Post # 1
My husband has two older step sisters both are over 25 very lazy and often broke because they spend their money on things they shouldn’t. Last year we got them both gifts (I gave them each one and he gave them each one), but we did not receive anything back not even a thank you. One of his sisters said “sorry I’m broke I just spent $300 on my dogs grooming” then proceeded to ask her dad for money because she was at “0.75 cents in her account and had absolutely no food at home” (her dad wasn’t working at the time).
This year my mother in law said we were doing $10 or less gifts. My husband is pretty upset with both because they are constantly trying to hassle his mom for money because their dad is broke and the girls refuse to work for themselves or attend school even though their dad paid for their schooling. This year my husband said he was getting them nothing. I felt bad so I bought them candy and socks but he refuses to let me buy any more because they are undeserving and never grateful. I agree that they are never grateful but I still feel bad. Opinions?
Post # 2
snina8916: I would go with your husband on this one. It’s his family.
I know what you mean, FIs family is similar and I feel so uncomfortable in those situations (I come from a gifty family), but the way we work it is I organize gifting on my side (who gets a gift/who doesn’t) and he figures out his side. Works for us.
Post # 3
I think the only “rule” when it comes to gifting family members is that both you and your SO are on the same page. Personally I don’t make gifts expecting someone to gift back at the same levels; I know that my fi and I are lucky to have more disposable income than some of our family and friends (we both work, have low expenses and no kids, unlike many other couples who have kids or a higher cost of living) so we can afford to gift generously. But if someone shows a pattern of not being appreciative of the gifts we give, we take them off of the gift buying list. A heartfelt thanks and genuine kindness is all it takes, and if someone can’t be bothered to give us those things, then we can’t be bothered to give them a gift.
As for feeling bad about not giving your SO’s sisters a gift, honestly once you’re older than about 11, you’re too old to be getting your feelings hurt over not getting a gift. I wouldn’t be worried about hurting their feelings when they are both grown adults and clearly not concerned with your feelings (otherwise they would at least be thankful for the gifts you give them).
Post # 4
snina8916: Follow your husbands lead. And your MILS. I would be annoyed if my mom set a limit that I adhered to then people broke it by giving more.
Post # 5
I’d go with your Darling Husband on this one, it’s his family so it’s his final say. We usually make our own lists for each of our own families then do the shopping together. We usually agree on the same things/price ranges/etc but if we don’t the final decision is the person who knows that family the best… I used to always send gifts for my older step sister who has 4 kiddos, but not anymore after my dad started caring for her kids 24/7 for the past few years, she cannot hold down a job, jokes about poping out more kiddos bc it gives her more govn’t welfare income.. When I would give her gifts I never got a thankyou or even a card in return…. So ya, she doesnt get gifts anymore which Darling Husband wasn’t too sure about but left it up to me since she’s my family…
Post # 6
I wouldn’t give them gifts. I only give gifts to people I am going to see in person for the holidays.
Post # 7
In that case, I wouldn’t give a large gift, maybe something small.
My brother and his [fiance, I guess you’d call her] never buy gifts for anyone [including their parents!] but we always get them and their daughter [my niece] something small.
They didn’t even get us a gift for our wedding, which I thought was pretty crappy but it doesn’t matter now.
I agree with your husband.. no point in getting a gift for people who don’t appreciate them.
Post # 8
I get where you are coming from, but if it were me, I’d be all to happy to play my “in-law” card and excise myself from my DH’s family drama. Then, if shit hits the fan, I’m good at throwing up my hands and saying, “Talk to Darling Husband. I’m just along for the ride.”
(Although I do think your Darling Husband is choosing a really tiny molehill to address a mountainous problem–refusing them a $10 gift is not much of a “statement.”)
Next year, you might suggest that instead of exchanging gifts, you just have a meal together and everyone makes a dish for a potluck, or you do a secret Santa/white elephant thing (which means only buying 1-2 gifts), or you only exchange gifts that you make, or–as in our family–you only give gifts to people who are 18 and under (but that only really works if there ARE 18 and younger people in your family!)
Post # 9
I’m kind of in a similar boat except it’s my brother that is like this. I decided to only get him a box of chocolates (that only cost about $3) as a gesture but I’m not spending any more than that.
I think in this instance the candy and the socks are MORE than enough.
Post # 10
snina8916: With the PP who stated to go with your husband. That’s your partner, its his family, they are old enough they don’t need gifts anyways.
Post # 11
You should be giving gifts without expectations. If you are giving a gift with expectations it is no long a gift.
Post # 12
I think that gifts are given without expectations, but this is your SO’s family so I would probably back him if that is what he wants to do.