Advanced search

AIBU to not reciprocate these gifts?

(15 Posts)
4foxsake Mon 26-Dec-16 23:38:00

My DDad has lived next to the same neighbours for more than 40 years. They are a lovely couple in their late 70s and them and my DDad are friendly in that they will stop and chat if they see each other out and about in the street or in town or whatever but not friendly enough to pop into each others houses for a cup of tea & a chat iyswim.

When I had my 2DDs the NDNs bought little gifts for each of them and every year since they have bought them a little gift on their birthdays and at Christmas. The gifts are not expensive but are just little token presents (eg this Xmas they gave the girls a selection box & a packet of knickers each, for their birthdays, they had colouring books & pencils etc). The gifts are really thoughtful gestures and the girls love receiving them. Whenever they receive a gift I always get the DDs to write a thank you card and next time we visit my DDad I make sure we also pop in to thank them in person.

My DB, however (who still lives at home with my DDad), is mortified that I don't reciprocate the gift giving by buying them presents for their birthdays & Xmas (we send cards but not gifts). In his view, if you receive a gift, you are morally obliged to send a gift back and have, for the last couple of years, actually gone out and bought them a gift on our behalf and told them it's from us shock. Sometimes he just takes it next door himself when we're not there , other times he will wait until we're visiting and take my DC next door so that they can give them the gift. Every time that I've been with the DC when they've taken the gift(s) next door the NDN always tell us off for buying them something. The last present my DB bought them (from us) was a huge bouquet of flowers (probably about £20-£30) for her birthday and she did seem genuinely uncomfortable receiving them. They repeatedly tell us not to bother getting them anything (DB is always there at gift giving time so he hears this as well) and that they just enjoy buying little gifts for the DC (as their GC are now grown up) and it's just a little something to show that they are thinking of them. Even so, DB is still insistent that they should get something if they buy for my DC (he's a bit stuck in his ways like that).

So, my question is, should I start buying them gifts (even though they've repeatedly told me we shouldn't) or should I stand up to my DB and tell him to wise up & butt out? Who is BU, me or DB?

Ameliablue Mon 26-Dec-16 23:40:34

I wouldn't necessarily by anything but get the children to make something as a gesture back.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Mon 26-Dec-16 23:44:31

Your brother needs to keep his beak out. Stop telling him stuff.

But a little gift from your kids to them once in a while won't hurt. I imagine they cherish the visits more though.

holidaysaregreat Mon 26-Dec-16 23:48:45

I don't think they would expect the gifts to be reciprocated to be honest. They are just being nice. I think a massive bunch of flowers is a bit OTT.
It is appropriate to send the kids round to say thanks/get them to write a note. Perhaps some home made biscuits or cupcakes??
People enjoy buying small gifts for little kids. Your DB probably isn't au fait with this as he doesn't yet have kids of his own.

Castleheights Mon 26-Dec-16 23:50:57

If they expected you to reciprocate they would of stopped giving years ago .
Tell your db to mhob

Maryann1975 Tue 27-Dec-16 00:19:32

Your db should back off. They aren't buying to get anything back. Lots of people like buying for small children, let's face it, they are generally much easier to buy for than grown ups and the choice in the shops is so much more interesting than when they had their children years ago.

RichardBucket Tue 27-Dec-16 00:24:03


I hate the attitude that gifts should be tit for tat. I like buying for small children and never expect anything back but a thank you.

Your brother is being weird.

LittleMermaidRose Tue 27-Dec-16 00:31:35

Yes I would definitely tell your bother to butt out.

If he starts buying them more expensive gifts, they may feel they have to spend more on the children in return.

PenguinsandPebbles Tue 27-Dec-16 00:32:31


I too think your brother is being weird.

We had a granny NDN who "adopted" us when we were small. I also didn't have a granny as mine died when I was very little (DB is actually half brother so he had his nan still) but I loved that lady.

my mum really didn't have much money at all, but NDN nanny always gave us cards and chocolates on our birthday and Christmas, on her birthday and Christmas we made her cards.

She loved our little visits would arrange with mum (found out years later for us to go round) and would make us cakes and show us her roses that bit was a little boring for a nine year old I think she just loved having little people around because she didn't have any grandchildren of her own.

when we moved, she gave me a little China owl grin and we then sent her cards in the post.

She died not long after we moved away, I remember being so sad and shedding a little tear now but I still have my owl.

So sometimes older people just like having little people around and that's a gift all in itself smile

ConvincingLiar Tue 27-Dec-16 00:32:31

Yanbu. Just say thank you.

Pancakeflipper Tue 27-Dec-16 00:36:29

You don't need to be reciprocal in gifts. They sound to be the type whom enjoy giving to others and get happiness out this. If they didn't they would have stopped.

Sounds to me they like the thank yous and to see in your children.
You can match their thoughtfulness in other ways and not by buying gifts.

user1477282676 Tue 27-Dec-16 00:46:56

I get my DD to make a card for this sort of thing. It's nice for them to know you took the time to do that.

WyfOfBathe Tue 27-Dec-16 01:01:15

I would get your DDs to write them a thank you card or draw something for them, depending on their age.

Definitely tell your brother to back off though, he's being quite weird in my opinion to buy gifts "from" your kids & gift-giving (especially between adults and children) doesn't always need to be exactly reciprocal anyway.

4foxsake Tue 27-Dec-16 16:06:00

Thanks for your responses. I like the idea of making them something (although I'm neither crafty nor can I bake so that might be a bit of a challenge confused). I think that would appease my DB's need to reciprocate without going OTT and actually buying them something.

And FWIW - I agree, my DB is weird, in a lot more ways than just this (but that's another story)

BillyShingles Tue 27-Dec-16 16:56:15

Ours get money from similar neighbours. We make them something (as we are doing something anyway for grandparents) or get them a tin of biscuits of a particular type that they're partial to. We also go round to say thank you whenever we can.

The reciprocity of these things is often "higher up the chain" - they buy for your kids because your DDad bought for their kids or grandkids, or has helped them out a lot in other ways. So we make a small gesture but don't feel obliged to make it equal IYSWIM.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: