DH & birthday gifts (spending more on his sister)

posted 3 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
3476 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Hmm.  Seems like he has a family tradition and would ruffle a lot of feathers if they suddenly stopped this tradition after you got married (no matter how sensible it would be).  And then he knows you’re not a fan of blowing that much money/into the big to-do, so he opts not to…but foolishly doesn’t make it “as special” as he did for your sister in terms of thoughtfulness.  Tough.

I’d suggest you talk to him and discuss whether his family tradition makes continued sense in light of your saving goals (car, house, kids, retirement, etc.)  If you agree to change it, I’d start with HIS birthday and let everyone know that you are saving for X (it is family or I wouldn’t feel its necessary to share), and request that you all tone down the presents for him.  And then when you tone your gifts to say a reasonable $50 but still thoughtful (I do not think you can drop to the $15 book range), then you’ve at least offered them the chance previously to scale down their gifts.

And yes, talk to him about the difference between feeling special and spending money.  That you although you don’t want expensive gifts, you would still like him to put some thought into yours.  Try to say it gentler than that though!

Post # 4
2661 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I think it’s reasonable for you to be bothered by this. Do you have shared finances? That would certainly bother me if we shared finances and he thought it was okay to just drop $500 of our money on his sister. Also, it’s not even just the money…it’s that he clearly put in a lot of thought and effort on her birthday, while yours was clearly last minute.

I agree with PP…discuss toning down birthdays across the board, and mention to him that it would be nice if he at least put in the same effort for your birthday as he does for his sister.

Post # 5
482 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I remember some of your prior posts regarding your DH’s way to clingy family…. You definitely are NOT overreacting!  

Post # 6
9412 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

@Miss Mochaccino:  I’m with you. Birthdays aren’t important to me. I could care less what I get, if anything. I would be annoyed if FI spent that kind of money on his family, especially given that you mentioned you have other expenses. Sorry, but if anyone’s birthday experience has to suffer from your real life expenses, it should be his sister’s, not yours. At a certain point I think that your “new” family (i.e. the wife you chose and the kids you may have) need to take priority over your siblings. We all grow up and sometimes traditions change with our life circumstances.

I wouldn’t be okay with this either, and I’m sorry you’re dealing with it.

Post # 7
4513 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@MrsPanda99:  +1.

Birthdays aren’t a big deal to me, but I would be miffed if my DH was dropping $500 on his sister’s bday! What?! That is really excessive and I feel like that money could definitely be better spent within your relationship – on your home, debts, your children, a vacation, etc.

Post # 8
2788 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Miss Mochaccino:  I could see how that would be annoying, however you yourself say that to you birthdays are simple affairs. It seems he felt that you would prefer a more intimate and simple evening; while his sister is more accustomed to elaborate. Also, when you actually think about it, he spent $500 for 3 people to do an activity, at approx $165 each, and $120 for 2 people at $60 each fir yours, which isn’t as huge a difference as it originally seems. If you want/expect as elaborate as his family is accustomed to then I think you need to voice that expectation, if you only want that out of a feeling of “fairness” then let it go. The thought is the important thing and while you don’t seem to feel much thought was put in, it sounds like your celebration was a surprise where his sister’s what something specifically asked for otherwise why the constant asking her if she was sure windsurfing was what she wanted. 

Post # 9
1132 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

It sounds like your FI was probably excited about the windsurfing lessons for his own sake–it was just as much a present for himself as for his sister, hence the enthusiasm for planning and executing it. He frankly probably wasn’t as psyched about a night out at the theater, so he didn’t put as much effort/money into planning it. So it’s not about you vs. the sister at all–it’s about your FI and what gets HIM excited and giving HIMSELF an excuse to do something fun (windsurfing). If anything, the sister should be upset because he just used her birthday as a reason to do something cool (which was also a trip that included YOU), whereas for yours he put his own preferences aside and tried to do something that he thought you would be into (which did NOT include her), even if it wasn’t his cup of tea. 😉


Post # 10
12875 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Like you said, you two are buying a car, and you have another big holiday coming up.  You have many big events through out the year going on for the two of you, even if your birthday isn’t one of them.  And the sister and family each only get this one day a year.  (Assuming it’s just a birthday that they make a huge deal out of).

Post # 11
42117 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Time for a discussion and some agreement on your new family traditions. Unless you both have fabulous, well paying jobs, dropping $500 on each family member’s birthday is a bit much- even if it did include the two fo you.

How do you plan to budget for this kind of extravagance when siblings either start to have children or have more children?

Post # 12
2642 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Does his sister have less than the 2 of you?  I mean, if she doesn’t get to take a lot of vacations or treat herself, then maybe your H wants to spoil her and it’s really only appropriate to do that for her birthday or for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice.  Meanwhile, he can spoil you any day, and if you go on nice holidays and treat yourself, he might not feel he needs to spoil you as much.

Or perhaps he was trying to think of something really awesome for your birthday and couldn’t come up with anything that would work on time and this was his back-up plan.

Post # 14
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@Miss Mochaccino:  what would bother me more is the effort that was put into each birthday planning process, not the monetary amount. As you mentioned, he ensured his sister really liked windsurfing (maybe he also did too), but he took you to a play you’ve already seen.  That small bit of effort says alot. Definitely talk to him about how you’re feeling, to prevent repeats on future birthdays.

Post # 15
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

hmmm I think it’s normal to be bothered by that, particularly what seems like less effort that went into yours. I will say tho as a little sister, my brothers usually go over the top with gifts for me, I think just because I’ve always been the spoiled one 😛 . I’m thinking maybe he’s so used to spoiling his sis when it comes to bdays and holidays, but he knows you don’t put much stock into it so he doesn’t see a need to go crazy trying to plan when he knows you’ll be happy with something less stressful? My SO never made much of gifts but my fam does & the first year we were together for Christmas my brother got me a black pearl necklace from Japan with matching earrings and I loved them!!  I was wearing them when I went to his house a day or so after Christmas to exchange gifts and he was horrified b/c he got me a new pearl necklace (my last one had broken at his house, so it was really sweet) and I seriously didn’t wear my brother’s gift for like a year after that b/c I wanted SO to know I loved his gift. It’s all relative, I would be slightly put off by this too, but it’s such a different relationship & like PP’s have said, you guys also got to go and enjoy his sister’s gift so that may be part of why he tried so hard to make sure it worked out. It could look a little crazy if his sis decided she didnt’ want to do that anymore but he still took all of you, at that point it would seem like it was more for you guys than for her so he probably took that into account when going crazy making sure she really wanted that lol


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