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Too much from future aunt?

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

So this isn’t fully step related other than the children involved are my future step kids but I want to sort of get this out there and maybe anyone else has experienced this or has any advice. I CAN NOT share on Facebook in any groups since my sister is in almost all of them.

SO and I have finished getting Christmas. We talked before getting anything. We made a budget and decided together about what to get the kids. Oldest asked for some pretty high cost items which we shot down between ourselves. Except then one of them was on sale and we were able to get it well below its normal cost. We were thrilled. We got the big one for her YEAH. In fact both kids are getting the big toy they originally asked for.

Well of course later while walking through Toysrus the girl’s main focus is another very popular toy. We did our best to explain to her that if we were to get her that one item there wouldn’t be anything else. Of course this started the waterworks for a moment because she just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t have everything. We’ve seen pictures of what BM gets them for holidays and we REFUSE to get caught up in that game. Plus we'd already finished Christmas shopping.

Still I did want to try to get this one other item. I asked around and did research and I just couldn’t justify spending that amount of money on it. Most parents agreed it wasn’t worth the cost. The children would play with it for a short time then just set it aside. SO and I decided it was not worth the extra cost and though we didn’t talk to BM there is a HIGH chance she will get the kid the toy anyways.

Before all this I had talked with my sister and given her ideas on what to get the kids IF she wanted to get them anything. Then out of nowhere she decides she’s getting future step daughter the toy. She’s coming from a good place and unlike when she wanted to get the kids tablets SO and I really don’t have anything against the kid having the toy. We just don’t think it’s worth the cost but who am I to tell my sister she's not allowed to spend her money as she likes and she is getting the youngest something of equal worth so she's not doing anything wrong as we see it.

While I’m thankful I’m put in a spot AGAIN where my sister is going overboard and I don’t know how to handle this other than smile and say thank you.

On top of it since we don’t have the kids Christmas Eve so my sister will not be able to give the child the toy herself as I would like her to since she's the one buying it. She’s said to tell the kid it’s from Santa. I do not want to do that. Santa brings small gifts and candy for the stockings in our home. Plus as I said there's a good chance 'Santa' may already give it to the kid at BM's house. No the kid’s will know what came from who. I’m just sort of worried that this may be setting up a precedent that we have no desire to follow through with. This one gift alone is almost 2/3 of everything we got for the kids even though it’s one thing. I don’t want them to think that they will get that high dollar item they want every year and I don’t know how to explain to them nor should I yet that my sister is very foolish with money and while she had it this year next year they may not get anything the next year. I don't want them to start thinking my sister is this magical person who will get them everything they want.

I also know there is an emotional reason my sister is getting this exact toy. It’s very similar to something she and I both wanted as a children but our parents couldn’t afford which I why I looked at it for so long before deciding no.

My sister is great but does go overboard really easy. It would be nice but she wants to always buy clothes and dvd's and we just don't have the space for everything. I think it's all bottling up into this in a way.


lieutenant_dad's picture

You smile and say thank you. Find a different day around Christmas for your sister to give the gift to the gives. Make the kids write her a thank you note, or bake her some cookies, or something.

I've found that holiday spending ebbs and flows for the boys. This year, DH and I are spending a small fortune with his dad for the boys to each get one really big thing they want. Last year, the boys got a bunch of middle-ground items. The year before that, BM and GBM spent the small fortune.

CODs who have lots of bio and step family end up really spoiled around the holidays. The boys get gifts from DH and I, BM, GBM, FIL, MIL, my mom and SD, my sister, and my SBro and SIL. I think some of BM's family also buys them stuff, and I think BM's STBXH also bought them a few small things. There isn't a single thing DH or I can do to stop them from buying things, and the boys have learned that some year's come with LOTS of things while some come with ONE big thing.

If you're not opposed to the gift, then let it go. The kids don't have a concept of how much things cost, so they aren't paying attention to what is being spent. They also don't remember what they got year to year (as sad as that sounds), so they really aren't going to notice that this year they got THE BIG THING and next year they don't. The less of an issue you all make, the more likely they are to accept the ebbs and flows of holidays.

twoviewpoints's picture

Your sister wants to do this and this year she has the little ones to do it for. No one asked her to, no one expected it. She doing it because she wants to. Don't spoil it for her. She's not even asking for any credit for the gifts. She just wants to know she made this little girl's one Christmas wish come true.

The kid will love it (meh, at least for a while) and your sister will get the joy of knowing she was able to make two kids smile by granting a child's wish.

Aunts get to do these things. So she isn't really the Aunt legally yet, but that's ok. I bet your sister has been waiting for a little girl to come around in her life and your one day to be SD just happened to be that little girl.

Take it. Say thank-you. If sister wants it to be from Santa, let it be. If you have the kids this weekend or whenever and it's important to you that they know who it really came from, have her bring it over. Or deliver it early (when kids aren't there) then skype with Aunt while the kids open the gifts and let Aunt see them opening.

It really is ok. One special over-priced gift won't spoil nor make expectant little greedy kids. If BM happens to get and give the same gift, that's ok too. SD will have it at both homes.

