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How to avoid our presents being given as Santa's

(62 Posts)
squiggleirl Tue 04-Nov-14 13:31:23

A bit of background - I really don't like DHs sister. TBH, he's not fond of her either.

She and her husband don't have great jobs. They do like acting like people who do. They frequently buy designer clothes, smoke and drink a lot. As soon as their kids need something though, they put on the poor mouth, and ILs step in to make sure the kids whatever they need. Truth is, it's well known that they'll look after themselves as they know if the kids need something, DHs parents won't see them go without, and it'll be got for the kids.

We've long-suspected that ILs have bought the kids presents from Santa every year. The kids get huge piles of very expensive presents each year that realistically, and based on how they present their impoverished state all year, they just can't afford. That's all fine if that's what ILs are prepared to do, it's their decision.

A few years ago DH said SIL had said something to him, and then back-tracked quickly. They didn't live near us at the time, and DH was talking to her about sending presents for Christmas. He said that they'd be wrapped but he'd send her a mail so she'd know what we'd got in advance, so nobody doubled up on presents. She said not to bother wrapping them, and they'd put them under the tree, and that it didn't matter who the presents were from anyway, so long as the kids liked them. It just sowed this little seed of doubt with us as to what would happen with presents, and would the kids be told 'These are from XXX'.

We were visiting ILs recently and SIL and her family were there. DN1 is a lovely kid, and I was chatting to him. He was telling me about a present he got from Santa last year. His Mum was near him, and said 'Yeah, that was a great present Santa got you. You love it.'

Thing is Santa didn't get the present. We did. I saw it really early last year, and thought he'd love it. I picked it up, and told MIL so again there'd be no doubling up. She even told me that she'd passed the message on that we'd picked it up for him. It's not like it was even something SIL thought he'd really like and had wanted to get him.

I did nothing to correct DN1 about who the pressie was from. He's at the age where he may or may not still believe, and I didn't want to rock the boat on that one. Also, whatever happened isn't anything to do with him, and it's not fair to have a good kid caught up in the middle of anything.

So here's my question - how do I make sure DNs get their presents from us as being from us? It's not about getting the credit for gifts, but I also don't want them thinking we get them nothing, or that we get them whatever SIL is telling them is from us. I already have DN1s present. It's one big box. I have nothing for DN2 yet. What usually happens is that we all meet before Christmas. Presents are handed over between parents (i.e. we'd be given a bag with presents for our kids in it). The idea is that we hide the presents at home and then put them under the tree on Christmas Eve. I'm just concerned there's been a bit of relabelling in the meantime, and am wondering if there's any way of avoiding this. I'm thinking that maybe we should just hand the presents directly to the kids, but need to make sure SIL doesn't step in and whisk them away before they see them.

So, I'm wondering if anybody has any advice as to what we could do? Thanks!

sleepyhead Tue 04-Nov-14 13:35:45


a) Don't give them presents. The children will know no different anyway and clearly don't expect to receive gifts from individuals.

b) Give them presents as you always have since that's what aunts & uncles generally do. Eventually the children will find out, unless their parents intend to keep up the Santa thing for the rest of their lives.

WipsGlitter Tue 04-Nov-14 13:37:55

If it bothers you that much, just give them the presents when you see them!

tanya1312 Tue 04-Nov-14 13:38:48

Are you due to see the family christmas time/week. Can you give it to them then x

quietlysuggests Tue 04-Nov-14 13:39:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Floggingmolly Tue 04-Nov-14 13:39:37

Hand them over (directly to the kids) before Christmas. You can instruct them not to open them until Christmas if you like; but there will be no doubt they came from you.
No way would I be funding someone else's kids Santa pile, that's awful.

kiwidreamer Tue 04-Nov-14 13:43:12

Your only option really is to give the gifts next time you see them around the holiday period, even if its New Year perhaps. Growing up for me the stocking and one largish gift that didn't fit in the stocking but wrapped in same paper right next to stocking were the gifts from Santa and then the other gifts were from who they were from, and likewise we bought gifts for others from us - I really do not understand the complication of ALL gifts from Santa and then having to deal with why some kids get LOADS and others not so much, if everyone in the whole wide Santa-believing world just stuck to the simple stocking from the Big Guy it would be much easier --and not unrealistic at all--

MehsMum Tue 04-Nov-14 13:48:26

This would annoy me too, OP: as you say, not because you want 'credit' for the presents but because you want your DNs to know that you do actually care enough to think about them and get them something they'd like: you want them to know you care. Besides, the parents are lying to the children and that's just horrible ignores whole Father Christmas myth for now

I'd either make sure I handed them over to the kids (as in, to the DNs hands) myself before Christmas, or 'couldn't make' the meet-up before Christmas and gave them to the children afterwards.

JingleSpud Tue 04-Nov-14 14:13:54

Unless its something you've agreed first (ie we've done that with family before) then i would be fucked off too!

Can you give the presents before or after christmas?

girlywhirly Tue 04-Nov-14 14:18:55

This is difficult in that if you liked SIL, you would probably go along with the whole Santa thing for the benefit of the DN'S. Personally, we used to say that Santa brought the stocking gifts (which had no labels), but other gifts were labelled from the giver, who was then thanked.

