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To find these gifts awkward and embarrassing?

(351 Posts)
HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:33:41

Every year we make a point of saying we don't want much for Christmas for us or the kids. We firmly say we are sticking to a £20pp budget and would appreciate if they did too. We make lots of noise about decluttering and what a lot of stuff we've got, how the kids have gadgets and toys coming out of their ears.

And then every year without fail we hand over a single bag of gifts to SiL and BIL and they fill our car up in return. This year it is FIVE bin bag size bags of presents. A bag full each.

It is equal to the amount we've bought the kids. Totally over budget and completely unnecessary.

I struggle with this every year because what can you do? We've tried everything we can think of. We've even said firmly that we don't want this much stuff and that they arent sticking to the budget. BiL is adamant that SiL is just an amazing shopper and finds bargains. This just isn't true. It's all brand new branded stuff. Lego sets etc, which I know are rarely reduced by much. Current clothes from shops I shop in, not sale stuff.

I find it awkward, embarrassing and tbf a bit controlling.

I refuse to compete, so our gifts look pathetic in comparison.

Please, if anyone has any fresh ideas how to stop this I'd be so so grateful. Short of dumping it all back on her doorstep I am stuck.

And I know how weird and ungrateful this sounds but its suffocating me.

(Also you have probably read this thread before as I think I post a version of it every year).

Please help me.

Leanback Wed 14-Dec-16 23:39:12

If they don't want to stick to 20pp you can't force them. Just let them do what they want to do and you can do what you want to do. They might just be the kind of people who like buying gifts for others.

LittleBoat Wed 14-Dec-16 23:39:50

I remember you posting this before. Have you tried an eyeball to eyeball talk with your SIL? Very directly telling her this needs to stop?

She sounds nuts tbh. I have gone nc with a friend for very similar reasons. Not so easy with family though.

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Wed 14-Dec-16 23:40:57

I seem to remember you from last year. Did you try to talk about it with them last year? Are you confident it's going to happen again?

bumsexatthebingo Wed 14-Dec-16 23:41:13

I don't think you can really tell other people what to buy you as gifts. But if there is stuff in there your kids don't want then I'd take it to the charity shop. If you genuinely are struggling for space then you could get your kids to fill a bag each with stuff to donate either from the new stuff or what they already have.

HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:43:06

I've talked to her until I'm blue in the face. She isn't the easiest of people and she tends to hear what she wants to hear (very evident from the stories she tells about other people).

Dh has just said that perhaps we should have them both round for a proper sit down and really tell them both so there is absolutely no ambiguity.

I know it sounds like an overreaction but it's been going on for years and it makes me feel like I'm going mad. It upsets me.

HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:44:27

The present swap was today. My hallway is literally full of bags of gifts. I've had to leave them and come to bed.

Our gifts for everyone are under the tree and the ones from SiL are an equal amount.

HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:47:08

We set the budget after a very awkward fifth or sixth birthday party at my parents house, dd opened all her presents and then SiL brought out a huge sack, it was more than we and all my family had bought her all combined. It was excruciating.

ethelb Wed 14-Dec-16 23:48:13

Do BIL and SIL have kids? They may just really like having children to buy for.

Enidblyton1 Wed 14-Dec-16 23:48:17

Do you have any idea why she does this? Do they have children of their own?

HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:48:36

They have one child.

We have three.

user1477282676 Wed 14-Dec-16 23:49:18

Would SIL realise if you donated some of them to a women's refuge or similar? Does she expect to see your DC playing with individual toys?

I'd just start giving a few away before the DC saw them myself.

My Mum used to do this. It's just that she enjoyed buying the things.

HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:50:30

It's not just Christmas and birthdays either. Whenever they come round she brings armfuls of stuff. Pot plants (I kill all plants in my house, it's a curse, and she does know this), knick knacks, jewellery, even clothes for me and the kids.

They are no better off than us and I seriously can't see how she affords it.

RainbowJack Wed 14-Dec-16 23:50:43

This year it is FIVE bin bag size bags of presents. A bag full each.

Why did you not hand 4 back and sternly say '4 is enough thank you.' and walked away.

Stop letting her call the shots.

I guess you could pack them up and send them back but bit tricky if your kids have already seen them.

Underthemoonlight Wed 14-Dec-16 23:51:01

Could you donate them op to families who are struggling obviously you've explained it to your sil and bil and they won't listen but they could benefit other people.

LittleBoat Wed 14-Dec-16 23:51:50

Take the gifts back to her. If you really can't deal with it (and I wouldn't be able to) you're going to have to be very firm until she gets the message. Be prepared for the fallout though.

HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:52:03

I didn't collect them, DH did. He was mortified but didn't really know what to say. It gets worse every year.

I usually end up donating a load of stuff in the new year.

leccybill Wed 14-Dec-16 23:53:10

Are they very wealthy?
I'd hate this too tbh. I'd def think about donating some.

HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:55:38

They're not wealthy. BiL earns almost exactly the same as dh and we are both SAHMs. Our mortgage is bigger and we have more kids so they probably have more cash floating around than we do but even so.

bebanjo Wed 14-Dec-16 23:56:19

I would simply refuse to except them.
Pick one at random for yourself and let the kids pick out 2/3 each and tell sil to return the rest or donate them herself.

You have told her you do not want them so it's not like it's going to be out of the blue.

HardLightHologram Wed 14-Dec-16 23:58:51

There's a limit to how rude I can be, she is a tricky character and dh will do anything to avoid upsetting her or his brother. We're both very conflict averse. But after ten years or so of this I'm almost ready to just do something drastic like that.

RainbowJack Thu 15-Dec-16 00:00:25

I think you need to sit them both down face to face and tell them explicitly to stop and the fact you find it very disrespectful that they have ignored your previous requests to stop.

And if they continue to ignore you you will 1) refuse to accept them 2) drop any excess gifts off straight to a charity.

Time to get tough with the hard nuts.

Crispsheets Thu 15-Dec-16 00:01:21

You must confront them together. Do they realise that you give lots of it away???
Nobody has the right to make you feel like this.

SortAllTheThings Thu 15-Dec-16 00:01:27

Sounds like the perfect opportunity to make a donation to your local hospitals Christmas gift campaign!

SortAllTheThings Thu 15-Dec-16 00:01:37


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