Author Topic: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too  (Read 9402 times)

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Asharah

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    My younger, by 5 years, brother has three children, two girls, one boy, while I’m in a civil partnership with my SO of 10 years. Brother works as an engineer, and his wife as a wedding dress designer/maker. I’m a senior manager working in the Capital and my partner works part time in a shop.

    My brother’s family and my parent’s and his wife’s parents live about 5 hours away by transport (no I don’t drive) and I visit maybe twice a year depending on work and schedules. Normally I pay a visit to my parents over the mid or late December during which my brother brings the kids down for a few hours to talk and say hello. During this period I’ve traditionally given each of them their Christmas present.

    As my brother’s children have grown up they have gotten a bit more “grabby” each year when it comes to Christmas presents. About 5 years ago I was emailed a list of “Eldest Daughter (ED) would like ….”, ”Youngest Daughter (YD) would like ..”,  and “Youngest Child (the son) YC) would like …”. This wasn’t a “please choose one item from the list” this was a request for over £300 of items per child. Now OK I have a reasonably good job, but I live in the capital and costs are commensurately higher. To be asked to shell out £900 for presents was pushing things. Additionally some of the items were large (YS wanted a drum kit !) and trying to travel with those would be nearly impossible for me. Asharah's comment: If the parents were the ones sending the e-mail, I would put more blame on them at this point.

    So I decided to call my parents first and ask them what was going on. My mother had received a paper copy of a similar list, asking for over £100 of items per child, (our parents have retired and while they own their own home they have a restricted income), and thus had told my brother that they would spend up to £25 per grandchild and no more.   Apparently ED (age eight) had been heard in the background calling her grandparents some unpleasant names during the call, which just added to the problems. I then called my brother and discussed the issue, told him that I would spend at most £100 per child and that I’d rather provide a gift token to a chain-store of his choice then they could buy what they wanted, possibly in the post-Christmas sales and get a lot more for their money. Grudging acceptance from brother. Asharah's comment: Even if brother is the kids parent, I don't see why LW needs his permission to buy the kids what he sees fit to for Xmas!

    So .. I go to buy the gift tokens and see at the same time some really nice “plush toys”, one a floppy eared dog, one a panda, and the other an elephant. Now I know that YS loves elephants and that YD loves dogs, so I buy each one (over £20 each) and a big “sparkly” gift box plus the vouchers.   I put the vouchers in the box and wrap everything up. A few days later I’m at my parents and my brother turns up with the three kids. We have a nice chat for a while, the kids tell me what they’ve been learning at school and so forth, at which point I decide to put them out of their misery and give them the boxes. Obviously this isn’t what my brother was expecting, they thought they were going to get an envelope with a gift token each, so this sparks some curiosity. I give permission for them to open the gift now.

    YS .. oh wow a neffylump .. (what he calls them) really happy and runs off to tell his grandparents.
    YD .. oh that’s so cute .. runs off to show grandparents her dog.
    ED .. holding panda by one ear… looks at me and throws it across the room, turns to her father .. “You said he was bringing me money,” and stomps off. Asharah's comment: Why exactly would Dad tell daughter what uncle was bringing her for Xmas?

    I pickup the nice boxes and extract the gift tokens and call the kids back into the room.  YS and YD run back, followed by everyone else.  ED lurks near the door.   I point out to YS and YD that they have left their £100 gift tokens in the boxes and hand them to them.  £100 is quite a bit of spending money. They are even happier.  I then give ED the,  “Well as you don’t want your Panda .. you can’t want the gift-token either”.

    Cue a screaming session from ED as she realises that she’s done herself out of a £100 gift token. Asharah's comment: What did Dad have to say?  I had the token split into two £50 vouchers and send them down to YD and YS by post.   1001-08
Asharah's comment: Reminds me of the story of the kid who was a brat about what his relatives brought him from Disneyland and never got another present from them. And his mom was a total witch with a capital B!
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=2527.0
« Last Edit: December 25, 2009, 07:30:19 PM by Asharah »
Asharah

Asharah

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2009, 07:42:14 PM »
Just for the record, my 22-month-old niece didn't have any problem saying "Thank you" for her Xmas presents earlier today. Although she occasionly had to be pointed in the direction of the right person if the gift giver isn't right in front of her.  ;D
Asharah

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2009, 07:52:53 PM »
Mow much do you want to bet that brother intercepted those gift tokens and gave them to ED? Or made the other two share their tokens with her?
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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2009, 07:55:40 PM »
Just for the record, my 22-month-old niece didn't have any problem saying "Thank you" for her Xmas presents earlier today. Although she occasionly had to be pointed in the direction of the right person if the gift giver isn't right in front of her.  ;D

A cousin of mine once thanked my father for ALL her gifts, no matter who the giver... because she was SURE Uncle T was santa, since he was fat and has a white beard.

rockchalk

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2009, 10:37:49 PM »
Mow much do you want to bet that brother intercepted those gift tokens and gave them to ED? Or made the other two share their tokens with her?

