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to be full of angst over gifts from my aunt?

(31 Posts)
lauralouise8 Tue 30-Dec-14 21:53:06

My aunt has always been very kind and generous with gifts. She holds down two minimum wage jobs as a cleaner so she really works hard for her wages. For context, I earn six figures in the City. I have been trying for years to make her stop because I just feel awful about it. For instance, I stopped cashing her birthday cheques years ago at the risk of causing offence. I have just had my first baby and she has sent a beautiful, expensive gift. I'd hate to encourage another few decades of gifts for birthdays and Christmases - I would prefer she spent her money on herself. Clearly, she is an adult and can spend her money as she sees fit, but I feel awful and guilty at her hard earned cash being spent on us, given how hard she works. Any suggestions?

molyholy Tue 30-Dec-14 22:05:45

You sound really thoughtful and appreciative. It sounds like your aunt is too. It might hurt her feelings if you say something. Maybe she knows the art of finding a good bargain albeit, it sounds like it still would be an extravagant gift. you could maybe ask her to buy your baby something specific which you know is not too expensive? E.g. You have seen an ad on the tv for a such and such that you know your baby would love. Just a suggestion, but you sound reasonable. I am sure you will come up with something.

caravanista13 Tue 30-Dec-14 22:08:47

Accept the gifts with grace. It's patronising for you to decide that she can't afford to give them. I'd be very hurt if cheques I'd given as gifts were not cashed because the recipient decided I couldn't afford it!

SomethingOnce Tue 30-Dec-14 22:12:19

How do you know what her circumstances are? She may have had a massive lottery win for all you know grin

Anyway, it's not about you and your six figures, it's about her pleasure in giving lovely gifts.

Frogme Tue 30-Dec-14 22:15:10

How about you say that now there is a baby could she stop buying for you and just buy for the baby. Give reasonably priced suggestions then.

RandomMess Tue 30-Dec-14 22:15:15

Thank her for the gift but engineer a conversation about you appreciate her involvement in your dc life more - assuming that is something easy for you to facilitate?

Whereisegg Tue 30-Dec-14 22:17:33

If you like your aunt you could suggest she spends the gift money on travel to come and stay with you every now and again, do things with her and your baby that are free or very low cost and just have fun?

Mama1980 Tue 30-Dec-14 22:17:38

My nan was like this. She would spend her last penny on us children, even though it meant her doing without. For example She would buy cream cakes she wouldn't dream of buying for herself every week for us. She would press ten pounds into my hand for a treat though it meant she would walk rather than take the bus half the week.
When I grew up and hated it, I mentioned it to her once, told her to buy something for herself instead.
She said buying special things for us was one of her greatest pleasures. It made her happy and all money ever is is a way to make those you love smile.
She was absolutely right.
I wouldn't say anything to your aunt but accept it with good grace. I'm sure to treat you and your baby gives her great pleasure.

puntasticusername Tue 30-Dec-14 22:18:53

You sound very kind and lovely but as pp have said - it's up to your aunt how she spends her money, not you. It sounds as if she gets a great deal of pleasure out of giving her lovely gifts.

Perhaps in future you could encourage her instead to come with you for eg an afternoon at soft play, so she can play with the children and you can relax with a coffee? Say "Ooh, the best gift in the world is getting a few minutes to put my feet up while knowing the DC are having a great time playing with someone they love".

catzpyjamas Tue 30-Dec-14 22:29:30

I have relatives like this and no amount of suggestions or protestations would stop them buying gifts. They just love giving. Even when I got my aunt to babysit 'instead', she bought a toy for DD to play with while at her house!!
I decided that since I couldn't stop them buying gifts, I'd ask for them to only buy for DCs and suggest inexpensive things that I know DC will love so the giver sees how much their present means. It seems to work hmm

Frogme Tue 30-Dec-14 22:46:03

My biggest regret is that I stopped my grandmother spending on something because I thought she couldn't afford it. When she died she'd got loads of notes tucked away. I really wish I'd let her spend that money. It really is one of my biggest regrets. It would have given her so much pleasure.

wafflingworrier Tue 30-Dec-14 23:07:29

everyone's different, and for some people the way they express love is to give people gifts. don't feel bad about it. one easy thing you could do for your aunt (especially once your baby gets older) would be to send occasional postcards to her that your child has doodled on/pictures they've drawn at school. i do this with all my elderly relatives who can't see my children (and it means i dont have to keep so much of their craft stuff as they come home with/make about 20 things a week). i know it means a great deal to my family and is a really easy thing i can do to let them know we care despite them living far away

slightlyworriednc Tue 30-Dec-14 23:13:29

I have an aunt, uncle and grandmother who do this. Spend a fortune on my kids, give money for treats etc. I got my dad to have a chat with them a couple of years ago, and they made it clear that it brings them a lot of pleasure.
Thank your aunt graciously...she wants to give, you must let her.

musicalendorphins2 Tue 30-Dec-14 23:19:57

Give her the gift of accepting her kind generosity. I would be so hurt at any gifts being rejected if I were in her shoes.

