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Visitor who brought nothing. Unreasonable or not?

(89 Posts)
littlewhitechristmasbag Thu 26-Dec-13 08:02:35

My ex SIL spends every Christmas with us along with lots of other family members. She is like a sister to me and I love her to bits so no issue with this.

Ex SIL has a new boyfriend this year. Has been with him around 9 mths and I have met him twice previously. He had his Christmas dinner with his family and he was then coming to mine to spend the evening and stay over to Boxing Day.

Everyone who come to mine on Christmas Day gets a gift so I bought him a pack of three local beers as I was aware he liked beer. He arrived with gifts for ex SIL and a small gift for her daughter. He also brought some beers for himself to drink. He brought nothing else.

I want to know of it is just me but I would never go to someone's home where I was going to stay over without at least a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates.

Am I being unreasonable to think that he should have at least brought a token gift for the hosts? It is making me think badly of him and I don't want to think like this.

PennySillin Thu 26-Dec-13 20:53:50

I empathise a bit with the OP. My DB his wife and family came yesterday, he did bring a Xmas card for my children with a fiver in, brought nothing towards dinner, no offer to help, had dinner and left. sad

tiredandsadmum Thu 26-Dec-13 20:47:38

I think if he was a polite and helpful guest then that was probably OK on this occasion. But next time.....

I always take something for my host but that's just me smile

littlewhitechristmasbag Thu 26-Dec-13 20:30:25

I didn't expect to get a gift, i was more wondering why someone would think (or not think) to come without one as i just wouldn't consider it. I would never mention it to anyone in my family as they would think me daft for having even thought about this. I can see now that some people do and some don't.

RiceBurner Thu 26-Dec-13 20:23:00


I always try to warn/tell people not to bring a gift, as I dislike the whole gift 'industry'. (I usually go to other people's houses without a gift.)

If people are offended by my lack of gifts, then they need not invite me again. (Simple.) I don't want to be invited just to get a gift. I hope my company is what is appreciated.

If you get a gift, and you like gifts, well that's nice for you. But no one should feel obliged to bring you a gift.

It's very rude to EXPECT a gift IMO.

littlewhitechristmasbag Thu 26-Dec-13 20:13:54

I've said upthread a bit that the gifts and things ex SIL brought were most definitely from her and her alone. Her DD and her DD's partner also brought gifts for everyone plus contributed to the food and drink for the day.

I think my family and friends are all very abundantly generous and would never visit empty handed. DH and i are going to stay with friends tomorrow and i will take wine and flowers. It just seems unusual to me to go and stay over somewhere and not bring a small something for the hosts.

Oldraver Thu 26-Dec-13 20:08:34

A token gift to a hostess who is providing food and accomodation is a must in my book. I would look unfavourably on anyone who couldn't be arsed with even a box of Matchmakers. Its not the amount, its the thought

No thought not return invite

bakingaddict Thu 26-Dec-13 20:06:30

I totally agree with summergarden
Perhaps he contributed some money to your exSIL for the things she brought. When she handed over her stuff did she say this is from me or from me and boyfriends name. Maybe thats why he didnt feel the need to bring additional gifts

littlewhitechristmasbag Thu 26-Dec-13 19:51:25

I explained earlier that everyone who was there got gifts as they are all family and i always buy them gifts. I bought him a gift as he was possibly coming christmas eve and i would give everyone who wakes up in my house on christmas day a gift. The gift to him was not an issue.

Also i wasn't feeding him. He had some nibbles and then breakfast this morning. He was very nice and he will be allowed back. fgrin

Caitlin17 Thu 26-Dec-13 19:43:51

I don't think OP is saying he won't be welcome again, she was wondering if it was unusual to come empty handed.

In my experience, yes it is. I'd never do that and I'd never do that couply 2 headed monster thing of only taking 1 gift from both of us.

On the other hand OP giving gifts to everyone there sounds completely bonkers.

Gladvent Thu 26-Dec-13 19:41:24

I think because he was coming after dinner, it was more like he was meeting up with his girlfriend who happened to be at your house, than being a 'proper guest' iyswim.

Birdsgottafly Thu 26-Dec-13 19:33:26

"Everyone who come to mine on Christmas Day gets a gift"

That's your choice, though. Every year I asked my ex DP's family to not do gifts. I do not want to budget for anyone outside if my Mum, children and one sibling ( I did give to my DP's adult kids).

Birdsgottafly Thu 26-Dec-13 19:30:47

"I don't understand all these conditions to accepting and thanking people. Surely the way you act, the assistance you offer , what you say etc is enough to show how grate ful you are and how much you enjoyed yourself,"

I agree with that, if people aren't welcome because you enjoy having company and having a full house, then don't invite them.

My ex DP's family had ongoing parties, it was either turn up, with my own drink (I don't expect my drink paid for by others), or give him the ultimatum if not going, so picking me or his family.

I didn't want to be bullied into handing over gifts, I didn't want to get into present buying at all.

I think spending time with people and making sure that you are good company is more important.

Would you prefere your SIL not to come in future because you insist he has to buy you something to be happily allowed in your house?

