To think 'be greatful for what you get' has it's limits

(32 Posts)
meanddog Wed 25-Dec-13 21:49:31

Fairly complicated family on husbands side, often a feeling of bias towards DS cousins compared to him but ignore as much as possible. DH is technically a stepson to FIL but never seemed to be a problem.
However, today DS and his two cousins were given gifts by FIL brother (so not blod relation to us but again never highlighted)
DS unwraps small toy, nice. Cousins unwrap much larger toys, brand names etc.
DS toy breaks on first use. Look it up on the website of toy store to ensure can return and find cost less than two quid. Stupidly look up cousins gifts to find cost 15 times as much!!
Yes I should be grateful he got a gift but should I be grateful it's crap and broken and blatantly an after thought.
Add in the fact DS has been failing all day for attention from MIL and the fact that several cards given to both us and SIL at sametime contained money for them and sod-all for us and it adds up to a crappy Christmas feeling

FredFredGeorge Wed 25-Dec-13 21:59:07

Sure it maybe is possible, but not for me in the above example, you just sound grabby and jealous.

sparklysilversequins Wed 25-Dec-13 22:02:38

I don't think you sound grabby and jealous AT ALL.

So you should tolerate and have no issue with your children and yourself being treated unfairly just because its Christmas?

I would be upset too, but I wouldn't show it and would never go there again.

Ragusa Wed 25-Dec-13 22:04:54

Idon't think you sound grabby and I am usually the first to say "be grateful for what you get".

foreverondiet Wed 25-Dec-13 22:07:30

How old are the children?

I would say to MIL that in respect of the presents from FIL brother that its not fair on your DS that he got something that was obviously worth so much less (ie £2 and broke on first use) don't have to spend the same but not fair to treat him so differently like that, and that if there is a next time, she has to speak to him to ensure that bigger gifts for cousins given when your DS isn't there.

re: money well you can be upset, but really shouldn't say anything.

NoComet Wed 25-Dec-13 22:21:00

If DCs are opening presents together, they should be of similar size and value.

Jolleigh Wed 25-Dec-13 22:32:52

I agree it looks quite nasty. But I honestly think you'd do more harm than good making a fuss over it...there are all sorts of reasons your child's present could have been on a smaller budget. Perhaps it was bought later and an unexpected bill had scuppered plans a bit? Or the original gift was accidentally broken and this was a very last minute stand in? If I were you, I'd simply avoid a situation in the future where the children are all opening gifts at once if at all possible.

BettyandDon Wed 25-Dec-13 22:50:18

I think its clear that DH Step-Uncle doesn't consider his Step-Nephew in the same light as his other ones. Sorry. Either that or he is just totally unversed in appropriate gift giving.

Does he perhaps see them more often or play a larger part in their lives (God parent?). Either way I would apologise for him to your son for such a rubbish gift so he doesn't feel belittled if he is old enough to understand that. Maybe find him something nice if you can afford to at the store if you return the defunct thing.

I have seen this behaviour in my own family . I don't think its uncommon but not nice for the children nonetheless.

PigsInTinselToppedWellies Wed 25-Dec-13 22:51:50


I got a new kettle from MIL. My current kettle is very old and tired looking. MIL doesn't like it and hasn't liked it for years. She's forever making comments about how it's time I replaced it despite knowing why I'm so attached to it. My Nana bought it for me to take to university 25 years ago. She died before she got to give it to me herself. So it's all I have of my Nana and despite looking it's age, it still works perfectly. I've told MIL this many, many times and that I have no intention of getting rid of it. Still she bought me a fucking new one. I know I should be grateful but I'm not. It's going straight down the charity shop and MIL can sulk for England when she realises.

ArgumentsatChristmas Wed 25-Dec-13 22:57:44


Something that caused me real and genuine grief was that my own mother blatantly preferred my DD over my DS. For example - birth present for DD was £1k. Massive surprise and hugely generous and unexpected. Birth present for DS was £50. Of course I didn't say anything but I was torn up trying to equalise the presents. That inequality went through all the way. Horrific trying to even things out as a parent.

I think this is one of those things where you cannot do anything other than inwardly seethe and try to make things equal for your DCs.

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 25-Dec-13 22:57:57

So, the brother in law is you DH's uncle by marriage?

I think, in these circumstances yabu. As long as he is treated equally by your DH's parents, you should be happy.

I'm a step child and my step dads siblings have never treated me equally to their blood nieces and nephews. His parents do though and that means much more.

MajesticWhine Wed 25-Dec-13 23:04:24

YANBU, but it's probably not that unusual for 'step' relatives to be treated differently.

brokenhearted55a Wed 25-Dec-13 23:46:40

I normally agree but today my mum bought me two purses in different colours to match handbags I have.

Ok but I have said repeatedly in front of her I am not fussed about presents but if you must a token gift: pair of earrings, perfume, nothing expensive though.

I regularly go shopping with my mum to help her & I have looked at what she bought me.with her before and have told her I don't want them I wouldn't use them, I have a purse already.

I got myself one of those longchamp shopping bags with the brown handles a while back and my mum bought me purses in different colours to go in it. why do I need two when I've already told her I wouldn't use them.

My sister of course placed specific orders for her presents as she does every year and my mum goes out and buys her exactly what she wants.

I took my mum out shopping and bought her everything for Christmas she wanted / needed.

I took her to a concert on Christmas eve, a meal on Christmas eve and bought all the Christmas food for her. I spent a fortune.