Oh, and a bit of advice. If you don't want the kids wishing and asking for gifts you know you can't afford and/or not worth the price ect? Stop taking them into Toys R Us to window shop. That's kind of taking a diabetic into a candy shop just to see what they can't eat.

witch.hazel's picture

I would be thankful for it. The kids will be happy, and it takes pressure off of you guys. Don't overthink it.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

I'm an aunt and one day I will probably be a great-aunt. I will never be a grandmother, so I lavish the grandmother tendencies on my niece. It sounds like giving this gift is giving your sister a great amount of pleasure. I have always enjoyed giving gifts more than receiving them - maybe she is that way as well. Let her and and the kids enjoy the experience without trying to teach a lesson.

notarelative's picture

I have no bio grandkids. DH has two, but (as you can see from my name) SD and her husband do not consider me a relative.
I have one brother, who has one son, who has one daughter. I am that (great) aunt.

Do I overgive? Yes. It gives me pleasure. I love knowing that they can go to the zoo any time they want with the season pass I bought. I love buying books that I think she will enjoy. I love seeing some trinket that I know she will like and dropping it at the house for her to find when she gets home from school.

If your sister gets the same pleasure from giving that I do, please let her.

mommadukes2015's picture

My friends do the same thng. Then they put "from Santa" on the damn thing and want to save it for Christmas morning. My friends don't have kids yet, and they will mail, drop off or show up on Christmas with gifts including my stepson (none of them have met SD yet so they unilaterally have a rule they only buy for kids they know). But I make sure that if they live in the area they stop and see their gift open. My friends who live further away get face timed. I agree fully that she should be there to see the gifts open. That's really the best part! I would rather give gifts all day than get one!

TwoOfUs's picture

I'm an aunt with 5 nephews and 1 niece. 3 of those six kids live here (including the girl) and 3 live about 6.5 hours I end up doing more day-to-day for the locals even though I care for them all equally.

Sometimes I go crazy with the kids for their birthdays and sometimes I forget. Last year, I didn't get them Christmas presents and I'm on the fence this year...if I do get them something it will be small...because at Thanksgiving I got everyone a room at a nice hotel with an indoor pool so we wouldn't have to spread out among family and so the kids could play that took a big chunk of my holiday budget. Every year, my younger sister, SIL and I (all the childless women, lol) meet halfway with the kids and do a long weekend at a kid-friendly resort somewhere. I usually send new shoes and a couple outfits for back to school as well.

Say all this to say. I love being an aunt. Those kids adore me...but I also know I'm not their parents, and the kids know it, too. The parents set the tone and establish the boundaries and expectations on a daily basis. My sisters have told me that I do too much sometimes...and I don't take that poorly or get offended. I would never do something the parent didn't want the kid to have. Mostly, the parents are very grateful and just don't want me to overdo it for myself...but it makes me very happy.

I think kids can handle the occasional bigger treat from aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. without getting entitled or expecting too much. I also often offer my sisters $$ for the kids. I don't want to outdo the parents...and my niece/nephews are still young enough that what they mainly want is time and playing...not stuff. I think the practical gifts are more for my sisters than anything.

Acratopotes's picture

MAke sure the kids knows exactly who bought what.... Santa - stocking, your gift, DH's gift, Aunt's gift.... years to come Aunt may stop buying then they can be angry at her, not you...

And next year - you do not provide the full list to Aunt, you and SO decide before hand what you think is appropriate and you only make those gifts known.

Livingoutloud's picture

I buy whatever I want for my nephews and niece. I’d be shocked if my brother thought something was “too much”. My brother does whatever the heck he wants for DD. The concept of aunt or uncle doing too much is very foreign to me. I randomly buy things for people. We are all spenders and givers and our kids aren’t spoiled at all (they do the same for us and others). If people want to and can afford, then who is to say what’s too much.

Sweet T's picture

My mil is like that too...but she is like that with all her grandkids. The rest live on the east coast so my kid is the one she sees most often. My husband is her oldest and never had kids till he married me. I am thankful that she is as good as she is to us. I let her do what she wants and act gracious.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Thank you everyone.

Reading over the comments reminded me of when I became an aunt for the first time. I now remember that for my sisters first child I did the same sort of thing.
Every month when I got to see the child I had some new outfit, a book, and a toy for the child. For his first Christmas since he was only a few months old I bought them a new toy box and still got the child a bunch of stuff.

I remember that I was able to provide and I wanted to. My sister never demanded it of me.

The kids will know who got them what presents because I feel credit should go where it is due. Also Santa does not buy the presents under the tree here so if we break that we would be setting ourselves up I think.

I'll try to record the children opening the gifts from her and send her the recording as well as calling her to have them say thank you.

ESMOD's picture

Unless you have a really specific reason that you don't want her to give something to the skids.. I say let her do what she wants.

You have the right to veto certain gifts if they go against your house rules. Like buying a rifle for a child. (or gun toys etc)

If you know she is spending beyond her means I would also try to kindly discourage her.

Otherwise, I don't think some nice things from a well meaning aunt will ruin them. They should be taught to appropriately thank her... in writing.

If the kids act ungratefully or won't write thank you notes, you can ask her to not continue to gift them things because you don't want their poor manners rewarded.