You are here

Gift Demanding

SeeYouNever's picture

I think a part of what I find so frustrating with my husband's family at large is that they have a very different culture of gift-giving then I grew up with. They often expect very extravagant gifts but give things that they pretty obviously found on sale. I don't mind getting an inexpensive gift if they are thoughtful but there have been times where they will leave my husband out of the gift-giving occasion while requesting something extravagant. My family usually request practical things but are always gracious no matter what we give each other because we all tend to try to give pretty thoughtful gifts.

SILs: they will not subtly send my husband pictures of the expensive things that they want in a unprompted way and usually not even a holiday. one sister-in-law actually sent my husband a bunch of screenshots of bicycles that she wants just the other week. Her birthday isn't until July. The other sister in law complain to us after her baby shower that we didn't get her enough. He had actually gotten a pretty significant amount of toys and clothing but she did not bother to make a note of who got her what. 

SD12: she will send a link to something expensive that she wants and instruct DH to mail it to her house. she often times doesn't even get her physical Christmas presents until Easter because she has no interest in getting any gifts unless it is something specific that she asked for and is mailed to her. It's all about the item not about the visit. SD never gives anything. she's a child so I know she's not going to be able to go out and buy very much if anything but she doesn't even draw a card or do any other homemade gift even though she enjoys making crafts.

MIL: my mother-in-law we'll split up a set of baby clothes to give the items to multiple people yet she will request a brand new computer for mother's Day. The last time my husband spoke to her she said that since I got my mother a new computer for Christmas she wanted one too. my husband had not even asked her what she wanted for mother's Day she came out on her own asking this. by the way the computer I got from my mother was a Chromebook that was a steal at about $200 that my mom needed for her work. MIL expects a MacBook pro and is unemployed and not even taking classes right now

My DH: my husband will not usually ask for anything but when I asked him what he wants he will oftentimes suggest pretty expensive items, though we usually get each other pretty equivalent pricey gifts.

By contrast:

My mom: my mom probably over does it with gifts. she likes to both give and receive gifts however she will not tell you what she wants unless you directly ask her. Out of my entire family she is the most likely to ask for a more expensive item though she usually caps her requests at about $200 she asks for a new purse or something.

My dad and brother: they absolutely will not tell you what they want unless you ask them and then they will only give practical suggestions. My brother's birthday just passed and he asked for shorts. 


Iamwoman's picture

Ugh. I wouldn't touch your husband's family with a ten foot pole.

My BIL (DH's brother) is an extreme taker like this. Ungrateful too. He is dead to me. Relationships should involve equality in "give and take."

I abhor "takers."

Kes's picture

One doesn't have to go along with the culture of gift giving in either your own or spouse's family unless you choose to. Personally I stopped giving any gifts at all to my SDs about 7 yrs ago, and in my family we only give each other small gifts - like CDs or books off our Amazon wish lists.  If you feel that your husband's family is in it for what they can get, and it certainly sounds like it, my response would be to boycott the gift giving altogether.  My idea of giving gifts is that you want to give pleasure to someone with whom you have a loving, reciprocal relationship.  Not interested in giving gifts in any other context. 

SeeYouNever's picture

I agree I have toned down my gift giving to all of them quite a bit. It actually took me a bit longer to tone it down with SD since she is a child. However I have stopped buying her gifts for any holiday until I know for sure that we are actually going to see her. the result is I've actually ended up skipping a few holidays because she refuses to visit.

justmakingthebest's picture

I have a hard time with gift giving in general. I am not a person that even wants gifts. That just isn't my "love language". DH's family is ALL about presents. Thankfully they are very generous in heart and wouldn't ever ask for something they wouldn't also willingly give. 

My family is more of- Let's all go to___ (Top Golf- for example) for a birthday and that is the present, time together. We all go dutch and just have fun. 

We did stop mailing presents to SS. If he wants something he has to be a functioning member of our family to get it. 

For your in-laws, I would stick to things like flowers from now on. Simple, and done. 

SeeYouNever's picture

I am the day and so are my family members. We are more likely to get some small little thing at a random time for somebody or for any sort of holiday or birthday we almost always just asked for our favorite special meals. I think we are all acts of service love language because that's what the meals fall under. Lucky for me my husband is one of those quality time people so he is content just spending the day together and maybe going for a drive.

I have always found it rude to request large material items for gifts. I think if something is large like that it should be suggested by The giver or The giver should let the receiver know that they I want to give something big. The issue is the entitled expectation.

Disneyfan's picture

The great thing about a REQUEST  is that you are under no obligation to comply. 

I don't mind close family members(SO, son, parents, sister,  nieces and nephew) asking for expensive gifts  BUT only if I ask them what they want.  Soliciting for gifts would result in a huge box of nothing.

Kee-khe's picture

I grew up with a family that has never even had the heart to suggest what gifts they want to receive. I was always taught to be thankful for anything and everything I were to receive from someone. I've never even been able to answer the question "what do you want for Christmas/birthday/anniversary/etc. Because it just isn't in my heart to request anything. And my DH is the same way. 

Reading this really opened my eyes lol

tog redux's picture

Please tell me he doesn't go along with these requests. If he does, that's the real problem. And the only thing he can control. 

SeeYouNever's picture

Hell no! We are fairly well off so they think what's ours is theirs. We are quite generous but by our own choosing not obligation.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Well isn't that special! I feel your pain, to some extent.

MIL will see something in my home and ask if she can have it. Not even kidding. Could be a pen or notebook, and she'll just straight up ask if she can have it. 

