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To think the adults should get presents too?

(136 Posts)
lborgia Sun 22-Nov-15 20:09:24

Last year my SIL and family asked if we could just do presents for the children. They were saving up for a trip and somehow this became almost as big an issue for the whole extended family as it was for them. The kids only idea was part of their saving scheme. They have suggested it again this year. Money is not am issue for them, and i don't think it's the reason for their decision.

SIL2 was happy with this as her routine line is "i don't matter, it's all about the kids" with ref to any sort of occasion.

I feel quite strongly that i want my children to know that the adults in the family are as important as their cousins. I have thought about this long and hard and 1- I don't like being told what to do, 2 - it doesn't stop us doing it differently as i could ignore the edict.

I really really don't care if i get a present i don't need another shopping note pad or scarf in my lifetime but somewhere in my head I've got this strong feeling that it represents a bigger issue. I think I've answered my own question, yes AIBU..

VestalVirgin Sun 22-Nov-15 20:16:53

I wasn't there, so don't know the underlying issues. Not giving presents to adults, as such, is normal.

Maybe SIL just doesn't know what to give all the adults, and doesn't want another scarf.

expatinscotland Sun 22-Nov-15 20:19:04


formerbabe Sun 22-Nov-15 20:19:14

Yab ridiculous. We only do presents for the children in my family. I have no desire to traipse the shops for gifts, most of which are unnecessary or unwanted in order to receive an unnecessary gift in return.

I'm a grown woman...If I need or want something, I will buy it for myself.

skippy67 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:20:51

We only buy for the children too.

Wellthen Sun 22-Nov-15 20:20:55

I would be irritated as well. I like buying presents and, naturally, I quite like receiving them as well. But I think what would annoy me more is everyone having to change the way the do things because one set of people want to do it differently.

I also agree that it makes Xmas look like a children's holiday which it isn't. Presents, company, food, drink, TV, theatre, winter, decorations - these can be enjoyed by anyone.

I would buy the adults presents anyway and see if sil2 falls in with it. If not then I guess in a few years you'll have to consider whether you're happy only giving and not receiving.

glenthebattleostrich Sun 22-Nov-15 20:23:09

My sister and I exchange small gifts but my brothers and their partners prefer to buy only for the children. It's up to each family what works for them.

I do see what you mean though OP, it's important that children understand everyone in the family matters.

KitKat1985 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:25:36

My family and I have compromised on just doing token gifts for adults (say about £10). In all honesty I'd happily skip buying / receiving adult gifts altogether (except for maybe DH). I can't be bothered with the hassle of it, and I only end up getting another scarf or box of chocolates.

pinotblush Sun 22-Nov-15 20:27:25

We only do the kids too.

hiddenhome2 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:28:48


Presents for adults often end up in charity shops or at the back of wardrobes. They're a pointless exercise and it's annoying having to seek out gifts for people who don't need yet more stuff. Not everyone has the time or the will to go shopping.

trixymalixy Sun 22-Nov-15 20:30:23

YABU. We do a token secret Santa for the adults and proper presents for the kids.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:31:10


We only buy for children. Most families we know only buy for children.

XiCi Sun 22-Nov-15 20:31:22

Not buying presents for adults is definitely not normal. I do not know of any family, and I have a very wide circle of friends, that do not buy presents for the adults of the family. It's one of those only on mumsnet things!

You're right OP, it's fucking joyless and I think it's good for children to see the adults being generous and thoughtful towards each other, and that the holiday isn't just about them.

dementedpixie Sun 22-Nov-15 20:32:20

We just do presents for the children too although I get my childless brother a present too or he wouldn't get anything from anyone.

museumum Sun 22-Nov-15 20:32:20

I don't like the message behind only presents for children. I would be happy with token gifts and strict budgets but I feel quite strongly that Christmas is for mutual exchanging of gifts - child for parent, sibling for sibling, husband for wife and vice versa. I would worry about the messages my ds would get about giving vs receiving if our close family (parents/siblings) asked us not to do adult gifts.

atticusclaw2 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:33:53

We don't do presents for adults if there are children in the family. So we don't buy for SIL and her husband but buy for their DC. They do the same with us. We all buy for the grandparents though.

I think it is very normal if there are children to buy for.

dementedpixie Sun 22-Nov-15 20:35:25

i have 4 siblings and dh has 2 - his sister has 6 children and my two of my brothers and my sister have children too. It is too expensive to go buy everyone something and have them obliged to give something back so we just give to children.

CrotchetQuaverMinim Sun 22-Nov-15 20:38:14

I think adults should get presents too. So much of it is already centred on children, and they need to learn the pleasure of giving to others, and that everyone matters - agreed, can be just small things, but I think it's important that people are generous and thoughtful towards everyone.

I'm single, childless, and few friends, not a big family either, so it's already fairly quiet for me at Christmas, and actually I quite like both shopping for others, but also having someone remember me, having things to open, that feeling of mattering. I see my siblings and friends who have partners, children, inlaws, other friends, etc, and am somewhat envious of it all - not in a materialistic way, exactly, but just that idea of being made to feel special to people by being given nice presents. I know that too much Christmas shopping can get to be a chore, though, but I'd still be sad if we only did children's gifts and I was just not involved anymore.

SaucyJack Sun 22-Nov-15 20:39:26

I agree with you in theory, but in reality I could honestly go without 99% of the presents I get at Christmas.

It's either token tat or random DVDs. Or my brother and I exchange "wish list" presents of exactly the same price entirely for the sake of it.

Where are these people who put thought into their gift-buying- and why aren't I lucky enough to be related to them?!

museumum Sun 22-Nov-15 20:40:10

I think if I had a sibling with six kiddos be tempted to buy a family present or two for the kids (board games?) rather than drop all adult presents.

lborgia Sun 22-Nov-15 20:42:46

I'm quite happy - I've never been told I'm ridiculous before grin. I too am a grown woman, and can by myself something. I was pretty clear it's not about me wanting a present, it's about the message to the children.

Happy, and relieved, to see it's a split vote here (so far) and therefore reflects our family dynamic accurately.

Oh, and I don't GIVE scarves, I only receive them. I, of course, buy thoughtful, small, un-charity shop presents. Obviously. smile XiCi - thanks for the succinct summary. Fucking joyless is the phrase I was looking for.

Thanks all.

lborgia Sun 22-Nov-15 20:43:10

*buy, of course.

Spidertracker Sun 22-Nov-15 20:44:26

We do presents for everyone - Christmas is about everyone not just children.
Everyone includes our parents, my grandfather both sets of siblings and partners, my adult cousins, uncles aunts my great aunt. Nobody doesn't get a gift yes it's expensive but it's Christmas.

Chrysanthemum5 Sun 22-Nov-15 20:45:00

Your post has made me think. I have siblings who have mentioned doing this (which I would be fine with) but others have complained. I honestly don't mind, and I'll do what people want in this regard. However your point that children should see adults being involved and getting gifts is a really interesting point. It's making me think more deeply about what's best (although I stand by my belief that adults with no hobbies or interests, who don't read books, or like toiletries are hell to buy for confused)

Savagebeauty Sun 22-Nov-15 20:46:03

After years of crap BHS and Boots 3 for 2 gifts from ILs , I said no more.
I'm all for a carefully chosen individual gift from partner and dcs. But not tat which I took straight to the charity shop after Xmas.

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