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Stingy or Sensible?
Buying for extended family


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#1 Wahwah

Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:19 PM

Another Xmas present question...

So tonight we get an email from BIL with a list of suggestions of what to get his three kids. Most of the stuff for the 10yo was typical girly stationery, clothes, bling, etc. But for the younger and older one the list included things like: Nike shoes, iPod, clothes from specific labels, DS and games, a pet rabbit, remote controlled planes and cars, etc, etc.

I was a bit taken aback because most of the stuff was easily $70+ and I wasn't planning on spending more than $30-$35. And then do we look mean because we haven't bought from the list.

The thing is we can easily afford to spend more, but I just feel that extended family should give small gifts, and mum and dad give the big ticket items (or Santa). That's what my family did when I was a kid.

So...am I being stingy by not meeting him on the generosity front? What does your family do?

#2 Sweetpea11

Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:33 PM

This year I have given my nephew and 2 nieces a book each and one other smallish gift.
I decided to do that after the last few years of them getting waaaayyy too many presents. They receive gifts from Santa, their parents, 2 sets of grandparents, 5 lots of aunts/uncles, some great aunts and from friends of their family. They probably each receive hundreds of dollars worth of presents at the ages of 1, 4 and 7.

On the day they are totally overwhelmed and just rip into presents and forget almost as quickly as they're onto the next thing. They go home with so much 'stuff' and it really makes me uncomfortable how much they're given.

When I was little we got gifts from Santa only and from our Grandparents. That's all, even though we have 10 sets of Aunts/Uncles also. I was more than happy with that and never expected any more and I aim for our 1 year old DS to have the same kind of Christmas as myself and DH did.

ETA: Your BIL emailed with suggestions only, so I think it's fine for you to buy whatever you like for his kids and at whatever price point you are comfortable with.

Edited by Sweetpea11, 13 December 2012 - 11:36 PM.


#3 happening

Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:34 PM

We have Christmas morning at home, and open presents from each other there.   Lunch is at my parent's house, and small gifts are given to various nieces and nephews, things like skipping ropes, bubbles or play doh or crayons for little ones,  books, iTunes, nail polish for older ones.  

The adults have a Kris Kringle.

Christmas for us isn't about the number or cost of presents from extended family members.  

DH and I spend a significant amount of money on our gifts to each other, and I lost all restraint and reason when it came to buying for DD this year, but these gifts are opened at home, with just us.

When Christmas is with DH parents, gifts are competitive, costed and ranked.   Turns my stomach and is guaranteed to end badly -  every single year.





#4 aprilrain

Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:43 PM

Wahwah, I feel similiar to you. You don't mention if this is seen as normal on DH's side of the family. The 'cousins' I buy for we do $10ish pressies that I stretch to $20ish.

I have an aunt who is very well off who gives my ch 20-25ea, which I feel is lovely of her and my sister, quite well paid $20-30 ea. I try to restrict my Mum to this too.

I like my children to appreciate that only Mum and Dad are obliged to give them anything.

I'm a mean old cow biggrin.gif

Moss, I think that is a lovely, generous attitude and I think, as long as the parents and children appreciate it, and it isn't stepping on anyones toes that is great.

#5 I'm Batman

Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:44 PM

If you are uncomfortable with the ammount of money how about be upfront with BIL about your spending limit, ask your family to put in together for a gift. Normally our family puts in together and the kids will get a big ticket item like a camera or an ipod with the money from everyone. Its appreciated, wanted and not a waste.  

I dont expect that he thinks you should be paying for the whole of the expensive items,more that he is hoping you might put in if you all organise properly.

#6 JustBeige

Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:25 AM

I think first off you need to think about if this is normal for the BIL?  Does he spend that much on your kids?   If the answer is no, then dont use the list or just buy something else

Or email your BIL back and say thanks for the list.  LOL at the boys being so specific, will it be the end of the world if they get clothes from Target?  Can you ask them for more suggestions please.

