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  1. #21
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    My granddaughter gets about 4 Christmas's plus her BD is earlier in the month! She loves it and thinks everyone just gets PRESENTS in December. We don't do gifts until we can all get together, which is often after the New Year. So it gets spread out over at least a week or more.



  2. #22
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    Don't say anything about the hoopla. What a pain. If you teach gracious receiving and giving with no strings attached - you have done your job. Over time all this will be obvious to the children. When and how get answered with each interaction. And especially teaching not to expect gifts is useful and simple. You are taking the high road and enjoying life. Not worrying about inconsistent relatives. If your children ask, you can always chalk it up to different people have different ideas and ways of being. It's their deal, not yours to worry about.
    Last edited by Alter Thoughts; Dec. 20, 2013 at 01:36 PM.


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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    I'm kind of astounded that people think that distant (aka not siblings/parents) relatives are EXPECTED to remember every birthday, holiday, etc. and cough up gifts for every kid in the extended family. Seems rather unreasonable expectations. If they want to do that, fine, but EXPECTING it?
    I grew up in a large family -- lots of aunts and uncles, tons of cousins. Birthdays and Christmas were mainly limited to immediate family because no one could afford to buy for everyone. But maybe people who grow up in smaller families have different expectations.

    I agree with the poster that said it's only a big deal if you make it one. I wouldn't say anything to your child until gifts arrive (if they do). No expectations that way (on his/her behalf anyway).


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  4. #24
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    If I was expected to send presents to every niece/nephew/sibling/sibling-in-law/parent/parent-in-law for birthdays, Christmas, graduations, etc. I couldn't afford anything for my own children. I used to try to get presents for everyone, but as the family grew it just got to be too much. Trying to find the "perfect gift" was also hard, especially when my DH expected me to do all of it for his side of the family also (we rarely see them because we live across the country and we are the only ones to travel for visits). The sibs/nieces/nephews/parents already had everything they want or need, and most of the time the presents were immediately forgotten.

    Giving a material gift does not mean you care for someone any more or less. My side of the family decided long ago to stop the gift-giving. We stay in touch and talk to each other frequently, even though we all live in different parts of the country. My kids feel much closer to them than my DH's side of the family, who still exchange gifts, but rarely talk to each other. We tried to let our kids know that gifts are nice, but you shouldn't expect one, and each family has a different way of doing things.
    Last edited by neversaynever; Dec. 20, 2013 at 01:44 PM.


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  5. #25
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    I think the only time I have ever given a b-day gift to a niece/nephew is when I happened to be visiting at the time. Christmas I do, at least for those under 18. Once they are over that age they go into the family draw.
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  6. #26
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    Carolyn Hax wrote an advice column on a similar situation: "Kids gift-opening ‘blast’ may not be on her brother’s holiday highlights list"
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...d98_story.html
    Snobbington Hunt clique - Whoopee Wagon Fieldmaster
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  7. #27
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    I grew up with a set of grandparents who were very inconsistent with things like birthdays/holidays, and also very...unequal, I guess. My brother is the only one who will pass on the family name, which is a big deal to this family, so there were years where he would get gifts and I wouldn't, and years where there was a very obvious difference in value of gifts. Family heirlooms have plaques on them with the former owners and the next person slated to receive them, and they all go to my brother; I'm not on any.

    My father ignores the situation and always has - that's the family way. My mother has always been very aware of it, and for as long as I can remember has just told me not to take it personally. Heck, they treat her the same way. I'm lucky enough to have wonderful grandparents on my mother's side, and I just grew up knowing that they did it "right" and the other side was just weird. Maybe it bothered me more when I was younger, but I don't really remember it being the case. Nobody ever made a huge deal out of it, so I never thought of it as a big deal. Thank you cards were written when I did receive anything, and when I didn't, no fuss was made.


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  8. #28
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    I think having family members like this is the best thing in the world. How better and more kindly for kids to learn that not everybody is the same, that "every family has one," - or more than one - and that we love each other. That we all love you, that the world doesn't revolve around you and that's a good thing, and like another poster said, just love that relative for who they are.

    Children have to be TAUGHT to be gift-hungry.

    Let the maybe-a-gift-this-year-maybe-not just be a source of unlooked-for, happy surprises for which to be grateful.


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  9. #29
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    I wouldn't say anything to DD, because the big gift might never show, or it might turn out to be something you know she doesn't want or isn't appropriate.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


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  10. #30
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    I agree with Anne FS and JanM on this one. Just leave it alone.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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  11. #31
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    Your kid will only have expectations if you set them. If it's important to you (and if you're sincere that just a phone call would do), then a positive solution would be to SAY something to your folks. "mom and pop, DD is at that age where her birthday is a really big deal to her and she is so excited to tell you how old she is. Would you be around on Tuesday so we can skype / call?"
    Waiting for people to meet our un-voiced hopes/expectations doesn't often work.

