May 19, 2019, 02:37:32 pm


"Welcome to -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."


Started by pam1, April 28, 2011, 11:03:06 am

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.


Hey all, so as DH and I our working out his extended family problems -- we keep bumping into one issue, GIFTS.  We have a total of 17 siblings/siblings in laws combined and hardly any on my side are married yet.  So the number could get up to 24.  And this isn't counting nieces/nephews either, that number is still growing.

I come from a background that gifts aren't a big deal.  I exchange with my parents at XMas and do a name exchange with siblings, I also buy for my grandparents.  So about 5 gifts total.  My siblings and I don't buy birthday presents for each other, we all just get for our parents.  I have no idea when my grandparents birthdays are, they just don't celebrate them.

DH's side are gifts every time you sneeze. His siblings to this day throw fits over birthday parties and birthday presents.  When all they do is buy each other the same dollar amount gift cards to different places  ??? His parents have a totally different outlook on this than any I've ever met.  They are well off but will send out wish lists of things they want.  It really boggles my mind.

We tried over Xmas getting his siblings to do a name draw exchange for gifts -- no dice.  Two of them had meltdowns over it and then proceeded to give me some outside tool that I would never use at Xmas.  lol  As of now, they also are "punishing" me for the Xmas thing by not acknowledging my bday.  Which is fine, believe me.  But I've had it up to HERE with their craziness over presents and holidays.

Alright, so ladies who have been through this blending family/extended family stuff -- how do you deal with this?  As time goes on in my family we've had to change/adapt/be flexible and his side just won't.  So how do I? 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


This makes me chuckle. DH's family is the same way (huge to boot). He tried talking to the extended family about the whole Christmas gifts and why don't we just get together for desserts and TIME together. Our gift was.... ANTACIDS!!!! And I missed my moment to open them quickly throw one in my mouth and go "Thank God! Every time I am around this family I need these!" ROFL...

Soooo, we haven't mastered this one yet. You could just stand on principle and tell them "We are not exchanging gifts"... Or "convert" to another religion where it is prohibited. Seventh Day Adventists? Judaism? Or WWUnitism where we worship the Goddess Luise???  ;)


ADIL, thats a good point, I'm not religious at all.  So they tend to use it as a reason why DH and I should go along with their plans.  Yeah...

So ok, do you think I would be totally off base in saying we need a year off from holidays totally?  I'm really losing the holiday spirit with everything and they will not compromise.  The only thing I can come up with that is polite -- is opting out at this point.  I really can't deal with it anymore, DH never wanted to to begin with. 
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Same conundrum, except DH only has 1 brother. But...we're supposed to get the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins (47 people) gifts too.

I never gave in. DH felt the same way I did. Persistence paid off then. His mom still cries that we don't get anyone anything...but I'm no longer crying over an empty wallet. She and FIL get a gift and that is that. We do buy for FIL's sister when we plan on visiting her as well, DH is very close with her. If we hear of something his mom's mom really needs...we give her a check to contribute just as her children do.

When I quit trying to play their game, I was able to be myself and buy heartfelt meaningful gifts for those closest to us. It's probably not enough for MIL, but the look of appreciation from the recipient is all I need.

Do not give up. That's all I can say.


To me, gift giving is an art form some seem to be born with and some never develop. I just got the ugliest, cheapest necklace I have even seen in my life from someone who adores me and knows I don't wear jewelry. And no, it was not intended as a joke.

On top of that gift-giving can be a covert avenue for the passive aggressive to send out "messages."

There are people, too, who are easy to please and those who are impossible. (I'm one of the later and most of my extended family has given up and gives me Gift Cards.) Everything I gave one of my sons was cherished and used. Everything I gave the other son was sold , given away or tossed.

Go figure.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Holly & Luise, thank you.  I don't know why but I feel like I need permission to quit doing this.  It's horrible, I feel pressured to play along and I always want to give a great gift so I spend TONS of time looking for what I think they would love.  And then I'm irritated with myself cause honestly, I just don't want to give it to begin with.  They don't appreciate anything, they don't say thank you, they give you things that I don't know on who would ever think I would use.  Ok, you want to know what Xmas was?  A weed whacker!  A WEED WHACKER.