Maybe not. The two youngest kids seem to be turning out fine, so maybe the parents are doing something right after all!

Also, every gift list I've ever received has been just that - a list. I never took it to mean that the recipients wanted every single thing on the list. It was simply "Diane's Wish List." I never even thought that a disclaimer of "please choose one of these to send" had to be added. That seems silly and obvious!

I love his steel will though. Mad props!

Azrail

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2009, 10:47:06 PM »
Mow much do you want to bet that brother intercepted those gift tokens and gave them to ED? Or made the other two share their tokens with her?

Maybe not. The two youngest kids seem to be turning out fine, so maybe the parents are doing something right after all!

Also, every gift list I've ever received has been just that - a list. I never took it to mean that the recipients wanted every single thing on the list. It was simply "Diane's Wish List." I never even thought that a disclaimer of "please choose one of these to send" had to be added. That seems silly and obvious!

I love his steel will though. Mad props!

I disagree. The OP mentions that the brother gives 'grudging acceptance' when he is told the OP will spend only 100 pounds on each child. He obviously intended for the OP to buy everything on the list. And when the ED is throwing her hissy fit he doesn't try to control it in anyway.

To me, that reads a big old parenting FAIL.
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Hanna

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2009, 11:33:09 PM »
The child was really awful but....I can't imagine taking a gift from a child then giving it to their siblings.  I get the first part, but dividing any gift for any reason between the other children is likely to cause life-long animosity. 

rockchalk

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2009, 12:24:29 AM »
Mow much do you want to bet that brother intercepted those gift tokens and gave them to ED? Or made the other two share their tokens with her?

Maybe not. The two youngest kids seem to be turning out fine, so maybe the parents are doing something right after all!

Also, every gift list I've ever received has been just that - a list. I never took it to mean that the recipients wanted every single thing on the list. It was simply "Diane's Wish List." I never even thought that a disclaimer of "please choose one of these to send" had to be added. That seems silly and obvious!

I love his steel will though. Mad props!

I disagree. The OP mentions that the brother gives 'grudging acceptance' when he is told the OP will spend only 100 pounds on each child. He obviously intended for the OP to buy everything on the list. And when the ED is throwing her hissy fit he doesn't try to control it in anyway.

To me, that reads a big old parenting FAIL.

I definitely see where you are coming from, but I read that as the parent grudgingly accepting a gift card, not that the amount was too low. Perhaps it's a huge fight when they go to toy stores? Perhaps it's a time issue where they as a family couldn't make it to stores for quite some time, etc. It may have nothing to do with the monetary value, but the circumstances surrounding the act of spending said gift card.

I am very curious about how the dad reacted, as there is little mention of what he did when ED threw her hissy. I wish we could ask the OP!

Although etiquette-wise, grudgingly accepting a gift is certainly a fail!

TylerBelle

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2009, 05:18:27 AM »
I agree the 'ED' acted spoiled and quite ungrateful in the receipt of her Uncle's gift, but for him to respond with “Well as you don’t want your Panda .. you can’t want the gift-token either” was a little snarky I thought and then to split the token money for the younger children reeked of spite. Why not just take the stuffed toy and the token thing back without a word? For I'd think the ED would figure out after seeing her siblings get the tokens, there would be one for her as well, and when she asked about it, tell her that you were going to use it to get her gift.

Perhaps that is snarky for taking away her choice of getting to choose, but to me how the LW described what happened was a little too much rubbing in the niece's face.
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Onyx_TKD

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2009, 05:33:51 AM »
Putting aside the rude behavior for a second (if the submitter was correct about her parents intent with the gift list, then she apparently doesn't have very good etiquette training), I do feel a bit sorry for ED with the stuffed animals. It sounds like the younger kids each got a stuffed animal that falls into their own interests (an elephant and a dog), while the oldest got something not tailored to her interests just because it was the last one in the set. We have no indication that the girl had any particular interest in pandas or a love of stuffed animals in general.