EmilyGilmore Tue 30-Dec-14 23:22:43

I understand how you feel but agree it is patronising not to allow her to do it. It's her choice, her pleasure. What you could do is lavish her with gifts whenever you can.

Bulbasaur Tue 30-Dec-14 23:25:33

If someone told me I couldn't "afford" a gift that I obviously worked hard to buy and asked me to stop, I'd be very hurt. She probably saves religiously to make sure she can afford a nice gift, let her spend her money how she sees fit.

Though, I'd start suggesting smaller gifts like board books you can read to him or to pick out a cute babygro you can then take a picture of DD/S wearing to send to her.

MIL was a bit like this. We couldn't get her a gift card to spend on herself because she'd just buy a gift for someone else with it. Refused to ever spend anything on herself. We just sort of surveyed the house to see what she needed to make her life easier, new curtains/bathroom decor/slippers etc...

Just a question, do you get your aunt nice and expensive gifts? She might feel pressured to match them, even though you don't expect her to.

apotatoprintinapeartree Tue 30-Dec-14 23:26:55

She may have a higher disposable income than you, even on min wage.
Maybe she works for the company and because this is the amount she needs to earn to buy the presents for people she loves.
It is lovely you care so much for her, it must be in the genes.
Let her do it as it clearly brings her much pleasure.

lauralouise8 Wed 31-Dec-14 09:35:50

The consensus is definitely to accept with good grace: thank you for the third party perspectives, which are appreciated. The last thing I would want to do is patronise her. Thank you for taking the time & happy New Year.

foslady Wed 31-Dec-14 09:38:57

Are there any crafts she's good at - sewing, knitting? Might work out cheaper for her and she can still give

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 31-Dec-14 09:49:55

It's not easy being an aunt. I sincerely hope you will bring up your DC to treat her with love and respect.

And I hope you'll be reciprocating by taking her on holidays and making opportunities for her to spend lots of time (not just babysitting!) with her great niece / nephew.

SIMPLESAM Wed 31-Dec-14 10:06:06

I'm one of these aunts, on minimum wage, spending money on nieces and nephews. I have just bought my nephew a fiddle, not his Christmas or Birthday present but because he wanted to learn how to play an instrument and learning an instrument is meant to improve things like concentration. It will make him happy and it gives him a hobby which isn't watching people play vide games on youtube.

I don't drink or smoke and I live in a really cheap area and don't have my own kids yet, so I enjoy spoiling my nieces and nephews and indulging their hobbies, I don't live near them and see them only a few times a year so it's like almost like I can be a part of their lives in some way.

She probably enjoys giving, accept the gifts and let her know she's well appreciated.

GotToBeInItToWinIt Wed 31-Dec-14 10:31:02

We are in a very, very similar situation with an aunt. I have spoken to my dad (her sister) about it and he has told me not to say anything, she has three grown up boys and would have loved a daughter and it makes her really happy to spoil DD. We just try and make up for it by spoiling her at Christmas time too and also making sure we take the time to see her when possible as that's what she wants the most.

andnowforsomemoreofthesame Wed 31-Dec-14 10:41:06

Why don't you give her expensive gifts as well? Things that she would like to have but would never pay for herself? Or take her to nice places she wouldn't be able to afford?

And accept her gifts with grace. It seems she works hard for the pleasure of giving them.

HeraldAngelSinging Wed 31-Dec-14 10:55:31

I have a low annual income but I manage quite well with no mortgage etc. There's nothing I want or need desperately for myself so where does my money go? Yes, I save but I cannot help giving when it's someone's birthday and cannot help building up a stock of Christmas gifts during the year.

I never see a false, "Ooh! That's nice." I see genuine pleasure. OP please do not take away the pleasure that your aunt gets for herself.

Please do not be patronising, everyone. That is purely insulting if you think that people who give do not know how to buy jam if they have only bread and butter.

ohtheholidays Wed 31-Dec-14 11:04:30

I'm an auntie and a great auntie.I always spent a fortune on my nephews and nieces,there isn't that big an age gap between us so I became an auntie when I turned 7 years old.
Even back then I spent a lot of money on them all.I'd save pocket money and do chores all year to get them good Christmas and Birthday presents.

I spend a small fortune on they're children now,my great nephews and great nieces.

When ever any of my nephews or nieces have had children myself and my DH have spent a lot on they're new baby and a lot on the baby's first birthday.

Were not rich,but they're all very important to me.I have 5DC,in my life it's my children and then my nephews and nieces and they're children.

I'm extremely close to my aunties and uncles as well they've always treated me like one of they're children.And that's how I treat my nephews and nieces.

I think your auntie sounds really lovely and your obviously very important to her.

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