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is DH BU about christmas presents or am I?

(47 Posts)
knitpicker Thu 22-Dec-16 18:06:12

Two of our three children have quite recent diagnoses of ASD, they are both teenagers, the youngest is NT. Every christmas up until now, present giving has been centred on the children's gift. This year, our youngest showed me a list of gifts she was saving to buy for family and friends. It occurred to me that neither of the other two had any intention of buying her a present so I had a chat with DH and with the teens and instigated a present exchange system where everyone would buy a little gift for everyone in the family and receive one in return. The fact I had to sit down and spell it all out for everyone actually made me a little sad. All three children have bought little gifts for each other and for both us parents. I have most of my gifts bought and told DH what they were, he has now kicked off with a massive tantrum saying he had no idea we were buying separate gifts and can the gifts I bought be from us both. I have refused on the grounds that this is reciprocal gifting and a lesson in modelling this behaviour for the two boys who otherwise might not automatically learn how to give and receive. They do not always observe and learn social norms and customs, we have to teach them that gifting is not one way traffic - which it has been for them all along. Am I being unreasonable to insist he buys everyone a little gift too?

scottishdiem Thu 22-Dec-16 18:10:46

All of my presents have been from Mum & Dad and if this system has been developed in my house I suspect I would have assumed that the parent gifts were joint, unless it had been explicitly explained before hand rather than just assumed. And its kind of late to start presents buying now.

TheEmmaDilemma Thu 22-Dec-16 18:13:21

I think you're right. Because they may want to get something for Mum that they don't for Dad. So it would be nicer for you to have separate small gifts for each of them.

TempusEedjit Thu 22-Dec-16 18:15:49

I think it's usual that gifts from (non-separated) parents to DC are jointly from both parents. Did you make it clear to your DH that he would be expected to buy separate presents to teach your DC about giving and receiving? If so then it's not too late for him to do some shopping. If not then you might want to reconsider, however it would depend on the "tantrum" really.

knitpicker Thu 22-Dec-16 18:18:28

Prob should have also explained - they are getting one large present apiece as the main christmas gift. The reciprocal gift exchange on christmas morning is a new routine/ custom I am starting. Scottish - I am just about to leave work to do a large chunk of my buying, luckily I am based in the city centre and I have a list! DH has bought no presents for anyone yet and like you Scottish, feels its too late to start!

TwitterQueen1 Thu 22-Dec-16 18:18:48

I think you are being massively U. Fine for the DCs to buy separate gifts for each other and for you parents, but absolutely not fine for you to have bought gifts for everyone that are from you alone.

I never gave any of our DCs presents from 'me', they were always from mum and dad. I don't understand why you would expect to provide separate presents? Aside from anything else, you are diluting your parent buying power. If you're going to get each child a 'big' present, why would spend twice?

Very weird and not nice tbh. children expect presents from parents. Parents are not individual entities to children!

DoItTooJulia Thu 22-Dec-16 18:20:27

I think it was too late to implement a new system.

It's a sound idea, and one that everyone will be clear about next year, but if the kids have already bought too and your DH separate gifts he has to nip out and get everyone a little something.

Badhairday1001 Thu 22-Dec-16 18:21:27

Yes, if the kids have bought seperate gifts for mum and dad then they should receive gifts from both of you. It may be good next year to explain that you will buy the gift jointly and they only need to give a joint gift too. That will help with generalisation, they can see then that if giving or receiving from a couple then it can be OK to do joint gifts.

Madshiplollipop Thu 22-Dec-16 18:24:22

I wasn't there for conversation but reading baldly it sounds a bit joyless. And a conversation for September.

RebelRogue Thu 22-Dec-16 18:26:20

Dd(5) has bought a present for me and one for OH at school(with my money grin) . She'll get no prezzies from ma and OH,together or separately as everything comes from santa.

Badhairday1001 Thu 22-Dec-16 18:26:52

Twitterqueen the kids have autism. Giving and receiving gifts for people with autism can be massively stressful with lots of opportunities for socially inappropriate behaviour. It is really good to practice it in the safety of the their own home. If they have said individual gifts then they need to stick to it.

RebelRogue Thu 22-Dec-16 18:26:55

P.s. I think it's a great idea,but maybe you have left it too late..

HSMMaCM Thu 22-Dec-16 18:27:15

I would have expected parent gifts to be joint, unless this is a tricky concept for your children to understand. DH probably didn't realise each buying each other presents meant separately from parents too.

What happens if you start doing this every year and the children start realising dad/mum buys better presents than the other parent, or one parent doesn't care, because their present was rubbish.

