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To tell MIL to not bother with presents anymore?

(44 Posts)
Buddahbelly Sat 16-Apr-16 11:31:59

Dp thinks i'm being ungrateful but my history with mil and her shopping habits have at best been random.

I've been with him 16 years now, for our first christmas together I received a CD walkman - a lovely gift you might say, if only for the fact I hadnt been there the week before when it turned up alongside her littlewoods order as a freebie for ordering so much stuff from them. it was boxed when it arrived, when i received it, it had been shoved in a gift bag addressed to somebody else and was open with a cd in it. i faked pleasure and thought nothing more of it.

Following xmas I received a large A3 sized box, inside was a see through babydoll nighty with matching thong. Can you imagine having to open such a present in front of your in laws all gathered around to see what it is. It was either a present shed actually gone and bought specifically for me or something she hadnt wanted so passed it to me.

Moving on to my birthday, it was Sil's birthday a few weeks before, I had bought he vouchers for boots as she requested (this was when they actually gave vouchers rather than gift cards), so for my birthday I received one of the £5 vouchers back - it had been living at the bottom of someone's handbag, crumpled up and covered in pen, along with a bracelet from the local market that was already broke, both of these were shoved inside a card.... and its been like this ever since.

My birthday was last week, she called to say happy birthday and she would call down with my present, she has taken to just buying me a bottle of wine the last couple of years (i don't drink wine and she knows this but i smile politely anyway), this year she arrived with a garden ornament from the poundshop. its a weird little boy metal ornament with the tiniest wheelbarrow, ds is scared of it and wont eat his breakfast in the same room without a blanket being put on it, I darent put it in the garden, its hideous, she laughed whilst giving it to me so i thought it was a joke present, but then she said how much shed loved hers, she could watch it all day and is going back for the little girl to have a matching pair. I cannot stress how hideous it is.

Apart from anything shes now retired and only has her pension to live on, she is wasting her money on these things that I usually pass to the charity shop, I think she knows whatever she buys isnt my kind of thing (and for the record she does this to other family members, she openly admits she hates shopping, but i think feels a duty to hand something over) i think it would be better to say lets leave presents for each other, or if she feels she must put it in a charity box somewhere? Would someone saying this to you offend you in anyway?

WalkingZed Sat 16-Apr-16 11:36:24

Tell her you won't exchange gifts anymore.

Suggest that once a year the two of you go out for a really nice lunch/dinner and split the cost?
Would that work?

Buddahbelly Sat 16-Apr-16 12:00:12

Unfortunately not, its been a long history of trying to get her to go for a meal now and then, the last was to sainsbury's cafe of all places and she refused to even have a cup of tea as she "had teabags at home, and could make herself a cuppa when she got in".

I gave up trying to get her to do anything years ago, now if i offered to take her the pub shed probably sprint all the way there, but I don't drink so would be a bit weird for me.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 16-Apr-16 12:05:46

I would do nothing, let her carry on as she is and smile politely when she hands over her present - then deposit it in the bin as soon as she leaves smile

ollieplimsoles Sat 16-Apr-16 12:10:12

What do you usually get her for birthdays and Christmas op?

Greyponcho Sat 16-Apr-16 12:13:43

Maybe start giving her the same thing back to her?
<not sure this is a good idea, but my MIL re-gifts items back to me, forgetting I bought them in the first place - DH is oblivious that is, when they remember: they all forgot my birthday this year >

ReturnoftheWhack Sat 16-Apr-16 12:14:24

It's just a present. If you don't like it, it's unfortunate but not an awful lot you can do about it. Asking her to stop would make you look rude and ungrateful IMO.

Greyponcho Sat 16-Apr-16 12:15:03

(All the inlaws forgot, not my DH wouldn't have lived to tell the tale if he had forgotten grin )

Xmasbaby11 Sat 16-Apr-16 12:18:00

I'd just leave it and accept that your present won't be what you want. As you say, you can give it to charity shop, or wine is useful when you have friends for dinner.

I don't think I've ever had a present I've liked from the in laws but they don't spend a huge amount so I don't worry they're wasting money. This year they got me a cheap toiletry set. I really don't like it - tried using it but it doesfeel quite nasty on my skin. Wish I'd just charity shopped it!