And I'm not a gift person, so I don't care what anyone gets me.  It just gets under my skin.

And I'm looking at Mothers Day now, hmm you want me to buy 5 gifts for Mothers Day?  What?  And I always get nothing.  Oh but I liked last year when SIL told DH that she should say Happy Fathers Day to him since he's a father now (this was a dig about my DD, they can't believe I'm a single mom) but since he didn't get her anything for Mothers Day...oh well.  Did I mention SIL doesn't have any kids????  What Mothers Day present?

People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Mass e-mail to DH's family:

Dear family:

We just wanted to let you know that the gift-giving to the whole family has gotten to be too much for our budget.  From now on, we will only be buying gifts for children under 18 and for MIL & FIL.    We understand if you wish to discontinue gifts to our family as a result of this.  Hopefully by the end of the year, our bank accounts will thank us!

Love to all,
You and DH.

We ended up doing something like this with my DB & SIL and DH's DS & BIL.  Everyone was glad.  We still send cards and good wishes, just no gifts.  In time, and for significant birthdays we may change the rule, but all in all it's worked out well.


Wow that is a great email Scoop!

They'd have a fit but you know what?  I'm getting to the point where I don't care again.  This is sad.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


It would be soooo nice to just do away with Christmas/B-days and just do "whenever" gifts. You know. You are out and about see XXX and think of XXXX and buy it for them because you know they will love it.

I'm also one of those who doesn't do Christmas Gifts/B-day gifts for Friends (other than my BFF who is pretty much family). Why? Because I'm not made of money! lol


Scoop, that is awesome! I am starting to think I need to consult the site before I ever open my mouth because the ladies on here always have the answer!

Oh, and Pam, FIVE gifts?! I think that is weird. Why should you buy SIL (even if she had kids) a MD gift? That's her kids job (or DH if the kids are too little).

I'm boycotting DH's family get-together "Let's Worship Grandma" on MD. She's not my mom. She's not DH's mom. She can have GP's Day. :-)


I asked DH what he wanted to do for Mother's Day.

He said, "What are you doing for your Mom?" I said, "Phone call."

He said, "Works for me, my mom gets the same."

I said, "Good, just make sure you call me too. I'll be happy with that."

I think we might sneak down to Washington to surprise his G-ma with a visit "around" Mother's Day...but I'll know when the time gets closer.

I love the "whenever" gifts; I do much better when I'm not under pressure. Plus, a surprise gift is 10x better than a gift received on the same day you received every other gift from me.


If they have a fit, let them have a fit.  That's THEIR problem, not yours.

However, I'm SO hard-wired for fairness that it would trouble *me* to do something like this halfway through the year.  I even thought about telling you that, but then I thought, big deal, they're adults, they can handle it.

Good luck - be strong, don't be afraid to draw your boundary.


I LOVE whenever gifts.  Giving them or receiving them, that's the best I agree.

1 of the 5 gifts is a bday present.  Who in the heck knows why SIL thinks she gets a MD gift?  I have no idea, she's a doozy.  She thinks b/c she's 5 years older than DH that she parented him.  She's actually said this, so I assume thats the reason she was expecting a MD gift.

But that's my point, every minor holiday we are supposed to get all the participants a gift and every month there are at least 2 birthdays.  Just like in my family, but we aren't gifty.

Sometimes I just don't know if this is something I should just let slide and go along since my family is SO opposite.  But I really can't stand it, it ruins the holidays for me, it sends DD a horrible message.  And DH is always sitting pretty at holidays while I'm one ticked off monkey lol
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


"Whenever gifts" turn up when I am shopping for something else. An item jumps out at me and yells, "Sonja!" So, I buy it and put it in a drawer with her name on it. Then when an "occasion" arises, I give it to her and she says, "How do you do that?" I tell her my secret but it's just not her thing. Maybe she is more focused.

Some people head for a party and stop to "pick up something" on the way. Easy to tell!  ;D ;D ;D
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Quote from: pam1 on April 28, 2011, 11:36:59 am
while I'm one ticked off monkey lol

I am now picturing you as the Angry Monkey from the Family Guy show.... lol