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What to do about in law presents!

(11 Posts)
Christmasjoyorsomething Mon 09-Oct-17 22:42:11

Sorry this is going to be long as I don't want to drip feed, and I've name changed as could be outing...

So DH was estranged from his family for a few years until DC came along. We're now in touch and all very jolly. We live quite far so only see them every four months really.
Last year we went to them after Christmas for a few days and we found presents really stressful in terms of what to get (barely know them, DH rubbish at gifts, super broke as unpaid mat leave at that point).

We did gifts for his parents- photos and things but for his siblings (he has three (one DS (single), one step brother (with partner and her two DC), one step sister (with DH) we did tiny little hampers of home made fudge, biscuits, soap etc plus some relatively low cost gifts- mugs for his step sister and DH, a smelly set from Joules for his sister (regift) and can't remember what for his step brother but also got little token gifts/toys for the DSB's children (think £3-4 each).
We got lovely gifts from his parents and our DC got lots of lovely things from them too. But that was the extent of the present giving- none others for us or DC from any siblings. But now I have the quandary of what to do this year as we're going for actual Christmas and I think most of them will be there- definitely the sister (and new boyfriend), and step brother with his family. Last year the one sidedness of gifts wasn't awkward because there wasn't really a gift giving session as it were, but this year there will be I suppose if it's Christmas Day... so what do we do? We have a bit more money this year as I'm working but do we do couple gifts? And if so any bright ideas? I suppose I don't mind doing £25 per couple maybe- but have no idea what to buy... but wonders why bother if they end up not bothering with us again!
If you've made it this far- well done, and apologies for how long this is!

Didiusfalco Mon 09-Oct-17 22:51:36

I’d go for a generic bottle of wine type gift. Nothing that’s too expensive or takes up too much headspace but a nice gesture where it doesn’t matter if they reciprocate. The kind of impersonal thing you might give to people at work.

Skittlesandbeer Mon 09-Oct-17 23:04:09

I think your handmade mini hampers sound lovely! I wouldn't worry about increasing the cost of them, or whether it would be seen as unoriginal. Quite the opposite, it could become a lovely little tradition that you do them (every year, everyone).

Other benefits:

If you, or your DC, become closer to any rellos, you can add something you know to be to their taste.

You can make extra ones in case extra guests are there

Your DC can contribute to them- little drawings or cards, then give them a small budget and let them choose from shops (also a good lesson in giving)

You can change the 'vessel' of the hamper every year- baskets, tins, boxes, vases, etc

You completely eliminate the 'what do I buy them' issue forever.

I'll have one too, if you end up with spares, they sound lovely! grin

KC225 Tue 10-Oct-17 01:25:10

I think your hampers last year sound perfect. I would look upon it as it was a nice gesture from visitors. I wouldnt bother with individual gifts other than getting the parents something nice. But as others have suggested sending a grpup 'tjought' may go down well. Waitrose are doing a lovely Christmas gift box, Panatonne, gingerbread, chocolates and Presecco for £50.00 Attach a note saying, 'with you all in spirit and chocolate and cake'

SeaToSki Tue 10-Oct-17 01:34:49

I'd go with hampers again, maybe stuff to make a meal... homemade treats, cards from the dc etc. V thoughtful and impossible to price check

Christmasjoyorsomething Tue 10-Oct-17 07:13:37

Thanks everyone- glad to hear the hampers weren't an awful idea. I felt a bit embarrassed last year but I like the idea of changing the vessel and including bits from DC too. I have bulk bought plain tea towels too which I was going to get her to hand print/splodge in Christmas designs so that would work to go in as well. Will have a google for other hamper ideas too. And search for this year's vessel!

Annwithnoe Tue 10-Oct-17 16:28:09

I certainly wouldn't be embarrassed by the hampers. My sil gives my parents one every year and they have no shortage of help scoffing it. I get a flower arrangement from a friend who is a florist and it's something I'd really miss if she stopped doing it.

However, in this case I'd probably buy something for the siblings and keep the receipt to return after Christmas if they don't offer you something. I don't mean this unkindly and I certainly don't think gifts have to be transactional but it can be awkward if you don't want/can't afford the added expense of yet more gifts and someone keeps giving you something.

I'd just get something just in case and if they don't do gifts this year, let it slide and just give to the parents.

Sparkletastic Tue 10-Oct-17 18:45:08

The hampers sound ace. Stick with a variation on that theme. How lovely to hear about a family healing a rift for once.

BeaLola Tue 10-Oct-17 23:07:33

Hampers sound great. Perhaps add a Christmas DVD you could all watch. Could you ask PIL whos going/ ask them what they think the siblings might like/ wha are they buying them ?

traviata Tue 10-Oct-17 23:22:05

Email everyone and say you are only going to do presents for children this year, and indicate that it will be the same within your extended family as well as DHs.

Then ask what you can bring to contribute to Christmas for everyone. Eg offer to bring desserts for everyone, or a few bottles of wine, the crackers, a cheeseboard, a bottle of port - whatever.

That way you have included everyone, you have made sure all the DC have a gift to open, and you have not wasted your time or money on people who might be totally skint themselves or might not really be bothered.

traviata Tue 10-Oct-17 23:24:54

ps DD's handprints on teatowels sound really lovely, but only for PILs.

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