Is it awful to stop buying presents for DNs?

(108 Posts)
PressieFatigue Tue 05-Oct-21 23:53:52

Name change for obvious reasons. Very controversial issue but I'd appreciate some advice.

SIL has 4 DC and is expecting her 5th. For the last decade she has had a baby every couple of years like clockwork. It feels like the gift giving parade never ceases; it's always someone's birthday or it's Christmas. They're very well spread out!

I used to pitch in with sorting cards and gifts but had to step away as we have been struggling to conceive for years and it's all just very upsetting for me.

DP is disorganised. He's like a headless chicken with these presents and cards. He doesn't want to give the eldest ones cash in a card because he wants to make an effort. Which is one of the things I love about him, but he always leaves things to the last minute and it's usually fine - but his luck has run out.

He just had a bit of a falling out with SIL because he missed one child's birthday. She has accused him of being selfish and not caring about her DC, etc.

We stopped doing adult presents a couple of years ago because it was just token gifts being exchanged. I was wondering if it would be awful to stop sending presents to the nieces and nephews too? The DC never go without, BIL and SIL spoil them rotten at every opportunity and of course the grandparents do too.

I'm probably being unreasonable, but just wanted to run this past the MN panel before broaching the issue with DP. I'm so sick of the stress and the aggro.


OP’s posts: |
BurntO Tue 05-Oct-21 23:56:52

So you just wouldn’t acknowledge their birthdays? Or you would just send a card? Seems a bit mean spirited, I can’t understand why you would do that. Because they had more children confused

sweetkitty Wed 06-Oct-21 00:01:44

Personally no I wouldn’t they are still your nieces. I stopped giving present to my nerves when they were like 27 and 24 and it was getting ridiculous SIL was sending messages like DN2 likes MAC lipstick shade whatever I was like well she can go get a job and buy it herself. If they are still young I would keep buying presents until they are 16 or 18. I do gift vouchers for older ones.

CimCardashian Wed 06-Oct-21 00:02:30

We've stopped it with some of my family,my DB has 4 kids so it suits me! I do send them something for big milestone birthdays as it feels wrong not to!

Pythonista Wed 06-Oct-21 00:04:13

Even if you weren't struggling to conceive, you are totally reasonable. Your SIL needs to realise that if she wants a big family then fine, but expecting you to shell out for more and more of them is taking the piss

Pythonista Wed 06-Oct-21 00:05:01

And if SIL is kicking off, then all the more reason to stop

MimiDaisy11 Wed 06-Oct-21 00:07:29

If you’ve stepped back from it then I’d just leave it to your partner to deal with, although there’s nothing wrong with giving cash or vouchers. While it’s nice he wants to give special gifts he’s not going to make his nieces or nephews feel special if he forgets.


blueberryporridge Wed 06-Oct-21 00:09:12

In the kindest way, you and your DH are their uncle and aunt and, assuming that money isn't an issue, it is surely not too hard between your husband and yourself to get them something small to mark their birthdays and Christmas. I understand that it is difficult to see other people with children when you are trying to conceive - it took us more than 10 years to have our DD - but you are risking your current and future relationship with your nephews and nieces. You come across as resenting your SIL for her children and maybe even begrudging her her family but your problems ttc are not SIL's fault or her children's. Why not try to take some joy in having these children in your family instead of resenting them? Sending you un-Mumsnetty hugs though, because I know how hard it is.

SalmonEile Wed 06-Oct-21 00:12:49

What kind of relationship does your DP have with the children? Does he visit often ? Spend time with the children, know their interests?

Because I’m gonna be honest he could give them each a bag of sweets for their birthdays if he plays an active role in their lives , if not then it’s just token affection and the kids will soon realize it means sod all.

I respect that it’s obviously very difficult for you and DP to be dealing with infertility but if the oldest of his sisters kids is 10 then it’s really up to you and him what kind of relationship you want to have with these children.

Honestly , I think you need to leave it up to him, he’s an adult , he can talk to his sister and add dates to a calendar and set up reminders. If the infertility issue makes that too painful, and believe me I’m not trivializing what you’re going through, then he either needs to be honest with his sister about not wanting to do gifts or arrange with a sympathetic family member (parent or sibling ) to transfer cash at the appropriate intervals

Ultimately this is all on your DP to sort out flowers

freudien Wed 06-Oct-21 00:13:11

My brother has five children who at christmas get a box of toys made up of some pound shop arts and crafts, one expensive board game type thing for everyone to share, sometimes something that they are super into (eg marvel), sweets, chocolates etc all wrapped up individually and they share it amongst themselves. They're lovely kids and share beautifully. Birthdays (which all fall between july- september go figure) each gets a card and a fiver. Older two get a tenner. Job done.

worriedatthemoment Wed 06-Oct-21 00:14:31

Is sil maybe annoyed as he has forgot one child's birthday yet given to the otters sk one feels left out ?
Its totally up to you and your dh if you want to give gifts dtc bit seeing as your husband doesn't even like giving cash is he likely to not want to give up totally
Or maybe just go to a card and £10 per child , with a family gift at xmas ( hamper of goodies ) vouchers towards day out ??

