to not send my Dnephews birthday presents anymore?

(23 Posts)
Moknicker Mon 23-Sep-13 01:42:15

Backstory. Dh's brother and wife put great store by family sending bday and xmas pressies for their DCs. They live abroad and visit the UK periodically. Dh has a cordial but distant relationship with them. When we got married 4 yrs ago, I was told about the presents diktat and duly complied. SIl sends my DCs presents as well (albeit a cheap deal on amazon but hey)

However, in 2012, when they visited the UK they didnt even let us know they were coming and finally Dh had to email his brother asking if we could meet up for lunch and we did. All very cordial when we met up. However, since then again no interaction apart from the cheap (theirs not ours, I havent stooped to that --as yet--) xmas and birthday presents landing up like clockwork in both households.

Im really fed up with this and do not want to go through the hypocrisy of sending presents when we dont even get to see or interact with the children.

DH still wants me to send presents but cheap ones like they do. I think why go through the charade?

SIL is very close to her family and Dh and his mum get sidelined because of this.

"DH still wants me to send presents but cheap ones like they do."
I'd go with that. Keep the lines of communication open, things may improve. Perhaps pop the occasional letter in the post to them too? Physical letters are more 'noticable' than e-mails IYSWIM.

humblebumble Mon 23-Sep-13 02:48:09

We have a similar situation, in that we live overseas. However my SIL is a bit of ditz (in the nicest possible way) and never thinks about gifts for her children or for ours. Acknowledging Christmas/Birthdays in my family is important so we always send gifts (my DH strongly supports this) and we realise we will almost never get anything in return. CHristmas/Birthdays in my husbands family has always been much less important.

To us (me and DH) it's important to "be there" in a gift sense for our nephew/niece. I feel sad that we never hear that they even received the gift let alone are excited by it. Honestly though, my children don't notice whether they get gifts from their Aunt. They have so much other stuff.

Personally I think you should do what you feel is necessary. You could cause a family rift by making a big statement or you could just carry on as you are.

I think you are a bit snobbish and ungracious when you criticize what they are sending ... isn't it the thought that counts or for you is it the amount of money? I am sorry that the relationship with your BIL and family isn't great but surely a present to a niece/nephew for Christmas/Birthday isn't that much to ask?

NameChangedForAChange Mon 23-Sep-13 02:54:42

Probably matters to your DH, even though you think it is a charade. Carry on with it (I assume he does the choosing and buying, not you?)

What's your definition of cheap, btw? From my pov, anything over a fiver for a child's birthday is fine.

Moknicker Mon 23-Sep-13 02:59:34

humblebumble - totally agree that normally it is the thought that counts. The reason Im ungracious is because it seems to me that SIL is just going through a box ticking exercise and going through the motions of sending my DCs presents.

But you are right - the cheap present thing is a red herring - what Im really upset about that we dont rate even a look in or anything else I would consider part and parcel of a normal although distant family relationship.

Moknicker Mon 23-Sep-13 03:03:58

NameChangedForAChange - Im the one that does the choosing and buying. Right now I ask MIL what BIL's DCs are into so that I can get them something that they like.

humblebumble Mon 23-Sep-13 03:05:22

The fact that your SIL is trying though (and remembering) is worth something. It is you that lives overseas and make it trickier for them to build any other type of relationship. I really don't see the point in rocking the boat. You have to look at the long game plan. You want to build a relationship that will be there in the future. You may not always live overseas.

I find that I have a closer relationship with my family's children than my DH's partly due to the difference in the relationship that DH has with his siblings. I push for everyone to get together each time I am home, but I realise that it is a struggle for everyone.

NameChangedForAChange Mon 23-Sep-13 03:17:00

Just clocked the SIL living abroad thing. It really is a big deal that your SIL is remembering. She perhaps doesn't want to spend loads as she doesn't know exactly what suits. She perhaps assumes that everyone will think that the thought counts.

humblebumble Mon 23-Sep-13 03:23:13

Oh dear, got confused, I thought you lived abroad. I would say that SIL has done very well to remember your DCs birthdays. As for not being able to spend time with your family when they come home from overseas well they could be like us and have VERY limited time home and are just barely trying to fit everything in when they get back. Personally, now I only spend time with my immediate family, that's because I love them and think they are great. I also think my friends are great too but with limited time home I try to do what I can.

