About the gift-buying for nieces/nephews

(59 Posts)
FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 16:57:21

Between us, husband and I have 5 nieces & nephews (SIL has 3 and is trying for more so that'll likely increase)! We currently have no children - expecting our first very soon.

My brother & his OH get by nicely financially, they're both on benefits as a lifestyle choice & don't work but they don't go without their luxuries. DH's sister is the other extreme - extremely wealthy, SAHM, rich 'landed-gentry' husband who also has a good job, hence why she can afford to keep having as many kids as she likes. We are somewhere in the middle, we're not scraping by but we're certainly not made of money and we're having an expensive time at the mo preparing for arrival of 1st baby and have just bought our (modest) first home. Also trying to furnish a second house because we're currently based abroad due to my husband's job.

Husband wants to buy for ALL birthdays and ALL christmases. I think it's fair to send just cards for the kids' birthdays and only do presents at Xmas. I know you don't give to receive but AIBU to think it's excessive to buy 5 birthday presents and 5 christmas presents every year for all these kids when we get nothing?! It's bloody expensive. We don't even see any of them. My brother's partner buys us a small token gift each xmas to say thanks for buying for her kids, but my wealthy SIL never gives us a bean and has only recently started sending us a xmas card! She only texts to thank DH for the gifts whenever she remembers. She sends him a measly card on his birthday but never sends a card to me, then at xmas we both get nothing. If I had 3 kids and my sibling was spending all that money on my lot, I would at least buy them a gift voucher to buy something for their house hmm

Anyway, yesterday was DH's nephew's b'day and today I found out he'd gone behind my back and asked his sister what to get for nephew's birthday and had bought him a present!! Bit pissed off about it as now we'll have to buy for the other two, then my brother's two all in the space of next few months as well as forking out for new baby stuff, furniture etc. She didn't even ask what she could buy us for the new baby in two months. He is ruled by her and his parents and would rather keep them sweet than his wife.

AIBU? What do you usually do with gifts for nieces/nephews etc?

cozietoesie Fri 08-Mar-13 17:11:58

I give a card and a present for Xmas, birthdays - and a (modest) Easter Egg for any of them where I'm likely to see them or their parents around the time. (Chocolate not keeping etc.)

We don't get anything back but then with kids, these dates are important. I was always excited to receive gifts from relatives on special days and that guides me. All presents stop at 18 though. They just get a card from then on unless I feel moved to give them something - as for the other adults in the family.

cozietoesie Fri 08-Mar-13 17:13:58

PS - the gifts are usually modest as well.

Adversecamber Fri 08-Mar-13 17:14:47

I have 13 niece and nephews, never birthday presents, only Christmas presents and it stops when they are 16.

anonymosity Fri 08-Mar-13 17:15:15

I agree with all presents stop at 18. We did that in our family growing up and everyone went with it, no one offended or left out.

My DH sometimes sends something to one of his nephews that's more than I'd personally like to spend but you know, I don't get in a stink about it because he clearly loves them and wants to show that. I don't love them, however nice they are!

lollilou Fri 08-Mar-13 17:15:19

I buy for both Christmas and birthdays. I have five but my family all buy for my two. In your case I think you should buy for the birthdays and then a small token gifts for Christmas.

kinkyfuckery Fri 08-Mar-13 17:16:33

I know you don't give to receive

Except apparently that's why you're pissed off at 'having to buy' gifts?

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:18:25

(*hangs head in shame*) Cozie, clearly you're a far nicer person than me! blush

In my defence, don't think any of SIL's kids really know who we are though as they live in a different city in a different country so never see us, so whilst they're excited to receive presents, I don't think they give a hoot about it's coming from X or Y relative etc. Just a faceless gift.

cozietoesie Fri 08-Mar-13 17:21:16

No - not nicer. Just that I remember clearly how important it was to have a special day when you were a youngster. Most of the nieces and nephews don't know me well but that's by the by.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 08-Mar-13 17:21:46


If your DH wants o buy for his nieces and nephews, you have no right to tell him be isn't allowed. He shouldn't have been put in the position where he needs to go behind your back, because it's common to buy for the children in lots of families. You might not like it, but it isn't wrong.

You don't have to buy for your brother just because your DH bought for his sister, unless they are likely to talk about what you bought amongst themselves.

