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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?

Bananasinfadedpjs Fri 08-Mar-13 18:05:07

My sister has 6 nieces and nephews (2 of them are my own DC) - she doesn't have DC of her own. She doesn't have much money, but she always gets them incredibly thoughtful gifts for birthdays and Christmas, and she'll generally buy them a little gift if she ever takes them out for the day as well - she spoils them rotten, because she loves them.
I'd be mortified if I ever thought she was doing it out of duty. She enjoys giving the gifts just as much as the DC love receiving them, so it's a lovely thing, but I don't think gift giving should ever be a duty thing, you should only ever give presents if you want to. So in your case I would say YANBU to just give a card - but maybe your DH feels really close to his nephews and wants to get them something bigger, which is surely up to him?

BeeBopDingALing Fri 08-Mar-13 18:08:57

We get cards & gifts for niece and also 3 close friends children. Never anything big though. A book is fine.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 18:12:12

Hmm, not particularly. My DH doesn't even see them once a year so it's not that he's particularly close to them. He's not really a "kiddy" type person, obviously he is excited about Bump and very much wants our own! But not really into other people's kids. He does interact with SIL's kids on the once yearly (if that) occasion that we do see them at my in-laws, thinks they're funny/cute etc but other than that, nothing. We live in different cities so neither my DH nor my SIL make an effort to visit each other, they just text/call each other every few months.

ivanapoo Fri 08-Mar-13 18:15:06

If your DH wants to give gifts to his own sister's children then let him!

Also I really don't understand this whole "SIL didn't even ask what to buy our baby" thing you mention. Never heard of anyone doing that. If she didn't give your baby a gift when it's born though I would probably think she wasn't bothered about you.

BeeBopDingALing Fri 08-Mar-13 18:16:38

Should add to that SIL doesn't bother with our kids, they were not even deemed worthy of a Christmas card on their first Christmases. They'll see that when they are older because we scrapbook christmas and birthday cards for them.
I does bother me a little because she doesn't care but we won't stop sending neice things because it's not her fault her mother is a cow and she shouldn't have to miss out.

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 18:19:54

BeeBop, sorry to hear that, that's terrible for your kids. It's very noble of you to continue making an effort for her children when she blatantly disregards yours. Personally that'd be the last straw for me. Shocking.

INeverSaidThat Fri 08-Mar-13 18:25:12

My DH and I had DC's before any of my siblings and my DH's siblings. I was happy that none of them got into the habit of buying our DCs presents. I now have no obligation to buy presents for their kids.
It works perfectly and everyone is happy it works like this.
I have a fantastic relationship with my nephews and nieces, it's just we don't regularly do presents.

We could all afford presents but it is relaxing not having to do them.

BeeBopDingALing Fri 08-Mar-13 18:26:45

I don't think it's noble tbh, but I just hate the thought of our neice missing out, we send her things all the time and although she is only little she loves getting them. I wouldn't take that away from her.
I really do think it's the thought that counts, so something little or handmade is enough. We don't spend a fortune at all, just something to let them know you are thinking of them.
Do you sew? You could make pencil rolls, purses, little bags. Get some glitter and stickers and make cards. It really can be done on the cheap.

BeeBopDingALing Fri 08-Mar-13 18:27:25

Niece! Typing haywire!

roastednut Fri 08-Mar-13 18:38:28

I wrote a long response to this and then lost it! I understand how you feel OP. We don't have any kids (yet) and we buy for 4 nieces/nephews for xmas and birthdays. Its the lack of thank you that gets me. I really wish we didn't have to bother, I would love a more relaxed approach but I feel like it's too late now. The kids are nearly 16 anyway at which point we'll probably stop. It's always surprised me that we get nothing in return, a token gift 'from the children' would be really appreciated as I do put a fair bit of thought/money into gifts. But mainly I just don't think it'd bother me as much if I felt it was appreciated or I actually got a thank you every time (it's very hit and miss).

FranglaisMaman Fri 08-Mar-13 18:52:19

SIL's three kids are 6, 5 & 2. My brother's are 8 & 5 - so got a long way to go yet. Ages of the kids isn't really an issue for me, as I know that with the "buy until they're 16 rule" we'll stop buying while our siblings will continue to buy for ours, as our baby will be younger etc. BUT... SIL keeps moaning and moaning about how 3 kids isn't enough and she's jealous of us expecting our first and having a newborn to look forward to, and how she wants another one, and another one, and I wonder when will it end?! Totally her business and not mine of course, but not fair to expect us to keep buying gift after gift for her myriad of children while we only have one child. Just how I feel....

PrincessUnderpaid Fri 08-Mar-13 18:52:38

beepbop same here!

SIL does same with my Ds,only have the one and Sil has 2 dd.

I always buy for them but then again she doesn't particularly like me or anyone else for that matter so I try not to take it to heart.