It does sound as though SIL is creating a smokescreen to hide the fact that they haven't actually bought certain items. However, if you want to be the acknowledged giver of a certain gift, the only way to ensure the recipient knows who it's from is to place it in their hands with a big label saying 'from Auntie and Uncle Squiggle' on Christmas day, and watch them open it. In fact, it would be quite fun to announce to SIL before the big present hand over, that you and DH would like to see your DN'S open their presents from you in person and therefore will be keeping them back, 'because it was clear last Christmas he had no idea who had given DN1 which gift, and it seemed a shame that their time and effort choosing and buying the gift was considered unimportant. What was it you bought him again, SIL? Oh I thought it was your Mum and Dad.' And watch her reaction.

The bottom line is, they cannot dictate how you give gifts. If it means the DN'S get your gifts on Boxing day, so be it. I think DC don't really care when they get the gifts.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 04-Nov-14 14:22:08

I would put a card inside the box saying Merry Christmas from Aunty and Uncle Squiggle.

squiggleirl Tue 04-Nov-14 14:24:43

Thanks everyone. There's a family get-together a few days before Christmas, so we'll just have to engineer a way of handing the presents straight to the kids rather than to their Mum. Maybe I could ask them to help me unload the car while DH distracts his sister. I hate having to think like this about Christmas presents.

Hellokittycat Tue 04-Nov-14 14:25:48

Can you give something personalised wrapped up along with the actual present like a book with an inscription from you?

DrasticAction Tue 04-Nov-14 14:29:54

no dont put note inside box!

hand them over directly and say its from you.

squiggleirl Tue 04-Nov-14 14:30:53

I was tempted to do that, but DN2 still definitely believes in Santa, so I don't want to ruin it for him because of what his mother does.

I keep telling myself to think of the kids in this. It does grate. This is the same woman who told DS to get a present she'd got him from under the tree at ILs house. She'd never bought him one, let alone put one under the tree. Poor kid was crawling under the tree looking for something she never bought. She 'thought' MIL had bought, wrapped and put a pressie under the tree from her. MIL hadn't. MIL ended up ripping a tag off of one of her presents to give to him, so he'd stop crying.


SpringBreaker Tue 04-Nov-14 14:32:56

I have never understood the belief that santa/father christmas provides everything.. as a child I believed in him, but I believed that he DELIVERED the presents that other people had bought for me, and they came with gift tags so that I could thank the people..

Foxbiscuitselection Tue 04-Nov-14 14:38:16

Ask to meet up in the Xmas holidays (post Xmas?) and exchange and open the gifts together. Tell them that's what you are planning to do and that you have planned a nice afternoon together

Floggingmolly Tue 04-Nov-14 14:44:51

She assumed your MIL had put a label on a gift indicating it came from her, as in his mother???? Wtf is that about??? confused
The only gifts her kids get are from Santa and their parents; but someone else is expected to provide both sets? My head is about to explode trying to process that hmm

MokunMokun Tue 04-Nov-14 14:47:16

I can understand why you don't like her. In our house the gifts under the tree are from people and they are thanked, the gifts in the stockings are from Santa. I agree find a way to give the kids their presents directly and after Christmas ask if they liked their whatever it was.

squiggleirl Tue 04-Nov-14 15:28:30

Floggingmolly DHs mother is also her mother. SIL decided MIL had bought a gift for our DS from SIL. She decided MIL had wrapped it and labelled it and put it under the tree at MILs house where we were all spending Christmas afternoon, and then sent poor DS under the tree to look for it. MIL knew nothing of this plan. DS was only 4. It was awful to watch. In an effort to save the situation, MIL grabbed one of the presents she had yet to give DS, ripped the tag off and said 'Oh look it's over here', and gave him that present as if it was from SIL. SIL maintains it was always from her, and MIL wrapped it in error when they were staying with her for a few days before Christmas. Only thing SIL didn't know was that the day MIL bought it I bumped into her in town. MIL was all excited at having bought one of his pressies, and actually showed me the present in the shopping bag.

Floggingmolly Tue 04-Nov-14 15:51:37

Oh, I see. How weird... Entitled and weird, and completely unfair on your poor MIL.

girlywhirly Tue 04-Nov-14 15:52:57

Actually, I think DH should tell his parents and SIL that he is well aware that SIL isn't buying any presents and expecting their parents to bankroll her and he is appalled that they allow her to use them like that (out of the hearing of the DC.) And strongly suggest that SIL cut back on her extravagant lifestyle to fund presents for her own DC like everyone else has to. She and her DH are users pure and simple. No wonder you don't like them.

TheHouseonHauntedHill Tue 04-Nov-14 16:06:33

This is the same woman who told DS to get a present she'd got him from under the tree at ILs house. She'd never bought him one, let alone put one under the tree. Poor kid was crawling under the tree looking for something she never bought. She 'thought' MIL had bought, wrapped and put a pressie under the tree from her.
Yep my sil has done similar passing off presents from her when never been near them,

do not under any circs ruin it you dont need too, simpy hand them over! catch them out go early whateever, just hand over..

LokiBear Tue 04-Nov-14 16:18:16

Tell your dns you have sent something very special to santa for them. You are really excited for santa to deliver your present because you know they will love it. After christmas, ask them if they liked it, highlighting that you picked it out and got santa to deliver it.

DaffodilField Tue 04-Nov-14 16:20:37

Put a note inside the wrapping saying 'with love from your name' if they are old enough to read.

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