When your child arrives, you will likely appreciate him/her being given presents by living Aunties and Uncles. I'm not sure why you expect SIL to ask what to buy you for your baby that isn't here yet though. She will probably choose what she wants to give you at the time of the birth.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:25:04

Re: "I know you don't give to receive".

Yes good point. I think for me the big part of the problem is the selfishness of SIL being all take take take and no give really. She's very self-centred. In the same convo, to not even ask her younger brother what she could possibly get for HER first ever niece/nephew is JUST charming of her... will not be surprised if nothing materialises when our little one is born. Ho hum!

fedupofnamechanging Fri 08-Mar-13 17:29:15

I would wait and see how things go when your baby arrives. Your dh may well start to see things your way if his family don't reciprocate when you have your own child.

In the mean time, I don't think it is unreasonable to agree a budget with your dh. Presents don't have to be expensive.

specialsubject Fri 08-Mar-13 17:33:19

you give to receive...a 'thank you'. If you aren't getting those, or just a text message, game over.

INeverSaidThat Fri 08-Mar-13 17:35:41

In your situation I wouldn't give any presents as I don't think it would mean anything to the DC's. If I saw them in person I would give them a present or some money.
However, as long as your DH is the one arranging it then I probably wouldn't worry about it too much.
I think it is OK to only buy DC's presents and not to buy for adults so I can see where your SIL is coming from.

Sirzy Fri 08-Mar-13 17:37:36

What clouds said.

I would never dream of not buying for my nephews but then I have a relationship with them.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:38:27

She does eventually get around to saying thank you, usually a few weeks down the line after DH calls or texts her first and she drops it into convo then, along with an apology for "sorry for late reply, I've just been SO SO BUSY" - even though my DH sometimes works 100 hour weeks..... hmm

I have 17 DNs, I always by the young ones a gift, sometimes my DCs get gifts but I don't keep score.

cathers Fri 08-Mar-13 17:43:37

I only have 2 nephews and unlikely to get more, therefore we do send pressies at birthdays, Xmas and Easter. However, as special said, a thank you or acknowledgement goes a long way and as those are non existing, the gifts are small, token ones.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:50:00

Oh, it's by the by, but thought I'd add that my own brother hasn't even texted me to say congrats since finding out his little sister is pregnant (I'm 7 months along now)... His girlfriend did text to say congrats though. Hence why it's hard not to think: "up yours then matey" when it comes to acknowledging his kids, but then that'd be nasty to his girlfriend who is a nicer person than him.

racmun Fri 08-Mar-13 17:52:44

In my family we don't bother buying each other presents ie my siblings but we buy our nieces and nephew presents and try and be fair.

For example my brother has 1 child and I tend to spend £50 on her whereas my sister has 2 so spend about £25 on each of them. We all do roughly the same.

Does add up though, so far we've always done Xmas and birthdays if I was to suggest dropping either event I'd drop Xmas as they get enough stuff from Father Christmas and Birthday is their special day.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:53:41

Meant that's not fair to snub the kids AND his girlfriend, all because of his crappy behaviour.

Don't let your feelings about their parents affect your relationship with your DNs.

racmun Fri 08-Mar-13 17:54:58

Also I refuse to do passing presents on through family though, if you don't even see them then I wouldn't bother.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:55:04

Racmun, I agree. I actually think birthdays are more personal so would be better to buy them presents for all their birthdays and not bother at Christmas when they already get soooo much from the whole family anyway in which case the sentiment kinda gets lost in the throng.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:55:42

Yes, we never ever see them or meet up with them. DH asks his parents to buy for the kids and then he reimburses them when we get chance to see his mum & dad.

Bananasinfadedpjs Fri 08-Mar-13 18:05:07

My sister has 6 nieces and nephews (2 of them are my own DC) - she doesn't have DC of her own. She doesn't have much money, but she always gets them incredibly thoughtful gifts for birthdays and Christmas, and she'll generally buy them a little gift if she ever takes them out for the day as well - she spoils them rotten, because she loves them.
I'd be mortified if I ever thought she was doing it out of duty. She enjoys giving the gifts just as much as the DC love receiving them, so it's a lovely thing, but I don't think gift giving should ever be a duty thing, you should only ever give presents if you want to. So in your case I would say YANBU to just give a card - but maybe your DH feels really close to his nephews and wants to get them something bigger, which is surely up to him?