If things get serious you may find that you have to accept there are going to be a lot of changes and things will be done differently than you would like.

I do take gifts for hosts, but at the same time I wouldn't expect one and neither does anyone I know.

Caitlin17 Thu 26-Dec-13 19:23:00

pixiepotterI can't stand this thinking " we're a couple, we get can off with one only taking one bottle to the party" If OH and I go to a party/lunch/dinner/ whatever together we always bring something each for the host.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 26-Dec-13 19:11:37

zeno I think that's just it tbh. I mean, if you were invited you either accepted or politely declined. You show up you say all the right thinks, offer to help, compliment host on house/garden/food/wine/ hair or whatever, you may even help wash up or clear the table fetch things etc.

When it's time to leave you , again, say gushing thank you for having mes , food was lovely, have a good evening/weekend, etc

You leave thinking you were polite helpful and made your appreciation and thanks known. And the whole time people are expecting guests to arrive with various gifts (and tbh at one point if I could have afforded a bottle of decent wine or fancy chocolates I would have been able to afford to eat at home and not needed the invitation to dinner). Or are wAiting for the mass thank you card/bouquet of flowers cycle to begin.

I don't understand all these conditions to accepting and thanking people. Surely the way you act, the assistance you offer , what you say etc is enough to show how grate ful you are and how much you enjoyed yourself,

zeno Thu 26-Dec-13 19:00:14

Go easy on him. He maybe just wasn't brought up to this way of doing things and no one has ever told him different.

I've been in those shoes and was mortified to twig many, many years later than I ought to have caught on, that gifts to hosts were the done thing. I still forget sometimes now, simply because it's not an automatic thing that I've always done. I hate knowing that there are people who would write me off as a rude thoughtless person for it.

lottieandmia Thu 26-Dec-13 13:04:06

YABU to expect something. I think that if you invite people it has to be no strings attached. If I was going to stay at someone's house I would take chocolate and wine but if I was inviting people there is no way I would think badly of someone who didn't give me anything. It's not a trade off.

pixiepotter Thu 26-Dec-13 12:57:13

Well tbh I (and the majority of people I think) wouldn't expect a gift from each of a couple!!

littlewhitechristmasbag Thu 26-Dec-13 12:19:00

caitlin17 everyone got a gift as the other guests all stayed christmas eve to boxing day and were family. I bought him a gift as he was possibly going to stay too and i ask just bought to would be nice to give him a token gift anyway. I did not expect a christmas gift from him.

In the grand scale of things it was no problem, it was just idle speculation on what people think is the done thing. I agree that given the scale of problems on other threads then i got off very lightly indeed.

He was a pleasant house guest and probably a bit out of his comfort zone coming in to a large noisy family with people who had all been drinking, when he had to drive and was sober.

They are all away now and a very lovely christmas was had.

Caitlin17 Thu 26-Dec-13 11:54:53

I think your giving a gift to everybody who was there is completely OTT. However I would never go to any party, lunch, dinner at anyone's house at any time of the year without bringing a bottle of wine or bunch of flowers or box of chocolates, nor do I know anyone who wouldn't.

Mmmbacon Thu 26-Dec-13 11:52:16

Yanbu, I have this every year I host, only it is bil,

Had him up again yesterday, and no presents, no food, no chocs or even a bottle of wine for the table

Whats worse is he us coming up with mil later for christmas dinner round two use up the left overs, I used to be very fangry but now am just fbiscuit with him,

toobreathless Thu 26-Dec-13 11:36:11

If I was just going for Xmas dinner I would ask the host 'what can I bring?' 'Christmas pudding?' If assured nothing I would take at least a nice bottle plus something else edible AND a token Christmas present for the host or if a family maybe a board game.

For me it's a way of saying, 'you have been to all this effort and we really appreciate it'

NeptuneHill Thu 26-Dec-13 11:34:32

Well, it is rude and annoying but I suspect he is just one of those people who doesn't think. I have a BIL like this. The latest story to illustrate....

We went out for dinner for my dd's birthday in a posh kind of pub. There were 16 family members and we were paying. Main courses were around £10 on average, apart from lobster which was £40. BIL ordered the lobster, DESPITE joining in a conversation when we were all looking at menus about how expensive the lobster was! DH and me didn't hear him give his order, so we were a bit shock when his food arrived.

We don't grudge him a lunch out, and he's hard up, but that was taking the piss slightly....

Nanny0gg Thu 26-Dec-13 11:27:04

I would either take a gift for the host/hostess or send one as a Thank You afterwards.

I just think convention served a purpose and good manners seem to have gone by the wayside these days, which is a shame.

toobreathless Thu 26-Dec-13 11:24:12

I always take a gift if its more than a casual coffee & the longer you are there the more substantial the gift. It's just the way I was brought up- never turn up empty handed.

So for a dinner party- nice bottle of wine
Overnight stay- wine plus flowers or chocs
3 day stay over Christmas- we took 3 nice bottles, homemade mince pies & gingerbread & offered to do all the food shopping and cooking for Christmas Eve, they declined so we took a small Italian hamper.

JohnnyBarthes Thu 26-Dec-13 11:19:19

I think you are spot on, Summer.

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