AIBU not to give my nephew and niece Christmas presents?

(54 Posts)
BikeRunSki Fri 23-Nov-12 20:18:03

They are 12 and 8 respectively.
They live abroad, and their mother (my sister) is very, very label/image conscious wrt to everything they have. It is increasingly difficult to get them anything "acceptable". For the last two years I have not had any thanks or aknowledgement of their presents. DNeph had a birthday recently. DSis told me he needed a new hoody, and to get something from Abercrombie and Fitch.I am not in that kind if league atvall, so.I sent him some money - the equivalent of £25. I know he got it because when DM asked DSis about it, she dismissed it as "not really worth thanking for".

My children are much younger and DSis's presents to them are not un-generous, but always OTT. Eg DS wanted his own copy of a particular Julia Donaldson book for his birthday. So she sent him that, and 4 or 6 other books he already had. DD (1) needed some winter clothes, so she sent designer frilly stuff, rather than anything at all practical. That sounds really ungrateful doesn't it? But I do always write and thank her!

We rarely speak and I maintain a skeleton relationship with her primarily for DM's sake. We are very, very different people, and if I met her at a party for example,, then we wouldn't become friends. Our relationship wavers between ambivalent and toxic (she is queen of passive aggressive).

I know I should not blight DNeph and DNiece with my history with their mother, but the expectation and lack of gratitude are really peeing me off. And DSis does not send OTT presents to be generous, she does it to show off that she can.

impty Sat 24-Nov-12 18:39:31

I'm sitting here cringing as my dc's are teens, and can be very greedy and grasping! I've suggested they think about what they might like for presents, and found out later that they have sent out emails with a list of demands suggestions. blush
Obviously we had words angry I was horrified!
So my suggestion is buy them something small, inexpensive and don't worry. Frankly mine are old enough to deal with only getting a small gift, and I give to my dn's without any expectation. I give to give ...not so my kids receive.

Empross76 Sat 24-Nov-12 18:18:38

I can't bear people who don't send thank you cards. I love Xmas and put a lot of effort in, it makes me so cross when I send pressies in the post and the recipient doesn't even acknowledge it so I don't know if it's got to them. Grrrrr...
As for your sister, she sounds superficial and like she's raising her kids to be very ungrateful. I would send something like an age-appropriate book and a nice hat or top, something that isn't likely to not be their cup of tea. And I'd definitely bring up the lack of a thank you with your sister - maybe contacting her to check if the presents arrived as you've not recieved a thank you letter?
Good luck - she sounds like a nightmare. My relationship with my sister is similar, although she is the opposite of your sister in terms of successful job, label addict etc. She's a total hippy but equally self-absorbed!

BikeRunSki Sat 24-Nov-12 17:50:06

VonHerrBurton You have summed up my sister's various character traits perfectly. Seriously, even my mother wonders how we share the same DNA and upbringing. We fall out a lot and I promised 2 years ago never to spend the night under the same roof as her again.

CuttingPiccassosToenails DSis did not realise that I ws with DM and she was on speaker phone when she said that. DM was mortified.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Sat 24-Nov-12 17:48:48

It's bad luck to give an empty wallet/ purse!

BikeRunSki Sat 24-Nov-12 17:43:59

In an amazing twist of fate, DNeph grumbled a very stilted message on to my mobile answer phone this morning (Just as well phone was out of range because I was so ranty, he may have got the brunt of it!).
Anyway, I am taking EcclesCakes idea of food things (have even started another thread on it), and will add something token, labelley and cheap from TKM - ski hat, socks, wallet (empty!) or similar.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 24-Nov-12 17:40:01

Tell your sister you've converted to Judaism and will no longer be sending Xmas presents.

BikeRunSki Sat 24-Nov-12 17:39:24

LOL at ViewoftheHills!

Viewofthehills Sat 24-Nov-12 17:38:04

I would send them a nice pen each and a pack of thank you cards.

strumpetpumpkin Sat 24-Nov-12 17:37:45

i wouldnt send anything

ZumbaZara Sat 24-Nov-12 17:35:04

We had this problem at our school. All the staff used to give a personal donation to buy every child a small stocking with a pencil and sweets in and put them all on a massive tree. The children hardly ever said thank you. So last year we sent a cow to as a charity gift on behalf of the children from the school. The children liked the photo and found it interesting.

