- 4 years ago
hevnm : I come from a family who have a lot of disfunction when it comes to gifts. Christmas and birthdays can be a nightmare. My brother never gives gifts. My cousin never accepts any, or if she does then she doesn’t like them and always takes them back so that she can exchange them. My parents had a monetary approach to gifts and over the years such gifts came with guilt-provoking strings attached.
I think that you need to think long term. The first thing is to have a big discussion with your Fiance about gifts and how you want to run your life together. It sounds to me that he is accepting too much from his parents and needs to say no. He’s an independent grown-up and needs to behave as one.
In general, I would say that it isn’t a good idea to accept lots of gifts, including those from close relatives, because sooner or later it leads to a feeling of obligation. I would also that never accepting gifts or that feeling the need to give a gift back that is financially equivalent to a gift given doesn’t allow for other people’s generosity of spirit.
So I think there is plenty of room for you and your Fiance to think of a new way of doing things, where the acceptance of an occasional gift is a good thing and where return gifts are allowed to be fun/beautiful/thoughtful without being of a particular set monetary value. You both need to talk about this a lot to make sure that you are on the same page.
You are clearly very independent and don’t want to rely on anyone or feel that you are taking advantage of anyone. This is all very good. Explain this to your inlaws. Be clear that if you are saying no to their expensive gifts then you are not saying no to them. After all, they have managed to give you the greatest gift of all – their son. What you are doing is maintaining your independence and making sure that neither you nor they feel that you are taking advantage of them.
Let them know of ways in which they can help you. It might be that the best gift they can give is to encourage and enable you to be yourself, and being yourself is being proud and feisty and determined. It may be that if they insist on trying to give you expensive gifts that you can ask them to stick to major occasions such as 10th wedding anniversaries, 30th/40th birthdays, etc.
I know that you don’t like to be beholden to others but longterm sometimes we are beholden to others and other times they are beholden to us. If the giving and receiving are about right it eventually evens out.