Feeling the pressure :-((10 Posts)
So, Christmas is just not a big deal to me or my husband. We go along with the traditions. We buy each family member a gift etc. But my SIL who I truly do adore, is Christmas crazy. And since kids are on the scene, this makes things really stressful for me.
Last year was our first Christmas with a little one. DH and I bought him two presents. SIL bought her little boy about 30 presents, and a present for each day in the month of December too, like an advent calendar. She also bought our little boy about 10 presents and we only got one present for our nephew.
Now I am feeling like we have to buy our nephew more things in the interest of fairness. For now we are sticking to our guns keeping things small for our son, but I do feel that as he grows older it will seem odd that he has just one or two things and his cousins are overloaded!
1st world problems really isn't it? But anyone else got a similar situation with conflicting ideas about presents for kids?
Have you tried talking to her about it? Agreeing a budget etc, along the lines of "it was the first Christmas last year so we understand the excitement but we should be more realistic from now on".
I think all you can really do is agree to a budget for the presents you exchange and keep your distance on the big day. Sympathy for you.
I could be your sister OP. I love Christmas and would happily go over the top at any opportunity. I love looking for the perfect gift and watching people open them. But I would like to think I wouldn't push others to do the same.
Is you're sil is approachable? Would she understand if you spoke to her and said you have decided you want to keep things minimal. If it was me, I would be quite happy to scale down what I bought your ds as I would just want to all have a good Christmas. However I think it would be unfair if you to ask her to change what she does for her own dc.
My sister goes overboard with her kids and spends LOADS. She posts pictures of massive piles of presents under the tree on fb too. Thankfully DD is far too young to notice, and even though she's coming up to the age where she might start noticing if it was right in front of her, she doesn't normally see them on Christmas morning when the presents are being opened anyway. Small children have a pretty hazy idea of what they have compared to others anyway, and they love Christmas whatever number of presents they get, so you have a fair few years before you need to start worrying about this.
Could you agree a monetary limit with your SIL on presents you exchange with your nephew? Or at least number of presents? The you have the option of buying several inexpensive things (kids can't judge how much things are when they're small anyway).
I'm with you on keeping present-buying within limits, and tend to come out in the middle on threads where MNers compare how much they spend on each child. About £100-150 seems to be generally the average per child: some spend much less, some much more. (A fair range seems to be between £40 and £300 pounds.) There is no reason why you have to feel pressured into duplicating what your SIL does or worrying that your child will feel hard done by - just keep doing what you feel is right for your family.
Our children's cousins receive way more presents and higher value presents than ours do or ever will. They also get gifts from more people, too, as their Dad is from a big family and I am not. Our children understand that things are different in different homes (SIL/BIL's lifestyle is very different from ours as their income is bigger than ours) and our kids don't worry about it.
The only year there was any comment made by our children was the year that MIL bought our children an item of clothing and a book each, and the other grandchildren an item of clothing, a book and an large toy each and gave them out to all the children together. My kids did notice that year! (MIL told me it was because we could be relied on to buy what the actually kids want, whereas MIL felt that SIL would only buy what she wanted to get them but it just felt very unfair to my kids, who thought they had upset MIL because they were treated differently. ) This was especially difficult as normally they are pretty unmaterialistic, and if she had just given the lot of them a bag of chocolate coins, they wouldn't have said a word. SIL was mortified and spoke to MIL, this hasn't happened since.
We exchange gifts for the children together and SIL usually spends more than I can afford to. I have given up worrying about this and just spend what we can afford but try to get something each child will really enjoy. SIL does not compare or worry that we have spent less - she spends what she can afford. However, although the children talk about what they have had from FC and from us and other relatives, they do not all open their stockings/main presents/any presents except those from us/SIL and BIL/PIL together which does make life easier.
Do what works for you and stick with it. But, if at all possible, opening stockings/main presents away from other families makes life much, much easier.
Thanks everyone. We alternate Christmas so it is only every other year we are with my husband's family anyway. She is very approachable - I guess I could suggest a budget but not sure how she will take it, I will ask my husband what he thinks about that idea.
I agree I can't change how much she buys for her child, that is her decision. Its good to know that even older kids don't tend to notice discrepancies in presents etc anyway!
So you might find your SIL calms it down in years to come.
I was nervous about Christmas with DB and DSIL last year because I had heard that their kids get loads. We keep it fairly low key. After some ridiculous years when my nieces were younger and actually got bored and tired of opening presents and lost interest, DB has encouraged DSIL to calm it down a bit. I think especially when they moved house and he had a moment of realizing how much "plastic rubble", as he put it, had accumulated.
So when we spent the day itself with them last year DS (aged 7) didn't notice any difference. He actually took himself off to play somewhere before the unwrapping finished.
My SIL never does one gift, even for birthdays. It's always a gift back filled with individual gifts.
We buy 1 gift. Neither I nor DH care what other people do or what they think.
On the basis that no festival is worth getting into debt over my advice is carry on doing what you do. Some people are extravagant, some are not. Neither one is wrong.
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