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(87 Posts)
AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 10:08:57

Say you have a couple of relatives who you are particularly friendly with. You buy each other, and each other's children, gifts on birthdays and Christmas. Have done for years.

You have a birthday within a week of one another. You are all meeting to go out for a meal. You turn up for said meal, with card and gift for birthday person.

They have only a card in return. They say 'we are skint and can't afford gifts this year'.

AIBU to think they should say that to you in advance of the meet up, so you don't spend £40 on their gift when they've decided not to do gifts?

PorkPieandPickle Sun 03-Nov-13 10:35:30

Hmmm. I see what people are saying, you don't give to receive, but in my family/friends group we all tell each other if we're skint. 'We can't afford prezzies at the moment, please don't get us one, as it will embarrass us' is perfectly reasonably. Or we also have the '£5 limit rule' that we bring into play- whatever works really.
You don't give to receive, but how many years realistically would you keep buying someone a present that didn't return it? You would stop ultimately, because it implies that they think totally differently about the relationship you have...

AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 10:39:11

Yeah, I'm a bit confused about Christmas now too.

I don't want to ask, because they might think I am annoyed about the birthday situation. In not annoyed, but we were a bit hmm; I felt it was odd behaviour (which I believe was U by the responses here)

So, do we do the same at Christmas? To be honest, I could really do with not buying them gifts but I'd be mortified if they bought us one and we didn't have them one. Regardless of the fact they just did this to us, I wouldn't be comfortable doing it, personally.

I think YANBU.

They knew you were bringing a gift, but still came with no gift. Who does that? Why couldn't they have said before hand to not do gifts this year because they were skint and you had just had a baby etc. But no, they still wanted their gift.

Odd behaviour.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 03-Nov-13 10:43:35

But one of you can afford one??!!

If not then don't. To me it's that simple. No one owes me any explanation any more than I owe telling them.

My personal choice would be that I let my friends no, however that's me and I don't expect others to think the same. Ultimately I'd care about seeing my friends spending time with them having a laugh. Whether that is accompanied by gifts or not really doesn't matter.

AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 10:44:45

Wannabe - that's what we though? Struck as a bit grabby.

They happily took their gift and just said 'oh, we aren't doing gifts as we are a bit skint'. And we felt a bit hmm as we'd have loved to save the time and expense, but didn't mind doing it as we love them and it's nice to give gifts, iyswim.

But if they'd said a few days earlier, we'd not have had to do it. They could have stretched to a bottle of wine for £6, was DH's reaction, which I kinda agreed with.

But the consensus is that IABU so I shall assume this is normal behaviour here (I'm not from this country).

WhoNickedMyName Sun 03-Nov-13 10:45:00

Alex I'd text or call them and just say that you're a bit strapped for cash too
at the moment and you think that stopping the exchange of gifts is a good idea, so you won't be doing it this Christmas.

FloresCircumdati Sun 03-Nov-13 10:45:01

I have a friend who has done this now again and it's fine. It just made me realise we don't need to have a gift exchange, and there have been other years when I've given her something small or silly. It's spending happy times together that matters and being there through the tough times, not things.

AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 10:46:21

It was a joint birthday meal. We do it every year. We always both bring a gift for the birthday people (DH and Dsis).

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 03-Nov-13 10:52:35

So basically this is over ONE time??

God. Benefit of the doubt perhaps???

fluffyraggies Sun 03-Nov-13 10:58:48

Perhaps they felt turning up with a cheapy gift was more insulting than turning up, being honest, and saying - sorry there's no gift, but we're skint at the mo. You are all grown ups. If you could easily afford what you spent on them then - <shrug>? If not then it's time to downscale the prezzies. Just be straight if you're worried about buying them something for xmas and not getting a present back, again.

We were suddenly more than usually stoney broke at the beginning of the year due to a house move and £1000 worth of car repair bills all in one month. It was one of our nephew's first birthday that month and we just could not afford to send him anything sad

We did trawl round the shops in the week before - looking for something very cheap (less than a tenner) for him, but nothing seemed right. Buying something for a one year old, to send in the post, who already has lots of clothes and toys is tricky! In the end DH rang his sister and just said look sis, sorry - but we are soooo skint right now, we'll send DN something asap but it will be late. She said fine - and that's what we did.

AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 10:59:11

I agree it's not about money, at all!!

If they'd brought along a £2 gift, I wouldn't have been upset. But they brought nothing and it felt awkward. DH felt awkward giving the gift in the usual 'gift exchange.

It's fine, I assume it's a cultural thing in the uk.

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:00:56

A cultural thing not to expect presents just to enjoy giving them. Yup your probably right.

AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 11:01:54

Yeah, fluffy we've all had times where we have to do that. But you rang to tell them. That's the issue.

It felt weird meeting up to have dinner and exchange gifts, as we do every year, and they hadn't done a gift this year and hadn't said in advance.

The whole thing would have been fine, if they'd said in advance!

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:03:02

If they had said in advance they couldn't afford to get a present would you still have given one?

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 03-Nov-13 11:04:01

You say it's not about the money but I can't see what else it's about. You would rather have a £2 gift than no gift?

What's with all the obsession with gifts.

AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 11:04:07

It's not about expecting presents.

The thing we were hmm about, is that we always give each other gifts. This year they decided not to, fine, but we felt they should have said in advance. We could have still given Dsis hers if we chose. DH wouldn't have minded in the least about not getting a gift. He still doesn't! It's not that.

It was the turning up on the day without knowing that made it awkward.

Nanny0gg Sun 03-Nov-13 11:04:43

So now say that you'd rather just meet up as you need to cut back this year?

AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 11:06:08

What do you mean nanny?

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:07:04

We could have still given Dsis hers if we chose

And would you have chosen to?

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 03-Nov-13 11:08:20

But why do you need to know? What gives you the right to access tht information?

I wouldn't have a problem telling someone but not everyone would be that open.

As an adult I would expect

A) that my family would understand a one off situation

B) that they would spend what they could afford and don't et anything if u can't.

OwlinaTree Sun 03-Nov-13 11:11:28

I can understand you being a bit confused as they would have surely known you would bring a gift if that's what you always do.

Gift giving is obviously not such a big deal to them. But I would be a bit upset too as it implies they didn't really think about your feelings - i guess it's that really rather than the lack of actual gift.

AlexaChelsea Sun 03-Nov-13 11:16:28

sirzy probably not, if they said 'let's not do gifts', I'd have honoured that.

giles what gives me the right to access that information? hmm um, I'm asking them to suggest we all don't do gifts, rather than just one side. I'm not asking for their bank account history... Strange post.

owlina exactly. It's not the lack of gift that's the issue. It's the fact they didn't say in advance 'let's not do gifts'.

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:17:48

So you do only give to get then. How kind of you!

Dilidali Sun 03-Nov-13 11:19:01

I agree with you OP, it is odd. Shrug it and put it down to experience.
Tell me they have at least gave him a card.

It's not the lack of gift, it's the not letting you know. They're family, hardly 'don't know them enough'.

Gileswithachainsaw Sun 03-Nov-13 11:21:53

Perhaps you should ask yourself why they felt unable to tell you???

Because you come across as grabby and all about the gifts. It was not their fault you spent £40 you didn't have. That was very much your own stupidity. You were free at any time to say "sorry we can't this year" or turn up with a card. You had that choice!!

This has been going on every year. They had one blip and all hell breaks loose. About how YOU feel uncomfortable. How YOUR all hmm

How YOU spent £40.

What about them? What about how they may feel.

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