BeeBopDingALing Fri 08-Mar-13 18:08:57

We get cards & gifts for niece and also 3 close friends children. Never anything big though. A book is fine.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 18:12:12

Hmm, not particularly. My DH doesn't even see them once a year so it's not that he's particularly close to them. He's not really a "kiddy" type person, obviously he is excited about Bump and very much wants our own! But not really into other people's kids. He does interact with SIL's kids on the once yearly (if that) occasion that we do see them at my in-laws, thinks they're funny/cute etc but other than that, nothing. We live in different cities so neither my DH nor my SIL make an effort to visit each other, they just text/call each other every few months.

ivanapoo Fri 08-Mar-13 18:15:06

If your DH wants to give gifts to his own sister's children then let him!

Also I really don't understand this whole "SIL didn't even ask what to buy our baby" thing you mention. Never heard of anyone doing that. If she didn't give your baby a gift when it's born though I would probably think she wasn't bothered about you.

BeeBopDingALing Fri 08-Mar-13 18:16:38

Should add to that SIL doesn't bother with our kids, they were not even deemed worthy of a Christmas card on their first Christmases. They'll see that when they are older because we scrapbook christmas and birthday cards for them.
I does bother me a little because she doesn't care but we won't stop sending neice things because it's not her fault her mother is a cow and she shouldn't have to miss out.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 18:19:54

BeeBop, sorry to hear that, that's terrible for your kids. It's very noble of you to continue making an effort for her children when she blatantly disregards yours. Personally that'd be the last straw for me. Shocking.

INeverSaidThat Fri 08-Mar-13 18:25:12

My DH and I had DC's before any of my siblings and my DH's siblings. I was happy that none of them got into the habit of buying our DCs presents. I now have no obligation to buy presents for their kids.
It works perfectly and everyone is happy it works like this.
I have a fantastic relationship with my nephews and nieces, it's just we don't regularly do presents.

We could all afford presents but it is relaxing not having to do them.

BeeBopDingALing Fri 08-Mar-13 18:26:45

I don't think it's noble tbh, but I just hate the thought of our neice missing out, we send her things all the time and although she is only little she loves getting them. I wouldn't take that away from her.
I really do think it's the thought that counts, so something little or handmade is enough. We don't spend a fortune at all, just something to let them know you are thinking of them.
Do you sew? You could make pencil rolls, purses, little bags. Get some glitter and stickers and make cards. It really can be done on the cheap.

BeeBopDingALing Fri 08-Mar-13 18:27:25

Niece! Typing haywire!

roastednut Fri 08-Mar-13 18:38:28

I wrote a long response to this and then lost it! I understand how you feel OP. We don't have any kids (yet) and we buy for 4 nieces/nephews for xmas and birthdays. Its the lack of thank you that gets me. I really wish we didn't have to bother, I would love a more relaxed approach but I feel like it's too late now. The kids are nearly 16 anyway at which point we'll probably stop. It's always surprised me that we get nothing in return, a token gift 'from the children' would be really appreciated as I do put a fair bit of thought/money into gifts. But mainly I just don't think it'd bother me as much if I felt it was appreciated or I actually got a thank you every time (it's very hit and miss).

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 18:52:19

SIL's three kids are 6, 5 & 2. My brother's are 8 & 5 - so got a long way to go yet. Ages of the kids isn't really an issue for me, as I know that with the "buy until they're 16 rule" we'll stop buying while our siblings will continue to buy for ours, as our baby will be younger etc. BUT... SIL keeps moaning and moaning about how 3 kids isn't enough and she's jealous of us expecting our first and having a newborn to look forward to, and how she wants another one, and another one, and I wonder when will it end?! Totally her business and not mine of course, but not fair to expect us to keep buying gift after gift for her myriad of children while we only have one child. Just how I feel....

PrincessUnderpaid Fri 08-Mar-13 18:52:38

beepbop same here!

SIL does same with my Ds,only have the one and Sil has 2 dd.

I always buy for them but then again she doesn't particularly like me or anyone else for that matter so I try not to take it to heart.

Giving to my DN brings joy to me and them and that's what gift giving is about.

