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Another gift etiquette one! (sorry)

(17 Posts)
princesspineapple Tue 29-Dec-15 13:36:23

SIL has a milestone birthday this week. DP and I were looking for thoughtful presents a couple of months ago, when MIL suggested getting a more expensive present from everyone on our side of the family

rosebiggs Tue 29-Dec-15 13:40:37

Good idea if everyone agrees.

BlueMoonRising Tue 29-Dec-15 13:41:28

Not sure what your AIBU is?

princesspineapple Tue 29-Dec-15 13:46:06

... Ffs, fat fingers!...
And everyone putting money in. We said maybe to the idea, and to let us know what everyone else thought and then we could all decide on a gift together.
Fast-forward to the start of this month, we'd not heard anything and so asked BIL and MIL what the plans were with the present... And they've already bought it! It's not something we would have chosen, but BIL says she'll like it which is obviously a good sign. We asked who needed the money and how to transfer it, for them to "suggest" that the usual £50(ish) that we usually spend on eachother for birthdays and Christmas probably wasn't quite significant enough with it being a big birthday. We're saving for a new baby but still agreed to double the amount, and agreed we'd just give BIL the money when we see him this week.
Yesterday, we saw SIL and she thanked us for the gift! It's not even her birthday yet, but it turns out that MIL got so excited for her reaction that they had a lovely gift giving time a few days ago.
AIBU to be a bit cross that we've committed more money than we can really afford, for a present we didn't choose, and then weren't even part of handing it over? DP still hasnt given his brother/mum the cash yet, and I'm tempted to go out and buy her something entirely different before we see her on her birthday! Overreaction?

princesspineapple Tue 29-Dec-15 13:47:34

Thank you for the advanced speedy replies! grin

BlueMoonRising Tue 29-Dec-15 13:47:57

Oh gosh no, YANBU!

A joint gift should be jointly decided on and everyone should get the opportunity to be there when the recipient receives it, IMO.

rosebiggs Tue 29-Dec-15 14:06:56

Yes that was very unfair of MIL.

GeoffreysGoat Tue 29-Dec-15 14:09:00

I would assume I wasn't included and make my own arrangements if I were you!

Topseyt Tue 29-Dec-15 14:15:45

I would let it go and just give your BIL/MIL the agreed amount of cash.

ZenNudist Tue 29-Dec-15 14:18:58

That's bad. I would give BIL the amount you were going to spend on the original present and just say you can't afford more.

Also say you're unhappy that you weren't included on either the buying or giving. Tell him it's über cheeky to give a pressie from all of you without you there.

Alternatively buy the original cheaper pressie instead and just say you wanted to give SIL a gift and as they have already given her the planned gift without you then you will sort one out yourself.


BlueMoonRising Tue 29-Dec-15 14:25:57

I like Geoffrey's take on it. 'Oh, as the gift has already been given without us being invited, I thought you'd decided to do this without us, so we've bought something else. What a shame!'

MrsDeVere Tue 29-Dec-15 14:40:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thelaundryfairy Tue 29-Dec-15 14:52:15

Agree with MrsDeVere. As long as your sister in law likes the gift and knows that you contributed, there is no massive harm done.

Maybe your mother in law thought that Christmas was a fun and festive time and therefore more appropriate for celebrating a big birthday or some other mother/mother in law logic that is well meaning but no one else can ever fathom (in my experience).

gabsdot Tue 29-Dec-15 15:38:48

A few years ago DH, me and his siblings and their partners bought his mother a joint Christmas present. DH bought it and I wrapped it up so on Christmas day she came over to our house to give our kids their presents and I gave it to her.
SIL was really upset when she found out. She really wanted to be there to see her mothers face etc. TBH it had not even occurred to me or DH to wait until everyone was together to give it to her. Maybe we're just thoughtless that way.
Anyway I think you are probably NBU but I something like this would not bother me.

princesspineapple Tue 29-Dec-15 16:09:55

Thanks for all the replies... Pleased it's not just me that thinks it's a bit off!
I've left it in DP's capable hands to do the telling off, so I think they will know the error of their ways, but I think as some of you have said, probably not worth making a scene over, so we'll just give them the money and move on.
To the people that blame MIL logic... You're almost certainly right! And as hugely irritating as she can be, she does mean well, so I have to try not to be cross! Just her actions are usually clouded by her own madness excitement, it's hard not to get frustrated sometimes.
Also, MrsDeVere totally agree with you about the excessive budget... Especially as most of the time BIL and SIL resort to vouchers because they don't have time/inspiration for actual gifts... So it's like your 50 pounds just goes round in a big circle every year... But they're an odd bunch!

MrsDeVere Tue 29-Dec-15 16:42:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoSquirrels Tue 29-Dec-15 16:56:37

This happened to me with Mil/SIL. It was awkward. We spent (and could only spend) a limited amount on adult gifts. I know other people spent more on us, but we always tried to be thoughtful in what we chose. MIL has a birthday close to Christmas. Having already bought our gifts, SIL had a great idea for an expensive present, would we like to go halves? Btw, already bought it and told MIL about it. Hard to get out of, but we just couldn't afford halves. So we contributed an amount that must have seemed extremely stingy considering the cost of the whole item, but was in fact more than we could comfortably afford on top of the gifts we'd already bought. Most awkward. No malice intended on my SILs behalf, it was a really thoughtful gift etc., just our finances were very different.

In principle I am a fan of joint gifts, but it's really hard when people assume you can spend more than is possible. We've been asked to contribute to other things and again, I find it deeply tricky.

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