So, an 8-year-old had been told she was getting money that she could use to buy something she wanted (can't fault the kid for that; it was the father who told her) and instead watches her younger siblings receive stuffed animals matched to their likes, while she gets a stuffed toy that apparently holds no appeal for her, apparently as her only gift from the uncle. Yes, her behavior was horrible, but I'd put more blame on her parent's for that at this age.

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2009, 06:07:24 AM »
Perhaps that is snarky for taking away her choice of getting to choose, but to me how the LW described what happened was a little too much rubbing in the niece's face.

I agree with this.

I've thought about this post a little more, and something about it rubbed me wrong. I initially thought that it was what the OP's brother did, but then I realised it was the whole post itself. He sounded a little self-satisfied.

We have a saying in Turkish, which translated means 'Don't become a child with the children.' Meaning that if a child is acting spoilt, or snarky, or difficult, as the adult you need to remain calm and mature and not be childish in response. I feel like that's exactly what the OP did, instead of using this as a teachable moment.

I bet the ED remembers this for a long, long time.
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Venus193

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2009, 01:10:18 PM »

    As my brother’s children have grown up they have gotten a bit more “grabby” each year when it comes to Christmas presents. About 5 years ago I was emailed a list of “Eldest Daughter (ED) would like ….”, ”Youngest Daughter (YD) would like ..”,  and “Youngest Child (the son) YC) would like …”. This wasn’t a “please choose one item from the list” this was a request for over £300 of items per child. Now OK I have a reasonably good job, but I live in the capital and costs are commensurately higher. To be asked to shell out £900 for presents was pushing things. Additionally some of the items were large (YS wanted a drum kit !) and trying to travel with those would be nearly impossible for me.

£300 of items per child is completely unreasonable; £100 of items per child is also unreasonable from any one person (except the parents) when the oldest child is 8.

However, for the giver to take away the gift token to split between the other children wasn't right.  He should have informed Little Miss Entitled that henceforth she would receive no more gifts for her rudeness and ingratitude.

Finally, to expect auto-less people to travel with large items like this is a tremendous imposition.

cicero

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2009, 08:40:51 AM »
The child was really awful but....I can't imagine taking a gift from a child then giving it to their siblings.  I get the first part, but dividing any gift for any reason between the other children is likely to cause life-long animosity. 

I agree. since the LW already spent the money and wasn't planning on taking it back to spend on themselves, at that point i would just leave things as is. for next year, i would make a decision on whether or not to give any gifts.


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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2009, 10:13:27 AM »
I was with the OP until the gift cards were sent to the other siblings.  Even if the behavior was learned from their father, that is no reason to protect them from the natural consequences of their actions.  When you throw a gift across the room and stomp off, don't expect the gifter to continue gifting.  8 is plenty old enough to say Thank You, and try to hide the disappointment.  Note, I said try. 
I also think that it was necessary to point out that there had been a gift card in there, and that it was no longer being given.  Otherwise ED might think that she'd never gotten a gift card, and that the OP just preferred the other two. 

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Re: From E-Hell Blog: Santa Wants To Toss Eldest Daughter Into Ehell, Too
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2009, 04:04:39 PM »
I don't agree with the Uncle's behavior by taking the gift away and dividing it among the two other children.  It does seem spiteful (although I can't blame uncle for being angry) and shows ED there are consequences to her actions.  Cutting her off next year is a long time to wait to show a child the consequences of their actions. 

Would there be a 'right' way to handle this?  I can't blame the uncle for not wanting to give ED any more gifts after this experience and certainly think that is his right, but would it be proper for him to show up next Christmas with a gift for only the two younger children?  It also wouldn't be fair to punish the two younger children for ED's rude behavior. 

There is also the question of once the gift was given, was it rude for the uncle to take it back, no matter how poorly it was received?

I think the parents dropped the ball on this one.  It doesn't sound like they took ED aside to talk about her behavior.  ED may just be stubborn, entitled, and bratty; however, she may also have not been taught by her parents to be kind and take other people's feelings into consideration.  If I was the OP, I would not be inclined to get ED a gift the next year (or until she apologized for her behavior or shown she has grown past being ungracious).