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to think my very young children shouldn't be expected to buy Christmas presents

(116 Posts)
PaythePiper Mon 12-Nov-12 14:03:00

It's never too early for a Christmas AIBU, is it? I'm in a dilemma here and thought it best to throw myself on the mercy an impartial internet.

My parents live abroad but we still were very close until we had a bad falling out several years ago. I haven't seen them since though we are in regular (if a bit tense) contact.

Last year my due date for my second child was quite literally Christmas. I was terribly unwell in the run up to the birth (volcanic heartburn, debilitating depression and chronic insomina, among other things). Things were even tenser with my parents because they were declining my invitation to come visit the baby after he was born (that's a whole other story). I just about managed to buy gifts to celebrate with my husband and 4 year old daughter, but that was it. As usual my mum ordered some things from Amazon for my daughter, which was appreciated.

My son was born a week late and after returning home from an epic 36 hour labour and delivery, I had an email from my mum asking where was their Christmas present from my daughter as they hadn't had anything from her. I explained as nicely as I could that under the circumstances I just hadn't managed presents for anyone abroad this year (which included my brother and my niece).

They didn't send a card or a present for the baby.

Fast forward to this year- and my mum is asking me what would I like to do about exchanging gifts this year? My response would be that honestly, we adults in this house truly have enough stuff and don't need any more at this point- but it would be lovely if she wanted to send a little something to her grandchildren.

Her response was that she's happy to send them something- as long as she gets something from them in return so as to "avoid the disappointment of last year". She does recognise however that a 5 year and 1 year old aren't really in a position to buy pressies themselves so it would be from me. She also said she would be really sad not to carry on a tradition of family gift giving.

What do I do about this? I'm kind of bewildered that Christmas gift giving has suddenly become subject to this sort of negotiation and quid pro quo approach. We're talking about a little pressie for two little kids who would be over the moon with just about anything- is it really necessary that she gets something herself in order for that to happen? Are we going to start rating presents received in terms of appropriate equivalency? I don't know why but it just feels sad and wrong and a bit of a mine field going forward.

What say you, Mumsnet?

LoopsInHoops Mon 12-Nov-12 14:05:20

YANBU, your mother sounds a pain in the arse. Could you just tell her not to be so bloody ridiculous?

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Mon 12-Nov-12 14:06:51

She's being ridiculous. But you could always send a token, such as a picture frame and a pic of the children - costs little but will make her feel valued, since she seems to need to have something in order to feel so.

CrapBag Mon 12-Nov-12 14:07:04

In short.....

Tell her to bog right off.

Tell her she is welcome to buy presents for her DGC but you will not be buying for adults anymore (ie her trying to get present from you by stealth is not going to work). Tell her if her DGC wish to when they have pocket money and are old enough to understand, then they can buy her a present then, but she certainly shouldn't expect it.

YANBU in the slightest!!!!!!

DawnOfTheDee Mon 12-Nov-12 14:07:52

YANBU. Your mother sounds like child here 'but where's MY pressie..? Waaah!'.

CrapBag Mon 12-Nov-12 14:07:59

I would purposely get her nothing on the basis of her grabbiness and total ridiculousness. Plus she didn't even bother to get anything when her DGC was born!

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Mon 12-Nov-12 14:08:01

YANBU and I am amazed that a grown woman is behaving like that!

DawnOfTheDee Mon 12-Nov-12 14:08:11

^the child

Sokmonsta Mon 12-Nov-12 14:08:41

I think it's unreasonable to be told your children will only get a gift from their grandparents if they receive one themselves. You do not give to receive.

In your shoes I would get the children to make something - salt dough handprints can be turned into Santa, painted hand and foot prints can be turned into reindeer. Or the children could make picture frames and you could put a nice picture of the children in it. Ok it's more effort than just going to the shop and buying something, but it's the idea that this is genuinely a gift from the children.

KurriKurri Mon 12-Nov-12 14:10:58

Sorry but your DM sounds utterly mad confused

You do not demand gifts.

You do not give gifts in the expectation of receiving something in return.

You do not expect small children to buy you gifts (or their parents to buy them on your behalf)

If you receive anything from a small child - it will be a home made effort involving glue, and glitter, - you will pin it up on your wall for the whole of the following year. If you are particularly blessed you will receive a dried pasta necklace incorporation blobs of flaky paint. You will wear said necklace proudly to all public events.

