General Etiquette > Family and Children

In-laws and money and gifts - oh my! *Update Post #50, #76, #131 Final #197

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Long time lurker looking for advice!

BG - My husband's sister and her husband (Rita and Manny) have a 5 year old DD (Anna) who is very close to our almost 4 year old DD (Alice).  Our rel@tionship with Rita and Manny has not been the greatest - I could tell many stories of etiquette violations and such, but at the end of the day what's been important is not letting all that affect the rel@tionship between our DD and her cousin.  Rita and Manny have had some serious financial woes - this has also affected our rel@tionship, including us providing "loans" with no hope of being repaid (which we pretty much suspected going in and decided we were okay with).

Now the latest issue.  DH and I have been taking DD to Disney every year and have had wonderful family vacations with her.  We're in the process of planning our next trip, and DD has mentioned a couple of times that she would love to have Anna come as well.  DH and I discussed it, and decided that we would ask Rita and Manny if they would be comfortable with us taking Anna with us - completely prepared for the possibility that they would not be, which would be completely fine.  We couched it as our birthday gift to her (her birthday would be a month after the proposed trip).

Rita seemed to be thrilled at the suggestion, but Manny was a bit hesitant.  Again, we told them if they weren't okay with it, no worries - we understood.  He then said it wasn't that he was uncomfortable with her going with us, but they could really use the money that we would have spent on her instead.

I was a bit stunned and I don't even know what I said.  DH started to say something, but then we were interrupted and the conversation ended.  We will be seeing them again this weekend, and I really need some advice.

Is what they are asking rude?  I feel a little weird with just handing them a cheque - what I was looking forward to was having DD and her cousin enjoy the vacation together.  How do I tell them this without sounding rude?

Definitely rude. You offered the gift of an experience, not a gift of money.

Jaw dropping.  Having trouble picking it up.  Manny sounds like a real peach. 

I think you just repeat what you said earlier:  Alice would love to have Anna come with her to Disney.  And, you would understand if this is not possible.  Bean dip giving the money to Manny. 

yes manny was rude.

he may be [financially] desperate, but it was rude.

If your offer still stands, you can say something like "manny, we are not able to lend give you any money at this time, but of course our offer to take Anna still stands. Please let us know by [date] so that we can make reservations (or whatever). We look forward to taking her and I think the girls will have a great time together" and then "it won't be possible" if he asks for money again.

Elfqueen has it, it's the gift of memories and experience. Honestly if someone had said that to me I'd probably have laughed in their face because I couldn't imagine them being serious.

Personally I wouldn't bring it up directly to them the next time you see them, I'd just say 'We'd need you to let us know by [X] date if you're ok with Anna coming with us on vacation.'

If -they- bring up giving them the money instead a blank stare and 'That won't be possible.'


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