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To persist in buying my Uncle a Christmas gift after this 'thankyou' card?

(76 Posts)
MerryMarigold Mon 13-Jan-14 14:07:54

So, every year I buy my Uncle, Aunt and 2 cousins a Christmas gift. They live a long way away and we rarely see each other, but it is a way of remembering them and choosing something I think they will like. For the past few years, only one of my cousins has reciprocated in the gift giving. It really doesn't bother me - as for me it is genuinely about giving a little thing for Christmas. My Uncle and Aunt were generous growing up and in fact until my Grandmother died a couple of years ago, and my Aunt still sends birthday gifts for all my kids.

My Uncle got remarried a few years ago, so his gift is joint with his new wife. Last year I got a board game (she has children who are grown up but without kids who all come for Christmas) and this year some fun and unusual chocolates. I got a 'thankyou' card from the new wife which basically said, "Thanks for the present but perhaps next year a card would be fine." Now, I don't know whether to get my Uncle a present next year.

I'm not sure if she is genuinely trying to be nice and to stop the trouble for me, of if she feels guilty they don't send one for our family, or just that Christmas is over commercialised and why am I sending something when I never see them, and it's not something they want anyway? I feel like I want to send something, not that I am obligated in any way, and I enjoy doing it. But if someone doesn't want to receive it defeats the object, really. I do it for the rest of the family and just because Uncle is remarried, why should I leave him out? (Also, letter was from her, not him). Plus, a tiny, rebellious part of me thinks, "Who are you to tell me who to buy a present for or not?".

So should I leave him out next year or persist? Or send one to him without her name on it? (That would be mean though, wouldn't it).

gamerchick Mon 13-Jan-14 14:09:39

Just send one for him. I don't see why you should stop on her say so.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 13-Jan-14 14:10:03

It's still entirely up to you.

Do what you want, and don't bother trying to interpret a comment - it could mean anything.

2014newme Mon 13-Jan-14 14:10:09

Leave him out, they clearly are not bothered about the present, send a lovely card and letter instead.

Choccybaby Mon 13-Jan-14 14:13:36

What about buying one of the charity gifts where you get a card saying you got someone a goat or something in their name? Would that be a compromise you'd be happy with ?

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Mon 13-Jan-14 14:19:06

I think she is probably trying to save you cost and hassle. She may well not want to start buying for you (through choice or through money issues), and whilst you are ok with not getting a gift, she may feel guilty about getting something but not sending something.
Or she may well just be being polite, like a "Oh you shouldn't have" kind of comment.
If you want to keep buying something for them do.

MerryMarigold Mon 13-Jan-14 14:29:38

Choccy, I thought about the charity gift, but for me it's about thinking of them even if it is for a short while to browse the internet! The 'hassle' and thought is what makes it personal. Laurie, you're right about not bothering to interpret the comment, and do what I want. I am struggling to know what I want though because if it is unwanted, then there isn't much point in sending and therefore I don't want to do it. Also, it feels disrespectful if someone has basically asked you not to.

Teeb Mon 13-Jan-14 14:32:38

Oh god, I've been trying to drop hints at extended family for years to knock the gift buying on the head. These days it is very rarely a nice thought, simply heaps guilt on people that they haven't reciprocated or they end up stretching their finances buying for people they don't even know anymore.

JeanSeberg Mon 13-Jan-14 14:33:04

I can see her point. I have told a friend that I want to stop buying for each other's kids at Christmas (all over 18) but she insists on buying mine something so feel I have to return the favour. I'd much rather she stuck to what I've requested.

MerryMarigold Mon 13-Jan-14 14:45:07

Good to hear the other point of view. In our case, though, I only have 1 Uncle and Aunt so it's not a huge, extended family. I think it's a bit sad I get my friend from the school run something but not my own Uncle. Yes, it's a different relationship because we spend a lot of time together, but she is not my family.

JeanSeberg Mon 13-Jan-14 14:48:38

Stick to birthdays only and spend a bit extra then with a nice card/photos for Christmas.

MerryMarigold Mon 13-Jan-14 14:53:49

I've never done birthdays and hadn't received for a long time on birthdays, but we all did Christmas till fairly recently.

Holdthepage Mon 13-Jan-14 14:54:20

I don't think she could be any clearer, they don't want a gift from you. I think you should respect their wishes.

