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About the gift-buying for nieces/nephews

(59 Posts)
FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 16:57:21

Between us, husband and I have 5 nieces & nephews (SIL has 3 and is trying for more so that'll likely increase)! We currently have no children - expecting our first very soon.

My brother & his OH get by nicely financially, they're both on benefits as a lifestyle choice & don't work but they don't go without their luxuries. DH's sister is the other extreme - extremely wealthy, SAHM, rich 'landed-gentry' husband who also has a good job, hence why she can afford to keep having as many kids as she likes. We are somewhere in the middle, we're not scraping by but we're certainly not made of money and we're having an expensive time at the mo preparing for arrival of 1st baby and have just bought our (modest) first home. Also trying to furnish a second house because we're currently based abroad due to my husband's job.

Husband wants to buy for ALL birthdays and ALL christmases. I think it's fair to send just cards for the kids' birthdays and only do presents at Xmas. I know you don't give to receive but AIBU to think it's excessive to buy 5 birthday presents and 5 christmas presents every year for all these kids when we get nothing?! It's bloody expensive. We don't even see any of them. My brother's partner buys us a small token gift each xmas to say thanks for buying for her kids, but my wealthy SIL never gives us a bean and has only recently started sending us a xmas card! She only texts to thank DH for the gifts whenever she remembers. She sends him a measly card on his birthday but never sends a card to me, then at xmas we both get nothing. If I had 3 kids and my sibling was spending all that money on my lot, I would at least buy them a gift voucher to buy something for their house hmm

Anyway, yesterday was DH's nephew's b'day and today I found out he'd gone behind my back and asked his sister what to get for nephew's birthday and had bought him a present!! Bit pissed off about it as now we'll have to buy for the other two, then my brother's two all in the space of next few months as well as forking out for new baby stuff, furniture etc. She didn't even ask what she could buy us for the new baby in two months. He is ruled by her and his parents and would rather keep them sweet than his wife.

AIBU? What do you usually do with gifts for nieces/nephews etc?

cozietoesie Fri 08-Mar-13 17:11:58

I give a card and a present for Xmas, birthdays - and a (modest) Easter Egg for any of them where I'm likely to see them or their parents around the time. (Chocolate not keeping etc.)

We don't get anything back but then with kids, these dates are important. I was always excited to receive gifts from relatives on special days and that guides me. All presents stop at 18 though. They just get a card from then on unless I feel moved to give them something - as for the other adults in the family.

cozietoesie Fri 08-Mar-13 17:13:58

PS - the gifts are usually modest as well.

Adversecamber Fri 08-Mar-13 17:14:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anonymosity Fri 08-Mar-13 17:15:15

I agree with all presents stop at 18. We did that in our family growing up and everyone went with it, no one offended or left out.

My DH sometimes sends something to one of his nephews that's more than I'd personally like to spend but you know, I don't get in a stink about it because he clearly loves them and wants to show that. I don't love them, however nice they are!

lollilou Fri 08-Mar-13 17:15:19

I buy for both Christmas and birthdays. I have five but my family all buy for my two. In your case I think you should buy for the birthdays and then a small token gifts for Christmas.

kinkyfuckery Fri 08-Mar-13 17:16:33

I know you don't give to receive

Except apparently that's why you're pissed off at 'having to buy' gifts?

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:18:25

(*hangs head in shame*) Cozie, clearly you're a far nicer person than me! blush

In my defence, don't think any of SIL's kids really know who we are though as they live in a different city in a different country so never see us, so whilst they're excited to receive presents, I don't think they give a hoot about it's coming from X or Y relative etc. Just a faceless gift.

cozietoesie Fri 08-Mar-13 17:21:16

No - not nicer. Just that I remember clearly how important it was to have a special day when you were a youngster. Most of the nieces and nephews don't know me well but that's by the by.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 08-Mar-13 17:21:46


If your DH wants o buy for his nieces and nephews, you have no right to tell him be isn't allowed. He shouldn't have been put in the position where he needs to go behind your back, because it's common to buy for the children in lots of families. You might not like it, but it isn't wrong.

