AIBU to not send Christmas presents to my cousin and his family?

(24 Posts)
milkmilklemonade12 Wed 28-Sep-16 20:52:58

First of all, we are (were) quite a close family. Lots of visits, even though I live at the other end of the country now. We are loving and close and we've all always got on.

My eldest cousin and I have always got on really well, right from when we were kids. So when he got together (later in life) with his partner, we were all really happy for him. They didn't seem particularly well matched, and she did seem to rule the roost a little bit, but he made no secret that he was desperate for children and they quickly had 2 lovely, lovely children.

Through those early years she did suffer with PND, and we all did what we could to support her (bringing shopping, babysitting, that kind of thing) and my cousin even put both children in ft nursery even though his partner didn't work so that she could get a break from the kids. As I say; no judgement here, I put my DS in nursery when I was on mat leave a few sessions to give myself a break as I also suffered with PND. My point is, money was tight for them because of this and there's a point to this later.

At Christmas last year, my mum initiated a group Whatsapp saying she wanted to get the family out to Christmas lunch at a restaurant, as my uncles are both on their own and one has adult disabled children, and my grandparents are getting on a bit now so it might be a nice idea. My cousin and his partner declined, saying that they wanted Christmas Day at home by themselves.

However, my cousin's partner went round to visit my grandparents with the children and asked my grandad if they would pay for them to go to the meal, as they had overspent and couldn't afford to go (my aunt later disclosed they'd spent over £1000 on each child, and defaulted on the mortgage that month; she got a notification as she is the guarantor for them, and obviously demanded an explanation).

Now as the meal was £70 per head (Christmas Day) plus wine, it was a bit pricey anyway, plus there's no way 2 pensioners are going to afford that! Obviously my grandad had to say no, and by that point it was only 10 days before Christmas and the restaurant was fully booked (I know this was true as we originally couldn't come due to work commitments, but then our plans changed and when we phoned the restaurant; they said they couldn't accommodate us, so we ended up staying home ourselves).

However, all was fine and dandy, and we all swapped gifts and messages and had a good time.

Nothing seemed awry until just before Easter, when I noticed I had been blocked by both my cousin and his partner. I was shocked because when I looked back through messages; we'd definitely ended on a good note 'see you soon' etc. I spoke to other family members, who confirmed they had also been blocked. No reasons given, just cut off from Facebook, phones, the lot. My aunt said my cousin's partner had been upset about the Christmas meal and not having been invited; but they clearly were! There were other people who couldn't make it due to distance or financial commitments or whatever and everyone had just accepted it. Until my grandad mentioned the payment issue on Boxing Day; none of us actually had any idea that they hadn't wanted to stay home by themselves.

It's clear they want no contact from us. We've sent birthday cards etc this year, but had none in return and much less been unblocked. My mum thinks we should continue to send cards and gifts at Christmas this year, but I think it's throwing good money after bad, and also I think at this point; we're forcing ourselves on them. Like; 'you WILL have this card and gift!' And I wonder if that actually seems a bit aggressive?

My man sent both kids cards and money (£20 each, which is a lot for her) and got no acknowledgement.

AIBU to just leave this? There have been no cross words, I don't have a problem at all if they unblock and start talking again; I'm totally happy to be friends again, but AIBU to leave them alone until they unfrost?

icelollycraving Wed 28-Sep-16 20:56:24

Maybe a card? That isn't breaking the bank. Say you are all happy to see them when they are ready.

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Wed 28-Sep-16 20:59:21

I'd send cards, but not gifts. Then you're keeping the door open so to speak. Yes, you don't give gifts in order to receive etc, but no point in chucking money at someone who seems not to want it

Mybeardeddragonjustdied2016 Wed 28-Sep-16 21:00:37

Give the money to charity instead and leave the miserable feckers alone.

chocolatespiders Wed 28-Sep-16 21:04:11

I would send cards only. Don't give them any ammunition!!

MakeMyWineADouble Wed 28-Sep-16 21:04:29

I would send a card to the family but I wouldn't do presents personally. Something similar happened in my family thought not xmas related and one branch isolated themselves I have always kept communication open and I will continue to but I don't think it needs to go beyond that

milkmilklemonade12 Wed 28-Sep-16 21:08:07

I'm concerned at the reasons they're isolating themselves. No one has said anything untoward, and both my cousin and his partner are confident people; they would say something. I do know the partner has regular and explosive fall outs with her family. The 'all over Facebook' kind of fall outs.

milkmilklemonade12 Wed 28-Sep-16 21:10:39

Yes possibly a card then. How about birthday cards? Those too? Or just keep it to Christmas?