I'm.single so I went to my Mums. she served lunch and wouldn't wait for me to get the wine ready: she stood standing at the table eating some of her turkey. Then the phone rings....omg who's that. ignore it I say...we're about to eat. What if its your sister she says....she can wait a bloody hour I say.
she's eaten half her food by the time I.get the wine ready. she's then up and down like a fucking yo-yo and barely sits down. she won't even sit with me while I eat. then she can't stand the wait, she runs over to the phone to dial 1471 to see if it was my sister. I'm still eating alone.

My sister had texted her too to say she was calling and I replied on Mums phone to say we're eating...wait. sister was fine about it. mum finds out I did this: how dare I: its her phone.

I finally throw in her face the fact that all of today has been dominated by my sister who isn't here. I was made to take photos of my mum unwrapping my sisters presents to show her so she won't be upset?!

She ruins Christmas dinner by calling and my mum ruined it by not fucking waiting to call back like a normal person.

I have spent an absolute FUCKING FORTUNE on my mum, taking her out for activities, presents and food and I sat and ate alone while my mum fannys about after my sister.

Oh an my mum.called me an ungrateful Bastard for my behaviour when I finally snapped.

Loads of prep, loads of money trying to make it special.

Two stupid purses she knew I didn't want and called an ungrateful Bastard.

That was a long rant but never ever ever again will I bother. I'm going away next year.

Wow, brokenhearted. At both your mum AND you. Sounds like both of you need to take a chill pill. Not sure why you both couldn't have a quick word with your sister even if it WAS right at the start of lunch instead if this "we're eating - call back" stroppy attitude off you. It's bloody Christmas Day!

And what took you so long getting the wine ready?! Did you have to tread the grapes yourself? It was fine to keep your mum waiting while you faffed with wine but not for her to keep you waiting while she had a quick word with her daughter.

Maybe you could tell your mum EXACTLy what you want next year as a gift and then you won't be so disappointed?

And maybe next year, don't put so much emphasis on the monetary worth of what you've done for your mum? And then complain "I spent this much on that, and that amount on that and then she did that! How dare she when I've spent all that money on her!"

You sound hard work, frankly, and lacking in a bit of Christmas spirit.

And very jealous of your sister.

JollySantersSelectionBox Thu 26-Dec-13 00:46:04

I'm confused at someone asking for a token present and then getting so irate about it not being what you wanted. You should have stated what that token present should have been then, surely?

brokenhearted55a Thu 26-Dec-13 00:53:52

I couldn't get the cork out of the bottle got stuck. I was going to leave it until later. but no mum wanted wine with her food so made me do it. Then the food was getting cold, then the phone rang.

There is heavy heavy history with my sister.
For example being abusive and violent towards mum and I as a teenager and twenties. When she sorts herself out she thinks the sun shines out of her arse and no one is allowed to criticise.

She cannot see me having anything she doesn't. she got thrown out of university, so she spoils my graduation. she has no career to speak of and so belittles mine.

When my mother had minor surgery on two occasions while I was at uni and then an angiogram, my mum.had to call me and I had ti travel back 150 miles home to look after my mother as my sister (who was living at home at the time) had fucked off out to her boyfriends for the weekend and left her alone when she needed to be looked after.

My sister was andstill is the most selfish and insufferable person you could imagine. I try every year to make it special and nice, including my Mums birthday while my sister doesn't bother.

Then my mum fannys about after her puts her first, spoils what I've done & then blames me. This happens every year.

How different my reply would have been if you'd put all that first! I could just sense your anger but couldn't quite work out why.

brokenhearted55a Thu 26-Dec-13 01:01:04

I did. I said earrings or perfume. I got a shopping list off my mum.

My sister had anorexia, ripped the family apart, was violent and beat my mother and I up when she was refusing to eat. She was abusive for years afterwards.
The illness affected her schooling and she could not pass exams. So she wrecked my graduation from uni and threw a massive strop when qualified in my profession.

My mum warns me not to discuss anything about myself with her and I can't because it causes a fight. but then we're expected to listen to my sister all the time.

I'm fucking fed up and one day I will truly leave the pair of them to it.

Meant to say: sounds very hard. Maybe your sister feels a failure in life next to you and it comes out as awful behaviour? Doesnt explain the violence in her teens though. I think I would be distancing myself from them both actually.

brokenhearted55a Thu 26-Dec-13 01:15:15

I don't know. it's swings and roundabouts.

She's thick, I'm not.
She's married and has her lifestyle bankrolled while she barely works. I'm single and work hard and.struggle with money and being lonely.

So she throws in my face that I'm alone and she isn't. she stops at nothing to put me down.

I don't get it. I really tried so hard to make a nice Christmass as my mum is alone I and all she does is leave me.eating alone and swears at me running around after my sisters call who can wait quite frankly.

I'm so sick of it.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 26-Dec-13 01:28:49


To be v simplistic (wine) your sister sounds an arse. Do something you will enjoy next Christmas.

shelley1977 Thu 26-Dec-13 14:23:54

We have this with my youngest 2 and their dad. For my sons birthdays he's had a laptop at age 4 and a Wii where as his sister gets something she doesn't like and the only example I can think of was this year a doll , she has never played with them, and a hideous sweater. My daughters first words were this can go in the charity bag! I think it hurts more than you'd expect.

shelley1977 Thu 26-Dec-13 14:37:42

We have this with my youngest 2 and their dad. For my sons birthdays he's had a laptop at age 4 and a Wii where as his sister gets something she doesn't like and the only example I can think of was this year a doll , she has never played with them, and a hideous sweater. My daughters first words were this can go in the charity bag! I think it hurts more than you'd expect.

Gossipmonster Thu 26-Dec-13 14:54:06

People used to do this to DS2 who has a different dad to my other two - even MY OWN PARENTS!!!

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