then toss. Instead, I buy (usually on sale!) a box of blank cards and then write my own message. It's not poetry but it gets the point across.  :)

But back to the topic, I think that this may be more about different styles and sibling relationships than about what's fair. You like making cakes, your sister assumed you would always make them, to the point of handing you the pan she wanted you to use. That kind of expectation and follow through is specific to this exact situation. I don't mean to sound like your sister was wrong for taking advantage, but that's what she did. With you allowing her to do so. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is apparently the dynamic of how the two of you relate.

Based on what you wrote, it just sounds to me like you are expecting something that is simply not going to happen. She is giving what she is capable of giving, and specifically, what she is capable of giving at this point in her life. It just so happens that that is not at all equal or equivalent to what you were capable of and willing to give when her kids were small. It's not fair, but that's what it is.