The joy of grandchildren is being able to treat them at Christmas - for the vast majority of grandparents this is more than enough, and they wouldn't dream of expecting a return gift.

Of course older children will probably want to get something for their grandparents - but not little ones.

I think your mum is being rude and demanding.

Get the kids to make her something large and unwieldy out of old toilet roll inners and egg boxes - then she might stop asking.

NeedlesCuties Mon 12-Nov-12 14:11:10

Sounds a bit of a headache.

My mum pulled a similar stunt a few years ago that left me shock hmm confused

My PFB was born a fortnight before Mother's Day. I'd got my mum a Mother's Day card, but she moaned for ages that she hadn't got one from my PFB...

She's the sort of person who buys cards for her pets, so I think she feels differently about those gestures than I do.

OP, your mum saying this sounds very petty: "Her response was that she's happy to send them something- as long as she gets something from them in return so as to "avoid the disappointment of last year".

MissWinklyParadiso Mon 12-Nov-12 14:12:10

Idiot woman (her not you)

I will be buying Christmas gifts for my sister and 2 nephews. I most certainly do not expect 3 presents in return

Tweasels Mon 12-Nov-12 14:12:25

Home made presents. Made by your 5 year old. Don't even help her, just let her do whatever she wants. Gift straight from the heart at no cost to you with the added bonus of pissing DM off because she won't be able to complain about not getting a gift.

Job done grin

HecatePropylaea Mon 12-Nov-12 14:14:11

I think that clearly exchanging gifts is what she wants. I know you don't give a gift to get a gift, but the exchanging of presents can be a nice thing.

I'd probably just get her a gift.

Either that or say that you only buy for the children in the family and you understand if that means she doesn't want to send a gift for the kids and that's totally fine.

Are you buying for any other adults?

tbh though, it seems like, from your post, that there's a lot of bad feeling within your relationship and this isn't really about the christmas present.

BooyhooRemembering Mon 12-Nov-12 14:14:25

email her back telling her to grow up and stop being so petty. tell her she can do what she wants but dd wont be sending any presents.

CrapBag Mon 12-Nov-12 14:15:55

Oh please encourage your 5 year old to make something extremely big, glittery (so it falls off EVERYWHERE) and full of cardboard. smile

She will not be able to complain about not getting something from the children. Through in some pasta jewellery for good measure.

ClippedPhoenix Mon 12-Nov-12 14:17:40

No wonder you don't really get on!

What a horrible woman.

dizzydixies Mon 12-Nov-12 14:18:11

Oh FFS, Christmas is for Children not needy grown woman regardless of whether she is your mother.

I do buy for my DDad but he has nobody else and he would NEVER expect it. In fact tells me often not to as things are tight financially.

I don't buy for brother, either SIL, aunts etc. Neices and nephews get cut off at 18yrs old too. There just isn't enough money in the pot and frankly I haven't the energy either.

Ridiclious request on her behalf but word it nicely for the sake of keeping the peace

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 12-Nov-12 14:18:50

Agree, tell her to grow up. Is she for real?

Tell her your children don't need her fecking presents either, if they come with strings attached.

MrsMmoo Mon 12-Nov-12 14:19:00

Er, how old is she? 5?! YANBU, I would just can the gift exchange altogether.

HipHopOpotomus Mon 12-Nov-12 14:19:10

send her some photos of your DC, and a frame.

Or get DC to make something - glittery as already suggested preferred.

Or send some of DC's artwork that has been collected over the year.

glenthebattleostrich Mon 12-Nov-12 14:19:27

CrapBag beat me to it - a lovely homemade creation and a couple of salt dough hand prints from the kids. After all where would a 5 and 1 year old get the money to buy a present???

maddening Mon 12-Nov-12 14:19:43

Something they make? A handprint picture - so just an a5 piece of paper and some paint - make it Christmas-y and sprinkle some glitter on.

Yanbu btw your mum is being a bellend - but a little picture by the gc could be a good idea as how could a gm be funny about such a thoughtful handmade gift ;)

dizzydixies Mon 12-Nov-12 14:20:21

And WHY OH WHY would anyone in their right mind only want to send their grandchildren something ONLY if they're getting something in response?? Beggars belief honestly confusedangry

maddening Mon 12-Nov-12 14:20:34

Haha xposts smile

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