(Closed) I don't want to exchange Christmas gifts with the future in-laws. Advice?

posted 4 years ago in Family
Post # 2
5142 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

Is your boyfriend getting his parents a present? If so, can he just slap your name on there too?

Maybe you could suggest getting both of your FI’s parents a gift from both of you and they could do the same? That way each couple would just get one gift from the other couple?

I don’t really know what will work, your BF’s mother sounds pretty emotionally unstable.

Post # 3
46609 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

ChicoryCreek:  You could tell them that the two of you have chosen not to exchange gifts this year, that you will be supporting a charity, and ask them to tell you the charity of their choice. Make a donation in their name.

If she won’t name a charity, then give a goat in her name through World Vision (oops, the passive agressive inner me just escaped for a moment)


You can stop anyone else from giving you gifts.

Post # 4
738 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

hahahaah love the PP!!

Post # 5
738 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

but that is a good idea, personally I dont have the exact problems as you with the difficulty or bfs parents, but we dont get along and Im definately not getting them anything!

Post # 6
2837 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

ChicoryCreek:  We didn’t feel like doing gift exchanges this year- and we just told them (my in-laws).  We just explained we weren’t into it this year (and we happen to have a baby due around the holidays)…..and that’s it.  Straight forward communication.  If someone still wants to buy you a gift- even after you’ve communcated you won’t be doing so, so be it.



Post # 7
402 posts
Helper bee

ChicoryCreek:  First off, let me tell you that I can empathize, SO MUCH, with you when it comes to your relationship with your BF’s mother. I have been married to my Darling Husband for over 4 years, and we’ve been together for 7, and things are still very rough between me and his mother. The fights you described? I’ve had those, and they go on for weeks! It’s miserable. My therapist explained that my MIL’s behavior is consistent with a Narcissistic Personality, and learning more about that really helped me keep my head on when things would get dicey (which is pretty much every time we see DH’s family). Last Thanksgiving, we had a huge falling out, and of course, Christmas was right around the corner, so I’ll share my experience with you in case it’s of any value.

I, too, rejected the idea of exchanging presents last year after the Thanksgiving experience. We were not going to be with DH’s family for Christmas, so gifts would be exchanged by mail anyway. Then, my Mother-In-Law started texting and emailing us asking what we wanted for Christmas, and we knew that saying “Nothing, thank you” would just cause another round of fighting and drama. So, we asked for assistance with purchasing textbooks (DH and I were both pursuing degrees at the time). Mother-In-Law decided that wasn’t “fun” enough, so she sent us each some random gifts that were much less useful. In any case, it looked like a gift exchange needed to happen somehow.

We had very little money to spend on presents, so I decided to make unique presents for DH’s mom, dad, and sister. For my Mother-In-Law, I drew small portraits of each of her dogs (the loves of her life). It didn’t take very long, and was actually pretty fun for me. Anyway, she was so touched by that present, she called me and said it was the best present that anyone had given her.

The point is, I felt like the bigger person in that situation. I was angry and hurt, and I could have used Christmas as an opportunity to express that by not doing the gift thing, but creating unique gifts that I knew DH’s family would love was a way for me to practice forgiveness on my terms. And you know what they say – forgiveness heals you.

I hope that helps. You are the best judge of the situation, though. Go with your gut!


Post # 8
2323 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015 - Ruby Princess

I totally support non-gift giving, if both parties agree to it. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s worth drawing a line in the sand over this one. I would let Fiance select a gift for them, from both of you, and leave it at that. It’s probably best not to rock the boat at this point, as it sounds like that may be more trouble in the long run. Its very wise of you guys to seek a counselor’s advice on this. If it were me, I would give a gift, even if it’s ‘fake’, at least they won’t have any further ammunition to get riled up about.

Post # 9
3037 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast

If she won’t hear him, then you have to graciously accept their gifts.  Give them something small in return to be polite. Gifts are not worth fighting over!! 

Post # 10
12220 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

Of course you don’t want to give a gift to them. But they are BFs family, he should take the lead in how you guys handle something as delicate as Christmas with his parents ( this is his personal journey in standing up to them, it can’t be easy).

sign your name to gifts Boyfriend or Best Friend picks out and be done with it. Being overly gifted isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world. Save your fire for the upcoming battles that matter, because it sounds like there wil be plenty to pick from. 

Post # 11
8104 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

If your fiance really does not want Gift Mountain, and is willing to truly upset and possibly alienate his parents, he could go with an anti-Mommie Dearest approach: tell them (repeatedly if necessary) that he does not need anything this year, and if they insist on getting him gifts, he’ll choose one to keep and will give the rest to charity. Then if they get him a mountain of gifts, he should choose one to keep and give the rest to charity. The parents will probably be hurt, but will also probably buy less stuff next year.

Post # 12
1576 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Look, you can’t just not get her anything at all. Stick a gift card in that card you’re willing to give her. Similar to the gift you are looking to recieve – a night out sort of gift. From both of you.

As for the mountain – you should let Boyfriend or Best Friend draw the line in the sand wherever he feels comfortable. It’s his mother. Maybe he’ll accept the gifts but refuse to open them in front of her. Maybe he’ll flat out refuse the gifts. Let him decide what he’s comfortable with since I’m sure it’s going to be a huge fight.

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  koi424.
Post # 13
678 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - SPRING VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB

I am in the same boat as you. I am refusing to play nice with my Mother-In-Law. I am al set. I will not be exchaning gifts with her. My Darling Husband is planning on buying her a new tv and i hope she enjoys it. 

From me personally, NOT A DAMN THING!

Post # 14
2092 posts
Buzzing bee

I agree with others, regardless of your feelings toward their relationship with their son, it’s rude to show up at their house and accept a present or presents and not give anything in return, especially if they someday might be family. 

Either sign your name to what your bf gets them or get them a small thoughtful gift, but certainly don’t give them nothing.

And honestly I don’t see what’s childish about having the focus at the moment on whoever is opening their gifts? That’s how Christmas is done at our home (and I’m not an only child). The only difference is now that my mom is a grandma, the grandkids are the ones getting the mt Everest of gifts instead of us. I personally don’t care for the sorts of free for all Christmases where everyone is opening everything all at once. 

Post # 15
2425 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Why don’t you just tell his parents that you will not be attending Christmas this year with them. Send them a christmas card in the mail. 

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