    That said, I totally think birthdays are an immediate family kind of thing, as in the people who live in your house. Asking me to get involved in my 11 neices and nephews' birthdays is akin to asking me to sit through a cold tuesday night soccer game. Sorry, I'm just not that aunt, I don't think every single thing in a kids' life needs a huge cheering section. In its place we do really fun stuff when we're together, like drive tractors, pick out the PERFECT hiking stick, make toys out of exercise balls, build and hang a swing from a branch 20ft up, etc.
    For me, that's just what I can give them. I hope they're ok with that.
    Try to break down crushing defeats into smaller, more manageable failures. It’s also helpful every now and then to stop, take stock of your situation, and really beat yourself up about it.The Onion


    4 members found this post helpful.

  12. #32
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    Gifts are just that, gifts. They aren't required or necessary. If a big box comes, what a fun surprise. It sounds like it bugs you more than it will the child. Some people give gifts instead of themselves, others give of themselves, with time and attention and not spending money on a thing. Just let it go and go with the flow.


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  13. #33
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    My extended family is very large. But most of my aunts will at least send me a birthday text message. When I was younger they would send a card or call. But I never expected presents from any of them except my godmother and godfather. They gave me Christmas and birthday gifts every year until it just stopped. I was very confused but figured it was because I was 18 years old or something. I never asked. I'm not close to them at all. My dad's mother gives me $25 for Christmas and my birthday. She did forget one year but only because my grandfather died a few days before my birthday. My mom's mother gives me $50 for birthday and Christmas. Never gifts, just the money. To be honest I am pretty jealous of my friends who get real gifts from their grandparents. They are closer to them and seem like they are loved more by them than me. But they have smaller families...



  14. #34
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    I can't remember one store bought gift my Nana gave me but I do remember the cookies she gave us at Christmas. One coffee can full of chocolate chip, another with sugar cookies.
    Never got a gift from aunts and uncles but never expected one. I agree that you can't be disappointed about things you don't expect.


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  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by linquest View Post
    Carolyn Hax wrote an advice column on a similar situation: "Kids gift-opening ‘blast’ may not be on her brother’s holiday highlights list"
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...d98_story.html
    What a wonderful response that columnist wrote.
    "Aye God, Woodrow..."



  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by linquest View Post
    Carolyn Hax wrote an advice column on a similar situation: "Kids gift-opening ‘blast’ may not be on her brother’s holiday highlights list"
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...d98_story.html
    Brilliant response.



  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne FS View Post
    I think having family members like this is the best thing in the world. How better and more kindly for kids to learn that not everybody is the same, that "every family has one," - or more than one - and that we love each other. That we all love you, that the world doesn't revolve around you and that's a good thing, and like another poster said, just love that relative for who they are.

    Children have to be TAUGHT to be gift-hungry.

    Let the maybe-a-gift-this-year-maybe-not just be a source of unlooked-for, happy surprises for which to be grateful.
    And to the OP, this is exactly what I would say.



  18. #38
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    When I was a kid, I got cards and gifts from some aunts, uncles, etc., but not all. I didn't really notice or care that "Uncle Jim" didn't get me anything and my parents didn't make a fuss at the time. Years later, I discovered they were well aware of every overlooked celebration and kept score mentally. I think you can't help feeling slighted when your child's celebration is overlooked, partly because of your love for your child but partly because it also registers as an indicator of what the heedless one thinks of you that they forget someone who's the best thing in your life.



  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    I'm kind of astounded that people think that distant (aka not siblings/parents) relatives are EXPECTED to remember every birthday, holiday, etc. and cough up gifts for every kid in the extended family. Seems rather unreasonable expectations. If they want to do that, fine, but EXPECTING it?
    I don't do birthdays, for anyone, because I am just as apt to forget it, so gave notice decades ago about it, to everyone.

    Heck, I forget my own too.

    Some times, it really is because people just forget.
    If it means something to someone, do remind people it is coming and it is here, like DH/DW, or SO's.
    Don't feel bad they forgot, be happy to help them remember.



  20. #40
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    Growing up, I cannot recall a Birthday present from my aunts or uncles. Granted, my dad's side has 4 or 5 kids per couple, my mom's side was not the same. Still, they have their own lives and I never felt that anyone loved less because Birthday and Christmas were light on extended relative gifts.

    As others have said, it is only a big deal if you make a big deal, so don't. My mother never did and I have a great relationship with my extended family.

    Also, my brother is the only sibling with children, right now. I flat out told him his kids are not getting anything from me until they are at least 5. They get plenty from the other side of the family and would not really remember what I got the anyway. My 4 year old niece has not shunned me yet.



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