PuppyMonkey Sat 16-Apr-16 12:18:53

I wouldn't say anything at all on the basis that her crap present buying is so entertaining. grin

Can we have a pic of the garden ornament? wink

MrsJayy Sat 16-Apr-16 12:19:49

She sounds like my late Mil lovely woman but God she was tight and present s were s bit shit just smile and say thanks the baby doll would end me though I'd have been mortified mil did buy me market pants 1 year not even granny's would wear then and 3 sizes to big

Buddahbelly Sat 16-Apr-16 12:34:04

See that's the thing I get her nice present such as handbag & purse, vouchers for shops she likes (m&s usually). Last year i was a bit skint so just got her a nice hand carved wooden photo frame with some pics of ds in it, she loved it. Ive even got her bits of tat in the past she loves it all, she collects these poundshop garden ornaments, the rustier the better, she has them strewn across the garden, gnomes, wooden wheelbarrows, her neighbours roll their eyes.

Im not sure whether to be more offended that she bought me a crap present or she thinks we share the same taste.

If I added a picture it would surely out me as most of my family have seen it and questioned my mental stability for buying it, so Ill find something similar.

Buddahbelly Sat 16-Apr-16 12:37:36

Ok imagine this, 3 feet tall and holding a basket for a pot to go in and you'll get the idea.

Cantusethatname Sat 16-Apr-16 12:48:02


Cantusethatname Sat 16-Apr-16 12:49:33

one year I got white chocolate liqueur for Christmas.
Don't like white chocolate, don't like liqueur, six months pregnant.

MrsJayy Sat 16-Apr-16 12:51:18

That is spectacular grin

MrsJayy Sat 16-Apr-16 12:52:35

Its artisanial rusty snigger

Lollylovesbones Sat 16-Apr-16 12:55:41

I wouldn't say anything at all on the basis that her crap present buying is so entertaining.

This. I'd have a snigger at the hideousness, take a photo for posterity and then consign to bin or local charity shop

In the days when I was a size 6-8, my ex-MIL regularly bought me huge granny style knickers big enough to house a large family if only I'd saved them as they'd fit now

SanityClause Sat 16-Apr-16 13:01:48

If she's otherwise okay, just leave it.

My PIL have stopped buying gifts for me and DH, and just give money to the DC. Which is fine.

We are expected to give them gifts, though, which no matter how carefully we have thought out, are always criticised, and never quite right.

MattDillonsPants Sat 16-Apr-16 13:04:00

Don't take life so seriously OP. It's nothing to get offended or worried about. We had an Aunt who did this. We looked forward to her weird and sometimes outrageous gifts every year! Make a family joke out of it.

OutToGetYou Sat 16-Apr-16 13:06:07

That's a bargain for a pound!

I'm always relieved when dp family forget to buy me presents. There are only so many staticky nylon scarves a non scarf wearing person can tolerate.

MrsJayy Sat 16-Apr-16 13:07:24

Did your granny pants have flowers on mine did <sigh>, i agree just laugh dont take it so personal and get rid id keep the rusty boy for the lols though

JuneBuggy Sat 16-Apr-16 13:08:47

She sounds a little like my DH's Grandmother. Last year she bought me the most horrendous shower caddy thing. In the past I've had proper granny slippers (I'm in my twenties), a hair turban (I have short hair) and a Playboy t shirt hmm

I'd suggest the meal thing, if she refuses then you can either;
Ask to stop gifts altogether
Carry on with the smiling politely and binning afterwards
Start suggesting (via DH if needs be) gifts - "I'd really like X if you're struggling to choose a gift for me, if that's okay?"

Buddahbelly Sat 16-Apr-16 13:09:37

out Yep had the scarf phase too.... passd them all onto my nan who is sadly no longer with us, we had a good laugh clearing out her clothes looking at the amazing technicolor scarf collection I had basically given her smile.

In all honest I do look forward to getting a new ridiculous present to laugh at, I just feel bad that shes on a tight budget as it is and so feels forced to spend a bit of money, its not like she loves choosing things either, she tells us constantly how much she hates shopping.

annandale Sat 16-Apr-16 13:10:16

TBH if you know she would like a trip to the pub, then maybe find one that has a nice garden and does coffee, and take her there. It could become your 'thing'?

She clearly likes finding presents that cost her very little or things that she likes, so I wouldn't worry about her wasting money. I would just leave it. TBH I did once buy someone something and they very politely just said 'Oh thank you! I do think it's more your sort of thing, would you like it?' and just handed it back to me. I was so taken aback and humiliated that I said nothing, we are still friends and all is fine. Might be odd with a MIL though, this was a longstanding friend.

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