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About presents for in laws..again..

(18 Posts)
Youcantscaremeihavechildren Sun 13-Dec-15 22:08:57

In laws live abroad. They are very good at asking what the dcs want, ordering from amazon and getting it posted to us. No hassle for them, no thought really either but it's very generous and nice they don't buy loads of tat.. (Although invariably they do that too..) this is just for background as it were.
They are very well off and regularly go shopping as a pastime, a trip here isn't complete without shopping everyday. It's fine, it's their cash but I don't really get it or the thing about spending loads on people at Xmas. They are very label orientated and I have known mil buy stuff just because she hasn't spent enough that day and then promptly forget about the thing, leave it in the bag and then end up giving it away. Ive had many totally inappropriate gifts from her for this reason.

What I'm trying to say is they don't really want for anything and buying them run of the mill stuff like clothing is a bit pointless.

Every year we have hand made gifts plus a few bought things for both my parents and his. This isn't shite, a la Fb selling, it is nice stuff, promise! We try to spend roughly the same on them as it all comes out of the same pot but really that's not always the case as I am naturally more frugal and DH isn't. We choose presents for our own parents generally. My parents live nearby and my mum does all childcare for us whilst I'm at work.(not for free but she does loads for us ) so I like to think we treat them to things they wouldn't get themselves.

Last year I was pregnant, trying to save money and as in previous years he'd seen something for them and bought it, we'd done handmade stuff, etc. When I'd packaged it all up to send it cost over £30 to post. I wasn't very pleased as it's just a waste of money really. But they have to get there safely so we pay it. Plus we do the same for his brother who lives abroad too. It mounts up. Plus I feel that if we are going to be fair and spend similar amounts on both sets of parents, then their present costing another (almost the same again) on top isn't very fair.

So I asked if we could this year, when I'm still on mat leave and we aren't that flush, dial it down a bit. He agrees. He spends hours making them a really lovely present that actually they will really love and appreciate. Proper family heirloom sort of thing. Cost next to nothing to make. I knew it would cost a bit to post but asked him to keep it to the dimensions I knew woukdnt be ridiculous postage. Tonight we package up to send it plus a small thing I got the dcs to make for them and a calendar I make every year with photos of the dc. He brings out two more presents. Gloves and a t-shirt. (Labels of course, anything else would go in the bin) £40 he's spent. TK maxx so hes trying I guess! It's going to cost slightly less that last year to post I think, £17. But still has made the parcel bigger and more expensive. He has hidden these presents from me as he knew I would ask why he has spent yet more money on them, if he'd said he was worried he wasn't spending enough then I would've understood as money talks in his family, although they will love the thing he's made they only really appreciate expensive gifts.

I'm a little bit angry that a) He wouldnt talk to me about it and has just ignored what we agreed and b)he's spent hours and hours of weekend and evenings when I've been looking after the dc making this thing and then went out and spent what I've spent on my parents as an afterthought.
My parents have a calendar, a present from the dc and a framed photo of them, plus I've got them a voucher for a meal out. I feel like getting them a nice bottle of wine and some other things to go with it now.

I don't know if IAbu as I'm sleep deprived have a cold and have had a very busy weekend making bleeding presents for people in an effort to save money when apparently I should have just thrown cash at it. We're not on the breadline but I don't get a proper paycheck till xmas and money is tight.

My parents see the dc on Xmas day and boxing day so I kind of think fair enough, let's treat the in laws as they don't get the time with them but to be honest it's DH who doesn't want to go there to visit, last time we went was very difficult as they made little to no effort to spend time with us or the dc while we were there..went shopping though, and dragged us with them.

AIBU? I probably am. Season of goodwill and all. And bloody hideous Ben sherman polonium shirts too apparently.

Youcantscaremeihavechildren Sun 13-Dec-15 22:12:35

Polonium? Wtf? POLO my phone is definitely bu.

BackforGood Sun 13-Dec-15 22:25:49

Personally, if my parents, or siblings lived in a different country from me, I'd come to an agreement not to do presents as it's just ridiculous to post stuff, and most adults don't really need them.

However, they are your dh's parents and I do think he is entitled to get what he thinks his parents would like, if it's important to him, then I don't think it's one of those things that either of you are 'right' or 'wrong' about, it's just 'different expectations'.

CFSsucks Sun 13-Dec-15 22:47:45

If they have loads of money and spend a lot of time shopping for anything they want, I'd only get things like handmade presents or something personal like the calendar with their GC in, anything else seems a bit pointless.

It seems like your DH feels he has to keep up with their spending, which he doesn't. I don't think he realises this though. I'd hate to spend that much in postage so would wait until they came over or make sure what was sent was small.

Youcantscaremeihavechildren Sun 13-Dec-15 23:21:39

Yep. I think you're both right, it does seem silly to get them things really but I guess he thinks it's necessary, I have said to him tonight though that the postage is ridiculous and asked if he feels guilty about not going over, he says he doesn't.
I guess he's made some concessions in that he hasn't spent as much on them as last year.