Moknicker Mon 23-Sep-13 03:37:35

Sorry for all the confusion - SIL is in the US and we were in the UK till last year however we have now moved to the US as well.

When they came back to the UK they were undoubtedly busy seeing her family and their close friends (MIL got minimal time as well). But DH (and I tbh) were hurt when they came to London and stayed for a week, met up with friends but didnt even email or call us.

Now that we are in the US we will certainly not be seeing them anymore.

Numberlock Mon 23-Sep-13 03:42:59

Why is the SIL the bad guy in this and not your husband's brother?

Moknicker Mon 23-Sep-13 03:53:56

Good question smile

Obviously it is not just her but she is the one who insists on the whole presents thing.

The sad truth however is that BIL doesnt particularly value his relationship with his side of the family and is happy for it to slide.

humblebumble Mon 23-Sep-13 03:57:24

What does your DH think?

humblebumble Mon 23-Sep-13 04:01:52

I see he still wants you to send presents. You think m. What's the point... Given they don't value the relationship anyway..,
Personally I would continue how you are. It's a few minutes thought a few times a year. Whilst I understand the principle, I think it's not worth upsetting anyone unless you can have a truly open and non confrontational co versatile with your SIL. Your DH will never have it with his DB

Numberlock Mon 23-Sep-13 04:02:36

So where's the problem?

It's about your relationship with your nephews/nieces so keep the communication open for the future.

And try and get rid of this notion of 'cheap', who cares what it cost?

Numberlock Mon 23-Sep-13 04:05:52

Still don't see why the SIL is getting the flak. Your husband's brother obviously can't be bothered to visit you or he'd be making the effort.

But it's always the female in-laws who get slated on these threads isn't it, be it mother-in-law or sister- in-law...

Morloth Mon 23-Sep-13 05:17:00

Just leave it to your DH.

He wants to send them, that is OK, so it is up to him to do it.

If it turns out he can't be bothered, then it isn't your lookout.

MooseyMouse Mon 23-Sep-13 09:25:57

Well said Morloth. You said your husband wants them to be sent and you don't. So make it his responsibility.

BarbarianMum Mon 23-Sep-13 10:04:28

Absolutely. Can't for the life of me see why it should be your job. Bet it becomes a lot less important when he has to do it.

DeWe Mon 23-Sep-13 10:34:43

I get the point OP's making of "cheap".
It's not so much the monetry value, so much as the thought being cheap. You don't mind a present from the pound shop, if it's well thought out and just what your dc loves. But when it's clearly a mimimum effort and price, that's when cheap matters.

Dm had a friend who always sent us little presents each Christmas. they were lovely little things and we always loved them. Looking back, they were cheap presents, but they were so nicely thought out for each of us, and well made too, that it really didn't matter to any of us.

If they are still sending presents, then I would do that unless you discuss it and decide not to. Otherwise you will look the bad guys in this.

I don't think it's unreasonable to look at rough value of presents received to choose what to send back. I don't mind if people do that to my presents, as I would be embarrassed to be receiving presents that were worth a lot more than mine.
It's a reasonable guide to how much someone else expects/thinks you should spend on a present, seeing how much they spend on yours, assuming you have an equal relationship (eg if you are godparents then you might well spend more than if you aren't).

Are people here really saying that if they bought (eg) the huge castle from ELC for their nephew at Christmas, and their children got a bag of dinosaurs from the pound shop, they wouldn't have even a little thought of "scrooge" towards the giver?

Quenelle Mon 23-Sep-13 10:38:23

What Morloth said. OP, you don't even need to concern yourself with this.

They're your husband's family, he wants to continue sending presents, let him do so and don't give it another thought.

Moknicker Mon 23-Sep-13 19:12:36

DeWe - thank you - you have articulated the position so much better than I have. Yes what i did mean is that it was thoughtless and cheap i.e. SIL sent some really random pressies from Amazon - some doll figures that DD had never heard of. It was only when I looked them up on Amazon I discovered that the presents being sent were whatever was on a low priced deal at that time.

Asking DH to do it means that in effect it wont get sent.

I will probably continue to send the presents but wont put it much effort or thought into it anymore - even though that really goes against my basic nature.

If it so important to your DH to continue then he can sort out the presents for his family then can't he.

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