I actually like suggestion lists as does my family.  We always put a big price spread on them and people can just pick.   At least with a list (and we have a $20 budget) they get something that they actually want

Edited by JustBeige, 14 December 2012 - 06:28 AM.


#7 Wahwah

Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:31 AM

QUOTE (aprilrain @ 14/12/2012, 12:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Wahwah, I feel similiar to you. You don't mention if this is seen as normal on DH's side of the family. The 'cousins' I buy for we do $10ish pressies that I stretch to $20ish.

I have an aunt who is very well off who gives my ch 20-25ea, which I feel is lovely of her and my sister, quite well paid $20-30 ea. I try to restrict my Mum to this too.

I like my children to appreciate that only Mum and Dad are obliged to give them anything.

I'm a mean old cow biggrin.gif

Moss, I think that is a lovely, generous attitude and I think, as long as the parents and children appreciate it, and it isn't stepping on anyones toes that is great.


Good points, and the thing is it's not normal for DH's side of the family. They actually tend to be quite restrained when it comes to birthdays and Christmas, it's just BIL who has the long lists of more expensive stuff.

And on Moss' point - he is struggling financially a bit, but only in the sense that he has caviar tastes, but a McDonalds budget if you get what I mean. Wants the best for his kids (who live with their mum, not him), and buys them everything, but he's living with his parents. He wants to get his own place but won't consider anything less than a 4 bed, with pool in a really expensive inner suburb. This is why he's been with the ILs for 7 years.

QUOTE (I'm Batman @ 14/12/2012, 12:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I dont expect that he thinks you should be paying for the whole of the expensive items,more that he is hoping you might put in if you all organise properly.


Maybe that's it...not going to happen though...DH's family are terrible at communication and organising anything. Oh well, hopefully the kids will be happy with the smaller things I've already bought.

Edited by Wahwah, 14 December 2012 - 06:33 AM.


#8 mumto3princesses

Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:35 AM

We only have a tiny family. Really just my FIL, my mum, my sister and neice and still don't spend much.

Its really only token gifts each depending on what we want to get could be $10 to $20. But because we have 3 kids and my sister just has 1 we do a bit more for my neice. We always agree on a budget for the kids and this year was $15. But instead of getting 1 present for $15 for my neice my kids will give her 1 each.

#9 Wahwah

Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:36 AM

QUOTE (JustBeige @ 14/12/2012, 07:25 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think first off you need to think about if this is normal for the BIL?  Does he spend that much on your kids?   If the answer is no, then dont use the list or just buy something else

Or email your BIL back and say thanks for the list.  LOL at the boys being so specific, will it be the end of the world if they get clothes from Target?  Can you ask them for more suggestions please.

I actually like suggestion lists as does my family.  We always put a big price spread on them and people can just pick.   At least with a list (and we have a $20 budget) they get something that they actually want


Funny thing is that he had specified clothes from particular brands (one of which was a $150 jacket, I looked it up online) but specifically listed "New tops please, not from Target"!

He does spend more on our kids than I think is necessary, but there's 10 nieces and nephews and I just think he's getting out of control, given his circumstances.

#10 MARsmum

Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:47 AM

I got an expensive list from a family member too ... which was not asked for!  I just sent a reply email saying thank you for the suggestions however unfortunately I had already bought presents for their kids and I hoped that they liked them.  

We have so many people to buy presents for that it is just not feasible to spend loads on each gift.  Instead, I try to buy things early and online to get good quality things at a cheaper price.  

So, in my opinion, definitely sensible and not stingy!

#11 Bel Rowley

Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:56 AM

QUOTE (Wahwah @ 14/12/2012, 07:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Funny thing is that he had specified clothes from particular brands (one of which was a $150 jacket, I looked it up online) but specifically listed "New tops please, not from Target"!