I'll never forget the year we were totally skint and saving for our wedding so I got her something from the body shop, we'd paid our flights to go over for Xmas and it had cost a fortune plus it's not exactly joyful there for Xmas, just them, no drink, TV and no conversation.
She opened it, pulled a face said oh thanks and literally threw it into the corner . I guess I should be grateful I'm not spending my last bit of mat leave there this year!

Morganly Mon 14-Dec-15 00:20:10

I think you should leave it to your H to do his family and you do your own. The money he is spending doesn't sound excessive to me.

It is unreasonable of you to object to the postage costs. They live a long way away. This is also the reason why your in laws don't do as much childcare as your parents.

They don't see their grandchildren as often as your parents, they are generous with presents, they ask you what the children would like and then order it via Amazon. They sound like lovely grandparents and in laws. They may not have exactly the same values as you about shopping but I can't see where they have done anything to deserve your censure.

Mmmmcake123 Mon 14-Dec-15 00:59:45

All families do gifting in a different way. I would let him get on with it. It's not a competition between you n your dp on who spends the most on parents. Your parents would probably agree with you that he is being a bit flash and not expect the same.

TesticleOfObjectivity Mon 14-Dec-15 01:10:31

While I think it should be up to your dh what he gets his family, if it's eating into money you can't afford then that is a problem and I don't think yabu to ask him to cut it down a bit.

If I were him I'd send over electronic gift vouchers or to buy things online and get them delivered directly to his parents. That would keep the delivery costs down.

OTiTO Mon 14-Dec-15 01:53:47

I think you should leave it to your DH and and worry about it. You seem to be really overthinking it.

pluck Mon 14-Dec-15 10:31:59

Sending 2 parcels can work out cheaper because of the dimensions.

I don't think your DH is being too, too unreasonable (especially given what his parents are like!), but - my God - throwing your present in the corner would definitely take some getting over, and he should acknowledge your feelings on that!

BadLad Mon 14-Dec-15 10:37:28

I had a similar problem with my grandfather. He was a shopaholic, had shit-loads of money, and was literally generous to a fault (junking up other people's houses with gifts they neither wanted nor needed). When I was a student, I came across the idea of leaving £20 at a bookies, with the understanding that he would phone his bets in later. He was over the moon, so I did it until the day he passed away. Might be an idea if the in-laws like a flutter.

Youcantscaremeihavechildren Mon 14-Dec-15 21:27:24

ballad that's a great idea! However the il don't even drink so probably not am option..went to the post office today and the bloke behind the counter did the sacking air over teeth thing before telling me it would cost £45 to send....eek! So I've taken advice thanks pluck and told DH to split it.. back to post office tomorrow...there's got to be an easier way, they've spent 30 euro on postage to seno clothes for the dc and us from Next, most of which I'll probably have to return for a better fit etc or cause she's bought me a mummy tunic top I won't's crazy.

pluck Mon 14-Dec-15 22:41:06

Good luck at the Post Office... and beyter luck with Christmas!

Gruach Mon 14-Dec-15 22:54:56

As it's causing you stress how about suggesting to your DH that next year you offer them tickets to the theatre, opera, or a concert - to be used when they visit you. (Don't send them!)

That way you only pay postage for cards, and you both spend less time making things. (Do your in laws actually like home made presents? Not everyone does ...)

Youcantscaremeihavechildren Mon 14-Dec-15 23:03:58

Yes I think that's a great idea.
I like to think they do like what we make! We're both sort of professional at something crafty and creative without being to specific. Then again they probably don't....I just hate the whole commercial gift buying shite, I'd rather put time and care into something but I appreciate it's not everyones thing.

Gruach Mon 14-Dec-15 23:22:27

So you are (not wishing to be mean) rather imposing your view of gift giving on them? (I'm guilty of doing the same sometimes.) Every lovingly handmade thing you send is really a reprimand for their garish, spendthrift ways? It's not surprising this whole ritual is bringing you no joy whatsoever. fgrin

Some people like labels. It's just another form of foraging. And shopping provides jobs and incomes for millions of people. Presumably you sell most of your own craftwork for filthy lucre? Possibly your DILs would value your stuff more if they had to pay for it in Mayfair. Possibly you wouldn't resent posting stuff to them if you genuinely felt it was appreciated.

Domino777 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:27:05

I'd be fuming!

Firstly he's agreed to something, then deceitfully gone behind your back. So he's lied.

Secondly he's blown money unessesarily at a time you can't afford to. He's also squandered your time because you enabled him to make a gift.

Thirdly why didn't he just tell his parents that due to maternity leave you're financially tight this year. A parent should understand and if not, it would make me really question and challenge their values privately. Why is he trying to buy their approval, seems so empty. Money talks and ... so what!? How meaningless.

Domino777 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:29:48

Also when visiting the uk and they want to shop, tell them you don't enjoy shopping and will meet them later/after

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