You don't have to buy for your brother just because your DH bought for his sister, unless they are likely to talk about what you bought amongst themselves.

When your child arrives, you will likely appreciate him/her being given presents by living Aunties and Uncles. I'm not sure why you expect SIL to ask what to buy you for your baby that isn't here yet though. She will probably choose what she wants to give you at the time of the birth.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:25:04

Re: "I know you don't give to receive".

Yes good point. I think for me the big part of the problem is the selfishness of SIL being all take take take and no give really. She's very self-centred. In the same convo, to not even ask her younger brother what she could possibly get for HER first ever niece/nephew is JUST charming of her... will not be surprised if nothing materialises when our little one is born. Ho hum!

fedupofnamechanging Fri 08-Mar-13 17:29:15

I would wait and see how things go when your baby arrives. Your dh may well start to see things your way if his family don't reciprocate when you have your own child.

In the mean time, I don't think it is unreasonable to agree a budget with your dh. Presents don't have to be expensive.

specialsubject Fri 08-Mar-13 17:33:19

you give to receive...a 'thank you'. If you aren't getting those, or just a text message, game over.

INeverSaidThat Fri 08-Mar-13 17:35:41

In your situation I wouldn't give any presents as I don't think it would mean anything to the DC's. If I saw them in person I would give them a present or some money.
However, as long as your DH is the one arranging it then I probably wouldn't worry about it too much.
I think it is OK to only buy DC's presents and not to buy for adults so I can see where your SIL is coming from.

Sirzy Fri 08-Mar-13 17:37:36

What clouds said.

I would never dream of not buying for my nephews but then I have a relationship with them.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:38:27

She does eventually get around to saying thank you, usually a few weeks down the line after DH calls or texts her first and she drops it into convo then, along with an apology for "sorry for late reply, I've just been SO SO BUSY" - even though my DH sometimes works 100 hour weeks..... hmm

SauvignonBlanche Fri 08-Mar-13 17:39:30

I have 17 DNs, I always by the young ones a gift, sometimes my DCs get gifts but I don't keep score.

cathers Fri 08-Mar-13 17:43:37

I only have 2 nephews and unlikely to get more, therefore we do send pressies at birthdays, Xmas and Easter. However, as special said, a thank you or acknowledgement goes a long way and as those are non existing, the gifts are small, token ones.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:50:00

Oh, it's by the by, but thought I'd add that my own brother hasn't even texted me to say congrats since finding out his little sister is pregnant (I'm 7 months along now)... His girlfriend did text to say congrats though. Hence why it's hard not to think: "up yours then matey" when it comes to acknowledging his kids, but then that'd be nasty to his girlfriend who is a nicer person than him.

racmun Fri 08-Mar-13 17:52:44

In my family we don't bother buying each other presents ie my siblings but we buy our nieces and nephew presents and try and be fair.

For example my brother has 1 child and I tend to spend £50 on her whereas my sister has 2 so spend about £25 on each of them. We all do roughly the same.

Does add up though, so far we've always done Xmas and birthdays if I was to suggest dropping either event I'd drop Xmas as they get enough stuff from Father Christmas and Birthday is their special day.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:53:41

Meant that's not fair to snub the kids AND his girlfriend, all because of his crappy behaviour.

SauvignonBlanche Fri 08-Mar-13 17:54:50

Don't let your feelings about their parents affect your relationship with your DNs.

racmun Fri 08-Mar-13 17:54:58

Also I refuse to do passing presents on through family though, if you don't even see them then I wouldn't bother.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:55:04

Racmun, I agree. I actually think birthdays are more personal so would be better to buy them presents for all their birthdays and not bother at Christmas when they already get soooo much from the whole family anyway in which case the sentiment kinda gets lost in the throng.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 17:55:42

Yes, we never ever see them or meet up with them. DH asks his parents to buy for the kids and then he reimburses them when we get chance to see his mum & dad.

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