BM has a knack for telling DH about things "the boys want" when the reality is that she wants the thing and expects DH to pay for it. This has been especially prominent behavior with trips OSS has earned through school. She "can't work" because she's too sick or injured at any given time, but totally expects to be chaperone on these out-of-state fun trips - and expects DH to pay. He doesn't, but she always asks.

BM will also just straight up take things she wants that DH gives the boys. DH gave the boys his XBox One because he didn't have anything else he wanted to play, and BM confiscated that sh*t and put it in her room so her and her Flavor of the Month could play games. She now considers herself a "gamer" because of it.

Some people are just ungrateful and/or entitled a-holes.

SeeYouNever's picture

Ugh I can't stand people like that, they see that someone got something and they need it too even though they hardly use it, it's just to have, like a status symbol. These people only think you care if you spend money!

Thumper's picture

What culture is this...?? I am sincerely asking.

I find it hard to believe that an entire 'culture' is like this.

There are groups of families that are greedy AND obnoxiously  enough to demand expensive gifts.  I have seen blasts of over the top Birthdays parties by demanding women on line but it was not an entire culture---

They would have disliked our family.

You know what's high time you said "My culture is not like this"...sorry I will give ya a card with nothing in it. MAYBE bring flowers for dh's mom on her birthday.

Stick up for YOUR culture OP. Its not an entire culture---they are just an obnoxious group of people..

SeeYouNever's picture

Its not a specific culture just the culture of that particular family like different families have different holiday traditions and things like that. It's not singling out a group of people bigger than those with that last name.

strugglingSM's picture

DH's family is terrible about gifts.

They will never tell us what they want, not even for DH's niece and nephew, so we just have to guess. 

BM sends a "wish list" to DH's family for SSs that usually includes expensive items (several hundred dollars) and then maybe socks and underwear,  so essentially nothing really, but DH's family would never ask him what SSs wanted. 

We also never know if we will get a gift or not. Last year at Christmas, I asked DH if we should get a gift for BIL and wife. He said no. We hadn't gotten one the year before, so I didn't think much of it. Also, I had a terrible year, including a big loss in my family, so I told DH I wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit and he could be in charge of gifts for his family. Also, BIL treats DH like crap and wife doesn't talk to either of us, so it felt disingenuous to me to get them a gift. Of course, BIL and wife give us something, so then DH was mad that we didn't get anything. I'm hopeful that because we didn't get them anything, they won't get us anything next year. 

MIL never tells us what she wants. A few times I've gotten her something that I thought she would like only to discover that she's given them away. One year, I got her tickets to a concert she really wanted to go to. I got them early and send her a notice early. Months later, she planned a trip away on the day of the concert, so I sold the tickets. She always manages to tell BIL and wife what to get for her. 

MIL always gives me something weird...I usually say I don't want or need anything and then will give her something small to get me, but she always has to get something else. She regularly gets me jewelry. I rarely wear jewelry, so not sure why she insists on buying it. It's usually cannot be returned. One year, one piece of the earing and necklace set was broken. For my birthday, she gave me an RBG t-shirt that was three sizes too big. I don't dislike RBG, but I never expressed an interest. She told me she was so excited because she got me something special. I didn't even text her to let her know it arrived, because I didn't know what to say about it. 

Also, each year at Christmas, someone "forgets" their gift to me. I wouldn't mind, but they always seem to mention it and that my gift is coming later and it never arrives. Also, they don't forgot gifts for everyone else. It's a great way to remind me that I am a total outsider in DH's family and always will be. 

I'm not actually big on gifts. I don't think Christmas should be about gifts. I think it should be about spending time with the people you love and not about materialism. SSs are so demanding, what we give them is never enough and as COD they have two full Christmases, not to mention MIL always gives them a ton of stuff because she feels that we are short-changing them. DH's niece and nephew are never appreciative for their gifts. We've never gotten a thank you and once DH's niece cried because DH decided to give her clothes and was so excited to pick them out. I used to pick out gifts for them, but never received any word that the kids liked them, no thank you, nothing. It's a huge turn-off.


Exjuliemccoy's picture

grossly entitled. I'm sure it starts with your H's mother, and she taught it to her kids. Disgusting.

Stop feeding the beast and rewarding bad behavior. My DH's family was like this, spoiled by my guilt ridden Disney daddee FIL. He then spoiled all the grandkids - especially OSD, who he openly proclaimed his favorite. They were never taught the joy of giving, only to be greedy and self absorbed. I got sick of the list of demands emailed prior to each holiday (cross referenced and quite detailed, to ensure maximum swag without duplicates). BTW, FIL died almost flat broke. This culture flies in the face of all solid financial practices.

Adults are supposed to take care of their own needs, not go around begging and demanding. With my DH's family, I started a practice of making a charitable donation in the relative's name in lieu of presents. His siblings loved the idea - DH is the eldest and had kids young, so they'd been stuck buying for his kids for many years and then expected to do so for their offspring as well. I suggest you do the same. For your MIL's birthday, a modest bouquet and a charitable donation would be perfect. How can she complain without looking like a selfish a$$? Then carry on with the other ILs - nothing material, just a donation to a charity you know they care deeply about. Wink

As for your H, well, you're going to have to address his entitlement and reprogram him. How to do that could be another whole blog post.

Thumper's picture

It is trashy---I totally agree.

No joke I would remind them YOU also have a "culture". You wont be attending.