What's wrong with Target? I think the list is way OTT.  A couple of suggestions would be fine. I thus far only have 2 nieces so I don't mind spending quite a bit on them, but it would irk me if I was told what to buy. Things like a pet rabbit, iPod, Nikes... they're gifts that should come from parents IMO.

#12 Wahwah

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:04 AM

QUOTE (MARsmum @ 14/12/2012, 07:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I got an expensive list from a family member too ... which was not asked for!  I just sent a reply email saying thank you for the suggestions however unfortunately I had already bought presents for their kids and I hoped that they liked them.


This is what I am going to get DH to do I think. His brother, he can deal with it (BIL is a little 'touchy').

#13 brazen

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:07 AM

it's $30 each here, $70+ seems excessive for someone who's not immediate family!

#14 No girls here

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:08 AM

We have spent up to $30 in the past but now it's more like $15.  That sounds OTT.

I think the idea of providing suggestions is fine, but the budget is the issue.

#15 Zesty

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:12 AM

TBH I would be happy with ditching the gifts to and from my nieces and nephew. We rarely see them, we don't talk to each other more than once a year (if that) and the gift giving is done via my parents. I did suggest a few years ago not to bother, but it was heralded as an outrageous suggestion.



#16 Ally'smum

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:15 AM

We get a similar email from SIL who doesn't buy anything for our DD, just regifts, but has no problem sending us $50+ gift 'suggestions'.

Last year I said we had already bought the gifts and if you can do that I think it is the best option. This year she sent us the email in July...

I don't think it is reasonable to send any requests (I see it as really rude but might be different in your family), if you had asked for suggestions that would be different.

Otherwise I would be inclined to buy one thing off the suggestion list at the lower price end and leave it at that, don't be pressured into doing something you don't want to.

Edited by loggedin, 14 December 2012 - 07:16 AM.


#17 Ireckon

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:24 AM

We have 8 nieces and nephews, so my siblings and I set a $10 limit a few years ago, because they do get inundated with gifts. The limit works quite well, and this year we have combined our limit with each other to get each child a colour coordinated dinner and cutlery set each. Practical, personalised colour, they all get one and no ones house gets filled with more toys.

MIL asks me every year what to buy the kids, and I don't like telling her what to buy at all. Her gifts can be quite age inappropriate - like she buys 3 y.o. Type toys for my 7 y.o. But I tell my kids that it is the thought and effort that counts. I also get my kids involved in the gift buying for other family, so they are putting thought into it too.

I like the suggestion from the PP about emailing saying you have already bought gifts. It does seem a bit rich getting a list like that.


#18 Pearson

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:27 AM

QUOTE (Wahwah @ 13/12/2012, 11:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Another Xmas present question...

So tonight we get an email from BIL with a list of suggestions of what to get his three kids. Most of the stuff for the 10yo was typical girly stationery, clothes, bling, etc. But for the younger and older one the list included things like: Nike shoes, iPod, clothes from specific labels, DS and games, a pet rabbit, remote controlled planes and cars, etc, etc.

I was a bit taken aback because most of the stuff was easily $70+ and I wasn't planning on spending more than $30-$35. And then do we look mean because we haven't bought from the list.

The thing is we can easily afford to spend more, but I just feel that extended family should give small gifts, and mum and dad give the big ticket items (or Santa). That's what my family did when I was a kid.

So...am I being stingy by not meeting him on the generosity front? What does your family do?


Can you say DFO?

Probably could get these things, but cheaper!!! biggrin.gif

d*ck smith do RC planes etc, pretty inexpensively too.




#19 Holidayromp

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:27 AM

Don't enter into any discussion as it will end in tears.  Just go and spend what you want to on age appropriate items.  Pick the items that do fall into your budget and buy them and do your best with the rest.
I give a list of items for my parent's for my children's christmas presents - I have no idea of their budget and not that I want to know either.  The items on there are not exxy either (I think that is rude) and Mum picks some items off the list and buys and buy other items of her own chosing.
I provide the list as a guide and Mum has found it very helpful and always passes it on to my sister.  The is nothing presumptious about it and it is appreciated.
But I think that your BIL is rude with placing very expensive items on the list.  I think he is taking advantage of his well off sil and taking the p*ss as well.  If I saw a list like that I would tear it up and just do my own thing anyway.

