Post # 1
Kind of an odd conundrum with my FI’s family this year. We spent Christmas afternoon with his family and his parents went way overboard on my Christmas presents. They probably spent around $400+ on me alone (and even more on my fiance). I feel very uncomfortable about this as my family has always done more modest gift-giving ever since my sister and I have grown older (when we were kids they went hogwild with toys and presents, but now that we’re adults we’ve put a stop to that).
I would be a little bit more comfortable with his parents’ generosity if I didn’t know that they were struggling financially. They are in their mid-60’s and unable to retire because money is very tight. I hate the idea of them squandering money that could be put toward their retirement to buy me a gift. To make matters worse, my fiance is rather financially successful as a physician. So they are struggling to make ends meet but still spending hundreds on gifts for us while we live very comfortably. It just doesn’t seem right.
At the same time, I realize there’s really nothing I can do other than be grateful. I don’t want to insult them and their finances are none of my business. I have mentioned it to my FI but he insists that this is the way they’ve always been, and no matter how many times he’s tried to tell them it’s not necessary, they do it anyways. I can’t help but feel guilty.
What would you do in this situation?
Post # 3
@laureneliz87: this year I would just say thank you with a nice card. Maybe next year your hubs could propose a spending cap? You don’t have to say its because of them explicitly. You could say you’re trying to focus on saving for a house/babies/more babies/whatever. If they say no- well then they’re adults and can be irresponsible if they want and at least you tried!
Post # 4
Sounds a lot like my parents. They probably spent $500 per person this year, even though they are about to retire and FI and I have a great combined income. The items we received are really awesome, but we do feel a bit odd accepting them. With some parents, telling them to stop giving so many gifts is like trying to stop a freight train by standing in front of it. My FI and I have been toying with the idea of changing how we do gifts in future years. Instead of the usual gift exchange, we may impose rules such as a spending limit or only giving handmade gifts. It would even the playing field for everyone and would ensure that family members are not spreading themselves too thin. If the entire family is in on it, nobody’s feelings are hurt and everyone is happy.
Post # 5
We don’t get gifts but still expected to give lol
Post # 6
Make a contest out of it? I managed to get everyone a gift this year at about $20/person. I DIYed a ton of stuff. I’d have to say my mickey mouse shaped wreath made out of dollar tree ornaments was probably the biggest hit this year!
Post # 7
@MrsBuesleBee: I think this is what we will try to do. FI and I gave each other a $50 cap this year (because we want to save for the wedding and honeymoon) and it was actually really fun to think of cute little stuff to get each other! Hopefully his parents will see it that way too! 😉
Post # 8
My FILs spend about $400 a year on me too, but they are very well off. I used to feel awkward about it but now I just graciously thank them. I know that they love to give gifts (maybe that’s how your FILs are too) and you can’t exactly make smart financial decisions for them. You could suggest making Christmas gift giving into a game… Like a $50 white elephant instead of personal gifts or my extended family all buys about $20 worth of little gifts (instead of buying gifts for every aunt, uncle and cousin) and then we play bingo (we’re a little redneck) to win the gifts. Maybe you could propose something like this?
Post # 9
My parents spend around $750 on each of us (myself, my siblings and our SO’s). Yes it’s excessive and we feel bad about it (they can afford it but it’s still a lot), but honestly, they love doing it, so it’ll never stop.
Post # 10
@laureneliz87: I don’t know that there is anything that you can really do- except be grateful.
My FI comes from a VERY modest family. I have wondered if the way my families (divorced parents) have done Christmas bothers him- or makes him uncomfortable. But he’s never expected anything from anyone- and I think he’s just grateful for what he recieves.
And to top it off, my grandparents give my husband a check for a ridiculous amount. We weren’t married last year at Christmas- and my jaw dropped this year.
I don’t think your inlaws would be buying things they can’t afford, technically- I’m sure they know you’d love them just as much as if they didn’t get you anything! Don’t fret about it- and if it’s something that seriously bothers you, perhaps talk to your FI and have him tell his parents next year you guys just want to spend time together- sans gifts! That way, you guys can shower them with whatever you please, but maybe they won’t buy 🙂
Post # 11
- Wedding: February 2014 - Windstar on Naples bay
Some parents just like to do that. I struggled for a long while feeling guilty for my parents taking money out of their retirement fund to pay for my wedding but a friend Told me not to because they just want me to be happy and this is their way of providing for me. The explanation really made sense to me so it kind helped me get over the guilt. Maybe his parents are the same way. Like previous users have said discuss it with your fi if it really bothers you.