By the by a few parents said well we won't buy you a present. Not that teachers mind. It is the handmade gifts , thoughtful gifts and the lovely messages that are the ones you cherish.

Corygal Sat 24-Nov-12 17:33:15

Yr SIL is a greedy baggage. YANBU.

Send something handcrafted by yr kids.

zlist Sat 24-Nov-12 17:23:13

YANBU, especially with having to send them. Just email your sister and suggest that you just buy for own children at Christmas. I would keep sending them a card with some money in for their birthday though.
I now just give to my own DC and charity at Christmas after a similar kind of issue! I definitely give a lot more birthday gifts than Christmas gifts.

Floggingmolly Sat 24-Nov-12 16:54:07

If anyone dismissed my gift of £25 equivalent; they wouldn't get another one.
Your sister sounds utterly charmless.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Sat 24-Nov-12 16:37:41

YANBU. This Christmas is the last time I am sending presents to the DNs because they are never acknowledged and I'm left wondering whether I've spent £xx on postage just for parcels to be lost in the system. Cards only from now on.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sat 24-Nov-12 16:34:31

I would send a hamper for them to share, when I say hamper I mean a box full of UK things they can't get there or are expensive include a jar of marmite and lots of cadbury choc.

Hand on heart I'd buy them a token gift and sponsor a school in India/ Africa in their name, send them the certificate. It might make them think twice about what they've already got. My DB did this one year (for different reasons) for my DCs and they got quite interested in it.

"not really worth thanking for"

This was related to you by your mother?

In your place I would be questioning my mother's motivation in telling me this. It seems to me that she is stirring it up between you and your sister. It would be interesting to know what she tells her other daughter about you.

VonHerrBurton Sat 24-Nov-12 13:49:27

I'm a bit torn, on behalf of the kids, really.

Every child I know that is 'really into' any particular designer/label is only that way because their parent/s have instilled it into them, and yes, they are possibly old enough to email or horror of horrors shock write a thank you note to you. Lets face it though, it's your horrible, entitled and probably unhappy sister that has made them that way. The kids are still your neice and nephew, it's not their fault. I know my ds would probably not think to thank people in writing without me pushing him to do it and would grumble and kvetch about it.

So they'd get a tenner from me, and possibly the Cadbury/Walkers type idea to make it a bit more personal.

Oh, and if my sister said that to my mum about a £25 gift I sent - I wouldn't be speaking to my sister until she apologised and explained herself. She sounds unhappy and dissatisfied with her life to me. You sound lovely though!

Rudolphstolemycarrots Sat 24-Nov-12 13:06:06

Just continue sending money and think nothing ore of it. The gifts are for the kids anyway, not the mum.

Aethelfleda Sat 24-Nov-12 11:43:17

How about a small gift that you can add to without breakung the bank?

So get the girl a silver charm bracelet. Each year send her a new silver charm and some English sweets/snacks. Charm bracelets are a surprisingly personal present without being "designer", and ArGOs etc do lots of little charms.

Get the boy a Rubiks cube. Then a different puzzle every year.

When they are grownup they will either have completely forgotten what you sent them (not much loss to you), or you will be their favourite auntie ever who sent them consistent litttle gifts even though their mum was grumpy/label obsessed.

GingerPCatt Sat 24-Nov-12 11:32:18

OP did I write that in my sleep? grin my nephews are greedy and ungrateful and they have been totally spoilt by their parents. I'm thinking of getting them books but it makes me sad that they wouldn't really enjoy them.

ssd Sat 24-Nov-12 11:26:29

think oxfam gifts are a great idea

your sister would be livid you got them both a goat , you'd have the moral high ground and the kids would wonder what label the goats wear

you could laugh about it for ages!

redexpat Sat 24-Nov-12 10:06:03

Oxfam gifts!

McPhee Sat 24-Nov-12 09:58:15

It's sadly only too true, that 'kids live what they learn'

I'd be tempted to send a letter explaining why you are stopping the gift swapping. With a smile wink

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Sat 24-Nov-12 09:47:58

Rude ungrateful moo, whose children will only follow suit!
Loving the homemade idea!

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