It's literally the only time I've considered doing one of those wanky family newsletters so that I can tell my cousin all my news and share everything like I used to with him.

Thatznotmyname Wed 28-Sep-16 21:12:56

Can't you write it ring? If you were close it seems a bit of a shame to not try first. Then after that if they are not receptive, I would just let it lie...

EdamameCrisp Wed 28-Sep-16 21:13:08

I would send presents to the children. They didn't decide to cut you off, their parents did. Nothing for the parents though.

MakeMyWineADouble Wed 28-Sep-16 21:13:09

I do birthday and Christmas cards. It keeps communication open if they'd do ever want to engage with you. In my experience that's about all you can do

Thatznotmyname Wed 28-Sep-16 21:13:20

Write OR ring...

bumsexatthebingo Wed 28-Sep-16 21:17:16

I would send presents as normal for the children - none of it is their fault!

HighwayDragon1 Wed 28-Sep-16 21:51:59

You realise it's September right?

milkmilklemonade12 Wed 28-Sep-16 21:58:50

Yes, I do realise it's September. Sadly I don't earn enough to have the luxury of buying it all in December, I have to buy as I go to spread the cost.

Creampastry Wed 28-Sep-16 22:03:33

Card only

DixieWishbone Wed 28-Sep-16 22:14:20

If you were close to your cousin can you phone him up and ask him what is going on? If they are going no contact with the family they won't want to get cards, and gifts to the children will be thrown straight in the bin. If they are modified no contact gifts and cards to the children will be acceptable.

You need to find out what they want or you may make things worse. Sending stuff to the DC may be regarded as you underhandedly trying to get at them or something.

neonrainbow Wed 28-Sep-16 22:16:23

So.... they've cut you off and you haven't even tried to discuss it with your cousin?

milkmilklemonade12 Wed 28-Sep-16 22:25:00

dixie yes that's what I don't want. I don't want to come across aggressively. They don't have a landline (lots of people don't) and our numbers are blocked on their phones. Short of sending a letter I'm not sure what else I can do. I could turn up on their doorstep I guess, but if they've blocked me then their feelings are obviously that they don't want to speak to me. The rest of the family is also cut off so I can't send a message that way either. It was all quite sudden.

Vvlgari Wed 28-Sep-16 22:31:10

I would just send a card.

I have a relative who has always been hard up, largely due to his own financial mismanagement, but our family has always tried to help him out because of his kids.

I used to give each of them £50-100 for birthdays and Christmas but I stopped after said relative ranted at me at a family gathering about how I have a house which according to him has been handed to me on a plate. He also sent his DC over to me to ask for more money for their birthdays. After that, I told him I would send a token amount at Christmas and that would be it.

DixieWishbone Wed 28-Sep-16 22:32:24

Bleurgh. I see the problem. Calling him at work would be stalkery and weird. I can't imagine the phrasing you'd put in a letter. Well I can but it would be weird too.

'Hi Cuz, I just wanted to find out if you would like us to send cards and presents to the children for their birthdays and Christmas? We don't want to push in where we're not wanted. Can you drop me a note back and let me know? Love Milk'. Hopefully someone can come up with something worded better.

FrancisCrawford Wed 28-Sep-16 22:33:16

I'd go card only.
That way they know you are thinking of them. It also puts the ball in their court if they want to send a card back.

To ask an OAP to pay for their Xmas meal is really self centred though. And to cut everyone off is akin to cutting off their nose to spite ther face.

However, on the off chance the partner is isolating your cousin, could you send him a card with a message in it to his work?

biggles50 Thu 29-Sep-16 09:33:43

I feel sorry for your cousin, his wife not so much, she sounds controlling and probably likes drama. As you say fallouts all over fb. If you can't ring him, drop a card through the post. Dear cuz n fred all the family are worried as we've been blocked, is everything ok? Concerned there may have been a misunderstanding of some sort re Xmas? Would love to keep in touch and already thinking about Xmas gifts, thinking of you lots of love etc. Good luck, sorry for you as I really value my cousins and I'd be very sad if we fell out.

ecuse Thu 29-Sep-16 10:11:01

I would worry less about Christmas cards and presents and more about why on earth you've been cut off. It doesnt make any sense. It's not even you they even asked for money. Why dont you just write and say you're confused, not sure what happened, would still like to be in touch with them if they're willing, and ask them if you can talk about whatever it was that made them cut you off as you'd like to make amends?

and on a practical note, buy other gifts this month and next for people you will def buy for and give yourselves a couple of months to try and iron this out (assuming you want to iron it out)?

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