PrincessUnderpaid Fri 08-Mar-13 18:54:38

Double spaced paragraph blush

ceeveebee Fri 08-Mar-13 19:00:12

We buy for all our DNs (5 in total, another on the way) but no presents at Xmas for their parents ie Dsis's/BIL and SIL/BIL.

My DH buys Xmas and birthday presents for his cousins and their DCs - there are 3 cousins and 8 DCs and he spends about £25 each - I don't even know my cousin's DCs names!!

mamapants Fri 08-Mar-13 19:10:21

I buy for my 4 nieces and nephews. Birthday and xmas. Also buy for easter. I remember getting lots of easter eggs when I was little I would be sad if my nieces and nephews didn't get the same.
I've only just had a baby but I've never begrudged getting their presents. I also get presents for my Sis and BIL for xmas and birthday but we only give to DPyet childless sister but not to the other sibling. Different behaviour for different families.

BridgetBidet Fri 08-Mar-13 19:33:14

In my family including in laws all the nieces and nephews have xmas and birthday presents bought. The adult siblings (aunties, uncles and parents) don't buy anything for each other.

For a long time this involved me and my husband giving without 'getting' as it took us 10 years to have our son. But now we've had him he is now getting the benefit of the arrangement.

It's nice to buy stuff for kids, I get an awful lot of pleasure out of it. And the adults not buying for each other saves money in a big family plus adults don't really get as much pleasure out of it as adults.

Really I think as an adult to expect something back in return for buying a child presents is a bit mean.

lollilou Fri 08-Mar-13 23:01:16

I think as an adult buying for your neices and nephews is a lovely thing to do and they will appreciate it even if you don't get a thank you from the adults. I still do it now and my oldest nephew is 27! But he is family and I love him and all the others.
I don't really get the thing about not being asked what you would like or need for your expected dc, perhaps your Sil has something in mind wait and see!

humblebumble Fri 08-Mar-13 23:21:26

I buy for all of my nieces and nephews on both sides for Christmas and birthday. There are over 20 in all. A long time ago before I had children myself and before there were so many I capped the amount I was willing to spend per child and told my siblings. I will most likely stop with each child when they reach 18.

A family friend who also has a very large family which is also expanding rapidly each year pick a family unit name (like a secret santa) out of the hat each year and then spend a specified amount on that family (e.g. they buy their sister and her family a board games and chocolates or they buy individual gifts for each of that unit). It saves them each spending a fortune and also cuts down on the amount of gifts being exchanged, which can get really out of hand.

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Mar-13 23:39:45

Some people are into the whole present thing, some people arent. I'm not. I cant wait for the day I have to stop buying my own childen presents and can just fling cash at them all.

FWIW I never quite get the whole Christmas hype with non practicing Christians - it would surely be batter to mark a birthday rather than Gods Sons birthday - mind you I am thinking that buying a 1,000 Christmas preaents at once is worse then buying dotted birthday presents.

I really dont see why if it the whole family dynamic not to buy presents, why one person just has to be an arse and break that rule. It puts financial pressure on everyone else.

DP has a rather large family, 4 sisters, 1 brother, 3 nephews and 1 niece atm, undoubtedly more in the future. We do birthdays, baptisms, Easter and Christmas for all if them, but we do see all of them frequently. It adds up, but anyone over 18 gets handmade sweets and nowt else for all if the above occasions which keeps costs down :-)

GreenShadow Fri 08-Mar-13 23:43:50

We buy for N and Ns at both Christmas and Birthdays.
Likewise uncles and aunts buy for our DC.
Agreement is that this stops at 18.

Maggie111 Sat 09-Mar-13 00:04:29

I have 4 nieces and nephews and the youngest is 6 years old... So for over 6 years I've been buying them Christmas and Birthday and yes, Easter presents and the occasional day trip out.

I couldn't imagine not doing it to be honest. It's the relationship that I've had with my own Uncles and Aunties and we've always budgeted our present fund for the year with the kids in mind. When we get a bit poorer we'll drop everyone's budget down a bit, but everyone still gets something.

I guess it depends what relationship you want to have with them?

If it were me and I didn't like it I'd speak to my husband and say "No more Christmas presents - everyone gets a selection box... And we will spend no more than £XX on their birthdays."