#20 CountryFeral

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:32 AM

I spend way too much on my nephews - but they are the only children in the (very small) family.

As to Target tops - pffft!

The best present they get each year is the Target T shirt that Auntie Countrymel customises for them.

Last year I photoshopped nephew #1 into the flight deck of the Millennium Falcon and nephew #2 was  'Lego -fied' on his.

$6 + some extra fabric, some iron on printer paper and a bit of my time.  = legend status!

#21 Holidayromp

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:36 AM

QUOTE (Ireckon @ 14/12/2012, 08:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
MIL asks me every year what to buy the kids, and I don't like telling her what to buy at all. Her gifts can be quite age inappropriate - like she buys 3 y.o. Type toys for my 7 y.o. But I tell my kids that it is the thought and effort that counts. I also get my kids involved in the gift buying for other family, so they are putting thought into it too.


You can always put away things for later.  We get things for DS for when he older and for the here and now.
MIL is a shocker with presents she buys the girls cheap age inappropriate purfume and cheap bath products when she know they both have very sensitive skin and for 1yo DS she bought a cheap, plasticy gun.  FFS A gun!  I have chucked into a very high place in the garage and it will be thrown out before we move.  After those pearler gifts she bought gift vouchers which have been great but I now have been informed she has bought a present for the three of them - I can't wait to see what you beaut she has come up with for a 10yo girl, 6yo girl and 2yo boy combined.

#22 Holidayromp

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:38 AM

QUOTE (MARsmum @ 14/12/2012, 07:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
, I try to buy things early and online to get good quality things at a cheaper price.  

So, in my opinion, definitely sensible and not stingy!


This is exactly what I do.  So on the other hand if you provide a list you could be depriving your kids of a really great present.  Who knows what the present giver is capable of.  biggrin.gif

#23 hunter4

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:43 AM

Just another point of view - who actually wrote the list?  I know my sister asked her kids to write out wish lists for the grandparants and me (aunt) and the list was pretty similar - lots of pricey items that I would never even consider giving them (ipads, mobile phones etc). My sister sent the list on but I know that we're not expected to buy these things.  I look at it more as this is the list of things they like - now I'll chose what I want to buy with those likes in mind.  Maybe the list you got was similar - written by the kids as things they wanted (but not necesarily likely to get) and passed on more as a guideline in lieu and any better suggestions.






#24 JECJEC

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:54 AM

I sortof get the no Target T-shirts. Boys go through a stage of being just as picky with clothes as girls. My son went through a stage loving some Target clothes then as he got to his teens he refused to wear it. He was quite happy with Jay Jay shirts which were usually cheaper so it wasn't a cost issue. If they are not going to wear it you may as well not buy it.

ETA- I think $30 - $35 is more than reasonable.

Edited by JECJEC, 14 December 2012 - 07:54 AM.


#25 Holidayromp

Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:59 AM

QUOTE (JECJEC @ 14/12/2012, 08:54 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I sortof get the no Target T-shirts. Boys go through a stage of being just as picky with clothes as girls. My son went through a stage loving some Target clothes then as he got to his teens he refused to wear it. He was quite happy with Jay Jay shirts which were usually cheaper so it wasn't a cost issue. If they are not going to wear it you may as well not buy it.

ETA- I think $30 - $35 is more than reasonable.


I don't like target clothing myself.  It looks pretty for the first couple of washes and then looks ordinary after that plus their clothes are often very insuitable for young girls.
However you can get top label clothing for children at ridiculous prices if you know where to look and often cheaper than target and the other cheap places to buy clothing.
My kids all wear label clothing but I didn't pay full price for it either.




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