Giving to my DN brings joy to me and them and that's what gift giving is about.

PrincessUnderpaid Fri 08-Mar-13 18:54:38

Double spaced paragraph blush

ceeveebee Fri 08-Mar-13 19:00:12

We buy for all our DNs (5 in total, another on the way) but no presents at Xmas for their parents ie Dsis's/BIL and SIL/BIL.

My DH buys Xmas and birthday presents for his cousins and their DCs - there are 3 cousins and 8 DCs and he spends about £25 each - I don't even know my cousin's DCs names!!

mamapants Fri 08-Mar-13 19:10:21

I buy for my 4 nieces and nephews. Birthday and xmas. Also buy for easter. I remember getting lots of easter eggs when I was little I would be sad if my nieces and nephews didn't get the same.
I've only just had a baby but I've never begrudged getting their presents. I also get presents for my Sis and BIL for xmas and birthday but we only give to DPyet childless sister but not to the other sibling. Different behaviour for different families.

BridgetBidet Fri 08-Mar-13 19:33:14

In my family including in laws all the nieces and nephews have xmas and birthday presents bought. The adult siblings (aunties, uncles and parents) don't buy anything for each other.

For a long time this involved me and my husband giving without 'getting' as it took us 10 years to have our son. But now we've had him he is now getting the benefit of the arrangement.

It's nice to buy stuff for kids, I get an awful lot of pleasure out of it. And the adults not buying for each other saves money in a big family plus adults don't really get as much pleasure out of it as adults.

Really I think as an adult to expect something back in return for buying a child presents is a bit mean.

lollilou Fri 08-Mar-13 23:01:16

I think as an adult buying for your neices and nephews is a lovely thing to do and they will appreciate it even if you don't get a thank you from the adults. I still do it now and my oldest nephew is 27! But he is family and I love him and all the others.
I don't really get the thing about not being asked what you would like or need for your expected dc, perhaps your Sil has something in mind wait and see!

humblebumble Fri 08-Mar-13 23:21:26

I buy for all of my nieces and nephews on both sides for Christmas and birthday. There are over 20 in all. A long time ago before I had children myself and before there were so many I capped the amount I was willing to spend per child and told my siblings. I will most likely stop with each child when they reach 18.

A family friend who also has a very large family which is also expanding rapidly each year pick a family unit name (like a secret santa) out of the hat each year and then spend a specified amount on that family (e.g. they buy their sister and her family a board games and chocolates or they buy individual gifts for each of that unit). It saves them each spending a fortune and also cuts down on the amount of gifts being exchanged, which can get really out of hand.

HollyBerryBush Fri 08-Mar-13 23:39:45

Some people are into the whole present thing, some people arent. I'm not. I cant wait for the day I have to stop buying my own childen presents and can just fling cash at them all.

FWIW I never quite get the whole Christmas hype with non practicing Christians - it would surely be batter to mark a birthday rather than Gods Sons birthday - mind you I am thinking that buying a 1,000 Christmas preaents at once is worse then buying dotted birthday presents.

I really dont see why if it the whole family dynamic not to buy presents, why one person just has to be an arse and break that rule. It puts financial pressure on everyone else.

HorraceTheOtter Fri 08-Mar-13 23:42:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GreenShadow Fri 08-Mar-13 23:43:50

We buy for N and Ns at both Christmas and Birthdays.
Likewise uncles and aunts buy for our DC.
Agreement is that this stops at 18.

Maggie111 Sat 09-Mar-13 00:04:29

I have 4 nieces and nephews and the youngest is 6 years old... So for over 6 years I've been buying them Christmas and Birthday and yes, Easter presents and the occasional day trip out.

I couldn't imagine not doing it to be honest. It's the relationship that I've had with my own Uncles and Aunties and we've always budgeted our present fund for the year with the kids in mind. When we get a bit poorer we'll drop everyone's budget down a bit, but everyone still gets something.

I guess it depends what relationship you want to have with them?

If it were me and I didn't like it I'd speak to my husband and say "No more Christmas presents - everyone gets a selection box... And we will spend no more than £XX on their birthdays."

I'd much rather get a birthday present than a Christmas present - it's a celebration of them as an individual smile

mumeeee Sat 09-Mar-13 00:11:09

YABU I have 9 nephews and nieces and buy for all of them well up until they are 21, I n0w have a great nephew and a great niece and buy for them. My brothers and sisters do the ame it was agreed between us, We don't buy for adults wel only our parents and wouldn't expect someone to buy me a gift because I've sent thier children something. We don't buy expensive gifts.

nailak Sat 09-Mar-13 00:30:46

I have 9 nieces and nephews and 3 kids from them, i give all until 18, and eid presents

nailak Sat 09-Mar-13 00:31:31

isnt the whole point of being an aunt to spoil your nieces and nephews?

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