I'd much rather get a birthday present than a Christmas present - it's a celebration of them as an individual smile

mumeeee Sat 09-Mar-13 00:11:09

YABU I have 9 nephews and nieces and buy for all of them well up until they are 21, I n0w have a great nephew and a great niece and buy for them. My brothers and sisters do the ame it was agreed between us, We don't buy for adults wel only our parents and wouldn't expect someone to buy me a gift because I've sent thier children something. We don't buy expensive gifts.

nailak Sat 09-Mar-13 00:30:46

I have 9 nieces and nephews and 3 kids from them, i give all until 18, and eid presents

nailak Sat 09-Mar-13 00:31:31

isnt the whole point of being an aunt to spoil your nieces and nephews?

MusicalEndorphins Sat 09-Mar-13 04:00:34

I thought the joy was in the giving? No strings attached? We bought for all of them for Christmas and birthdays until they were 21.
I rarely saw them, but would not want to leave them out.
I would be like your husband and buy anyways. (not that my dh would ever be so mean as to not want to buy for the kids)

I see my 2 neices all the time, they mean as much to me as my own children do, they get Christmas and birthday presents.

DPs niece and nephew if I had my way would get nothing. They are the most ungrateful children ever but alas we buy Christmas and birthday presents for them too, never occured to me it was an option not to! grin

Kytti Sat 09-Mar-13 05:40:53

I had a great relationship with my db and sil (so I thought) and bought for all 5 of their children. They were never shy about telling me what they wanted for birthday and Christmas. I loved them, I didn't begrudge it.

I have children and Lo and Behold, they can't afford to reciprocate. Am I pissed off? Yes. They can't even afford the sodding pound shop? A packet of sweets? They can't be arsed. YANBU

nooka Sat 09-Mar-13 06:05:06

I buy presents for my family and dh is responsible for his side. It's not something I get involved in really (which is partly because they don't buy each other presents any more, which I think is a bit sad).

We tend to only do birthday presents if we happen to see each other, as with two families abroad it's difficult to remember in time. I buy/make presents for all my family members, and generally get my children to do the same because I think giving people you love presents is important.

The idea that you'd even imagine someone is having babies just to make you give them presents strikes me as somewhat bizarre.

Astelia Sat 09-Mar-13 06:07:10

In my family we don't give gifts for children at birthdays or Christmas unless we are actually seeing them. We all live in different countries now, but we didn't do it even when we were in the same country.

Children have so much stuff these days that they don't need random things from relatives. I do think gift giving is a waste of money unless you know the recipient very well.

OP I would see what happens when your LO is born and at their first Christmas, but I would recommend suggesting the no present route. You may well find the others jump at it. It makes life a lot easier.

MusicalEndorphins Sat 09-Mar-13 08:28:45

FranglaisMaman If you feel it will be too expensive, maybe put away a little money each month into a "Kids" fund. I found books were good presents as they were reasonably priced.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 09-Mar-13 08:55:27

I think OP that you take control. If DH is going behind your back and getting patents to buy them reimburse.
Why don't you say I will do all presents.
Then spend the amount you want, ie token amount!
Send early via sea mail -cheap.
Or amazon send directly!
Or buy presents you know can fit into cards.
Would stop any huge spending but keep that side of the family happy

toomanycourgettes Sat 09-Mar-13 09:28:07

We buy for 2 x Dnephews (or at least did until they turned 21 - now it's just a card), and 1 x DNiece. We have 2 other nieces who live abroad. We bought presents when they were born, Christmas, birthdays for first 3-4 years and received no thanks or acknowledgement at all from the family - we don't receive birthday/Christmas cards from them, so after 4 years I told DH (his brother) I wasn't sending gifts any more. We still send cards, and still receive no acknowledgement. The bullshit excuse that they are too busy to send a quick thank you does not wash with me at all. It is just plain rude.

NUFC69 Sat 09-Mar-13 10:13:07

I still buy Christmas and birthday presents for my two nephews (they are 33 and 30) and I also get their OHs something, too. I now have a DGN (dear grand niece) and I buy for her. My sister and I had a chat about it (I have two GC with a third on the way), we decided that we would continue as before with our own children and give our DGC a book and a (very) small cheque at both Christmas and birthdays. Apart from my own children and DH I buy no other presents, and I am very fond of my two DNephews, partners and baby - I couldn't imagine not doing it, tbh.

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