Northernlurker Wed 06-Oct-21 00:19:03

Yes I think it's awful. The older children have had gifts for years and you want to pull the plug because their uncle, an adult, cannot keep track of dates and their aunt, an adult, finds other people's children upsetting. That's not really on is it?

If the situation was reversed would you honestly be chill with it?

Dancingonmoonlight Wed 06-Oct-21 00:25:18

I would stop buying for them unless you are close to them and see them regularly?

I bought for my nieces and nephews (one family) for years. I then had children and my children never received one gift from them other than a first birthday card for my first child. That was it after years of buying for them.

I'm quite cynical as a result and would buy one gift to share at Christmas and birthday cards with ten pounds in it or if you don't see them much, I'd stop altogether.

RobertaFirmino Wed 06-Oct-21 00:29:00

Is sil maybe annoyed as he has forgot one child's birthday yet given to the otters

Well otters were an endangered species at one point so it's important we take care of them.

Seriallover Wed 06-Oct-21 00:42:06

I wonder if you'd feel differently if you wasn't struggling to conceive?

CatKittyCatCatKittyCatCat Wed 06-Oct-21 00:47:27

I don’t think YABU really, but also think there will be a fight if you do it and it won’t be worth it.

If I was you I’d do a family gift at Christmas (e.g. DVD plus sweets or similar).

When it comes to birthdays etc maybe your DP will see that it’s time to go to the “cash ina card” option now.

WeepySheepy Wed 06-Oct-21 00:47:51

1. Let DH deal with his family
2. DH can tell SIL he can only afford cards from now on sorry.

WeepySheepy Wed 06-Oct-21 00:48:30

I'd give the new baby something if you gave all the others something

worriedatthemoment Wed 06-Oct-21 00:51:07

@RobertaFirmino well its obvious what it should be so no need for sarcasm , ever heard of dyslexia

Bobsyer Wed 06-Oct-21 00:55:38

YANBU to want to stop, I think you should.

This should totally be on your DP to sort, regardless of your own fertility journey.

I agree with @WeepySheepy:

1. Let DH deal with his family
2. DH can tell SIL he can only afford cards from now on sorry.

PressieFatigue Wed 06-Oct-21 00:58:44

To answer a few questions:

We started off spending £50+ per child. This obviously isn't sustainable as we're currently spending about £3-400 on presents. I don't want to think about postage costs. We really need to reign that in, that's definitely a part of the issue.

We live about 3 hours away and don't see them often. We haven't met the youngest one, but that's because of the pandemic.

In theory, we would like to be close and have a relationship. But in reality that isn't happening. Logistics of visiting is a nightmare. We used to take it in turns travelling but as their family grew it became impractical for us to stay (so add hotel cost) and for them to travel. It's sad and unfortunate.

DP totally accepts that it's on him to sort out, but it's not been possible to not talk about it in every day life. Plus, I don't want to be too sensitive about it, I think that will make it worse for me.

All this doesn't even touch on my brother's DC. Thankfully just the one, so a bit more manageable. We also don't see them often for similar reasons, if that makes any difference.

Dancingonmoonlight cynical me suspects a similar outcome here. I can't imagine they'll be allocating much of a budget for us when they have so many of their own to buy for. Assuming that we ever do actually have a child hmm

OP’s posts: |
PressieFatigue Wed 06-Oct-21 01:00:24

Also the otter comment made me smile smile they are indeed in need of protection!

OP’s posts: |
Klinkerbell Wed 06-Oct-21 01:33:07

Why are people so grabby these days! I have the DC in the family, my sibling does not. I have told my family for years just to give the DC a card. They don't need money or 'stuff', a card is a nice acknowledgement of the special day. People shouldn't have to be 'bought' to show affection. We get our DC plenty of things, we don't expect others to do so to prove they care.

FluffyWhiteBird Wed 06-Oct-21 01:53:49

What age is the oldest? Is it a landmark age? So 10, 13, 16, 18? You could use that as an excuse to stop then stop all the others when they each reach that age.

Honestly though, if it's not a financial issue, just leave DH to deal with it and any related fallout. Don't even engage with him on the subject when he wants to moan or needs ideas for presents. Be neutral and non committal. Let him come to his own conclusions on whether or when to stop present giving. And let him have all the related headaches about it. It shouldn't be stress or hassle for you, gifts aren't "women's work" and they're not your family. I'm sure he manages not to miss important deadlines at work? If he wants to buy gifts he can find a way of remembering.

LovelyBitOfSquirrelInTheWirral Wed 06-Oct-21 02:03:26

I think sending each a card is fine. If SIL kicks off just let her.
I stopped giving my nieces and nephews presents once they got full time jobs. They are all earning much more than me now! I don’t think a voucher from Auntie is really needed anymore!
When they were little I enjoyed buying them gifts they would like but in your case with 5 to buy for now I understand your reluctance.
Also, I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties TTC, I know what that’s like and how hard it is to see relatives having babies, being happy for them but feeling upset for yourself flowers

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