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To think my SIL is mean

(26 Posts)
reallytired Sun 12-Dec-10 22:31:43

My ds birthday is new years eve and I hate it when people give him one present for christmas and easter.

We always give my sil children a christmas and birthday present. She has three children and in the past we spent about £30 each present. (Ie. roughly £60 a child or £180 a year)

This year has been an exception. We spent 6 months on income support as my husband lost his job. We only spent £5 a child on birthday presents. My husband has only recently started a new job and money has been incredibly tight. We are planning to spend £10 per child on christmas presents.

We aren't spending a lot on our own children. It has been a really tough year. I am not spending more on my SIL children than my own.

My SIL has decided to buy ds an alarm clock. she has decided that it should be a christmas and birthday present. I feel she is being mean. Both her husband and her are high income tax payers and money is not an issue. They are rolling in money.

a) It is important to acknowledge that a birthday and christmas are seperate celebrations.

b) Even if it was nominal. A child needs their birthday to recongised. A gift does not need to be expensive.

Am I being unreasonable to think she is being tight.

SantaAteMyHamster Sun 12-Dec-10 22:38:12

Oh with my right on hat on I should say well it shouldn't matter how much they earn but quite honestly she sounds like a thoughtless, tight-fisted git. YANBU.

sunnydelight Sun 12-Dec-10 22:43:54

I do understand your rationale so I'm not trying to be unsympathetic, but the whole notion of expectation and presents drives me nuts. EVERYONE, adult and child alike, should just be grateful if anyone gives them anything. There are so many people on here hurt/upset/angry with friends and family over what they or their children are not getting/did not get. I know it's a cliche but it's not exactly the spirit of Christmas is it.

blackeyedsusan Sun 12-Dec-10 22:44:34

That is really sad. I think it would have been kinder to ds to have two presents, even if only small. If they couldn't manage 2, it may have been best to give the present for the birthday as it seems to me that it is the birthdays that get forgotten and I know people who are still really resentful at missing out.

does sil know of your circumstances?

Unfortunately though, your sil can choose what she does, even if you and ds don't like it.

borderslass Sun 12-Dec-10 22:45:50

I don't see the problem my nieces and nephews have always had joint christmas and birthday presents but with me its more because I forget everyone's birthdays.

begonyabampot Sun 12-Dec-10 22:45:54

if they don't have money problems then of course they should treat birthday and Christmas separately. Many of my families b'days are near to Christmas, it's a pain but not the child's fault.

classydiva Sun 12-Dec-10 22:46:23

No you arent unreasonable, ask her to split the cost of the clock and buy two presents one for birthday and one for christmas as you feel it is unfair it seems as if her birthday is not important or celebrated individually.

textfan Sun 12-Dec-10 22:48:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KangarooCaught Sun 12-Dec-10 22:55:57

Yep, she is.

Had one friend point out that now we have one more child than she does, the present giving is unequal and she will be knocking it on the head. Wish she'd told me before I bought and posted her dcs' presents this year.

taintedsnow Sun 12-Dec-10 23:19:55

I have a sibling with a birthday near Christmas, and I would definitely advise individual presents for each occasion. It is quite unfair to arbitrarily decide that you can combine just because the dates are close together. It's not the child's fault they were born near Christmas, is it?

I think the reasonable thing to do here, as classydiva said, is to ask SIL to spend the same as she would've on the alarm clock, but to get two presents.

shock @ KangarooCaught and her horrid friend.

anonymosity Sun 12-Dec-10 23:27:15

YANBU and she is being "tight" but you better get used to it - I am a near Xmas birthday and had Xmas/Birthday gifts my entire life. Its what a lot of people are going to continue to choose to do.

Mumwithareindeertattoo Sun 12-Dec-10 23:32:40

Well I guess it depends. My sister and I both have Christmas birthdays and generally family members would get us a gift for each. We did occasionally get a joint present but then it was generally a more expensive item that we wouldn't have got at all if birthday and Christmas not close together.

So I guess as long as a joint present is being given because combining the budgets for both presents means you can get something better (rather than just halving the present budget) then I think it's OK. Difficult to tell whether this is the case in the op though...

JSCandC Sun 12-Dec-10 23:35:24

YANBU she is defo tight,

my sil (7) has her birthday on xmas day and PIL have told us to get her toy story3 for a joint present. But we cant bring ourselfs to do it so we are looking for another present for her birthday (but have no idea what to get her) and MIL wont tell us as she says the dvd is enough confused (sil opens her xmas presents on the morning then we have dinner then its birthday celebrations- with a birthday tea and birthday presents)

defineme Sun 12-Dec-10 23:52:44

TBh I think you were spending an awful lot of money on the kids in the past.

