I have a family dilemma that I not sure what to do about.
For a little background the family I am speaking of consists of me, my DH and DD, My younger sister E (unmarried, no children, 24),my older sister L (unmarried ,no children, 37) , my mom and dad, and my brother, his wife and two children (15 and 7).
My sisters live close to my parents in the same state. My family lives many states away as does my brother and his family.
I am VERY close with E ,my younger sister. I am pretty close with L and fairly close to my parents. I have not spoken to
my brother in 11 years. Not because we are fighting but simply because we just don't talk. We never have. I have never met his
youngest child since he was born while we were all in different state. I have met his older daughter as she is close in age to my daughter and we lived in the same state for about a year or so before we moved. I don't speak to my niece or nephew on thephone or anything either.
I just send a Christmas gift and birthday gift each year and my SIL does the same for my DD.
My SIL is the only one I 'talk' to and that is just through casual email's once in awhile.
I don't know if this is important or not but my sister L and brother are biological siblings. Their dad and my mom married when I was four
and they were 5 and 7. My younger sister is my half sister. My sister L has always been the one to buy expensive
gifts for everyone. She feels guilty if she doesn't. My brother and his family have always been somewhat critical of what they
receive which is why I stopped buying gifts for them and just focused on the kids.
I decided already that this was the last year I would buy for their kids. I tried to talk to SIL about not exchanging gifts this year
but she said she already got my DD a gift and she seemed a little upset about it.
I spoke with my mom yesterday and she said that my sister L told her she wanted us to all draw from a hat and pick names for next year. She wanted to include the kids in the name grab as well. I had a problem with that because for one ,money wise it is completely unfair to my family and especially my brother's family.They would be buying for 4 people, my family for 3 people while my sister's each bought for one person.
The worse part for me wasn't the money factor but the fact that I don't have any desire to buy for my brother or his family. I don't know any of them really and while yes they are 'family' we don't speak to eachother! My mom was saying how sweet it would be if say nephew (age 7) picked my name, how he could get a special gift for his aunt! That works well if the child even knows who I am which he does not.
I believe this was all said by sister L because she doesn't want to spend money on people anymore and she wants to alleviate her guilt.
I have told L many times that she is far to generous with my DD and she doesn't have to spend so much. She does not buy gifts for me or my DH anymore which I am perfectly happy with. I still send her a small gift each year because I want to. I also send my younger sister a gift because we are very close . Since she has had a steady job my younger sister buys gifts for me, DH and DD because she WANTS to...not because she has to.
As far as my parents go they used to send a check every year . My mom likes my sister L's idea but when I pointed out to her how most of us(including my mom herself) are estranged from brother's family she seemed to get my point of view.
What would you all do in the situation?
One other possibility that was brought was was to maybe instead of drawing names we would draw families. So a family would buy for just one family . Again that is not the best scenario for me as I do not want to buy for my brother's family but I would be willing to do that if that was what the majority wanted. I would still continue to buy for my sister's though if I happened to pick my brother's family.
Does anyone think that including children (ages 15, 15 and 7) in the name exchange is pretty much not realistic since the parents will be buying for them anyway?
Is it wrong of me to feel so adamant about not wanting to buy for people I don't even speak to?