Post # 1
Do any other bees do this with family members?
I’m newly married and my Mother-In-Law and SIL kept asking what I wanted for the holidays. My husband and I are in our 30s with good careers – I have come to a point in my life where I really can’t think of anything I want or need. I asked that they make small donations to St. Jude instead of getting me a gift. I’m in the medical field and I thought it would be nice for my young nieces and nephew to learn about giving to others in need. We are still planning on purchasing gifts for his whole family as requested but the response to the donation request was awkward.
My friend insinuated that this may be perceived as snobbish or is not appropriate etiquette. His family has given me many small gifts while we were dating and then obviously for the wedding so it’s not like I have refused before. What do y’all think? Thanks, xoxo.
Post # 2
- Wedding: August 2018 - Location
I appreciate the sentiment but honestly it makes it particulary awkward/bizarre that you’re giving them gifts. I think you just need to accept that some people won’t feel comfortable doing that and will want to give you a physical gift.
As for your nieces and nephews, if this is really what you believe in, why not make donations in their honour or plan for them to participate in a good deed such as volunteering, preparing gift baskets for the less fortunate, etc.
Post # 3
My mom just instigated this for my extended family, instead of exchanging gifts we are making donations to a charity of our choice. At first she was worried how the suggestion would go over, but everyone was super on board.
I seriously can’t see how asking for donations to charity instead of gifts for yourself could be perceived as snobbish. Especially because you are being asked what you want, it’s not like you are greedily assuming you would be getting gifts from people who weren’t planning on buying you any. To be honest I roll my eyes when I see my Facebook friends soliciting donations to charity for their “birthday present”.. like ok friend I definitely wasn’t going to get you anything anyways. But your situation is very different.
Post # 4
I know that your intentions are good but buying them gifts and asking that they don’t give you anything tangible makes for an odd dynamic. I would still say you prefer donations but they might want to get you something to open anyway. Can your husband talk to them about scaling way back on actual gifts? Their getting you a small token might smooth things over a bit.
Post # 5
I think for the most part this is a know your audience sort of thing. I think it would be very rude if you gave that information unsolicited. As in you just walked in and said for Christmas I’d prefer you all donate to this charity acting on the presumption that they were going to get you a gift in the first place. Since they specifically asked then that is a bit more acceptable. However I think the more polite thing to do would have been to Simply decline their offer of a gift or perhaps suggesting they divert that gift money to do something a little extra for the children in the family.
Some of it depends on the dynamics of the family. For instance a family that is not well off and uses Christmas as a yearly splurge to indulge in things they might not do during the year could feel put out by the request. And many people just simply enjoy the act of picking something out for someone and or the act of giving a physical gift. Charitable gifting can also be a very personal thing and people often have their own pet charities they prefer or have issues with certain charities.
I would discuss with your husband and see if his family Dynamics are amenable to something such as instituting secret Santa where the adults just pick one person and the gift-giving is primarily focused on the children in the family. Or instituting a price limit. And then that way you can just keep a stock answer of relatively inexpensive things you always appreciate such as a box of your favorite candy or some loose leaf tea if you are a drink tea drinker.
Post # 6
gifts are often a symbol of the relationship. They might think giving to a charity is not something you would do for someone “close” to you.
They may think you are judging their charitable giving or their gift giving. Or they may think you are judging the way they raise their children. “thought it would be nice for my young nieces and nephew to learn about giving to others in need” As if they don’t teach their own children this.
Also, earmarking a charity may cause other problems:
They may not believe in the charity you chose.
They may think the charity you chose does not handle their finances well. How much of the money goes directly to the ones in need and/or research? How much do the top executives earn per year. Do they waste a lot on administrative costs
Does the organization align with your morals
I personally think that giving to a charity is a very personal thing. I don’t personally think I would ever give to a charity in someone elses name (for the above reasons) and would not do so if someone asked me to. I would probably forgo giving a gift at all.
Just one persons thoughts
Post # 7
I honestly find it a bit weird to ask for a donation in your name instead of a gift. Just tell them you’d prefer not to engage in a gift exchange this year and use your own money to give to charity.
Post # 8
I agree with PPs. There are many people who donate year-round, whether money or time without telling others; this could very well be the case of your husband’s family, and it somehow could be understood as some sort of scolding on your part. If you insist on asking for donations instead of gifts, imposing the charity to receive said donations is not a great idea either. People have their own priorities when it comes to donating, and they might prefer to focus on other issues/needs. Finally, the act of giving a gift is a joyful one to many; why deprive them of this experience, particularly since you, as a newly wed, are new to the family?
Post # 9
I have asked for donations for the Humane Society for two past birthdays, and I asked for donations for the Humane Society for my wedding as well. It’s not weird, it’s not rude, it’s not snobbish, it’s not whatever. It’s fine and my friends and family very graciously donated quite a bit.
Post # 10
- Wedding: June 2016 - City, State
I must say that I would also be weirded out. I know you have good intentions but I see two issues: 1.it can be construed as condescending (“I am above all this petty gifting to each other, I have higher priorities”) and 2. it completely removes the connection that’s supposed to happen between 2 people during a gift exchange. You are removing yourself from the interaction by directing them to the charity.
It’s the same thing when people ask for charity donation instead of gift giving to their wedding. I understand the sentiment but why make it so impersonal? Why not take the cash donations you receive at your wedding/birthday/whatever from people and then you can donate it to a charity of your choice.
Post # 11
Yes! I was having a hard time putting into words what felt “wrong” about this, but I think you stated it nicely. It turns a personal relational activity into something distant and somewhat cold. It’s like giving cash… but 2 steps removed.
Post # 12
Hmmm, thought provoking. I asked that they contribute to St. Jude if they felt comfortable doing so.
Post # 13
Right, and if you plan to purchase gifts for his entire family in turn, you’re creating a strange power dynamic. If you prefer charitable donations, recommend and give them. It’s only complicated when you want it both ways.
Post # 14
Perhaps you’ll receive some Human Fund donations!! 😉
Post # 15
Power dynamic? Since my husband’s family requested specific gifts they know exactly what is being purchased and the associated cost. Therefore they could donate the same dollar amount to charity if they would like. I don’t not see how that creates a differential.