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.

SamSmalaidh Fri 23-Nov-12 20:19:56

I would send them something homemade but worth nothing grin

Tweasels Fri 23-Nov-12 20:21:55

I would continue to send gifts, but just token ones. Nothing expensive. Keep the moral high ground.

Your sis sounds awful.

BackforGood Fri 23-Nov-12 20:23:06

Not unreasonable to stop sending things (cite awkwardness of choosing something appropriate / right size / right label / tht they haven't got as you don't see them very often plus then physically getting it to them), but I think I would let sister know that now, and ask that it's a mutual thing.... ie that she doesn't get for yours either.

blackeyedsusan Fri 23-Nov-12 20:23:27

nothing/token or homemade. personally, it would be nothing afte r the comment about 25 pound... which to some is an awful lot of money.

WheresMrMonkey Fri 23-Nov-12 20:46:11

Think you should keep to what you are sending. When they are grown up they will appreciate your kindness I'm sure

TwoJackRussellsandababy Fri 23-Nov-12 20:47:14

Generally I operate a no thank you card, no more presents, harsh, but it's a matter of manners and especially when the children are old enough to write their own letters.

Might be a little more difficult with them being your niece and nephew, perhaps in this case BackforGood is right, agree with your sister that there shouldn't be any presents exchanged between any of the children.

CarrotCruncher Fri 23-Nov-12 20:48:36

send them a tenner each

Marzipanface Fri 23-Nov-12 20:50:33

Send nothing. Seriously. If they can't thank you for 25 quid then they get nothing.

CarrotCruncher Fri 23-Nov-12 20:54:16

It's the thought that counts

tazmo Fri 23-Nov-12 21:06:58

I think you should think of the kids rather than getting back at your sis. My sister in law is shocking ( because I only gave her daughter £10 when's he was confirmed; she's polish so think she expected a lot more) - she decided to not send my daughter who was 1 something for her birthday. But I refuse to stoop to her level so do get ok presents. It doesn't have to be much tho. Tell her it's the thought that counts if she comments but otherwise just send what u think is appropriate!!!!!

oohlaalaa Fri 23-Nov-12 21:11:02

I'd still get them presents, but try not to worry what your sister thinks.

CaliforniaLeaving Fri 23-Nov-12 21:12:12

I'd just send a card to each of them with £5 or 10 in it. Ignore you Sis she sounds very entitled and snobby.

ihatethecold Fri 23-Nov-12 21:14:50

I wouldn't bother. Do the kids have the same attitude as your sister.?
Life is too short for bad manners. They cost nothingsad

BikeRunSki Fri 23-Nov-12 21:40:29

It's not really the value of the presents to the DN, but they are plenty old enough to pick up the phone. Their manners are generally appalling (ok, different...).

DontmindifIdo Fri 23-Nov-12 21:43:38

send oxfam charity gifts

ssd Fri 23-Nov-12 21:47:14

...and you know who they get this from...

their mum

BikeRunSki Fri 23-Nov-12 21:53:26

Oh yes ssd she's dreadful ! (38 years later, still convinced one of us was swapped at hospital ).

backforhelp Fri 23-Nov-12 21:54:49

I wouldnt send money. If they are already spoilt it wont mean much to them. I would either agree with sister that no presents to be exchanged or take the moral high ground, remember its the thought that counts and send a small (and light to post) gift from the UK like a Now CD for the boy and little Sylvania set for the girl. Would ignore lack of thanks from children as children will have been influenced by sister so not entirely their fault at this age. In a couple more years could probably drop presents altogether but I think whilst the young one is still primary school age it would be nice to do something if you can.

Wheresmypopcorn Fri 23-Nov-12 23:53:27

I can sympathize, my sister-in-laws kids always want Abercrombie and Fitch this and that. They are 10 and 13 and the daughter had on her list an iPhone, Abercrombie scent, in fact nothing that was decently priced. I just buy off the list and they always phone and thank me. Not their problem that their mum feels the need to overspend at every birthday/ Christmas.

pigletmania Sat 24-Nov-12 00:07:40

What a hortid superficial woman. I would send nothing just a card

SofiaAmes Sat 24-Nov-12 00:21:19

Make a donation to charity or give a "loan" to kiva.org in their name and send them a card saying so. At least if they don't appreciate it, someone else will!!

I would send gifts they couldn't get in their country - UK chocolate for example. Even spoilt teenagers can appreciate something that isn't brand name if it is cool - I know lots of teenagers over here would love a nice FCUK or Union Jack tee shirt.

If they are rich and 25quid or name brand goods are nothing to them then they probably don't think to thank you. Especially if their mother never taught them to.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 24-Nov-12 03:38:42

I would send them something small, a novelty/homemade/personalised item so that the value is personal/sentimental rather than financial.

I would also write your 'thank yous' to the children instead of your sister so that they get the idea that thanking someone is the right thing to do. Maybe get your DC's if/when they're old enough to write and thank their cousins, maybe it will inspire them to do the same.

BikeRunSki Sat 24-Nov-12 09:13:49

Actually, I am rather liking the idea of "Now" and Cadbury. And Walker's crisps - they are in the speciality aisle in their supermarket at 2€ for a 25g bag!

fuzzpig Sat 24-Nov-12 09:21:25

£25 not worth thanking you for?!? Bloody hell. YANBU.

mollymole Sat 24-Nov-12 09:31:46

Do keep the moral high ground and keep sending them gifts, it is not their fault their mother is the way she is. In the past I have bought 'label concious' gifts for children of similar ages but gone for a small item such as
a canvas wallet or a purse. Brands like 'O'Neill' etc, more a sporty, surfy, name seem to be attractive to young teens, and you can get wallets in TK Maxx for around £6-10 each

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Sat 24-Nov-12 09:38:29

The 12 year old could do with The Picture of Dorian Grey, methinks.
The 8 year old a Horrid Henry.

They wont cost a lot, and are easy to post.

You know you wont be thanked, you know they are ungrateful snobs, so you might as well annoy them deeply.

JeezyOrangePips Sat 24-Nov-12 09:42:16

You know those threads about people giving really bad/inappropriate gifts? I think these people are candidates for receiving them.

Buy dneice a size 20 brushed nylon nightie

Buy dnephew a pair of pj's for age 6, or a pair of pants with hugely inappropriate adult humour.

Actually, scratch that, it's not their fault their mother is a grabby cow.

I'd still be tempted though

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

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

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

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

Oxfam gifts!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

"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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Yr SIL is a greedy baggage. YANBU.

Send something handcrafted by yr kids.

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.

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

i wouldnt send anything

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

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

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

LOL at ViewoftheHills!

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 17:43:59

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.

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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