I find it really cringe worthy how much people spend, we are reasonably well off and Id never spend £30 on nieces and nephews, but if necessary I'd cut off my right arm for them-do you see what I'm saying? I could be perceived as being 'tight' but it's simply that I think it's naff to spend lots on presents. It doesn't reflect my love for them in any way.

However, I do think it is all about the thought and that giving a joint present shows no thought at all.

She is being unreasonable, but I do think Christmas is about quality family time and not the presents. My 3 don't get loads of presents, but they still wouldn't notice if there wasn't one from bil-too busy playing with what they have got. So don't worry about it upsetting them.

You think it signifys how they feel about you? Perhaps it just signifys how they feel about money. How are they with you in general?

I know you've said it's not the monetary value, but you've mentioned that a lot....

onmyfeet Mon 13-Dec-10 07:38:48

YANBU at all! Be a whole different ball game if ALL the children did not receive a birthday present. To single out your son because he was born a week after Christmas is mean.
She is being insensitive to how her nephew may feel at not being acknowledged on his birthday. She could give the kid a little money in a card if nothing else.
I think she is mean. The child's birthday is on the 31st, and to lump it in with Christmas is cheap.

If she wants to play that game, tell her "Fine,in that case, we will no longer be exchanging any birthday presents amongst us. I am not having my son be the one child who doesn't receive something when all of the other children in the family do on their birthday."

Angry in your behalf.angry
Here is a song to e-mail to your SIL.

Actuallawyer Mon 13-Dec-10 07:53:45

Why not suggest that from 2011 onwards, you ditch Christmas presents and only do birthday gifts? That has the advantage of spreading your shopping over the year.

RememberToPlaywiththeKids Mon 13-Dec-10 07:55:16

Can you say thank you very much and that you'll give it to him on his birthday as his birthday often gets forgotten as it's so near christmas and that's what you do if he's ever given just the one present....

and get your point across that way???

If she disagrees, just say - look you really appreciate her giving him a present and he'll love it but that lots of people with birthdays near christmas have said it's really hard having joint presents rather than one for christmas and one for birthday and that they prefer to have it on their birthday if there is only going to be one...

thus reinforcing your point....

and if she gets narky and refuses to give a present at all say

that's completely fine and you're sorry if you've upset her.

and leave it at that.

and then have a chat with your / DPs brother!

SofiaAmes Mon 13-Dec-10 07:59:34

Why not say to her..."I didn't realize your family was having financial problems as well. Why don't I buy something for ds on your behalf and you can give it to him on his birthday, so he can feel like his birthday hasn't been forgotten..." or something along those lines. I bet she won't take you up on it and buy him a bday present too!

ShanahansRevenge Mon 13-Dec-10 08:06:58

YANBU My sisters Birthday is on the 17th of December and my Mum was always quite strident in making sure she had a proper a result she always gets it recgnized better than any of us now she's 40!

I agree with remembertoplaywiththekids!

SantasENormaSnob Mon 13-Dec-10 09:18:54


tbh I would suggest leaving the Christmas pressies and just doing birthdays from now on.

AnneTwacky Mon 13-Dec-10 12:28:45


Even if a child's birthday was on Dec 25th I'd still get a birthday and a Christmas present.

I like SofiaAmes idea the best. Non confrontational but lets SIL know exactly how you feel.

puglet123 Mon 13-Dec-10 12:34:10

On the one hand I agree that it is a present which should be appreciated, but on the other hand I agree that you DS should have 1 pressie for Christmas and 1 for his Birthday whilst he is young. My DS has his Birthday ten as well and it can be hard for them having everything at once so it is nice to differentiate between the 2 celebrations.
Hope he has a fab Birthday. grin

SweetKate Mon 13-Dec-10 12:40:54

My brothers birthday is Christmas Day. We always had a "normal" Christmas with presents for all the family. He then opened his birthday presents on Boxing Day. My Mum always made a point of telling people this and it got generally known by family and friends to buy separate presents.

Your SIL is being very mean - particularly as your son's birthday is not for almost a week after Christmas.

BonniePrinceBilly Mon 13-Dec-10 12:44:04


healthyElfy Mon 13-Dec-10 13:57:25

Perhaps you could phone and suggest that as your ds is getting a joint Christmas and Birthday present her children would like that as well, and what a good idea it is, well done her!

One less for your son on his birthday wont notice and you will have considerably more to spend on him as you wont be doing the birthday presents for other children.

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