AdoraBell Mon 13-Jan-14 15:00:55

I'm not so sure about "they" are clearly not bothered. It could easily be that the new DW isn't bothered. Not that I'm saying she's some kind of evil stepmother, could just be like Teeb, and mesmile.

Also, some men are happy to leave the card sending to a woman because, well that's our job isn't it?

So don't read too much into the card not being written by your uncle. My Dh's family just don't receive cards or gifts because I refuse to be his bloody secretary, but some women are happy to buy, write and send all the cards etc.

Avalon Mon 13-Jan-14 15:01:18

Why not ring your uncle and ask?

JeanSeberg Mon 13-Jan-14 15:21:07

YABU to be asking about Christmas in January.

longingforsomesleep Mon 13-Jan-14 15:44:31

Well..... DH's family have relatives (DH's cousins) in Australia. We have never met them but they insist in sending us little gifts each Christmas. It's a nice gesture of course but it always makes me feel a bit uncomfortable as we never reciprocate and I'm just not prepared to get into present buying for people I don't know. They always get a little something for my (teenage) kids - but they always get opened and put to one side. And they always send me and DH an Australian calendar - which never gets used either as we always end up with one or two (much nicer!) calendars.

I'm being mean I know but we never communicate with them so I don't know how to tell them to stop!

I'd just stop if I were you!

Justforlaughs Mon 13-Jan-14 15:50:43

Why don't you speak to your uncle and explain how YOU feel and ask HIS thoughts? If it's a new(ish) relationship she may be thinking "I can't be doing with buying for a load of people I don't know", she MAY be trying to save you hassle and trouble (from where she's standing) without understanding that you enjoy it, she may even be (I doubt it, but possible) trying to drive a wedge between him and his family, you'll never know if you don't ask.

WhenWhyWhere Mon 13-Jan-14 15:53:28

I think you should read the note for what it is. A simple, polite request to stop buying presents for them. There is no need to overthink this. Send them a lovely card next year.

MerryMarigold Mon 13-Jan-14 16:40:43

Longingforsomesleep, well here's your solution, the simple polite request in the form of a thank you note!

Jean, asking in Jan cos I just got the card. But I get where you're coming from grin.

Interesting to hear others' takes on this. I found it a bit rude and overly 'hinting without saying.

Breadkneadslove Mon 13-Jan-14 17:04:16

I think she is giving you an 'out' should you choose to take it, I don't read her note to be rude or saying that the gifts aren't wanted. However you have expressed your genuine pleasure in buying a gift and sending it so I think you should continue to do so. I would send a card along with the gift next Christmas explaining that you enjoy and want to send them/ your uncle a gift and will continue to do so but in no way should they feel as though they should reciprocate. I wouldn't read anything into the fact that it was your uncles wife that has written, I would assume that the message was jointly their thoughts but like most couples I know it is the woman who writes the cards!

Bootycall Mon 13-Jan-14 17:10:41

god I wish I had the gumption to do this to my extended family. we have sacked back in the present giving as it got out if hand, big family, but they still buy fur us and it's very very uncomfortable to be honest.

buying presents fir people isn't about you enjoying sending them it's whether her the present is wanted in the first place.

send a card and a letter.

ddubsgirl Mon 13-Jan-14 17:56:55

is the new wife diabetic? you said you brought unusual chocolates maybe they didnt like them?

Kundry Mon 13-Jan-14 18:14:30

What for you may be a pleasant experience thinking about them, for them may be them receiving what they view as pointless tat they regift.

DH's family are big into the gifts, he feels similar to you (or felt). But we now know at least one other sibling is wishing we could have a present list cull. And after receiving 2 massive mugs as presents this year, he realised what the gifts actually symbolize is his family know fuck all about us - if you spent 30 min with us you'd realise neither of us drink tea or coffee so have no need of mugs.

It isn't sad you spend more on someone on the school run - you have a live, meaningful relationship with them.

It's OK to say you don't mind them not giving you a gift, but that is quite pressurizing if they don't send one, they'll either feel guilty or obligated.

I think her note was a nice, polite way of broaching that you might want to switch to cards only, which many families do when the younger generation arrives and they focus on their own kids rather than members of the extended family they otherwise have little relationship with.

paxtecum Mon 13-Jan-14 18:22:49

They probably think they are being helpful by suggesting you stop buying them gift.
Saving you the hassle of choosing, wrapping and posting, as well as saving you money.

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