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Anyone else have the two "sides" of the family with different approaches to present giving?

(21 Posts)
Decorhate Thu 25-Nov-10 13:26:57

Sorry this will be long...

We don't often see our families over Christmas itself as they all live in a different country.

My family are very into sending cards & exchanging actual presents. Not necessarily expensive but my siblings always post Xmas presents to my dcs or order online for delivery here...

We often visit dh's family a month or so before Christmas & they have tended to do the present exchanging thing then, though I am a bit hmm at opening gifts before Christmas, I go along with it, grandparents like to see their grandchildren opening their presents, etc.

Anyway, last year dh had a chat with MIL about Christmas presents, one of his BILs was on a 3 day week, we didn't want to be putting anyone under any pressure to buy our dcs gifts that they couldn't afford, etc. So the answer back was that we wouldn't exchange presents at all (with his siblings kids).

All fine with us. However, it then transpired that PILs were not going to get anything for our dcs either - though MIL did get some clothes for dd when we saw her before Christmas (unwrapped so not obv to the boys it was Xmas present) but nothing for the ds's. I don't know if they got presents for their other GCs...

I think the same is going to happen again this Christmas, but this year we may actually be visiting them over Christmas.

Does anyone else think it is odd for GPs to not want to get their GCs a little something? Even something that only costs a couple of quid?

What do I say if the dcs start to notice?

Sorry this was so long!

healthyElfy Thu 25-Nov-10 13:33:10

Could it have been a misunderstanding? I agree its very odd.

Decorhate Thu 25-Nov-10 13:41:51

No don't think so. Of course dh should just have talked to his sisters instead of going via MIL....

They can be very generous (at birthdays) but only if it doesn't involve making any effort - their preferred mode of present-giving is to bung cash in a card. They don't seem to take any joy in choosing gifts for their GCs (mine at least). And I must add that they have never once given/sent me a birthday card, even for "significant" birthdays.

healthyElfy Thu 25-Nov-10 13:47:00

Sounds really sad Are you actually spending Christmas Day with them?

storminabuttercup Thu 25-Nov-10 13:50:04

I've started a thread very similar OH's family dont do presents, mine would never give cash.

i was sad when filling out my baby memory book as it got you to list the presents bought when baby was born and there were none from DP's mum or dad, his dad didnt send a card, maybe DS will want to know why when hes older and looks at all the cards, maybe he wont care.

personally i believe kids do notice this stuff. i know i did

Decorhate Thu 25-Nov-10 13:50:50

Not Christmas Day itself, but hope to go between Christmas & New Year. If we do go, I want to get SILs kids something small, seems sad to see family at Christmas & not mark the occasion...

Decorhate Thu 25-Nov-10 13:56:42

I think one of the reasons this has happened is that one SIL still lives at home with her dc & she and PILs tend to act as one unit, iysim, so because SIL was not getting presents for our dcs, MIL decided to take the opportunity to cross a few people off her shopping list...

mrspear Thu 25-Nov-10 13:57:32

Well my husbands side don't do Christmas nor presents / cards. Although we were surprised how many them managed to not only get a card but a present for DS's first birthday instead of the usual money tucked into his clothing - when DH asked why they said that it was to fit in with my side. blush
But you see for us it is to do with culture and two families from two very different countries.

From your post i don't sense that; perhaps the GPs don't want to rub their ability to buy presents from those who can't? It does seem bizare to me.

Decorhate Thu 25-Nov-10 14:02:53

If I find out they are getting presents for their other GC I will be murderous very cross...

storminabuttercup Thu 25-Nov-10 14:19:38

i hope you dont think this question is out of order, but are they very old? its just when my great grandma got very old she would give things to my sister and cousin and not me or my other cousin, she did have mental health issues and thats why, it came as she got old.

(not suggesting that mental health issues come with age i am just too tired to word that correctly)

storminabuttercup Thu 25-Nov-10 14:20:39

reading that back it sounds awful blush

Decorhate Thu 25-Nov-10 14:37:12

No I know what you mean. They are quite young (younger than my parents) so it's not that.

Ragwort Thu 25-Nov-10 14:40:43

But you are 'marking the occasion' by seeing you in-laws during the Christmas holiday; I would use it as a good example of how different families have different customs and it is not 'all about the presents'. Please don't let it spoil your chidrens relationship with their grandparents. smile

frogetyfrog Thu 25-Nov-10 14:45:16

I am a little confused but is there a possibility that when your dh spoke to his dm to raise the question of not giving presents that year due to dBIL situation, she misunderstood and thought you wanted to reduce costs totally, so no presents for anybody.

They may be doing it for you thinking you dont want present giving as you are cutting back or you think your dc get too much or something?

If my dH has to arrange or speak to his mother about anything like this, confusion reigns for years.

frogetyfrog Thu 25-Nov-10 14:47:46

And if it makes you feel any better, I dont think cash is always a lazy present. My dm is giving my dds cash this year as she feels at a loss as to what to buy. My youngest dd is only 5 and I think very easy to buy for, but obviously my dm feels differently, and she certainly has given it some thought.

storminabuttercup Thu 25-Nov-10 14:47:55

I see what frogerty says but its still very strange isnt it.

This year we need to reduce costs and my mum said not to buy them anything (we still will) but if we didn't she would still buy DS....

frogetyfrog Thu 25-Nov-10 14:49:45

Storm - I dont think it is strange really as there are a lot of families this year deciding not to present buy. One side of our family have done it (I think - but there is a bit of confusion there too so I hope I am right as I havent got anything for them!).

It would be difficult for a PIL to go against the wishes of the parents and buy for the dc if they think the parents have said not to.

storminabuttercup Thu 25-Nov-10 14:57:33

I meant i could see what you meant about confusion but it is strange that they didn't clarify grin

we are also not doing presents, but only between adults, with some of our family now we all have DC

frogetyfrog Thu 25-Nov-10 15:06:28

This thread has made me ring and ask sil about what is proposed for present giving and I had got it wrong!!!! Apparently we are giving to the kids but I thought we werent giving at all on that side of family!!

Now I wish I hadnt agreed. Its not that I dont like her kids or other inlaws kids. But I and dh prefer the parents!!! At the end of the day dh grew up with his siblings, yet we never see their kids. We talk to his siblings on the phone and keep in touch but never talk to their kids!!! So why on the earth would I or he want to buy the children presents but not dh siblings as the parents.

I dont like it and cannot understand the logic. The problem is now we have unwittingly agreed (even if I agreed to something that wasnt fully understood accurately), I would be unreasonable to give presents to the parents and not the kids wouldnt I?

Op - its difficult times. You have my sympathy.

Decorhate Thu 25-Nov-10 15:38:06

frogetyfrog, up to last year we had only been buying presents for SILs dcs, not SILs & BILs anyway, so even if she had somehow misunderstood our intentions it doesn't really make sense. She is the one saving money by not buying our dcs presents.

I agree cash for birthdays is fine now the dcs are older but was a bit useless when they were little - esp as it was sent in euros not sterling... just using it as an example of how little effort they make.

Ragwort, how will my dcs feel if their cousins show them a toy & say that Nana gave it to them?

If we do visit I had better stay off the booze in case I say something!

fel1x Thu 25-Nov-10 15:47:48

frog - its common to buy for children in the family and not adults. I think mainly because adults are old enough to be happy to go without to reduce financial pressure on everyone, wheras kids dont worry about things like that, and shouldnt really so still get bought for.

We dont buy for adults in my family, only children. My sister was the last to have kids so we usually bought her and her DP something for the house before they had kids to make it a bit more even!

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