It's fine if it works for your family, but it wouldn't for ours. Kids buy for parents individually and parents buy for kids jointly.

MatildaTheCat Thu 22-Dec-16 18:28:32

Every gift we've ever given our DC has been from mum and dad. Never occurred to me to do otherwise. The DC bought us small things when they were small and for each other and now buy bigger things since they are adults. They buy for us individually.

I do get your point but fully understand how dh has got it wrong. I'm not sure he is wrong, either. You are still teaching your DC to enjoy giving aren't you? And no doubtvtheycare getting lots of other presents?

ThatsWotSheSaid Thu 22-Dec-16 18:31:09

I think that's a fantastic idea. Your completely right about lessons the NT children pick up naturally need to spelt out more for children with ASC. I love your idea and I don't see why your DH isn't on board. Does he find present buying difficult for some reason?
Its not too late, maybe this will be a good lesson all round.

Veterinari Thu 22-Dec-16 18:34:24

Why did your DH assume that you'd do all the gifting?

It makes sense, the majority of the usual gifts are sorted and this is a fairly simple 'round robin' of everyone buying everyone else a small individual token gift. Why did your DH think he was exempt? I assume the DC have understood it and managed to prepare their gifts.
He doesn't have to get anything fancy - he could nip to the supermarket and buy some small individual toys or books - he definitely has time!

MollyRedskirts Thu 22-Dec-16 18:34:32

I think it makes perfect sense. My DS1 has ASD and we do separate presents - it's easier for him to understand and like you said, will stand him in good stead later on.

However, I do think it was a bit late this year to implement it, but it's still doable. The gifts don't have to require massive effort as long as each person gets something. You could wrap up a box of chocolates or sweets.

TwitterQueen1 Thu 22-Dec-16 18:34:33

Badhari I don't get what autism has to do with this.

My DCs give separate presents to each other.
And they also give separate presents to me and to their dad because we are divorced. When we were together they gave us joint presents.

But if you are together, ie not divorced or separated, I simply don't get why you are deciding that each parent has to give separate presents. As another pp has said, it's divisive and could be seen to be competitive.

Parents come as a joint lot. I'm not surprised the OP's DH is royally pissed off.

However, since I am not the parent of an autistic child I will of course accept that OP is the expert here, not me. Still think it's weird though.

HardcoreLadyType Thu 22-Dec-16 18:36:30

Perhaps he hasn't really understood your reasoning. Yes, in most families presents from parents are joint, but in most families, it isn't necessary to demonstrate the reciprocal nature of gift giving.

I do think it's a lovely idea, and I do think he could easily pick up four small gifts, even at this late date.

(Your DD sounds like a real sweetie, incidentally!)

MollyRedskirts Thu 22-Dec-16 18:37:28

Sorry - to clarify, we (me and DH) give presents jointly, but we get DS1 to buy individually because that's easier for him. He knows that mummy likes things from Lush, and daddy likes chocolate, so it would be harder for him to think of a joint gift. Do whatever works, but the problem is that you need to decide with DH, together.

HardcoreLadyType Thu 22-Dec-16 18:40:23

Why are players saying it is too late to implement it? None of knitpicker's posts have given details of when she came up with the idea. She might have suggested it some time in October, for all we know!

HardcoreLadyType Thu 22-Dec-16 18:40:51


Joysmum Thu 22-Dec-16 19:05:48

Very unusual to not gift together for children. DH and I will both address anything we have bought as being from both of us, even though we don't shop together and only one of us bought it. We are clear to say what we bought so that we can ensure that between us we aren't going over the top.

If you weren't clear about you both buying separately and addressing them separately then I can see why your DH hasn't realised this was happening and been very irritated as I can imagine both DH and I both reacting the same way. Expecially given that I'm better at tapping into what our DD likes when it comes to smaller things, poor DH could feel outdone on the smaller additional gift front.

"We judge ourselves by our intentions but others by their actions" is the adage that comes to mind here.

Madshiplollipop Thu 22-Dec-16 19:05:50

Ok if it's something really useful for those with ASD then he is being unreasonable. Assuming you discussed this in advance. It sounds like an excellent way to help with a valuable example for them to follow. I didn't know. I can already think of a family situation where this would be useful intel . Did he know?

dementedpixie Thu 22-Dec-16 19:13:12

I think it's a bit strange that you would send gifts separately from you and your dh. Anything we buy for the kids comes from both of us regardless of who purchased it. Did he know fully what your new plans were?

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